The MoFo Top 100 Foreign Language Film Countdown

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I watched Last Year at Marienbad for this countdown, but I found it kind of confusing. I thought he was supposed to be talking about something that happened between himself and the woman in the past, but it felt more like he was narrating a dream that he had about them. There seemed to be a lot of repetition in the movie, and I found that a bit annoying. But despite the fact that I didn't quite "get" this movie, somehow I was drawn into it, and I wanted to learn more about what may or may not have happened between them. The movie didn't make my list, but it piqued my curiosity enough that I might have to watch it again to try to understand it a little better.

I also watched The Exterminating Angel for this countdown, and while I found it to be an interesting movie, I thought it missed the mark a little bit. I wanted to know more about why those people couldn't leave, and what would happen to them if they tried to leave. This was a pretty good movie, but it didn't make my list.
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Welcome to the human race...
I saw the restoration of Last Year in Marienbad in theatres, but for completely unrelated reasons I struggled to stay awake through it and that was not ideal for a film that already deals in elaborate dream logic and surrealism. I remember liking it, but I'll obviously have to give it another shot to know for sure.

The Exterminating Angel isn't my favourite Bunuel, but it's still pretty solid. Didn't vote for it, though.
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My experience with non-English language films is a little confined, restricted primarily to those that had been exposed to prior to losing my sight (and with it, the ability to read the subtitles naturally). In the years since, there have been precious few that have been given both the AD & audio translation treatment.

My selection 25 reflect that accordingly, more focused on films that have stayed in my memory and quite possibly have been superseded but I'm unable to quantify those. It's a shame as there are so many that I remember, really enjoyed, appreciated or left a significant impression by, that I've not been able to revisit again for decades in some cases sadly and know there are so many more that I've never benefitted from being exposed to at all.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Have not seen nor heard of the last two - sadly



Movies Seen: 2 of 6 (30.00%)
19. Paprika (2006) #100
25. In This Corner of the World (2016) One Pointer
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minds his own damn business
I like to view and appreciate films as products of their times, and to keep in perspective the context of the times, and viewing their innovations in the context of where the boundaries were then that these filmmakers were pushing. Filmmakers like Resnais, Fellini, Bergman, Bunuel, Antonioni, Godard, Teshigahara, etc were, in this fecund late 50s-mid 60s period, pushing the transistion from cinema's more formalized, classic standards into a realm that was more personal, expressionist, ambiguous, taking advantage of the perception-altering aspects of the medium, breaking rules of the presumptions behind the artifice of the 'dream life' of the silver screen. As such, these remain difficult films to approach, even as their influence has evidently permeated through the later developments of the last half century. Ground-breaking and confounding in ways that were necessary for the form to flower at that time. In a sense, it's similar to the kind of viewer adjustment necessary to appreciate silent film, where the technical marvels appear quaint today, and awkward to modern sensibilities, but they represent necessary developments for our modern sensibilities to take root. (And I still think they're magical in the invocative sense of the word.)


Not everyone's cup of tea, I understand, and I'm sure there will be many on this list that are not mine either. But I will push back a little on the 'pretentious' canard. It's a loaded word used in different ways, but those who use it then are obligated to illustrate a couple of things to support the charge: 1) What is the film 'pretending' to be?; and 2) Why does it fall short of being that? A 'pretentious' film is not a synonym for a film that someone doesn't understand.
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If I could make one suggestion for this post, could you include links to where those films were mentioned in this thread?
Unfortunately no - or at least not yet. Because the posts with the films use a new fancy layout, they can't be linked to or quoted like normal posts. Yoda might be able to do something about that, but it took a lot of work for him to get the style ready for the countdown to start, so that is something for the future.






57 points, 6 lists
94. The Vanishing


Director

George Sluizer, 1988

Starring

Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Gene Bervoets, Johanna ter Steege, Gwen Eckhaus









58 points, 3 lists
93. Rome, Open City


Director

Roberto Rossellini, 1945

Starring

Aldo Fabrizi, Anna Magnani, Marcello Pagliero, Francesco Grandjacquet






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I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
And that is the end of the six-way 57 point tie! Phew.

I've seen both of these. Both good, but Rome, Open City particularly. Glad to see it show up here.



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Two good films, albeit ones I didn't vote for.



The trick is not minding
Haven’t seen The Vanishing yet but Rome, Open City was my #4 film.
Such an amazing. Film, and that scene of Anna Magnani running towards the camera is both amazing and tragic.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
I thought The Vanishing was one of the creepiest, most-disturbing and most-original thrillers I'd seen when I first watched it, and I see no reason to change my mind. My response was WTF.

Rome, Open City - What it lacks in subtlety, it more than makes up for in raw power, although there is some poetry in Rossellini's direction. Dialogue by Fellini. Filmed under the Nazis' noses.

Didn't vote for either.
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Very good mystery / thriller with a really creepy villain. One of the best dutch films ever made, and one best films from the year 1988. I have it @ # 53 on my foreign top hundred.



I've seen both.

Here's what I wrote on The Vanishing a while ago:

WARNING: spoilers below
A truly compelling kidnapper drama which doesn't attempt to rely on the mystery of who the kidnapper is. The viewer can figure out who it is in the first 10 minutes. Sluizer's area of focus is to detail the psychological depths of the kidnapper, Raymond. The scenes of him mainly involve him interacting with his family while plotting an effective method to kidnap someone. Although the idea of a criminal who acts normal in their everyday life has already been done before, what sets this one apart from other films with this archetype is how he compares with the victim's husband, Rex, in the way that they're both overrun with obsession. Much like Raymond has an obsession with successfully accomplishing a kidnapping, Rex has an obsession in finding out who's responsible for it, an obsession so strong that it takes up three years of his life and costs him his new girlfriend. Considering that Raymond gets off scot-free, Rex's obsession actually takes a greater toll on him despite the fact that he has good intentions. All of this leads to a truly unforgettable ending which is, indeed, as disturbing as it's made out to be. In addition to the psychological depth, Sluizer also sprinkles several scenes of foreshadowing and symbolism throughout his film. I think some of them work better than others though. For instance, the scene of Rex and Saskia burying a coin is highly effective as it doesn't take a double meaning until you think about the movie afterwards, making it all the more unsettling once it hits you. In contrast, however, Saskia's dream of being trapped in a golden egg and fearing that interacting with another person in an egg will signify the end of something feels pretty obvious. The worst offender though is the scene when Rex's car breaks down in the middle of a dark tunnel, he leaves Saskia to look for help, comes back to find she isn't in the car anymore, and drives out of the tunnel only for her to appear out of the light at the end of it. Not subtle at all. Fortunately, in spite of this shortcoming, the film still thrives as one of the most unique kidnapping movies out there in the way that it provides us with a glimpse in the life of the antagonist, and I'd have no issue with revisiting it every now and then.


I don't have a review of Rome, Open City, but I think it's a terrific war film which cleverly changes focus as it rolls along, starting off with some lighthearted comedy mixed into the WW2 setting only to turn despairing around the halfway point. Though some characters, Don Pietro especially, can feel like comic relief at times, Rossellini shows a great deal of empathy for them in the more serious moments of the film. I also loved the ending.
WARNING: spoilers below
Though it's tragic, it didn't seem like the Nazis really won the conflict since their confidences were lowered by Giorgio not yielding to the torture (shown by some of the Nazis being unable to shoot Don Pietro at the end.)
Granted, some of this is muddled by some dialogue that overexplains this theme, but I still like the ending regardless. I don't know if it's my favorite film in Rossellini's war trilogy (Paisan would probably be my favorite), but it's still a fine film.

In conclusion, I like both of them quite a bit. However, I wouldn't call either of them great and they didn't make my ballot.



I don’t like these two nearly as much as the last two, but they both are good.

Watched Vanishing recently for a HOF, and it’s very original and engaging.

Been a while for Rome Open City but it remains my favorite Rossellini. That isn’t a crazy amount of praise because I don’t respond to his stripped down style super positively. Haven’t really disliked anything yet either though.



Yay, I'm really rattling up the 'seen' count now, at this rate I might even hit double figures by the end

Spoorloos is one I've been meaning to watch since like forever, I just haven't quite gotten round to it yet. One day. One day. Possibly. I have, however, seen Rome, Open City and its a decent enough watch with a fascinating history behind it but not a favourite.

Seen: 3/8 (Own: 2/8)


Faildictions ((バージョン 1.0):
92. Das Leben der Anderen [The Lives Of Others] (2006)
91. Ringu [The Ring] (1998)
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