The MoFo Top 100 Foreign Language Film Countdown

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I saw Kiki's Delivery Service in one of the HoFs, and I liked it. It's a cute movie, but it didn't make my list.

I saw The Return a few years ago for either a HoF or a movie tournament, but I didn't remember much about it except that it had something to do with a father and his two sons. I rewatched it for this countdown, (mainly because it was nominated in a current HoF), and I liked it. I would have liked to find out more about why the father came back, because it didn't feel like it was just to reconnect with his sons. He seemed to have an ulterior motive, but unless I missed it, we never found out what it was. This is a powerful movie, but it didn't make my list.

I haven't seen Nights of Cabiria.
If I answer a game thread correctly, just skip my turn and continue with the game.

Welcome to the human race...
If Porco is B-tier Ghibli in my estimation, then Kiki is A-tier. Still didn't vote for it, though.

The Return is solid, only watched it once a few years back and haven't had the opportunity or inclination to revisit it (though at least the latter is excusable of account of what a miserable film it is).

Nights of Cabiria has been on my to-do list forever so maybe this is what will get me to actually watch it.
I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.

57 points, 4 lists
96. Last Year at Marienbad


Alain Resnais, 1961


Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi, Sacha Pitoeff, Francoise Bertin

57 points, 6 lists
95. The Exterminating Angel


Luis Buñuel, 1962


Silvia Pinal, Jacqueline Andere, Jose Baviera, Augusto Benedico

minds his own damn business
Both are way too low.

Woo-hoo I've actually seen another one Not Last Year At Marienbad though - but it is one I want to get round to at some point if possible. I have seen The Exterminating Angel though and quite enjoyed it.

Seen: 2/6 (Own: 1/6)

Faildictions ((バージョン 1.0):
94. Nirmala (1938)
93. Ballada o soldate [Ballad Of A Soldier] (1959)
NomsPre-1930 Countdown

Fashionably late to every party since 1982!

All good people are asleep and dreaming.
Last Year at Marienbad

If you haven't watched this, I think you are going to love it or hate it. Number five on my list.

7/7 right now for me.

101 - Porco Rosso - My favorite of the filmmakers work...didn't make my list I only limited myself to one animated film.

100 - Paprika - Another great film that I gave a #1 vote to in the recent Hall

99 - Kiki's Delivery Service - Yeah I didn't care for that one

98 - The Return - I watched it didn't think much of it

97 - Nights of Cabiria- Was one of those films you watch once and completely forget about it in a month

96 - Last Year At Marienbad - Great film...way to low didn't make my cut though

95. The Exterminating Angel - #15 on my list, I believe I've recommended this film before.

Whoa, started out strong. Porco Rosso is the 7th place on my ballot. A masterpiece of animation pure and simple and essential viewing for any animation fan.

The first time I watched Porco Rosso I didn't think it was as great as Miyazaki other films. The reason was that it lacked the super impressive visuals of movies like Howls Moving Castly, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke and also the more complex storylines of movies like Nausicaa, instead it had this tired moralist platitudes of "fascism is bad". Also, the fact that the main character was an ugly pig man bugged me a little

But after re-watching it a couple of times I fell in love with it and now I regard it as one of my favorite movies ever. It is simply a masterpiece in visual storytelling and elegance, with an ambiguous ending that brought to my mind the ambiguous ending of Once Upon a Time in America. Made by Miyazaki at the peak of his powers, this movie flows like water.

[center]I probably give Porco Rosso
. For what is essentially a children's movie,
Miyazaki actually said Porco Rosso was made for "tired middle-aged men". It has the visual style of Miyazaki's films but Miyazaki's films tend to vary a lot in terms of the target demographic. In fact, I do believe that Miyazaki's talk about the demographic target of his movies is just nonsense, he makes the movies he wants to make for himself and later comes up with talks about "movie X is for demographic Y".

In the case of Porco Rosso, Miyazaki made the movie just after he turned 50, so he went into a middle-life crisis. Thus, he made a movie about a tired middle aged man, who is drawn as a pig, because that is the way Miyazaki draws himself as a cartoon character. Then when asked what is the target audience he says "well, its made for tired middle aged men". In the same way, he said that Spirited Away was made for 10 year olds (because the main character is 10 year old), but also for those who were 10 year olds in the past.

In the same way, Howls' Moving Castle was the movie Miyazaki made after he turned 60, with the main character being a teenage girl who is turned into an old woman by a magic spell representing Miyazaki's dread of growing old. Then he said "oh, I made this movie for the 18-year-old elderly people".

Also, I watched Paprika about 10 years ago, I vividly remember it even though I watched it only once. It's a very good movie, I don't find it to be Satoshi Kon's best but still, given he made only 4 movies before dying at a rather early age and they are all excellent and essential viewing for any fan of animation as well. In particular because like Miyazaki, Satoshi Kon's style is unique.

Kiki's Delivery Service is another masterpiece by Miyazaki, one of the greatest works of animation ever made (as most Miyazaki movies are). It was placed high on my list. I watched it about 6-7 times already, it is one of the most re-watchable movies ever made because it flows so nicely. Like Porco Rosso, Miyazaki made Kiki at the height of his creative powers and it shows. In fact, it is perhaps one of the very few flawless movie-length animations ever made.

Miyazaki said that when he made Kiki that he made the movie inspired by the young women who began working for him as animation assistants in Studio Ghibli. So he made a coming-of-age movie about young people leaving home and learning how to live as independent persons.

98 - The Return - N.W.

97 - Nights of Cabiria- Planned to watch it when I was a film buff but never gotten around it, even though I have a Fellini on my list I remain ignorant of many of his films.

96 - Last Year At Marienbad - A nice experimental film. I watched it after I noticed it was placed in the top 10's of some film buffs and while I can understand why this movie is so loved by certain people I myself found it, how can I say it, pretentious. Still, it is a unique intellectual type of film that people should know because it is rather unique.

95. The Exterminating Angel - This one is a keeper. Very entertaining movie, should be higher on the list actually, although I haven't voted for it I would think its the kind of movie many people would love.

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
From three years ago.

I watched Last Year at Marienbad for the first time in three decades, so I have my own "new" way of interpreting it. It certainly does fit into Resnais' themes of time and rememberance, but I actually bought into looking at it as a horror film/ghost story/nightmare after only a few seconds of the funereal organ score by Francis Seyrig (the lead actress's brother). I decided that was an appropriate reaction, especially when all the tracking shots down the hallways at the beginning reminded me of The Shining which came out 19 years later. Besides that, the "hotel" reminds me of both the Overlook (or Hearst Castle) and its maze. Also, the narration by the persistent "suitor" sounded like something which someone who knows he has no chance with a certain woman would say. Add in that "theatre performance" near the beginning and the ending and several other ambiguities, and you've got three-fourths of David Lynch's filmography from the last 14 years.

Now, this is not to denigrate what Resnais accomplished here. It's just that I know several filmwatchers, including several of the sophisticated variety, who write this film off as just too "into itself" to care about or try to decipher in the usual ways. It feels right to me to look at the film as a ghost story since nobody in the film seems to be living, no matter how much the narrator wants one to live. If it's not a ghost story, then perhaps it's someone's descent into mental illness. I have a very close friend who talks a lot like the narrator in this film. He repeats himself over and over, and no matter how often he's contradicted, he tries to correct people who understand the situation even better than he does. Then, when things don't seem to be going "his way", he changes the "facts" and "details" with new info which he had somehow forgotten for 25 years. I'm not saying that this friend is truly insane, but if he were forced to undergo some kind of standard test, I fear that he would not pass it because he is in denial to just so many things that I'm not sure that he can turn himself off when necessary. He really reminded me of the narrator here; someone who has been jilted and will not take no for an answer (whether about love, family, career, etc.)

Some of the surrealistic flourishes seem to work better when you think of them as either being interpreted by "people" who are in denial about their state of either life or sanity. For example, it would make sense inside the narrator's head that the woman wanted him so we do get a scene (repeatedly) where she seems to be welcoming him. It's also strange that is the scene where he actually denies forcing himself on her. On the other hand, the only times I recall those two individuals touching was when they were dancing (a la a "Dance Macabre") and when he cornered her and she put her hand to his mouth so as to tell him not to speak (I'm sure there were more but you see? memory). But the other man, the Gamester, he touches her head while she's on her bed and seems far more comfortable with her in an intimate situation.

I don't really want to rehash all the old "interpretations" now, but maybe after I rewatch it, I can think about those. However, I feel that I'm more likely to latch onto my own horror flick interpretation. Resnais had already made Night and Fog and Hiroshima mon amour which were both horrific. There is no hint of romance or passion in Night and Fog while Hiroshima is mostly passion. Last Year at Marienbad is certainly 99% devoid of passion, so even if you don't want to interpret it as a horror film, a ghost story or even a vampire film (there are some interesting visuals involving the sun and the night at the same time and a neat strip of overdeveloped film during a long track down a hallway), it may be a film which you find difficult to warm up to. However, I can understand why it's become a lionized iconic puzzle just as much as I can see why many people would think it was boringly unwatchable. It is rather short though and looking at how influential I now see it to be in my own certain quirky ways, I can see how some people could also fluctuate back and forth between the two "extreme" positions.

The Exterminating Angel is one of Buñuel's textbook films, satirically commenting on society's hangups and foibles with lots of attacks on Catholic traditions as he is wont to do. I wish I had more to say, but after the Marienbad thing above, it's enough.

Still nothing I voted for.

It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page

Here were my thoughts for Exterminating Angel from what feels like a lifetime ago

The Exterminating Angel

The Exterminating Angel (Bunuel, 1962)-

I've been pretty conflicted on what to rate The Exterminating Angel, on one side I felt compelled to give it a "positive" rating and bump it up half a star, but then I look at other films I have given this rating and almost all of them are better. The issue I had with this film is it kind of goes in streaks, of scenes I love and scenes I find dispensable. When it began, it felt somewhat choppy- I later understood the purpose of this- but regardless that is the affect it gave, making it hard to get into. Once the story began about the group of bourgeoisie members trapped in tan upscale room, it had many funny lines and ironic scenes. But as the film went along I felt that I was trapped in the same prison the characters were in, and just like everyone in the room wanted to get away from these idiots. By the time the hallucinations began I started enjoying the comedic work again, but there was a long point in the film where I couldn't wait for it to end. While I found the comedy successful the surrealism was clear but not effective. I love surrealistic pieces like Eraserhead or Un Chien Andalou- which Bunuel himself contributed too. But all the ones I love are eerie, dark, and symbolic. The surrealism in The Exterminating Angel, silly and weird but not eerie, dark, or symbolic. Bunuel has two obsession in his films, Christianity and the bourgeoisie. While there are funny moments regarding both categories, I can't distinguish his statement on either. Was the point that the bourgeoisie were becoming the working class, they once couldn't understand? Are they now the ones that are trapped, like their inferiors were once? That's the most I understood, but even their I can't complete the puzzle.
Believe I start Last Year. but never finished
Yeah, there's no body mutilation in it

Here we go, two really good movies that I didn’t vote for. I think about both pretty often. Marienbad is just such an immersive dreamy experience. I have seen it twice and I’m going to figure out that matchstick game eventually. My Renais will be showing up later but I am glad Marienbad made it.

I have only watched Exterminating Angel once after seeing Mother a few years back. I really liked it and definitely want to return to it. The concept is so cool.

minds his own damn business
I have only watched Exterminating Angel once after seeing Mother a few years back.
I hope you mean Mother! from 2017. The association isn't lost on me. In my review of Mother!, I referred to it a Bunuelian wet dream. I'm sure he would have loved it.

I hope you mean Mother! from 2017. The association isn't lost on me. In my review of Mother!, I referred to it a Bunuelian wet dream. I'm sure he would have loved it.
It was. I had heard it was a heavy influence. Mother! was a movie I liked a ton as well. Need to watch it again.

Here we go, two really good movies that I didn’t vote for. I think about both pretty often. Marienbad is just such an immersive dreamy experience. I have seen it twice and I’m going to figure out that matchstick game eventually. My Renais will be showing up later but I am glad Marienbad made it.

I have only watched Exterminating Angel once after seeing Mother a few years back. I really liked it and definitely want to return to it. The concept is so cool.
Glad you posted that, as I haven't seen either but your post now makes me think both might be to my liking.

minds his own damn business
I guess I should point out that, yes, both were on my ballot, #s 9 and 15 (in whichever order).

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