The MoFo Top 100 Foreign Language Film Countdown

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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.
WARNING: spoilers below
It is left somewhat ambiguous, but the father takes them to the island so that he can dig up a box in the abandoned house. We never see inside of it. It seems pretty implied that he has been in prison. Was it something he his before being taken to jail? The important part is that we understand that him taking the kids on a trip was mostly pretense for digging up the box. Did he intend to stay once he retrieved it? Maybe? I kind of like that some of those questions are left hanging.

Haven’t seen The Vanishing yet
It is really solid. Then you can watch the American remake and appreciate just how badly a film can be ruined by making it more Hollywood.

I watched The Skin I Live In in preparation for the MoFo Horror Countdown. I loved it instantly. It's sexy, it's playful, and it's very stylish.
Agreed. And having read the novel on which it is based (a short French novel called Mygale), it is the rare case where a film changes something substantial about a novel and it's actually an improvement.

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Two VERY solid additions to the Countdown. Red Lantern was a serious contender for my List.

The Skin I Live In aka La piel que habito

Profesora de Yoga en TV: There's a place where you can take refuge. A place inside you, a place to which no one else has access, a place that no one can destroy.

Holy [email protected] sh#t!

What a very beautiful and engrossing cerebral mind [email protected] this was and quite the excellent finale to this Hall of Fame.
This is my very first Pedro Almodóvar film and I'm quite curious and a little worried about that curiosity to witness more of his work. Causing an underlying. . . not dread nor trepidation, but something akin to being lost in the unknown that instantly feels intimate and subconsciously familiar.
That sensation took root at the very start of the film with the home/clinic/holding cell that had a mixture of cold methodical architecture whose walls are lined with sensual paintings. Giving the eye both a warning and an invitation to this dwelling and its denizens.

Shot extremely well, that even the disturbing subject matter held a fixed fascination. And when the twist is brought into play and the proverbial other shoe echoes in both the mind and the body I was completely hooked into the premise and what was to occur next in regards to the "prisoner/patient" being held in the Doctor's home.
And I very much loved the ending.

Raise The Red Lantern

There is, on far more accounts than not, a beauty to Asian filmmaking that is founded on a symmetry that is imbued with poetry. Especially when creating emotional energy visually. This really steps up several notches when involving a period film and Red Lantern is, of course, a very good example of that.
The use of the red lantern and all it's symbolic, as well as emotional and cerebral impact, comes through and we are caught up in the world of the four wives.
In fact, the focus is so brilliantly done, that even the master is a vague figure that we never truly get a close up of his face. He remains a nondescript entity that judges and selects. Allowing us to focus on the interplay and harsh chess game, or perhaps, in this case, mahjong that the women do battle with one another.
Seeing, in all four, the various stages of those who are new to the conflict for the prize, those who are worn out from it, those that fight with passion and those who conspire and plot.
It's an intriguing game ripe with emotional conflict that consumes them and diminishes everything else, including the man who's decision rules the outcome of who will be allowed to express affection and attention to him and thereby secure a better place and life for themselves.

One aspect I also wish to compliment is that our leading lady, Fourth Wife, is not a gentle, naive waif thrown into the wolves den, but one who is up for the competition and the fight. There is no fragile child learning harsh lessons of life, but a young woman knowing full well what is in store.

She is full of anger at being taken out of school and placed into a submissive role to a man she knows nothing of nor cares to while battling other women for a secured place.

Movies Seen: 5 of 10 (50.0%)
4. Rome, Open City (1945) #93
19. Paprika (2006) #100
25. In This Corner of the World (2016) One Pointer
What to do if you find yourself stuck with no hope of rescue:
Consider yourself lucky that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your present circumstances seems more likely, consider yourself lucky that it won't be troubling you much longer.

Professional horse shoe straightener
Marienbad - pretty good mystery, worthy of it's place. The Bunel film I've not seen.

Vanishing is a great film, glad it's here - really creepy ending. Rome Open City has been on my watchlist for years, still not seen it.

The Skin I live in is good, but not my favourite Almodovar. Raise the Red Lantern is one I've not seen.

A system of cells interlinked
So far I have seen Paprika, Kiki, and The Vanishing.

These days, we watch Kiki at least once a week, because my daughter adores it.
"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP

60 points, 3 lists
90. Army of Shadows


Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969


Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Simone Signoret

60 points, 4 lists
89. Sonatine


Takeshi Kitano, 1993


Takeshi Kitano, Aya Kokumai, Tetsu Watanabe, Masanobu Katsumura

Never understood the Sonatine love. Haven't seen Army.

Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Never understood the Sonatine love.
I'm not sure I fully understand why I love Sonatine, but I do. I had it at #9.

Army of Shadows was my #6.

Nice! Sonatine is probably my favorite Kitano movie and that's saying something. I want to buy all of you list makers a drink.
Last Great Movie Seen
Shivers (Cronenberg, 1975)

Welcome to the human race...
I rewatched Army of Shadows recently and it definitely holds up, a thrilling but properly dour account of life in the French resistance that really gets into the existentialist mindset of having to live for a cause that you may just end up failing in the long run due to carelessness or bad luck. That kind of puts a ceiling on how much I like it (I didn't vote for it, at least), but I'd still say it deserves a spot on the list.

Sonatine, on the other hand, did crack my list at #8. I'd first heard of Kitano through understandably accessible points like the goofiness of Takeshi's Castle or his turn as the villainous supervisor in Battle Royale, but his directorial efforts are definitely an acquired taste with their off-kilter rhythms and blasé approach to frequently violent subject matter. Of course, they prove quite rewarding when that taste is acquired and, while Hana-bi may be more of a consensus pick for his best film, I'll give the edge to Sonatine for its tale of a squad of Yakuza who have to go to the mattresses in a remote beach house and engage in a strange mix of leisure and business. Not sure if anything else of Kitano's is going to crack the list, but it's good to see him represented and this is as good a starting point for neophytes as any.
I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.

Professional horse shoe straightener
Army of Shadows is great but not my favourite Melville. And similarly with Sonatine - it seems to be universally loved but I prefer Fireworks and Dolls personally. Great to see both appear in this list though.

Nice had Sonatine at #13!
"Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

I've seen Army of Shadows. I really enjoyed it and I love how Melville crafts so much slow-burning suspense from slow, quiet scenes which most directors would avoid or edit out, an approach which is right up my alley. I also found the deeper thematic undercurrents of its story both thrilling and despairing. Thematically wise, it's very bleak and does a great job at capturing the fears of futility and betrayal those in the French Resistance felt. Its ending is a great culmination to this theme

In regards to Melville, I like Le Samourai more and I hope to see that film make this list as well, but I'm a huge fan of both films.

I haven't seen Sonatine though.

Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
Army of Shadows is one of Melville's best. A masterpiece of cold.

Sonatine is one of Kitano's best. A chill approach to the Yakuza genre we all want but do not deserve.
心在你身邊 就算隱形亦有一天遇見

Another twofer - surely a recount must be in order
The Army Of Shadows is great and was definitely in with a shout at making my list but sadly didn't quite make the cut. I'm one of those that prefers Hana-bi to Sonatine but I'm perfectly okay with it being on the list.

Seen: 7/12 (Own: 5/12)

Faildictions ((バージョン 1.0):
88. Cure (1997)
87. La passion de Jeanne d'Arc [The Passion Of Joan Of Arc] (1928)
NomsPre-1930 Countdown

Fashionably late to every party since 1982!

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