The Personal Recommendation Hall of Fame III: Foreign Language Edition

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I have seen a good deal of classic Japanese cinema and some anime (Kon, Miyazaki, Akira, that sort of thing) but I am sure I have significant gaps. So yes, I'd be interested. Is there any chance you could tag me when that starts? Thanks!
Sure thing.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



A Man Escaped aka Un condamné à mort s'est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut (1956)

Le lieutenant Fontaine: [Narrating, after giving his word to the prison warden that he would not try to escape again] Who were we kidding? He certainly did not believe me. As for myself, I was determined to escape at the first opportunity.

Having been a Prisoner of War during WWII himself, Director Robert Bresson adhered very strictly to the memoirs of André Devigny, who was incarcerated by the occupying Germans during WWII for his participation in the French Resistance. Going so far as to use the very same Montluc prison and having Devigny as an advisor for the film.
In fact, the ropes and hooks used for his escape were loaned to Bresson by Devigny for this film.

This has been my second Bresson film within a week. Both of which I've had on my watchlist for the 2021 Film challenge. I am so becoming rather enamored by his work.
Much like Pickpocket, and from understanding, Bresson has a deep devotion for close-ups, especially hands. Very much in the similar vein as Le Trou, and other such films, this is almost a documentary with how involved Bresson delves into the minute details of the preparations, as well as the day to day life of doomed men, waiting for their turn to face the firing squad.

Superbly shot, we are side-by-side with Fontaine (François Leterrier) who's expressive eyes convey so much more than mere dialogue could. While, admittedly, I was already severely hyped to watch another Bresson film with a subject matter I have always enjoyed - (My #1 favorite film since early childhood, to this very day being The Great Escape) I was, nonetheless, caught up from the opening scene of Fontaine being delivered in the back seat of a sedan, along with two other men, to the prison.

A fantastic start to what I am very confident will be a wonderful buffet of recommendations.

Quite obviously, THANK YOU to whoever picked this one for me!
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A Man Escaped aka Un condamné à mort s'est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut (1956)

A fantastic start to what I am very confident will be a wonderful buffet of recommendations.

Quite obviously, THANK YOU to whoever picked this one for me!
Yaaay, that would be me. Casually, I read this yesterday...

Pickpocket (1959)
This as been my introduction to Robert Bresson and it's got me pretty excited to explore even more of his work.
...which made me happy cause I knew I had already picked this for you.

I felt it was an obvious choice, based on your favorites, a lot of which are these "heisty", adventure-like films. So glad you liked it.
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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Yaaay, that would be me. Casually, I read this yesterday...



...which made me happy cause I knew I had already picked this for you.

I felt it was an obvious choice, based on your favorites, a lot of which are these "heisty", adventure-like films. So glad you liked it.
Yep, you definitely nailed it for me. VERY much obliged, Thief!!



Please Quote/Tag Or I'll Miss Your Responses
I'll try to avoid mentioning popular foreign movies.


Shadows in Paradise, Sult, Il Sorpasso, Knife in the Water, Chit-Chat On The Nile, His Days Are Numbered, The Sign of the Leo, Purple Noon, Accatone, Fist in Pocket, The Roof, Boy, Pather Panchali, The Cranes Are Flying, A Woman in the Dunes, Les Chat, Pitfall, La Promesse, Whity, Dry Summer, La Notti Bianche, The Working-Class Goes To Heaven, Taste of Cherry, Ordet, Marriage Italian Style, Il Gido, Pickpocket, No Regrets For Our Youth, Paradise: Love, The Forest For the Trees, Ivan's Childhood, Le Cercle Rouge, Purple Noon, Night at Maud's, My Brilliant Career, Viridiana, Cairo Station, Carriage to Vienna, Two Half Times in Hell, Tsotsi, City of God, Rana's Wedding



I'll try to avoid mentioning popular foreign movies.


Shadows in Paradise, Sult, Il Sorpasso, Knife in the Water, Chit-Chat On The Nile, His Days Are Numbered, The Sign of the Leo, Purple Noon, Accatone, Fist in Pocket, The Roof, Boy, Pather Panchali, The Cranes Are Flying, A Woman in the Dunes, Les Chat, Pitfall, La Promesse, Whity, Dry Summer, La Notti Bianche, The Working-Class Goes To Heaven, Taste of Cherry, Ordet, Marriage Italian Style, Il Gido, Pickpocket, No Regrets For Our Youth, Paradise: Love, The Forest For the Trees, Ivan's Childhood, Le Cercle Rouge, Purple Noon, Night at Maud's, My Brilliant Career, Viridiana, Cairo Station, Carriage to Vienna, Two Half Times in Hell, Tsotsi, City of God, Rana's Wedding




Allaby's Avatar
Guy who likes movies
I watched Fallen Angels (1995), directed by Wong Kar-wai and starring Leon Lai, Michelle Reis, and Takeshi Kaneshiro. I found this somewhat underwhelming. Although the film is reasonably well crafted, I didn't find the story very engaging or interesting. I had a hard time caring about the characters. I thought the performances were fine, but the film was not very compelling or satisfying for me. There are some strong moments, but I felt it dragged on at times and felt longer than it is. I wouldn't consider it a bad movie, but I can't say that I enjoyed it. My rating is a
.



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters



In this thread, I can never say that I've never heard of a movie before because I look through the lists occasionally. I can say I was completely unfamiliar with this one from the Ebert list.

It's a biography on the life of writer Yukio Mishima, but to merely call him a writer is a massive oversimplification. A quick look at the IMDb page told me the director is Paul Schrader and I thought huh. Probably best known for writing Taxi Driver, he's also directed several movies I like, to go along with a few duds. During the opening credits I learned that George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola served as executive producers. So while this is a foreign language film, it also happens to be an American film. While I believe there is a certain nobility on the part of the filmmakers to do this, I think it comes at the expense of some authenticity.

It's in Japanese with Japanese actors, but there is some narration from the lead Japanese character, and it's in friggin English! I found this to be out of place and distracting, and I didn't like it. The guy's life was pretty interesting and I'd say worthy material for a film. I didn't have the easiest time following along as it not only goes back and forth through different times, but also back and forth from fantasy to reality as it puts the viewer into some of the man's literary works.

This is a well made movie with an interesting story and fine acting. I was not overly compelled and I had a hard time getting over the fact that it's an American movie. Overall I would say it was decent and worth watching.






Amarcord, 1973

Titta (Bruno Zanin) is a young man growing up in 1930s Italy. The film follows a series of vignettes of the different members of the town, including Titta's family and the various women he and his friends lust after.

Coming off of watching An Autumn Afternoon, I found myself still drawn to that theme of the bittersweet, inevitable change of life. While the movie is largely comedic, both the historical backdrop of Italian fascism and the natural cycles of life and death provide some somber, emotional moments. Maybe one of my favorite moments came toward the end (no spoilers, promise!) in which a character emerges from an emotionally trying experience to find puffballs floating through the air, a sign of coming spring.

For the most part I enjoyed the different explorations. It was interesting to see the way that some sequences felt as if they were deliberately exaggerated to feel like the memories of a child/teenager. This particularly comes to the forefront in the portrayal of the different female characters, like the sex-crazed La Volpina, or the epicly endowed owner of the tobacco shop. This worked better for me in the abstract--such as when a gaggle of schoolboys are aroused by the sight of a series of women of all ages plopping their butts down on their bicycle seats. I had mixed feelings about the character of La Volpina, who at times seems more like someone who is suffering from mental illness than just someone who loves sex.

Other sequences, such as when Titta's father is brought in for questioning because he has allegedly defamed the state and Mussolini, are played much straighter. I think that these scenes are well chosen and timed for two reasons. The first is that the drama provides a necessary counter-balance to the antics of the rest of the film. The second is that it allows the film to avoid idealizing a time in which horrible things were happening in the country.

I had two issues with the film, though both of them were relatively minor. The first is that I wanted more character development. We do get this with Titta, especially at the end, but most of the other characters (and especially the female characters) feel pretty one-dimensional. That sort of gets a pass given the comedy and the conceit of it playing more like a memory. The other issue I had was that around 90 minutes in I started to get a bit fatigued with all the quirkiness. The film is funny and I loved the over-the-top staging, but the middle third started to drag a bit for me. It picks up good momentum at the end as things begin to resolve, but I felt myself detaching from the narrative around the time the middle eastern caricatures wandered into the frame.

Overall I liked this one quite a bit. It has been on my watchlist for a while now, so thanks to whoever picked it!




From what I remember you'd like it
Fellini is one director I'd be interested in watching all of his filmography. He doesn't have all that many films, so it wouldn't be that hard to do.



The trick is not minding
Fellini is one director I'd be interested in watching all of his filmography. He doesn't have all that many films, so it wouldn't be that hard to do.
Yeah. Around 20 something films. Not as much as, say, Hitchcock, and I’m not including his segments on omnibus (anthology) films. For a prolific director, I had though he had directed closer to 40. Imagine my surprise.