The Personal Recommendation Hall of Fame III: Foreign Language Edition

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I had learned, that the artwork in the film was created by Kitano himself, after a serious accident.
That's a great touch. The film feels highly personal, in a good way.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



Army of Shadows aka L'armée des ombres (1969)

WARNING: "***CONFIDENTIAL***" spoilers below
The typed dialogue above has been deleted


Garnered from the truth, Jean-Pierre Melville takes a more existential road. He presents a more fatalistic, sans "action" account of French Resistance members during Germany's occupation of France in World War II.
Starring Lino Ventura, Simone Signoret, Paul Meurisse, Jean Pierre Cassel, Claude Mann, Paul Crauchet; There are no daring acts of sabotage, focusing on the desperation of these ordinary people attempting the impossible, as a far larger enemy hunts and exterminates them. Their time spent far more on the run, being held in captivity, tortured for information before being killed, and the necessity of killing a fellow member for the preservation of the Shadowed Army of Resistance. Secrecy so deep, not even brothers who work within the Resistance know that the other does.


I have been incapable of writing anything about this film without using a Spoiler Tag for the review's entirety. Leaving me to only remark, with complete confidence, that, like so many other Melville's, this is an instant favorite and one I'll be rewatching quite often.

My third review and my third VERY MUCH appreciated THANK YOU to the person who nominated this film that I've been excited to see from a Director that has very recently hit the high echelon of favorite Directors.
[email protected] YAY
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Army of Shadows was on my shortlist of films to pick for you. Just looking at the pictures you posted reminds me how much I love it. It may be Melville's best. I feel like I should really rewatch a lot of films to rank them before submitting my countdown ballot but I know I won't have time.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Army of Shadows was on my shortlist of films to pick for you. Just looking at the pictures you posted reminds me how much I love it. It may be Melville's best. I feel like I should really rewatch a lot of films to rank them before submitting my countdown ballot but I know I won't have time.
It is very easy to put this at the top echelon of his work.

And yeah, so many films, so little time lol





Porco Rosso (1992)
Porco Rosso: I'm a pig. I don't fight for honor. I fight for a paycheck.

10 minutes in and I was thinking I recognize that voice? Hit up the credits on a movie site and sure enough....Michael Keaton. I love Batman! This is gonna be outstanding, then I realized why I'm watching it in the first place. Oops! An Italian WWI fighter pilot battles pirates, an American Fly Boy, a teenage engineer and his own past which has left him as a solitary, bounty hunting pig pilot.

Porco has this thing going with the local Adriatic pirates. They commit crimes, Porco comes to the rescue and they do it all again. But the pirates (love these guys!) are getting fed up with Porco getting the better of them and enlist the help of an American Flying Ace to take care of the Flying Pig. The Ace does manage to get the better of Porco (not really, though) and forces Porco to take the remains of his plane to Milan for repairs. In Milan we meet the granddaughter of Porco's mechanic, a young engineer who makes improvements to his plane but insists she goes with Porco "just in case" something needs tweaking. So back to the Adriatic they go to set up a final showdown with the Fly Boy. And what a finale it is! That had me rolling!

There are, of course, moments that fill in a little of Porco's backstory and it's not a silly little backstory. It has some weight to it but not so much that it drags anything down. It's perfect.

Not pretending to be any kind of expert on anime but Porco didn't seem to be on the same level as something like Princess Mononoke from an animation standpoint but the animation is still very good. Mononoke had some jaw dropping scenes and nothing in Rosso approached that however, for my eyes, simple is sometimes better. I grew up with Bugs Bunny as the pinnacle of animation.

Porco Rosso starts quick and never lets up. There isn't a dull moment and the movie flies by. Absolutely loved all the characters, especially the pirates. I still think Spirited Away is probably Miyazaki's best film but this was so much fun and is one I'll watch again - probably with Batman leading the way next time. Why not? Nice recommendation!



Rocco and his Brothers




This is a movie that won't be for everybody and about an hour in I also thought it wouldn't be for me. But it has a nice recovery, particularly that last third of the film in which the relationships in the film are tested and a lot of interesting things are happening. The performances are pretty good, sometimes he's it feels like an Italian shouting match but not enough to be pure annoyance. I didn't really care much for any of the boxing scenes, to me they were taking away from the interest of the film, even though obviously it played a big part in Rocco's life. Nice camerawork too. While the movie definitely felt it's runtime, it was cool to get something good out of that last third. A decent but lengthy and sometimes fatiguing film.

+




A Man Escaped
(Robert Bresson 1956)

This was a good choice for me, it's something that I would've chose for myself. I liked it OK, but to be honest I found it a bit stoic and lacking in emotion. Or maybe I was just too tired and maybe the poor video quality affected my enjoyment of it. I was never bored and it did seem well made, but it was sure plodding. I'm guessing that slowness was deliberate as to impart a feeling of time nearly standing still. Well it worked I guess.

As I was watching it I asked myself if I felt anything or any emotion...and the answer was no. I didn't feel or care for the man in prison. I didn't really care if he managed to escape or not. And I think the reason I didn't have any visceral reaction was that the prison and the Nazi's didn't have that omnipresent & oppressive feeling about them. That's because of the way it was shot, with mostly close ups and mid range shots. We never see many establishing shots or wide shots that would make this prison seem real at least in my mind. To me it felt like a tiny studio set, hence I didn't feel any desperation from the story and you know a prison break from the Nazi's should be all about desperation.

I also couldn't help compare this to the excellent Le Trou (1960) which also was about a prison break, but was much more dynamic.

My wife watches all these films with me and she liked it so that's a plus.



I liked it OK, but to be honest I found it a bit stoic and lacking in emotion.
The one reason why I don't care that much for Bresson; all his characters feel like robots. Why should I care for them?

To me it felt like a tiny studio set
I kinda liked that about that though, it's a prison escape film that more focused on the escape than the prison.




A Man Escaped
(Robert Bresson 1956)

This was a good choice for me, it's something that I would've chose for myself. I liked it OK, but to be honest I found it a bit stoic and lacking in emotion. Or maybe I was just too tired and maybe the poor video quality affected my enjoyment of it. I was never bored and it did seem well made, but it was sure plodding. I'm guessing that slowness was deliberate as to impart a feeling of time nearly standing still. Well it worked I guess.

As I was watching it I asked myself if I felt anything or any emotion...and the answer was no. I didn't feel or care for the man in prison. I didn't really care if he managed to escape or not. And I think the reason I didn't have any visceral reaction was that the prison and the Nazi's didn't have that omnipresent & oppressive feeling about them. That's because of the way it was shot, with mostly close ups and mid range shots. We never see many establishing shots or wide shots that would make this prison seem real at least in my mind. To me it felt like a tiny studio set, hence I didn't feel any desperation from the story and you know a prison break from the Nazi's should be all about desperation.

I also couldn't help compare this to the excellent Le Trou (1960) which also was about a prison break, but was much more dynamic.

My wife watches all these films with me and she liked it so that's a plus.
Did she watch In a Glass Cage?



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I wanted to watch Rocco and His Brothers for it's decade countdown but I couldn't find it. I bet I can find it now.

I enjoyed Porco Rosso a good amount.



I might try to get on the board tonight. Have two options I might start with. We'll see.
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I wanted to watch Rocco and His Brothers for it's decade countdown but I couldn't find it. I bet I can find it now.

I enjoyed Porco Rosso a good amount.
Wow I've actually seen a movie cricket hasnt



Battle Royale: Never watched this because I figured it wasn't for me. Unfortunately I was right. Lots of style, so I see why it has a cult following. I am just not interested in it thematically unless it is going to really develop the characters, and it chooses not to do that at all. Two positives and they last about ten seconds each. The Creamsicle scene and stretching and exercising at the end of the game.
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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Porco Rosso is a fun lil anime I've been curious to watch and still haven't.


hey CR, I picked A Man Escaped for you and even though it was a bit of a blind grab that was planning to watch and just having finished Pickpocket I had a strong feeling you'd enjoy the preparations for the escape.
With the two of Bresson's I've seen, he does have a preference for using non actors. Believing he got a more natural response from them. Though I do agree the performance is a bit stoic, I quite enjoyed it. I am sorry that aspect did not work for you, though.