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Help me with Foreign (Non-English) Movie Recommendations

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Some choices I think you might like...

Romance/Romcom:
Sand Dollars (Dominican Republic)
Priceless (France) -- Thanks to Apex Predator for this rec
The Lovers on the Bridge (France)
That Obscure Object of Desire (France/Spain)
The Lunchbox (India)

Drama:
La Ciénaga (Argentina)
The Lives of Others (Germany)
King of Devil's Island (France/Norway)
Mother (South Korea)
Spring in a Small Town (China)

Action/Adventure:
Kon-Tiki (Norway/Sweden, etc.)
The Wave (Norway)

Fantasy/Sci-fi:
Open Your Eyes (Spain)
Delicatessen (France)
The 10th Victim (Italy)

This looks like a nice variety of movies. I recognize a few of the titles, but I don't know anything about any of these movies. I'll check them out.

Thanks for the recommendations.
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@Citizen Rules, @jiraffejustin, @rbrayer

Late Spring (1949) aired on TCM, so I rewatched it. I'm glad that I did because I didn't remember much about it, but I liked it.

I loved the relationship between the father and daughter, and how they each wanted to sacrifice their own happiness for the other one. But while the father seemed to genuinely realize that he was giving up everything that his daughter does for him, and he was willing to lie to his daughter about his "marriage" to convince his daughter to get married, his daughter's "sacrifice" of not wanting to get married seemed to be more selfish because she seemed to have her own reasons for not wanting to get married. It feels like the movie is trying to convince us that she's willing to sacrifice her happiness for her father, (by staying with him and taking care of him), but she just seems to be afraid to get married, or she has some other reason for not wanting to get married.

And even after she was told that her father is getting married, she was still pushing for things to stay the same, so she can stay with him and take care of him. Maybe it's a cultural thing that I just don't understand, but everyone seemed to be pushing her a little too hard to get married, especially her aunt. I don't know why they didn't let her stay and take care of her father if that's what she wanted to do.

But at least in the end, it seemed like everyone was happy.

On a minor note, I wanted to see the guy who "looks like Gary Cooper", but we never got to see him.



Bread and Tulips--a fun romance/comedy about a woman whose family leaves her behind at a rest stop on a vacation and begins to make new friends and connections after she is stranded. Very sweet.
@Takoma11,

I watched Bread and Tulips (2000), and I loved it. I could relate to what was happening to Rosalba early in the movie because my whole life has been filled with days like the day she was having, where it seems like everything goes wrong. But I loved the way she just decided on a whim to go Venice, and she turned her whole life around. I loved when she called her husband the first night to tell him that she was okay, and then she just hung up on him when he was yelling at her. That seemed like the beginning of her new life of independence, away from her overbearing family.

It felt like everyone she met brought more happiness into her life. There was always that little nagging in the back of my head, wondering what was going to happen when she finally realized that it was time to go home to her family, but I definitely enjoyed the ride that she was on while she was away from them.

I would have liked to learn a little bit more about why Fernando wanted to commit suicide, (although it was probably because of his son, and maybe his business wasn't doing well financially), but he seemed to have people in his life who loved him, and needed him. I loved watching him slowly come out of his shell because of her.

The florist was such a funny person. I loved how he would tell the customers what flowers they wanted based on their situation, regardless of what they actually wanted. When he told a customer not to get irises, and the customer left thinking he was crazy, and he walked away thinking the customer was crazy, I couldn't help but laugh. It reminded me of a woman that I worked for many years ago at a flea market. She used to say things to the customers like "Put that down. You're not going to buy it anyway.", and they would walk away complaining to their friends about the crazy lady, then she would walk over to me and complain about the crazy customers. The florist reminded me so much of this crazy lady that I had flashbacks.

The plumber/private detective Costantino was fun because he was a clumsy, bumbling detective, but he was a nice guy. He reminded me a little bit of Josh Gad. I could easily see him in that role if they ever make an American version of this movie.

This was a great recommendation. Thanks.



The Naked Island (1960) I loved this! slow humanistic study of a family living on a remote Japanese island with no water. Almost no dialogue is spoke, so no subs to read...Note the island is barren, but the people do have clothes on

@Citizen Rules,

I watched The Naked Island (1960), and I liked it, but it was a little bit too slow for my tastes. The movie is only about 96 minutes, but with almost no dialogue, it seemed to drag on. (If I wasn't riding the exercise bike while watching it, I would have thought it was well over 2 hours.) I think the dialogue helps keep the pace of a movie flowing sometimes.

This movie was kind of like a case of "silence is deafening". They worked in silence, and even when they went to the restaurant, (after the sons caught the fish), they all sat and ate in silence. I think that would drive me crazy.

It was interesting watching how they lived, and worked, but it got a bit mundane after a while. (Although I liked seeing how they removed the tree root. I've never seen that done before, so I was kind of curious how they did it.)

The problem was that I never really felt connected to the family at any point, so it was hard to feel any emotion when the older son got sick. I stopped liking the father when he hit the mother after she dropped the water bucket. (It made me wonder what he would have done to her if she dropped both buckets, or maybe got hurt and couldn't help him at all. Would he throw her off a cliff?) Even when she started crying at the end of the movie, he just stared at her. He showed no emotion about what happened to his son.

It's an interesting movie about how they live, but it just felt like it needed something exciting to happen in their lives to break up the monotony.

I think it's a very unique movie, and I'm glad that I watched it. Thanks for the recommendation.



@Citizen Rules,

I watched The Naked Island (1960), and I liked it, but it was a little bit too slow for my tastes. The movie is only about 96 minutes, but with almost no dialogue, it seemed to drag on. (If I wasn't riding the exercise bike while watching it, I would have thought it was well over 2 hours.) I think the dialogue helps keep the pace of a movie flowing sometimes.

This movie was kind of like a case of "silence is deafening". They worked in silence, and even when they went to the restaurant, (after the sons caught the fish), they all sat and ate in silence. I think that would drive me crazy.

It was interesting watching how they lived, and worked, but it got a bit mundane after a while. (Although I liked seeing how they removed the tree root. I've never seen that done before, so I was kind of curious how they did it.)

The problem was that I never really felt connected to the family at any point, so it was hard to feel any emotion when the older son got sick. I stopped liking the father when he hit the mother after she dropped the water bucket. (It made me wonder what he would have done to her if she dropped both buckets, or maybe got hurt and couldn't help him at all. Would he throw her off a cliff?) Even when she started crying at the end of the movie, he just stared at her. He showed no emotion about what happened to his son.

It's an interesting movie about how they live, but it just felt like it needed something exciting to happen in their lives to break up the monotony.

I think it's a very unique movie, and I'm glad that I watched it. Thanks for the recommendation.
Thanks for watching it I didn't like it when he hit his wife either...I did find the pulling of the big tree root interesting. When I was in school I reads Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder and she described her father struggling all day to get a large tree root out of the ground. Funny I should remember that part of the book...Maybe it's because when I was in my 20s we cut down a big Juniper tree in my parents front yard and much like the movie we dug down tell we uncovered the roots and then cut them off one by one, until we could final drag the stump out with a truck and a rope...Luckily I never had to row a boat many miles just to get a bucket of water!



You might like:
Bresson's Un condamné à mort s'est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut [A Man Escaped] (1956)
Gbg
A Man Escaped is a great rec. So is Nine Queens.
@Chypmunk and @Takoma11,

I watched A Man Escaped (1956). This felt more like a documentary about how to break out of a prison than a movie. It was fascinating watching Fontaine planning his escape. He thought of things that I never would have thought of, and even though some of it he had to learn from someone else's mistakes, it was ingenious.

However, the prison guards seemed to leave a lot of room for him to succeed. They didn't notice him talking from his window to Terry in the courtyard. Plus, he worked on his cell door for a long time, but somehow the guards never noticed that the door was being damaged. That seemed a little far-fetched, although the movie is supposed to be based on a real escape, so maybe somehow it's true.

I wasn't sure whether or not he should trust Jost. I thought it was too coincidental that he got a cellmate around the same time that he learned his sentence. It would have made sense if Jost was put in there to find out if he was planning anything. He just seemed too innocent and naive.


This was one of the more interesting movies that I've watched recently. It was a learning experience, (but one that hopefully I'll never need to know .)

Thanks for the great recommendation.



I recently got a chance to watch Dassin's Rififi again. It's a highly entertaining film, and I'd recommend that too. Also most things by Melville would be intriguing to you I think. Though these films are in a "crime" genre, they aren't bloody/gory bullet-filled shot 'em ups. They are usually about the methodical actions of crime and the thought process that goes into them/and the post-methodologies of not getting caught. If you enjoyed A Man Escaped, you may enjoy these works too... but I'd definitely check out Rififi first among these as it's perhaps the most entertaining, then Melvile like Bob le Flambeur for example. (Though Melville, much like Bresson, doesn't use much dialogue... he primarily works in visuals.)
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@cricket,

I watched Bicycle Thieves (1948).

WARNING: "SPOILERS for "Bicycle Thieves"!!!" spoilers below
This one one of the saddest movies that I watched because I could relate to how he was feeling. Somebody stole something that he needed, (his bicycle), and all he wanted was to find the thief and get the bike back. He finally found the thief several times, but somehow the guy always managed to get away. He even told the police who the thief was, and he would have testified against the guy, but even the police couldn't help.

And then, when he finally lost all hope of getting his bicycle back, he got desperate. When he started looking at that lone bicycle leaning against the wall, and his son was there with him, I found myself actually talking to the screen. I kept saying stuff like, "Don't do it.", "You're better than that guy.", and "You don't want your son to see you to do that.". But I guess I was wrong.

And what made it worse was that the original thief got away with it, but he got caught, and his son saw the whole thing. So the bad guy won, but the nice guy, who just wanted a job so he could feed his family, was the guy who lost. There was no happy ending here.


While I can't say that I "enjoyed" this movie, because it's just not that type of movie, it's a very good movie, and I'm glad I watched it.

Thanks for the recommendation.



@cricket,

I watched Bicycle Thieves (1948).

WARNING: "SPOILERS for "Bicycle Thieves"!!!" spoilers below
This one one of the saddest movies that I watched because I could relate to how he was feeling. Somebody stole something that he needed, (his bicycle), and all he wanted was to find the thief and get the bike back. He finally found the thief several times, but somehow the guy always managed to get away. He even told the police who the thief was, and he would have testified against the guy, but even the police couldn't help.

And then, when he finally lost all hope of getting his bicycle back, he got desperate. When he started looking at that lone bicycle leaning against the wall, and his son was there with him, I found myself actually talking to the screen. I kept saying stuff like, "Don't do it.", "You're better than that guy.", and "You don't want your son to see you to do that.". But I guess I was wrong.

And what made it worse was that the original thief got away with it, but he got caught, and his son saw the whole thing. So the bad guy won, but the nice guy, who just wanted a job so he could feed his family, was the guy who lost. There was no happy ending here.


While I can't say that I "enjoyed" this movie, because it's just not that type of movie, it's a very good movie, and I'm glad I watched it.

Thanks for the recommendation.
Bicycle Thieves, I find, (much like most foreign), is better seen through the eyes of history. Post-WWII Europe and the Italian Neo-Realist Movement that arose there of. If you understand these two things more, it makes for a better watch/read.



I recently got a chance to watch Dassin's Rififi again. It's a highly entertaining film, and I'd recommend that too. Also most things by Melville would be intriguing to you I think. Though these films are in a "crime" genre, they aren't bloody/gory bullet-filled shot 'em ups. They are usually about the methodical actions of crime and the thought process that goes into them/and the post-methodologies of not getting caught. If you enjoyed A Man Escaped, you may enjoy these works too... but I'd definitely check out Rififi first among these as it's perhaps the most entertaining, then Melvile like Bob le Flambeur for example. (Though Melville, much like Bresson, doesn't use much dialogue... he primarily works in visuals.)

I've seen both Rififi and Bob le Flambeur, but not recently. I think I watched them for HoFs here a few years ago, and if I remember correctly, I liked both of them. I'm planning to rewatch them for this countdown. (I also have Le Trou (1960) on my watchlist. I'm pretty sure that's another movie that I've already seen, and I liked.)

Thanks for the recommendations.



Bicycle Thieves, I find, (much like most foreign), is better seen through the eyes of history. Post-WWII Europe and the Italian Neo-Realist Movement that arose there of. If you understand these two things more, it makes for a better watch/read.

I've never been very good at history, so I have a tendency to miss a lot of the historical aspects of the movie. I can relate to the movie as a drama about a man who needs his bicycle to work and put food on his family's table, but I have a hard time relating to the war side of the movie. In this case, I don't think it made the movie any less effective.



ᗢWanda Maximoff-Scarlet WitchᗢᗢElizabeth Olsenᗢ
Thanks for the recommendations, but I'm looking for specific recommendations for my tastes, rather than just general recommendations.

Your general recommendations might be more popular in this recommendations thread for the upcoming countdown.
ur welcome.
what kind of tastes?



I've never been very good at history, so I have a tendency to miss a lot of the historical aspects of the movie. I can relate to the movie as a drama about a man who needs his bicycle to work and put food on his family's table, but I have a hard time relating to the war side of the movie. In this case, I don't think it made the movie any less effective.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_neorealism

This might shed some light. (Most) European arthouse narratives tend to be secondary to and of an already established aesthetic/movement (primary). Whereas (most) Hollywood narratives are primary and the aesthetics are secondary, (mostly).



@Chypmunk and @Takoma11,

I watched A Man Escaped (1956). This felt more like a documentary about how to break out of a prison than a movie. It was fascinating watching Fontaine planning his escape. He thought of things that I never would have thought of, and even though some of it he had to learn from someone else's mistakes, it was ingenious.

However, the prison guards seemed to leave a lot of room for him to succeed. They didn't notice him talking from his window to Terry in the courtyard. Plus, he worked on his cell door for a long time, but somehow the guards never noticed that the door was being damaged. That seemed a little far-fetched, although the movie is supposed to be based on a real escape, so maybe somehow it's true.

I wasn't sure whether or not he should trust Jost. I thought it was too coincidental that he got a cellmate around the same time that he learned his sentence. It would have made sense if Jost was put in there to find out if he was planning anything. He just seemed too innocent and naive.


This was one of the more interesting movies that I've watched recently. It was a learning experience, (but one that hopefully I'll never need to know .)

Thanks for the great recommendation.
Glad you enjoyed it Gbg and please know that in the unlikely circumstance you should ever need to put into practise anything that you learned you'll always have a safe haven hideout over here with the Leprechauns if you need it
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Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
his daughter's "sacrifice" of not wanting to get married seemed to be more selfish because she seemed to have her own reasons for not wanting to get married
She is a good daughter brought up with traditional ideas in mind, e.g. parents are more important than anything else. Her deep love for her father is partly the result of this upbringing. When a Japanese woman got married back then, she would leave her family and become a part of her husband's family. Obviously, this wouldn't mean she couldn't ever visit her parents, but it indeed meant that she would no longer live with them. She would essentially, and largely symbolically, change her family. And cutting these ties, again symbolically, is something Noriko is grappling with.

It feels like the movie is trying to convince us that she's willing to sacrifice her happiness for her father
A traditional Japanese woman is supposed to be unselfish and sacrifice her happiness for others. Period. If not for her father, then for her husband. However, once a girl reaches a certain age, she is expected to get married. There were both some men and women who never got married but that wasn't that common. Marriages of love were not unheard of, but arranged marriages were still going strong, and sometimes people who reached a certain "late" age simply got married to the first available suitor if only to escape the pressure of society. And then sometimes they were only married on paper and both had romances they both accepted... But then some never married period, resisting the pressure or being lucky enough not to be forced to. What's interesting, Setsuko Hara, the actress who played Noriko, never got married, so you could try and analyze this in a meta way...

And even after she was told that her father is getting married, she was still pushing for things to stay the same, so she can stay with him and take care of him.
Because that was Noriko's biggest wish even though she wasn't particularly opposed to the marriage. She not wanting to change would imply being traditional, but at the same time, she dared to confront tradition by being reluctant to marry... Many girls were reluctant, unsure, afraid, etc. but in the end were pressured to marry anyway, fulfilling their duty to society. But times were changing and more and more women started being independent and 'modern'. But that's another topic. Noriko not wanting to leave her father does not necessarily mean she doesn't want to marry. It's just the circumstances and the societal & traditional mantle that goes with the marriage that she is scared of.

everyone seemed to be pushing her a little too hard to get married, especially her aunt. I don't know why they didn't let her stay and take care of her father if that's what she wanted to do.
Because that was expected of her. Period. In such traditional societies, you just got to marry and have children. Your choice not to, if any, was dependent on many things and could have many results. Family repeating 'you're old, you must marry' is not that terrible. This doesn't apply to this film, but for poorer families, it was of utmost priority that daughters get married as fast as possible so that the family has fewer mouths to feed, etc., etc. Japanese society back then was traditional, but some very progressive voices were there, too, so it wasn't as one-sided as you might think from my post. Read about the practice of Sati in India - when a husband died, a widow had to burn together with her deceased husband's corpse. If she didn't, she was most probably expecting to be mocked, abused, and thought a terrible, undeserving wife. But accounts wary... It's just to point out the Japanese weren't that bad But still, Ozu is a traditional director, so the conflicts in his films are traditional, too, even if he is extremely aware and up-to-date on the trends.

But at least in the end, it seemed like everyone was happy.
Both happy and sad. And this bittersweet feeling is what makes this (and other Ozu films) so powerful. Mono no aware. The father is happy because he did his job: he brought up his daughter to be a respected woman and wife. The father is also sad because he essentially lost his daughter and won't be seeing as much of her as before, so he is lonely. And him peeling an apple in an empty house is a powerful display of that loneliness.

Noriko is also both happy and sad because of that conflict of being a good daughter who provides and cares for her father vs. being a good wife and following what's expected from her.

On a minor note, I wanted to see the guy who "looks like Gary Cooper", but we never got to see him.
Every girl who's seen the movie points that out. There is a mention of an American boyfriend in one of later Ozu films, too, but we never see him either. Let your imagination do the work.
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Late Spring (1949) aired on TCM, so I rewatched it. I'm glad that I did because I didn't remember much about it, but I liked it.

But at least in the end, it seemed like everyone was happy.

On a minor note, I wanted to see the guy who "looks like Gary Cooper", but we never got to see him.
I don't think the ending is necessarily bleak, but I don't think it's that happy either.

WARNING: spoilers below

I mean, Noriko seems to feel miserable through the whole wedding preparation and once she's out, we never get to see her again, which might be a symbol of her individuality and freedom disappearing because of tradition, while the father is last seen pensive and sad while alone at his home. Again, it's not that black or white, but there's a lot to unpack in their decision to go on with the marriage.
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Mr. Minio's answer is pretty spot-on regarding traditional East Asian values about family. Late Spring is the quintessential film about liminality - centered around a period of uncertainty, between society and individual, tradition and modernity, ideals and pragmatics, etc. Ozu was definitely aware of all of these tensions, and as a primarily humanistic film it does not call upon us to pass pre-mature judgements about rightness/wrongness for it recognizes that it is more important to observe this critical phase of uncertainty and indecision, something that alot of other films are all too quick to dissolve.