The MoFo Top 100 Foreign Language Film Countdown

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Neither are on my list, but one I loved and the other I didn't!

Oldboy (2003)

Oldboy is like Pulp Fiction meets Disney mass entertainment. I'm generally not a fan of Korean action movies. The ones I've seen seem like Korea's version of the Hollywood blockbuster, big on action and cheap thrills. I like movies that feed the soul and the mind.

Woman in the Dunes (1964)
...I loved this story and it's setting at the bottom of a sand pit, wow how different is that! There's so much to think about in this movie...and that's a rarity as most movies for me are forgotten the next day.

The end scene with the woman being taking away in pain with a ectopic pregnancy, repeatedly crying out 'no-no', 'no-no'...was haunting and oh so sad. I find myself wondering what happened to her. Did she have her baby and return to live with the man in the dune pit? Or did she die? I hope she returned and they lived a good life, albeit a strange one.
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Alright, this is the first I've heard of Late Spring and Woman in the Dunes. I've heard of Das Boot, Ikiru and Andrei Rublev, but I haven't seen any of them yet.

Oldboy would have rung in at #31 on the list. So 5 honorable mention entries including Barefoot Gen would have been ahead of it. It definitely has some brutal action along with some twisted twists. I saw this film in Cinema International with someone who identifies as conservative and he enjoyed it as much as I did. Movies can bring people together for a couple of hours!

A look at my list proper as of now:

1. Metropolis
2. 98 percent chance
3. 50 percent chance
4. 5 percent chance
5. 0 percent chance
6. 100 percent chance
7. 100 percent chance
8. Diabolique
9. 50 percent chance
10. 10 percent chance
11. 0 percent chance
12. 20 percent chance
13. 0 percent chance
14. 0 percent chance
15. 0 percent chance
16. 0 percent chance
17. 0 percent chance
18. 99 percent chance
19. 10 percent chance
20. Let the Right One In
21. 0 percent chance
22. 0 percent chance
23. 0 percent chance
24. 0 percent chance
25. 0 percent chance

Oldboy is a modern classic, and #8 on my list- it's appearance does make me lose some hope for another modern classic in Parasite

My thought on Woman in The Dunes and other Teshigahara works from 2013
Week 21-Hiroshi Teshigahara

Works Viewed:
The Face of Another

Woman in the Dunes

Pitfall is a surprisingly untouching father and son story. With slow movement, and unexplained story points, the film is not only outside of realistic (even before the ghosts), it just doesn't attract me in. The characters were one dimensional, and dull. The acting wasn't graceful, nor good. The actors were walking around like zombies on the screen, and the film was just as dull. The only character I liked was the killer, since at least he had some elusive qualities to him. It made me sleepy, and practically ruined my day.

The Face of Another, unlike Pitfall is highly symbolic and relatable. It's a story of identity, and the constant way humans cover up imperfections. Highly philosophical and especially the first half has deep thoughts. Add this to the beautiful but simple visuals, and it's a real treat. This reminded me of so many other films. The Elephant Man and The House is Black immediately come to mind. Then the surreal first half brought Persona and Un Chien Andalou into the mix. I talk about the first half more since it was far more memorable. After the mask came on this became more straightforward, and less stunning. It still brought up interesting new ideas, but lost the spookiness, and emptiness. Which perhaps was intentional, since by the end the main character is completely transformed. I love the opening scene, and all the scenes involving the creation of the mast. Enjoyable art movie.

Woman in the Dunes is the most acclaimed of Teshigaharas films, and my personal favorite of the three. This reminds of a less horror version of Misery, with more of a raw creative motive. I find isolation to be one of the scariest concepts, and this touched some thought into me, of how far I'd go. It's a film desire, whether it's a desire to escape your current "prison", or desire of a radio. This film is also concentrated on deception. It seems character had a trick up their sleeves. And while it maybe predictable, it's still directed well enough, that climax and plot didn't matter. This film also had some detailed close up cinematography, which I enjoyed. The director seems (based on this and Face of Another) an obsession of the body, and this is shown in not only the sex scenes, but where the camera is focused.
Hindsight I like Face of Another more but been way to long since I've seen any to have a strong opinion

My List
2. La Haine
3. Knife in the Water
5. Close-Up
8. Oldboy
10. Diabolique
11. Wild Strawberries
12. Cache
14. Three Colors: Blue
15. La Dolce Vita
Yeah, there's no body mutilation in it

The trick is not minding
Iím surprised Italy hasnít been as well represented as Japan and France. Iíve always held those three as the top countries in terms of the history of cinema.
No Pasolini. Few from Fellini.
Even Sweden is a tad underrepresented. Itís more then just Bergman, after all. Troell. Sjoberg. Widerberg.

got a streak for great existential films.
3. Close-Up (1990)
5. A Man Escaped (1956)
11. Ikiru (1952)
12. Woman in the Dunes (1964)
16. Pather Panchali (1955)
17. The Mirror (1975)
20. Wild Strawberries (1957)
22. Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
25. The Absurd Tales of That One Pointer (2021)
"Фильм призван вызвать духовную волну, а не взращивать идолопоклонников."

Oldboy was my number 20. Being a big fan of Asia's really great wave of horror and dark cinema over the last 25 years I was destined to pick a couple for this countdown. I didn't really think films like Ringu, Pulse or Ju-on : The Grudge were good enough to lay claim to being better than all the films we're talking about here - but Audition was a contender for me, and so was Oldboy - probably the best of the lot. After we left Battle Royale behind in the 70s, and climbed into the top 50, then the top 25, I thought Oldboy was gone. I'm happy it's here - but I'm also surprised at it's high placing.

Oldboy's premise is intriguing enough by itself. A man (Dae-su Oh) imprisoned for 15 years without knowing why, or who is keeping him confined - then let go. Given money and a phone, Dae-su is free (and encouraged) to seek his awful vengeance. What follows is epic, stylish and hard to watch. The script is full of quotable dialogue. Performances were spot on. The film is memorable and has left it's mark on many - as can be seen. I want nothing to do with the inevitable U.S. remake.


Films I've seen : 22
Films that have been on my radar : 9
Films I've never even heard of : 45
Films I've heard of : 4

Films from my list : 7

#21 - My #20 - Oldboy - (2003) - South Korea
#25 - My #5 - Das Boot - (1981) - Germany
#43 - My #4 - Grave of the Fireflies - (1988) - Japan
#33 - My #10 - Wild Strawberries - (1957) - Sweden
#57 - My #21 - Memories of Murder - (2003) - South Korea
#70 - My #24 - Run Lola Run - (1998) - Germany
One pointer - My #25 - Audition - (1999) - Japan

Seven Samurai
8 Ĺ
Seventh Seal
Spirited Away
Pans Labyrinth
City of God
Come and See
Bicycle Thieves
Rules of the Game

With the last spot down to A Separation and Le Cercle Rouge. Or maybe no Rules of the Game?

Maybe a super glaring miss too

Seven Samurai
8 Ĺ
Seventh Seal
Spirited Away
Pans Labyrinth
City of God
Come and See
Bicycle Thieves
Rules of the Game

With the last spot down to A Separation and Le Cercle Rouge. Or maybe no Rules of the Game?

Maybe a super glaring miss too
Cinema Paradiso? Throne of Blood? Blow Up?
Check out my podcast: Thief's Monthly Movie Loot!

I'd love to see the first 2. If L'Avventura missed then certainly Blow Up did

rbrayer's Avatar
Registered User
Another catch-up post.

I have never seen Das Boot or Oldboy though both are on my to-watch list.

Andrei Rublev is a great film but too long, has animal abuse, and in any event was not close to making my list.

Woman in the Dunes I found an interesting film, but to be honest, my memory of it is not terrific. It did not make my list.

The final 2 films made my list.

Late Spring is my favorite Ozu film. A fascinating film about growing old, family, and societal pressures.

By coincidence, Ikiru is both my favorite Kurosawa film and another film that deals with old age (maybe that says more about me at 44 then the films...?) It is a simply brilliant look at how a tragic diagnosis affects a civil servant and how that civil servant's life affected so many others. There is deep, trenchant insight here. It is frankly difficult to believe that one director could make both this film and films like Yojimbo. There aren't many other filmmakers - maybe only Hitchcock - that have so many masterpieces to their credit.

Updated list:

3. Ikiru (1952) (#24)
4. Wings of Desire (1987) (#32)
9. Le SamouraÔ (1967) (#30)
11. Metropolis (1927) (#31)
13. Playtime (1967) (#45)
14. Fanny and Alexander (1982) (#39)
15. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) (#36)
16. The Exterminating Angel (1962) (#95)
17. Late Spring (1949) (#26)
18. Paprika (2006) (#100)
21. Pather Panchali (1955) (#47)
22. La Dolce Vita (1960) (#27)
24. Harakiri (1962) (#37)

This just leaked. Spoiler alert!

1. Seven Samurai
2. Stalker
3. Spirited Away
4. City of God
5. Parasite
6. Persona
7. Come and See
8. Pans Labyrinth
9. Amelie
10. Rashomon
11. 8 Ĺ
12. Aguirre
13. Cinema Paradiso
14. Bicycle Thieves
15. A Separation
16. M
17. Breathless
18. Seventh Seal
19. Ran
20. Solaris
"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."

179 points, 12 lists
20. Cinema Paradiso


Giuseppe Tornatore, 1988


Philippe Noiret, Jacques Perrin, Marco Leonardi, Salvatore Cascio

186 points, 13 lists
19. Ran


Akira Kurosawa, 1985


Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryu

Welcome to the human race...
Ran was my #7. A truly astonishing epic of such remarkable scale and vivacity that never loses touch with the human element underneath. Sorely tempted to start watching it now even though it's about to hit 4 a.m. local time.

Cinema Paradiso is another one of those films I've seen once and really liked but have to wonder how I would feel about it if I did get around to giving it another look.
I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.

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