Help me with Foreign (Non-English) Movie Recommendations

Tools    





Glad you watched it. The film (as I see it) is an allegory for communist Hungary and post communist Hungary, and how people were desperate for change and progression but didn't know exactly what they wanted to change to. The film is called Werckmeister Harmonies - so immediately the viewer reads into why it is called that- and the answer is because the old man in the film has a lifelong ambition to change the musical scales to make their harmonies more natural. That is the key to the film (as I see it) - this man is saying that music (i.e. - life / socio-political landscape in communist Hungary) isn't natural enough and needs to change. It's too rigid, authoritarian and militant.

The long takes are either something you appreciate or don't I guess. Personally I love them as they don't conform to modern film-making and editing, and make you ask why the director is doing it (Bela Tarr doesn't do anything without reason).

The people in the hospital are political dissidents so they are attacked by the rioters who are desperate for change. Ultimately, the lead character himself becomes institutionalised, and the old man gives up on his idea of changing music (perhaps an idea that is supposed to represent socialism of some kind). The ending represents a more stable Hungary that has been through the bad times politically (witnessed a circus come and go) and although it's not perfect, there is a sort of harmony amongst its people.

I heard what the old man was saying about the musical scales and their harmonies, and I got that it linked to what was happening with the people, but I've never really been good with political and/or historical movies, so I think that's where it lost me.
__________________
.
If I answer a game thread correctly, just skip my turn and continue with the game.
OPEN FLOOR.



Beyond the Hills (2012) Romanian movie - won at Cannes for Best Screenplay in 2012. Directed by Cristian Mungiu same one who directed : 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) for which he won a Palme d'Or also at Cannes.
It is a story of two young women who grew up in an orphanage after which one has chosen to work abroad in Germany and the other one more pious and quiet has decided to become a nun in a monastery. After a while the one who left comes back eventually in her home country and goes and finds her girlfriend and the rest feel free to discover it by watching the movie.
It is a film which reveals some dark parts of the priesthood and what could happen beyond the monastic curtains.
I would say the movie describes some areas from my country, but I wouldn't generalize it, since there are also modern and developed places. This story being a particular one centered on the life of these two women in need.

I've heard of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007), but I don't know anything about it. It's just the title that's familiar.

Beyond the Hills (2012) sounds like it might be too religious for me, but I'll check it out.

Thanks for the recommendations.




I recommend the last one I was talking about above .....
Chuck Norris VS Communism it is almost like a documentary
__________________
“Everyone should believe in something. I believe I will have another coffee...”
― Unknown



I love both Bi Gan films. This and Long Day's Journey into night. They are other worldly spiritual experiences with genius camera placement. Lovely long takes in the mould of Tarkovsky or Andrei Zvaginnstyev.

If they haven't been recommended already, I'd add these films:

Ida (Pawlikowski masterpiece)
Cold War (Pawlikowski near masterpiece)
Beanpole (directed by a 28 year old Russian)
House of Hummingbird (very recent Asian flick)
A Sun (Taiwanese film from 2020)
Failan (really recommend this film to everyone. It packs a punch)
Fireworks (Takeshi Kitano)
White Ribbon (possibly Haneke's best)
A Short Film about killing (Kieslowski film that more or less led to the abandonment of capital punishment in Poland)
Close Up (Kiarostami)
Mother (Bong Joon Ho's overlooked film)
Germany Year zero (devastating Italian neo realism)
Umberto D (also devastating Italian neo realism!!)
Audition (messed up masterpiece from Takashi Miike)

I've heard of a few of these movies, and a couple of them are already on my watchlist, but I don't really know much about them. I'll check out the rest of the movies too.

Thanks for the recommendations.



Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Three Monkeys is a very good turkish drama. Personally, my favorite of him is Winter Sleep, but since you're not a big fan of long movies...

(Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Cure) Labyrinth and hypnotic. One of those puzzles that requires multiple views and attention to detail. A bit violent, but not too graphic. It can be difficult to keep up if you're not in the mood.

Hideo Gosha's Goyôkin is a samurai masterpiece in my opinion.

Konstantin Lopushanskiy's Dead Man's Letter (1986) and Visitor of a Museum (1989)
Two incredible looks at the human soul in a post-nuclear Russia, where people live underground, in the ruins of our civilization.
Many analogies on the problems of socialism.

The last two movies (about post-nuclear Russia) may not be my type of movies, but the other three movies sound like they might be, so I'll check them out.

Thanks for the recommendations.



Here is another great (? foreign )(Romanian) movie :
Chuck Norris vs. Communism (2015)
It is all about when the VHS tapes started to appear on the market, before 1989, before the fall of the Iron Curtain and the Soviet's influence in Europe.
It is about Romania (which was still under a dictatorial regime/ a communist one until 1989) where these kind of western films about the western civilization where kinda prohibited.
And those who watched foreign films were either sent to prison, ether penalized with a fee of some kind.
It is about the early age of VHS films, about how people were smuggling these films into the country during a dictatorial regime and about how everyone was watching "secretly" these movies.
This was also a thing which kinda contributed to the overthrow of the dictatorial regime.

I think I may have heard of this movie, (the title sounds familiar), but I didn't know that it's a foreign movie. I'm not sure what Chuck Norris has to do with the early days of VHS, but I might have to watch the movie to find out.

Thanks for the recommendation.



@PHOENIX74,
I saw your post recommending The Giants (2011) in the "Rate The Last Movie You Saw" thread, and I like Stand By Me, and this movie sounded interesting so I decided to give it a try, but it's not really my type of movie.

The problem with this movie is that these kids caused their own problems, and every action they took just made their situation worse. I couldn't really feel bad for them because they're not really good people. They steal, they smoke weed, they broke into people's houses, etc.

WARNING: "SPOILERS about the ENDING of "The Giants"!!!" spoilers below
And even the ending was a downer. They have nothing to look forward to in their futures. They may have killed a man, (It looked like there was a nail sticking out of the board that he hit Angel with.), they have no home, (Beef isn't going to let them back in, or pay the rent he owes them.), they sold all of their (their parents') stuff, and even worse, they dropped their cell phone in the river, so their mother can't contact them anymore. Even if she tried to come back and find them, she'll find a drug dealer living in her house, and he'll probably kill her.


Thanks for the recommendation, but this movie just wasn't for me.
I kind of felt deeply sorry for those kids, just left to fend for themselves.

Sorry about recommending a movie that wasn't to your taste, I felt the same as you did at the start - but things got so out of hand I gave up and just went along for the ride. And I watch some pretty messed up movies. I'm a little desensitized.

I'd just like to say - a lot of people have been talking about Loveless - and I recommended it to you. I'd probably de-recommend it (as much as it pains me) - I really don't think it'd be your kind of thing.

I just watched A Man Called Ove, from Sweden, which was really charming and probably much more to your taste. I'll just mention Grave of the Fireflies (from Japan) because it's one of the greatest films ever made - but it's full of sadness, just so you know. Might not be for you. Iranian Asghar Farhadi made a couple of films, The Salesman and A Separation (which I think you might have mentioned you'd seen) which are excellent, excellent films. I was recently reminded about Toni Erdmann (Germany) about a practical joke-playing father and his more serious corporate world daughter and their relationship. Great movie. Land of Mine (Denmark/Germany) could nearly be classified as a war film (it's post WWII - not shooty, digging up landmines, great ending, but...the ending is really the only happy thing in it - you might love it or hate it, I'm not sure.)





Twin Sisters (2002)
aka De Tweeling

Seems kind of funny me recommending this as I almost exclusively prefer much older films, but anyway. I think this is pretty good. When I saw it the first few times it really moved me very deeply. This is a Dutch film about two sisters and their lifelong relationship and the inseparable bond between them (from the 1920s when they were born, through the perils of World War Two, and into modern times), which is filled with drama, injustice, love, hatred, heartache and reconciliation.

I've read your basic requirements for films that you'd enjoy and I guess this falls a bit outside that area, still there's warmth and beauty in the characters and story. There's some slight violent and sexual content, but really nothing compared to typical contemporary cinema. I'd say it was very mild overall in those respects. Only real warning I need to give, is that if you do really connect with the characters and story it can be quite emotionally heavy and involving at times.

Anyway, all the best with your continued enjoyment of foreign movies.



I kind of felt deeply sorry for those kids, just left to fend for themselves.

Sorry about recommending a movie that wasn't to your taste, I felt the same as you did at the start - but things got so out of hand I gave up and just went along for the ride. And I watch some pretty messed up movies. I'm a little desensitized.
That's okay. My taste in movies runs very different from a lot of people around here, so there are always going to be movies that just aren't for me. But I have a huge blind spot when it comes to foreign movies, so I appreciate the help with recommendations.


I'd just like to say - a lot of people have been talking about Loveless - and I recommended it to you. I'd probably de-recommend it (as much as it pains me) - I really don't think it'd be your kind of thing.
Thanks for letting me know about Loveless. I have a large watchlist for this countdown, and I'm sure that I won't be able to watch all of the movies before the deadline, so any help narrowing down the list is also appreciated.

Some of the movies I've watched have been heavy dramas, and while I sometimes like those movies, they rarely make my top movie lists. Most of my favorite movies tend to be lighter movies, like rom-coms, musicals, and fun comedies.


I just watched A Man Called Ove, from Sweden, which was really charming and probably much more to your taste. I'll just mention Grave of the Fireflies (from Japan) because it's one of the greatest films ever made - but it's full of sadness, just so you know. Might not be for you. Iranian Asghar Farhadi made a couple of films, The Salesman and A Separation (which I think you might have mentioned you'd seen) which are excellent, excellent films. I was recently reminded about Toni Erdmann (Germany) about a practical joke-playing father and his more serious corporate world daughter and their relationship. Great movie. Land of Mine (Denmark/Germany) could nearly be classified as a war film (it's post WWII - not shooty, digging up landmines, great ending, but...the ending is really the only happy thing in it - you might love it or hate it, I'm not sure.)

I have several animated movies on my watchlist, but Grave of the Fireflies is on there as a "maybe" because I'm not sure that it's my type of movie, and some of the others just sound more like my type of movies.

Yes, I've seen A Separation, but it's been a while, so it's on my watchlist for a rewatch. I haven't heard of The Salesman, but I liked A Separation, so I'll check it out.

I don't know much about Toni Erdmann, but I've heard good reviews of it, so I added it to my watchlist.

I haven't heard of A Man Called Ove and Land of Mine, but I'll check them out.

Thanks for the recommendations.





Twin Sisters (2002)
aka De Tweeling

Seems kind of funny me recommending this as I almost exclusively prefer much older films, but anyway. I think this is pretty good. When I saw it the first few times it really moved me very deeply. This is a Dutch film about two sisters and their lifelong relationship and the inseparable bond between them (from the 1920s when they were born, through the perils of World War Two, and into modern times), which is filled with drama, injustice, love, hatred, heartache and reconciliation.

I've read your basic requirements for films that you'd enjoy and I guess this falls a bit outside that area, still there's warmth and beauty in the characters and story. There's some slight violent and sexual content, but really nothing compared to typical contemporary cinema. I'd say it was very mild overall in those respects. Only real warning I need to give, is that if you do really connect with the characters and story it can be quite emotionally heavy and involving at times.

Anyway, all the best with your continued enjoyment of foreign movies.

I haven't heard of Twin Sisters, but it sounds like it could be interesting, and I usually like emotional movies, so I'll check it out.

Thanks for the recommendation.



I will now list a bunch of foreign movies I appreciated and for which I dont recall having any trouble with subtitles

-Playtime Jacques tati
GBG, we have similar taste in movies, especially the 'don't like stuff'. So I've went through my old Foreign Language list and found films that I really think are right up your alley, I'd rate all of these
or better

Mon Oncle (Jacques Tati 1958) A comedy! that I think is right up your alley.
-Jaques Tati, lots of slapstick and not many subtitles.
I also concur with the Jacques Tati recommendation too.
@Olivier Parent, @Citizen Rules, @HashtagBrownies, and @Dog Star Man,

Based on your recommendations to watch Jacques Tati's movies, I watched Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (1953) when it aired on TCM recently.

At times, this movie was almost like watching a silent movie. There were too many scenes with little to no dialogue, but it didn't feel natural. It almost felt like the dialogue was missing.

On the other hand, this movie made me think that Monsieur Hulot might have been the inspiration for Inspector Clouseau, which was fun. They both have the same bumbling personality, and their inept moves seem to cause everyone else's problems.

Unfortunately, most of the other characters weren't really fleshed out much. They didn't seem to have names, and we never really learn much about them. They're just there for Hulot to have people to interact with, but I never really cared about any of them. And most of these people seemed as inept as Hulot. They don't pay attention to what's going on around them, and they just cause more problems. While some of it was funny, some of it just seemed to miss the mark for me.

The most ridiculous part was when Hulot was in the boat that folded up around him, and people started yelling "Shark!" when he was trying to unfold the boat to get out of it. They thought that was a shark??? Obviously those people have never seen Jaws.

But while it might sound like I didn't like this movie, that's not the case. I liked the movie, but I just didn't love it. It's an enjoyable movie to watch, and I smiled through most of it, but I never really laughed at the humorous situations that way I felt like I should have. But I'm glad that I watched it because it was a nice change of pace from the dramas that I've been watching recently.

Thanks for the recommendation.



Another movie that I watched that wasn't specifically recommended by anyone is La Ronde (1950). I watched it mainly because it aired on TCM and it sounded interesting.

This was a light, fun movie. I love the way everything moved along from one story to the next, following the characters across to the next story, and eventually came full circle. The stories were short, but very enjoyable.

I think the Master of Ceremonies was a great character. He was so likable that he made it fun to move on to the next story.

This movie is like a merry-go-round of love, and it's fun watching that carousel turn.



I'm sure you've seen some of these-

The 400 Blows
@cricket,
I watched The 400 Blows (1959). I almost didn't watch this movie because the title made me think that it had something to do with someone getting hit a lot, but when it was recommended to me, I decided to give it a chance. I'm glad that I did because it turned out to be a very good movie.

I felt bad for Antoine because he never really had a chance. His parents don't really want him, his teachers don't like him, and nobody even tries to understand what he's going through. They just think that he's a bad kid, but he's really just misunderstood, and his reactions to his problems just keep making his problems worse.

His friend René is no help because he just pushes Antoine in the wrong direction, and makes his situation worse.

I'm not sure what I think of the ending because it's kind of ambiguous. Where does he go from there? Is he really free? Probably not, but where his life goes from there is now in his own hands.

Thanks for the recommendation.



The Robber (2010, Benjamin Heisenberg)
@Holden Pike,
I watched The Robber (2010). This was an interesting watch, but it didn't really work for me because there were no likable people in the movie. Johann seemed like a pretty smart guy, but he was so self-centered that he only cared about himself and training for the marathons. He didn't even seem to really care about robbing the banks for the money. It just seemed to be an obsession for him.

WARNING: "SPOILERS about "The Robber"!!!" spoilers below
Until he killed his parole officer, it didn't seem like he wanted to hurt anyone, but it didn't surprise me when he killed him either. Johann just seemed to keep getting more and more angry, so it was only a matter of time before he was going to snap and hurt someone.

I think Erika is an idiot. She kicked him out of her house because he robbed the banks, but then she slept with him after she found out that he killed his parole officer. And then, she turned him in to the police. She makes no sense.

After watching the movie, I read a little bit about the real person who this movie is based on, Johann Kastenberger, and in real life, he killed several people. So while the movie tried to make Johann less violent, it didn't really work for me because he wasn't any more likeable, and that made it hard to care about him at all. It just felt like I wanted him to be caught right from the beginning.


Thanks for the recommendation.



I have one for you GBG that should be to your liking, The Bélier Family (Eric Lartigau 2014). Have you seen that before?
Did you ever watch this one?

I'm randomly working my way through my watchlist, but I haven't gotten to The Bélier Family yet. I tried to find it online, but I haven't found a link with English subtitles yet. (Several sites claimed they had English subtitles, but they either had no subtitles, or subtitles in a different language.)

Do you have a link for this movie with English subtitles?



If you're looking for something on the newer side, I just watched Another Round (2020). I believe it's nominated for best director and foreign film. I rented it on Prime and it was excellent. Wifey enjoyed it as well.
Another Round (2020) -

@cricket and @nidral,
I watched Another Round (2020). I didn't read anything about this movie before watching it, but it was recommended by several people, so I watched it with no expectations.

When I saw the kids partying in the opening scene, I was sure that I wasn't going to like this movie, but I stuck with it anyway. By the time it was over, I was surprised at how much I liked this movie.

WARNING: "SPOILERS about "Another Round"!!!" spoilers below
As soon as I saw them starting their experiment, I was expecting someone to die. I just thought it would have been in a car accident, and I thought it would have been an innocent bystander, maybe a student. Then, when I saw Tommy was drunk, and going out on the boat with his dog, I knew he wasn't coming back alive.

When Martin asked his students about which candidate they would have voted for, I didn't know who he was talking about, but my first thought was that it was a trick question because he hadn't mentioned anything about their political beliefs. He only talked about their personalities and their habits. I was surprised that none of the students realized that.

I'm not sure that the results are based entirely on real life facts, but based on the movie, it seems that maybe the psychiatrist's theory about 0.05 BAC was right, and drinking in moderation might actually be a good thing. (But I'll never know for sure because I don't drink any alcohol at all.)


When I was in high school, I worked with an organization that was against drinking and driving, (similar to MADD and SADD), so I found this movie to be a very interesting movie about how alcohol affects people.

Thanks for the recommendation.



I have one for you GBG that should be to your liking, The Bélier Family (Eric Lartigau 2014). Have you seen that before?

@Citizen Rules,
I watched The Bélier Family (2014). This movie is listed as a comedy, but I didn't find much humor in it. Maybe a little bit with her parents, but I really didn't like her parents, and I didn't really get to know her brother much. I liked the movie, but I think I would have liked it more if her parents were supporting characters, rather than main characters.

WARNING: "SPOILERS about "The Bélier Family"!!!" spoilers below
I also thought that the movie should have focused more on Paula, her singing, and her relationship with Gabriel. It really wasn't much of a romance. They sang together. They fought over nothing. He dropped out. She dropped out. He came back. She came back. They kissed. Basically, it felt like they barely knew each other. I thought they had pretty good chemistry together, so it would have been nice to see more scenes with them together.

The movie was a bit confusing at times, but if I understood what was happening, her parents were selfish. I think they wanted her to stay home because they needed her as a translator. They could pay someone to do that, and let her follow her dream. I guess because they couldn't hear her voice, they couldn't really appreciate her singing, and why it was her dream.

It seemed like her parents finally figured it out at the end, and I was glad to see that they let her follow her dream. I thought the song she sang at the end was the perfect song for her. The ending was the best part of the movie.


Thanks for the recommendation.



I'm sure you've seen some of these-

Pather Panchali
GBG, we have similar taste in movies, especially the 'don't like stuff'. So I've went through my old Foreign Language list and found films that I really think are right up your alley, I'd rate all of these
or better

Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray 1955) Story of a poor boy growing up in rural India.
@gbgoodies
Pather Panchali, The Cranes are Flying, and Late Spring have all been mentioned; I'll throw my support behind them and recommend them to you.
@cricket, @Citizen Rules, and @jiraffejustin,
I watched Pather Panchali (1955). This movie has been highly rated, and recommended by several people, so I expected to like this movie a lot, but sadly, this movie just wasn't for me. I don't find anything entertaining about watching people struggle in poverty. For most of the movie, I was just bored.

WARNING: "SPOILERS about "Pather Panchali"!!!" spoilers below
I never felt anything for these people. I didn't like them, and I didn't care about anything they did. I was just bored watching them. I didn't even feel sad when Darga died.

And I wasn't even a little bit surprised when Apu found the necklace at the end. I knew she took it.


While I didn't really like this movie, I've been hearing about it for years here on MoFo, so I'm glad that I finally watched it.

Thanks for the recommendation.



Sorry I did not read your comment before commenting myself so i'll post a better comment.

If you like those movies, Edward Yang might be interesting as well since he is a director that takes his time. So you'll not have to be in a rush to read subtitles.
- YiYi
I would second the recommendations of In the Mood for Love and YiYi (although it is long)
@Olivier Parent and @Thursday Next,
I watched Yi Yi (2000). It was a little too long for me, but it was worth watching because I enjoyed the movie anyway.

WARNING: "SPOILERS about "Yi Yi"!!!" spoilers below
The little boy, Yang-Yang, was strange, but also kind of adorable. I loved when he took pictures of the back of people's heads to help them because they can't see it on their own. I also loved what he said to his Grandma at the end.

The father, NJ, was my favorite person in the movie. He just seemed like a nice, normal guy. I couldn't figure out why his wife left in the middle of the movie to go to the mountain. (I'm assuming that I missed something that explained it.) But it gave us a chance to understand his relationship with Sherry. For a while, I thought they might end up together, and I almost wanted them to, but in the end, I was glad that they didn't. I don't think I would have liked him anymore if he left his wife for her.

The daughter, Ting-Ting, seemed like a nice girl. I was surprised when she went on a date with her friend's boyfriend. And I never saw the murder coming. I knew he was angry, but I didn't think he was a killer. (Maybe that's why he was comparing murders in the movies to real life?)


This was a great movie. Thanks for the recommendation.