The MoFo Top 100 Foreign Language Film Countdown

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I still haven't seen Metropolis. It looks like there is a 2 hour cut and a 2 hour, 30 minute cut on VOD. Which one do you recommend?

Definitely the longer version. You'll recognize the latest restored scenes since the film quality is worse, which can be a little jarring, but the plot will make more sense.
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Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
I am very much enjoying all the predictions! I think there will be a couple of shocks in films that didn't make it, but there are also a few obvious (well, obvious to me) films that have been overlooked, as you will very soon discover...






147 points, 14 lists
30. Le Samourai


Director

Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967

Starring

Alain Delon, Francois Perier, Nathalie Delon, Cathy Rosier






Seven Samurai
Rashomon
8 ½
La Dolce Vita
Seventh Seal
Persona
Stalker
Spirited Away
Parasite
Pans Labyrinth
Amelie
Aguirre
City of God
Come and See
Samurai
Ran
Oldboy
Rules of the Game
M
Breathless
Late Spring
Rublev
A Separation
Shoah
Cranes are Flying
Ikiru
Bicycle Thieves
Le Cercle Rouge
Solaris
Throne of Blood

This will be my final prediction, can't wait for it to be wrong already later today

Woman in the Dunes should have a very good chance of showing up.






149 points, 8 lists
29. Akira


Director

Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988

Starring

Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Tesshou Genda






Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Interesting to compare the number of ballots the last few films were on. Le Samourai and Metropolis had the same number of points but Le Samourai was on twice as many ballots.



Mofo loves some Akira. Watched it after it appeared on the big 100, and I can’t figure out why. I honestly think it’s a lot to do with having an association with it as a teen. Could be wrong.

Despite my avatar, Le Samourai is my third favorite Melville. Still a five star movie for me, and very well could make my personal 100. Glad it’s here but I am getting bummed because I think my favorite from him may not have made it.



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I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
I didn't like Akira all that much when I watched it but it's one of those films that I always think I should give another chance to one of these days.

Like Sean, Le Samourai is my third favourite Melville, but I've only seen it once and that could change on a rewatch. I voted for the other two Melvilles in my top 3.



I watched Akira several years ago. I can't remember if it was in preparation for the animated countdown or if it was when I decided to watch everything from the countdown that I hadn't seen. Aside from some interesting visuals, I didn't care for it much at all.

Le Samourai was a HOF nominee not too long ago. Delon was gorgeous and the movie was very stylish, but it's one of many movies that I respect but do not like.

No votes from me.



Another one for France and the 1960s...

I haven't seen Le Samourai, though.

I saw Akira back in 2014 and I really dug it, despite my usual reaction to anime. Here is a quick blurb I wrote on Letterboxd back then...

Really cool-looking film with an interesting story. I'm usually not into anime, but this one behaved for the most part like any dystopian, sci-fi film would. Animation was great, and although there were times were it was a bit too frenzied and the story felt a tad muddled, I can see the writers were going for an allegory of the cycle of life, creation/destruction, and whatnot. I can see myself rewatching this later.
Still, it didn't make my list.



My Summary:

Seen: 27/72
My list: 6/25

My List  
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Yippee - Le Samourai was another that made my personal ballot
Still haven't seen Akira, a little surprised to see it this high.

Seen: 51/72 (Own: 32/72)


Faildictions ((バージョン 1.01):
28. Dalkomhan insaeng [A Bittersweet Life] (2005)
27. Kaze tachinu [The Wind Rises] (2013)
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Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Le Samouraï is perhaps Melville's most-extreme version of style over substance and it has influenced a whole slew of movies (The Driver, The Killer, Leon: The Professional, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, No Country for Old Men, Drive, etc.), but none of those dared to be so calm and quiet throughout the entire film. Le Samouraï seems to be more of a dream the title character may never awaken from.

Akira is spectacularly animated and action-packed, if not super-coherent.
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Le Samouraï was #10 on my ballot. Here's what I wrote on it some time ago:

WARNING: spoilers below
This is a fantastic film which deepens upon each subsequent viewing due to how deceptively simple it is. While it's a mystery, it's not one in the typical whodunit sense. It's more so in the sense of requiring the viewer to contemplate and make sense of the main character, Jef Costello. He hardly shows any emotion and he doesn't even speak that much throughout the film. Sometimes he shows bits of subtlety when he's in danger, but that's about it. The quotation at the beginning reveals why he acts that way as he finds solitude in his profession, most likely due to the swift skill he carries it out with. Is he truly alone though? There's only 2 people he interacts with throughout the film. One of them is Jane, a woman he uses as an alibi for his various crimes. He seems to have no sexual desires for her, even at the end when she asks him if there's anything she can do for him. It's clear that he doesn't want to have their relationship expand much further than that. He fully knows what he wants of her and gets it. The only person in the film who's really significant to him is Valerie, a piano player who lies to the police superintendent in order to get him off the hook. Since he's puzzled as to why she lied (she never explains why she did it), it seems like she disrupts the solitude he strives for. Even after she's revealed to be related to someone who wants him dead, he's still unable to bring himself to kill her at the film's dramatic ending. The possibilities as to why he spares her include his difficulty in making sense of her motives and the suggestion that he was romantically interested in her in a way which he didn't even understand. The implications that scene gives to the film makes it one of the most memorable endings I've seen in recent years. Topped with a drab color scheme which helps to make Jef feel more alienated, this is easily a great film.


Akira wasn't on my ballot, but I also like that one quite a lot. Very complex and very cinematic. It's the kind of film where you gain something new each time you watch it.

Updated ballot:

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10. Le Samouraï (1967, Melville) #30
11.
12. Sansho the Bailiff (1954, Mizoguchi) #50
13.
14.
15.
16. The Battle of Algiers (1966, Pontecorvo) #56
17.
18.
19. The Mirror (1975, Tarkovsky) #86
20.
21. Red Desert (1964, Antonioni) #64
22.
23. Vampyr (1932, Dreyer) #84
24.
25.




Akira (1988)
I think it was perfect for it's intended audience: teen boys and young males, especially those who were raised on video games and Saturday morning cartoons like the Transformers where the characters have magic powers and can transform into strange and powerful beings. And it reminded me of the old 80s Sega video game Road Rage. Anybody play that one?

The animation was great looking but I'm far outside of the demographics, so this one didn't work for me...Not on my ballot.



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Le Samourai - 7/10


Definitely style over substance. The only thing I can remember is Alain Delon's trenchcoat. Don't remember anything else about it despite seeing it not too long ago.



Haven't seen either Le Samourai or Akira. Plan on checking the latter out sometime this year.



Re: Le Samourai being style over substance

WARNING: spoilers below
It seems light on story/characterization at first glance, but this film, as well as Melville's Army of Shadows, has a deeper thematic undercurrent which runs throughout the film. It explores how a hitman's life of solitude is disrupted and challenged by those around him. Throughout the first act, he doesn't say much dialogue, nor does he seem concerned or stressed out about his task. It's assumed he's done the same job multiple times and he has the procedure necessary to complete it with memorized like clockwork. He also doesn't appear to have any meaningful relationships with other people. He seems cold and distant from the men he works for and seems uninterested in pursuing a romantic relationship of any kind with Jane, even though she seems eager to do so. All he wants from her is her alibi. Nothing more. The opening act gives us a sense of what's going to be disrupted.

On the surface level of this disruption, there's the threat of being caught by the police and having the other men he works for turning on him (presumably, this is the first time he encountered these threats to such a significant degree). Valerie threatens his life of solitude the most though. She lies to the police to get him off the hook and is revealed to have ties to his boss, someone who wanted him dead. Since she refuses to answer his questions on why she lied to the police and since little is known about her motives or her status with his boss, it's clear that he's unable to make any sense of her motives and - more importantly - is unable to understand his relationship with her. There's a suggestion that he was romantically interested in her in a way which he didn't understand (in contrast to how he rejected Jane's potential sexual advances in the final act), thus preventing him from killing her at the end.



You mean me? Kei's cousin?
Awesome! Akira was number 1 on my list. Seen it over 50 times and it never gets old.
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