The MoFo Top 100 Foreign Language Film Countdown

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Pan's Labyrinth was in contention for a spot on my ballot but didn't quite make it. Never expected it to show this high. Haven't yet seen .

Seen: 70/92 (Own: 42/92)

Faildictions ((バージョン 1.01):
10. Det sjunde inseglet [The Seventh Seal] (1957)
9. La Grande Illusion [The Grand Illusion] (1937)

8. Le jour se lève [Daybreak] (1939)
7. Ladri di biciclette [Bicycle Thieves] (1948)
6. Onibaba (1964)
5. Idi i smotri [Come And See] (1985)
4. Stalker (1979)
3. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi [Spirited Away] (2001)
2. 8½ (1963)
1. Shichinin no samurai [Seven Samurai] (1954)
NomsPre-1930 Countdown

Fashionably late to every party since 1473!

Allaby's Avatar
Guy who likes movies
Yeah! 8 1/2 is #1 on my ballot. Excellent film. Pan's Labyrinth didn't quite make my list, but is a great film and a worthy addition.

Wasn't expecting Pan's top ten when this started. I bought it on 4K like a year ago and still haven't rewatched. I know I really liked the film visually and enjoyed the creepy tone. Maybe could be a favorite if I would ever get motivated to start some of these hundreds of rewatches I need to do.

I haven't seen either of these two. Pan's Labyrinth always looked far too fantasy heavy for my tastes so I've never given it a shot.

I'd heard of 8 1/2 and knew that it was very well regarded, but had absolutely no idea what it was about. I just watched the first three minutes of it on YouTube. I still have absolutely no idea what it's about, but now R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts" is stuck in my head.

Didn't know we were getting two today. 8 1/2 was number 11 on my list. Like La Dolce Vita I just love the dream like quality, the chaotic scenes, and the intangible nature of it. Great performances and unbelievable cinematography make it an all-timer and essential.

Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
8 1/2 had two first place votes, a 2nd a 3rd, two 4ths and three 6ths and a seventh (plus six more votes outside the top ten).

Pan's Labyrinth didn't make my ballot, but it would probably make my top 50. I rewatched it earlier this summer and it blew me away. didn't make my ballot, but I haven't watched it for a while and I'm due for a rewatch. I mentioned my experience with Fellini here in the past, but I used to struggle with his films quite a bit. I've been slowly warming up to him over time though. Not enough for any of his films to dip into favorite territory for me, but that may change in the future.

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
My #8, Pan's Labyrinth begs the question, "How does one differentiate between a fairy tale and a historical tragedy?" Are fairy tales just tragic historical stories which have been passed down through the ages to serve as warnings/object lessons for the young? Or do historical tragedies just lend themselves to becoming "fairy tales"? This film has fairies, history and tragedy, yet it's also uplifting, depending on your perspective and what you believe to be real. I think one of the great things about this film is your interpretation of whether you believe that evil can actually accomplish a good thing or if a child's innocence can see true evil and still interpret it as something which can be overcome, even through tragedy.

Set during the Spanish Civil War, the film tells the story of a terrifically scary and violent Captain (Sergi López) who brings his pregnant wife (Ariadna Gil) and stepdaughter Ofelia (the beguiling Ivana Barquero) to his remote war compound where he and his men try to quash the nearby rebels. One of the Captain's servants, Maribel (Maribel Verdú) becomes a surrogate mother to Ofelia as her real mother approaches childbirth.

Ofelia loves to read and is even reading a fairy tale at the beginning of the film which seems to tell and foretell her own life's story. Actually, this scene occurs just after the actual beginning of the film, which, coincidentally, is also the ending of the movie. Afterwards, Ofelia immediately becomes involved with fairies, a mystical faun, a labyrinth, and a series of quests she must accomplish to be able to reunite with her King and Queen parents and take her rightful place as a Princess loved by all.

The girl's inner life (or is it?) is contrasted with the Captain's world where torture, violence and oppression rule. I may be making this film sound deadly serious and oppressive, but actually it's full of life. The cinematography and editing are VERY alive and place you right in the middle of the story. I can appreciate the Wow! logistics and results of the photography of the wonderful Children of Men the same year, but even though it cost me a point in my annual Oscar voting contest, the cinematography of Pan's Labyrinth seems borderline 3-D and is truly spectacular, especially seen on a BIG screen.

Ultimately, it's up to each viewer to decide whether this film is realistic, a fairy tale, or a combination. It's also up to you to decide if the ending is sad or happy. Additionally, you have to decide if this film comments truthfully on the subject of the Spanish Civil War or does it actually "whitewash" it in the name of a kid's movie. I'm not really sure how anyone could watch this violent film and think it's a kid's movie, but, as I say, the film is open to intrerpretation. I interpret it to be an enthralling work of art, both heartbreaking and life-affirming.

When I first watched , I thought the film was an incomprehensible mess. It was only after I thought about it and I rewatched it that I realized that it was anything but without form or unstructured. is basically Fellini laying out all his insecurities on film and showing you exactly why he's having a difficult time making his next film. Fellini had already made seven-and-one-half films, and his previous film, La Dolce Vita was his biggest hit and made him an even bigger cause celebre. is certainly a personal film for Fellini, where he not only bears his soul as a human and a filmmaker, but where he gleefully accepts surrealism as a new road to travel down. Marcello Mastroianni titanically plays the alter ego of Fellini and certainly paints him in a less-than-flattering light. Actually, Fellini provides a lot of comedy to go along with the more-somber parts of the film, and he also has the most-attractive female cast he ever had. Most people cite the opening dream sequence as a highlight and an inviting entryway into the film.

My List

1. War and Peace
2. Z
5. Downfall
6. Night and Fog
8. Pan's Labyrinth
13. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
17. The Celebration [Festen]
21. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
22. Europa Europa - should have been Olivier, Olivier (They Both Did Not Place)
23. Love Exposure (Did Not Place)
24. Buffet Froid (Did Not Place)

25. Das Boot
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
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Pan's Labyrinth is very good and one of my mom's all-time favorites. I think we watched it twice together and she watched it again alone for the third time. Not a masterpiece but infinitely superior to this mediocrity that The Shape of Water was.

8 1/2 got a rating bump from 3 to 9 on a rewatch, which was probably my biggest rating increase. I used to really abhor Fellini's style - couldn't stand it. But now it's somewhat gone. It's still not my all-time favorite style but I no longer find it so indigestible. 8 1/2 is a very powerful autobiographical meta film and I'm happy I managed to recognize its value on a rewatch. And then you also have the wonderful cinematography and beautiful Claudia Cardinale.

"Rarely has reality needed so much to be imagined." - Chris Marker

Welcome to the human race...
was my #16. Maybe the best movie about movies ever made and one of the better films I've seen that deal in artistically-minded self-consciousness.

I've seen Pan's Labyrinth at least a couple of times and liked it quite a bit, but it was never in contention for my list.
I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.

I saw 8 1/2 a long time ago. I remember being a bit confused, but enjoying it overall. However, it's been a while so it didn't make my list.

Pan's Labyrinth I've seen a couple of times, first time at the theater, and I love it. It's a perfect blend of innocent fantasy and tragic reality. Great performances, excellent direction, and a truly compelling story make of it one of the best foreign films I've seen, which is why I had it at #9.

My Summary:

Seen: 43/92
My list: 11/25

My List  
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Pans Labyrinth would have made my top 50. Mercedes would make my top 25 female characters.

Been a while since I watched 8 1/2. I remember liking it much more than I thought I would.

Pan's Labyrinth was brilliantly directed and told, but I needed a little more fantasy in the mix. Not enough of the world it set up was explored.

8 1/2 is one of my favorite surrealism movies. It doesn't waste a moment diving into the weirder aspects of the main character's brain, conscious or subconscious. 8 1/2 is my number 4.

1. Oldboy (21)
2. The Mirror (86)
4. 8 1/2 (9)
6. Metropolis (31)
7. Solaris (12)
12. Princess Mononoke (46)
13. Pather Panchali (47)
15. The Passion of Joan of Arc (15)
16. Ran (19)
17. La Dolce Vita (27)
19. Wild Strawberries (33)
20. Harakiri (37)
24. M (11)

Pans is great.

But yeah, I hate 8 1/2 and I've seen it twice. Has been awhile though.

8-1/2 was a fascinating film from a director at the peak of his popularity and imagination. Although it was similar in mood to his La Dolce Vita, I preferred the earlier film. It had a more palpable free and liberating feel about it. But 8-1/2 came along at the same time as the burgeoning Hippie movement, with it’s inducement to “turn on, tune in, and drop out”. Fellini’s surrealistic approach was eagerly ingested by those adherents, and it felt like a cool drink of water to those of us interested in the general avant-garde.

I had it at #7.

Neither made my list. Both quality.

Bets on #1? Seven Samurai vs Stalker vs Spirited Away? Bergman really has two in the top 10, huh? Parasite's in, right? I mean it's pretty rare, at least in my experience, to have such universal praise from friends and family...and for a foreign film!
"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."

Neither made my list. Both quality.

Bets on #1? Seven Samurai vs Stalker vs Spirited Away? Bergman really has two in the top 10, huh? Parasite's in, right? I mean it's pretty rare, at least in my experience, to have such universal praise from friends and family...and for a foreign film!
Parasite is in. I would bet on Seven Samurai for sure. I’m hoping for the Persona upset.

Parasite is in. I would bet on Seven Samurai for sure. I’m hoping for the Persona upset.
I've been leaning Seven Samurai the whole countdown but just now theory: Parasite could steal it just based on the fact that everyone saw it since it won Best Picture, especially here (gotta check it off the list, watch all the nominees) and so it's on a very high number of ballots.

The Bergmans, Kurosawas, Tarkovskys...a lot of us are doing a one per director rule.