Favorite foreign films?

instantdeath999instantdeath999 Washed Up
edited May 2012 in Less Rokk More Talk
I realize that "foreign film" is a highly generalized umbrella term that's definition can vary wildly between each individual. Nonetheless, if we were to momentarily throw political correctness out the window, what would be your favorite films made, say, outside of the U.S. or the U.K.? I ask because I have not seen nearly enough of them.

A friend recommended the Korean film "I Saw the Devil". I was... satisfied, I suppose. Definition of a three star, four-star-if-I'm-in-a-good-mood film. Had a lot of great ideas, but a few gaping plot holes that did a lot to hinder my enjoyment of the film. However, the film had the adverse effect of leading me to discovering Park Chan-wook and his lauded "Vengeance Trilogy". I have not seen them yet, but I have heard nothing but good things, and have heard quite a bit of "Oldboy" before. Hear that Spike Lee is making an American remake... yuck.

My friend, who is really into shock films, got me to watch A Serbian Film, Irreversible, Salo (I actually read the book, for whatever reason, 120 Days of Sodom beforehand, so it was actually toned down)... yeah, that kinda stuff. Needless to say, despite them having their own merit, I don't want this to be my sole experience with French film, or even Serbian film in the first ones case.

Ones that are available for streaming on Netflix get bonus awesome points.

Comments

  • LiveHomeVideoLiveHomeVideo Trying too hard
    edited May 2012
    No, it isn't CJ7 (that thing that used to be in my avatar) and it definitely is not any of the Titanic cartoons. My favorite foreign film (for me) is Hot Fuzz. I'm American, so it's foreign to me.
  • soup567soup567 Headliner
    edited May 2012
  • SheSaidSheSaidSheSaidSheSaid Washed Up
    edited May 2012
    LiveHomeVideo;4731026 said:
    No, it isn't CJ7 (that thing that used to be in my avatar) and it definitely is not any of the Titanic cartoons. My favorite foreign film (for me) is Hot Fuzz. I'm American, so it's foreign to me.
    instantdeath999;4731005 said:
    I realize that "foreign film" is a highly generalized umbrella term that's definition can vary wildly between each individual. Nonetheless, if we were to momentarily throw political correctness out the window, what would be your favorite films made, say, outside of the U.S. or the U.K.? I ask because I have not seen nearly enough of them.

    Fail.

    I guess it could help to give some Almodovar titles -

    Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) - Almodovar's international breakthrough, though in retrospect it's a bit odd that this was his first movie to garner significant international attention, when it's a screwball comedy and his other movies are weighty, issues-driven dramas (with boatloads of drugs and sex). A young Antonio Banderas plays a supporting role.

    Todo sobre mi madre (All About My Mother) - The title is borne out of a conversation in the first few minutes of the movie, about how the movie All About Eve is titled Eva al desnudo (Eve in the Nude) in its Spanish dubbed version rather than Todo sobre Eva. This movie follows a mother whose young son is killed in a car accident, and she discovers that his one burning wish was to meet his father. On her way to find him again, she encounters and falls in with characters such as a transvestite/transsexual prostitute/showgirl, and a pregnant AIDS-infected nun (played by Penelope Cruz). This movie won all kinds of awards - a Golden Globe, an Oscar, a Goya (basically Spain's Oscars), and copious film festival prizes. This is a pretty heavy movie - make sure you're up for it before you watch it.

    Hable con ella (Talk to Her) - This was Almodovar's first movie to have significant release in the US, so you might be familiar with it. This movie is about a man who cares for coma patients (a nurse, I guess you'd say) and how he...well...falls in love with one of them. It definitely registers on the creepy scale, but the way it's handled it's maybe a 3 or 4 out of 10 :p Certainly not as heavy a movie as Todo sobre mi madre (though I'm not sure what would be).

    Volver (Return) - Again fairly well known and successful in the States. I haven't seen this one since its theatrical run so I really don't remember much of anything about it, but I recall liking it :)

    Los abrazos rotos (Broken Embraces) - Don't make this the first Almodovar film you see, because it contains lots of in-references to his other movies. You might even say the whole thing is an in-reference to Almodovar's work, because the main character is a film director who's pretty clearly based on Almodovar himself (although he's straight, and Almodovar is... not). There's a sequence that's pretty much straight out of Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (do you give a director grief for ripping himself off?) and has a narrative structure very similar to Hable con ella. I enjoyed it greatly - but you kind of already have to know Almodovar to do so. At least to do so fully.
  • Lawdog1521Lawdog1521 Squirrel Chasing Expert
    edited May 2012
    I'm a huge fan of The Orphanage. Breaking the trend of most modern horror flicks that specialize in cheap scare tactics, it instead focuses on characterization. This gives a genuine sense of dread when the characters are placed into jeopardy. Combine that with tight pacing and amazing cinematography and you get yourself a great movie.
  • clashcityrocker10clashcityrocker10 Headliner
    edited May 2012
    I've got a few French and Russian films I've been meaning to watch.

    I do, however, already know a bit about Italian film. Here's a few of the movies I've seen:

    - Not just my favorite foreign film, but easily my favorite film of all time. Fellini is a genius.

    La dolce vita - same as above about Fellini

    La strada - The two aforementioned films maybe aren't the easiest to follow. La strada is a nice introduction to Fellini's style and includes traces of the neorealist style.

    Roma, città aperta, Paisà, and Germania, anno zero - These three films make up what is called the "war trilogy" of Roberto Rossellini. They're all very moving and stark example of early Italian neorealism (though the last one is an Italian crew with a German cast and the second includes some Americans and Brits, so they are not entirely Italian affairs). The fact that these were filmed in the cities right after the end of WWII makes them particularly powerful.

    Umberto D. - Probably the best neorealist film there is.

    I soliti ignoti - Great comedy featuring some of the best Italian actors ever.

    Dillinger è morto - Very interesting and kinda trippy (not in a purely psychedelic sense, of course) political critique from the late 1960s. This one may be kinda hard to find, though.

    Note that of all of these movies, Dillinger è morto is the most recent one in terms of filming/release.

    One thing that amazes me about Italian cinema is how it went from producing some of the best films of all time to some of the worst. Over the last 20 years or so (maybe I can set the beginning of this period with Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, at least in terms of more popular films), there's been a trend towards respectability again, though stinkers still exist.
  • LiveHomeVideoLiveHomeVideo Trying too hard
    edited May 2012
    SheSaidSheSaid;4731621 said:
    Fail.

    It's foreign to me. I don't see why he'd specifically rule out British films if you're Amurican.

    Yes, the misspelling is intentional.
  • SheSaidSheSaidSheSaidSheSaid Washed Up
    edited May 2012
    That's 'murrican, boyah!


    Probably because they're not that foreign to an American viewer (unsure if OP is American or British, but he's probably one or the other). They talk a little funny (it's a joke, take it easy blokes), they drive on the wrong side of the road...maybe there's some stylistic differences but it's nothing compared to how American films compare to the rest of the world.
  • clashcityrocker10clashcityrocker10 Headliner
    edited May 2012
    Instantdeath is from the US.

    I think it's hard to consider "British" films foreign to Americans and vice-versa. There's really such a large overlap between the personnel and whatnot that makes it really tough to differentiate between the two, if there is any differentiation to be made.
  • GowienczykGowienczyk Pooper of Parties
    edited May 2012
    Yeah, I wouldn't throw UK films in a "foriegn film" discussion, either. Serious film enthusiasts would tear the person who did so apart. Honestly, I don't know where to start because I don't actively watch as much "imports" as I'd like to.
  • Lawdog1521Lawdog1521 Squirrel Chasing Expert
    edited May 2012
    Excluding British films from the category of Foreign films because of the lack of technical or cultural differences is problematic though. Spanish films are similar in technique to American films and the cultural gap isn't that big, if there at all. The only real difference is the language. So by the above definition they wouldn't fit as a "Foreign" film as well.

    While broad, the only fair definition would be any film outside the viewers place of origin.
  • GowienczykGowienczyk Pooper of Parties
    edited May 2012
    Language barriers are a lot and to some dignify separation enough.
  • FujiSkunkFujiSkunk Headliner
    edited May 2012
    The Gods Must Be Crazy (South Africa)
  • Lawdog1521Lawdog1521 Squirrel Chasing Expert
    edited May 2012
    FujiSkunk;4733236 said:
    The Gods Must Be Crazy (South Africa)

    The tale of the little bushman isn't foreign enough.
  • SheSaidSheSaidSheSaidSheSaid Washed Up
    edited May 2012
    Lawdog1521;4733206 said:
    Spanish films are similar in technique to American films and the cultural gap isn't that big, if there at all.

    Pedro Almodovar begs to differ. Todo sobre mi madre would have to be sanitized heavily if it were to be remade in America. The others would probably be flops because of their tone and direction.

    And I didn't want to mention it at first (because for as much as I wanted to like it, it's just not that good a movie), but try Room in Rome for a Spanish film that's got quite a cultural gap from America (although the majority of the dialogue is in English). If that movie were made in the USA, it would never be in theaters. It would get delivered to you in a plain brown wrapping.
  • Dante1847Dante1847 Headliner
    edited May 2012
    Zhang Yimou might get some **** because of his supposed personal affairs (Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li), but he does make some solid films. Last year was The Flowers of War (金陵十三钗) with Christian Bale. Very emotional film, with some brutal scenes that stick with you.
  • CJHobbesCJHobbes Road Warrior
    edited May 2012
    DerLindwurm;4731023 said:
    Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run)...
    soup567;4731212 said:
    Oldboy is cool.

    I enjoyed both of these films.

    I don't watch many foreign films, and when I do it's usually campy horror/action stuff. So I'll just add:

    醉拳 (Drunken Master)
    Which I'm sure everyone knows. You could put any martial arts movie here, actually, like Ip Man and Goemon. They're all fun to watch.

    องค์บาก (Ong-Bak)
    A fun martial arts film with Tony Jaa displaying muay Thai style. So there's lots of elbows and knees to the head.

    ต้มยำกุ้ง (The Protector)
    Another Tony Jaa martial arts movie with some fun action scenes, including a Capoeira fighter. It also has one of my favorite one-take continual action sequences. The dude just wants his elephant back. :(

    Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle are also great for MA comedies.

    El laberinto del fauno(Pan's Labyrinth)
    Which I'm sure everyone knows as well.

    Død snø (Dead Snow)
    There's just something about undead Nazis that's charming.

    Black Sheep
    New Zealand film about killer sheep that's so far awesome beyond words.

    So, yeah, nothing too serious here.

    Edit: Oh, and the ones on Netflix streaming: Dead Snow, Drunken Master, Ong-Bak, Ip Man and Goemon. I wouldn't really suggest Goemon, I don't think it's that stellar of a film, but the others are fun.

    Edit 2: I also have a co-worker who said the Spanish horror film [REC] was really good. Unfortunately I can't watch it since it has hand-held cameras and I have bad motion sickness. x.x
  • LoopyChewLoopyChew Wordsmith
    edited May 2012
    I saw "Va, vis, et deviens" (literally "Go, see, and become"; stylized "Live and Become" internationally) when in the theaters, and it was fantastic. I need to watch it again.

    For more mainstream French entertainment, the Cedric Klapisch duology "L'auberge espagnole" and "[url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0409184/]Les Poup
  • Dante1847Dante1847 Headliner
    edited May 2012
    agree with Hobbes on that Protector scene. One cut. unbelievable scene. I didnt think the movie was all that great, but that one scene should be in a movie Hall of Fame.
  • BohemianMattBohemianMatt Headliner
    edited May 2012
    soup567;4731212 said:
    Oldboy is cool.

    I've been wanting to see that one for a while. I hear it's brutal. :D

    I too am all about British films (especially Guy Richie), but I'll set those aside.

    Anything from Guillermo del Toro is great, but especially Pan's Labyrinth.

    Recently watched Trollhunter on Netflix, just to get a campy dose of my Norwegian heritage.

    Another gem is Renaissance, and animated, French-made, American-voice-acted sci-fi mystery that is just awesome to watch.
  • Insane3Insane3 Road Warrior
    edited May 2012
    SheSaidSheSaid;4731009 said:
    Pedro Almodovar.

    'Nuff said.


    I find that Almodovar's strongest movie was Volver and I actually dislike everything else he did.
  • firedoom666firedoom666 Headliner
    edited May 2012
    DerLindwurm;4731023 said:
    Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run)

    I don't watch too many foreign films (unless you count Anime) but I love that movie
  • Insane3Insane3 Road Warrior
    edited May 2012
    For more accessible and recent foreign cinema I would consider watching these movies:

    France :
    [I]Le Fabuleux Destin d'Am
  • soup567soup567 Headliner
    edited May 2012
    BohemianMatt;4733583 said:
    I've been wanting to see that one for a while. I hear it's brutal. :D

    Very much so. But if people are interested in watching foreign films, Oldboy is a must see.
  • FujiSkunkFujiSkunk Headliner
    edited May 2012
    Lawdog1521;4733284 said:
    The tale of the little bushman isn't foreign enough.

    Nyah.
  • RunesmithRunesmith Headliner
    edited May 2012
    Anything by Alejandro Jodorowsky. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alejandro_Jodorowsky#Filmography

    My favorite's probably Santa Sangre.
  • LoopyChewLoopyChew Wordsmith
    edited May 2012
    soup567;4734005 said:
    Very much so. But if people are interested in watching foreign films, Oldboy is a must see.

    Watch it now before the Spike Lee remake. Also make sure you haven't eaten too much because there are two moments that are pretty gross.
  • SheSaidSheSaidSheSaidSheSaid Washed Up
    edited May 2012
    Insane3;4733732 said:
    I find that Almodovar's strongest movie was Volver and I actually dislike everything else he did.

    What was the purpose of posting this? No one else is crapping on anyone else's picks.
  • Insane3Insane3 Road Warrior
    edited May 2012
    SheSaidSheSaid;4734425 said:
    What was the purpose of posting this? No one else is crapping on anyone else's picks.

    I'm sorry if it sounded like a personnal critique or something, I was simply discussing almodovar. I could rephrase like this:
    I didn't really like Almodovar's movies, except for Volver. Of course that's a big generalization because I haven't seen so many of his films. I dislike his melodramatic tone (although it's certainly intentional) and his complex plots and plot twists. The reason I prefer Volver is because it's rather simple and focuses on the characters.
  • instantdeath999instantdeath999 Washed Up
    edited May 2012
    I missed the whole American/British debate, though all I really want to say on that one is arguing semantics over the rather flimsy definition of a "foreign film" is exactly what I want to avoid :). I could be much more plain and say "I'm an American, give me non-American films!", but I know that not everyone here is American, and while I'm the one explicitly asking for recommendations, I really don't want to speak for everyone, since for all I know others may be interested in checking out some of the films others post.

    I think in many cases England is "thrown in" with America, despite some cultural differences, simply because popular culture for the two are often very linked. This is most true for the music industry, but also applies to film and television, if to a somewhat smaller degree.

    But enough of that. Interesting picks, I've heard of quite a few. For those interested in checking out "Oldboy", I highly recommend checking out the whole "trilogy" (though it is a trilogy in name only), with Oldboy being the centerpiece between "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" and "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance".
  • clashcityrocker10clashcityrocker10 Headliner
    edited May 2012
    In my fervor to discuss Italian films, I forgot to mention that Det sjunde inseglet (The Seventh Seal) is an excellent piece of Swedish film-making from the 1950s. Ingmar Bergman is quite the director.
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