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WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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feaito

WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby feaito » June 5th, 2011, 10:02 pm

Well, I had to create this thread because I've just watched a French film that affected me on many levels: "La Règle du Jeu" (Rules of the Game) (1939). It's one of the most fascinating, complex films I have ever seen. The cinematography is nothing short of awesome...that snoopy camera is magnificent, entering and coming out of rooms...supreme. The ensemble acting, the multi-layered plot, the many readings of what's going on on the surface and underneath....I have yet to digest this film and watch all the extras of the Criterion Edition. The restoration is superb, because the print featured on the DVD is crisp and sharp.

As a social comment on classes and their relationships, and its fierce cristicism of the Bourgeoisie it reminded me quite a bit of Buñuel's Surrealist films from the early sixties (Viridiana, for instance) and also in a way I feel that Gosford Park is related to this film. A masterpiece, a film ahead of its time, a magnificent tour-de-force. And Jean renoir as Octave is a marvel. Nora Grégor, whom I recently saw in "But the Flesh is Weak", is the leading actress of this masterwork. Paulette Dubost, Marcel Dalio, Gaston Modot and Julien Carette, are part of the overall magnificent cast.

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Ann Harding
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby Ann Harding » June 6th, 2011, 7:19 am

I think your comparison with Buñuel is very apt. they both liked to poke fun at the upper-classes. I recorded recently two Buñuels that I must watch: El ángel exterminador and Una mujer sin amor.

Yesterday I saw a really good picture with Jean Gabin, La Nuit est mon royaume (Night is My Kingdom, 1951). It belongs to a period of of Gabin's career when he struggled to get back onto French screens. This film is different from the kind of parts he was getting at the time. Here, he is Raymond Pinsard, a train driver who becomes blind after an accident with steam. Once blind, he struggles to get on with life, still hoping an operation could restore his sight. He has not been told he will never see again. After much struggle from his family, he accepts to go to an institution for the blinds to learn a new trade. there, he meets lovely Louise (Simone Valère) who teaches braille to young kids. While she is herself blind, she gets on with life and has many activities. Raymond falls in love with her, but her suitor, the Institution's accountant, is madly jealous. This melodrama, in spite of its clichés, was certainly worth investigating because of the great performances of the two leads, Gabin in particular. He is vulnerable, tormented and plays brilliantly this man who cannot cope with his disability. Simone Valère is also remarkable as the blind teacher. A really nice Gabin picture.

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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby MichiganJ » June 6th, 2011, 8:45 am

feaito wrote:I've just watched a French film that affected me on many levels: "La Règle du Jeu" (Rules of the Game) (1939). It's one of the most fascinating, complex films I have ever seen.

To me, it's not only the best film of 1939 but one of the greatest ever.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

feaito

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby feaito » June 6th, 2011, 10:26 am

Christine, I've seen "El Ángel Exterminador" and it's quite unique, but I enjoyed "Viridiana" (1961) more. The Gabin film sounds truly good. I bet it hasn't subs... :?

Kevin, I'm glad that you have seen "Rules of the Game" and have it in such high esteem. It's a real treasure. To think that it could've been lost forever! :shock:

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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » June 6th, 2011, 1:52 pm

What a good idea for a thread Fernando. I loved The Rules of the Game when I watched it, I'm glad you liked it too.

Yesterday, to follow on from the book I'm reading I watched Exstacy with Hedy Keisler/Lamarr and Albert Mog. Well, it's realitively tame today, it plays almost like a silent with very little dialogue. Hedy plays a newly married bride who's husband is impotent, as she gets steadily more dissatisfied she seperates and prepares to divorce her husband, she goes for a morning horse ride and the famous swim is filmed, she meets a road worker who has rescued her clothes after her horse ran away with her clothes on his back. She sits with him and that night visits him, the second famous scene, the scene of the exstacy is shownMuch is made of imagery, shoes on the husband, horses, nature, flies on fly paper, too much imagery in some places, sometimes the point is taken too far. It is quite tame today, the naked scene is glimpse and you miss it, the most you see is her naked breasts, the lovemaking scene too is tame. The film works as a mostly silent story of a young girl's sexual awakening. Hedy is more naturally beautiful than in Algiers, less makeup and a woman on the cusp of womanhood rather than the woman of her Hollywood films.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

feaito

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby feaito » June 6th, 2011, 2:09 pm

Glad you liked the idea of this thread, Ali. I have Extase on DVD but have not gotten around to watching it yet.

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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby intothenitrate » June 6th, 2011, 4:33 pm

It's been a while since I watched Rules of the Game. I just remember that grouse hunt, where they just shoot and shoot and shoot. I remember pausing the film and checking the date on it because for a second, I thought I was watching a film from the 60s, like The Magic Christian.
"Immorality may be fun, but it isn't fun enough to take the place of one hundred percent virtue and three square meals a day."
Goodnight Basington

feaito

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby feaito » June 6th, 2011, 8:10 pm

Intothenitrate, it's definitely ahead of its time. Now looking forward to watching all the Extras!!

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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby Ann Harding » June 7th, 2011, 7:07 am

feaito wrote:Christine, I've seen "El Ángel Exterminador" and it's quite unique, but I enjoyed "Viridiana" (1961) more. The Gabin film sounds truly good. I bet it hasn't subs... :?

No, there aren't any subs on the Gabin feature.

El Ángel Exterminador (The Exterminating Angel, 1962) is a typical Buñuel: it's subversive and strange. A group of upper-class people gather for a dinner in one couple's house. Mysteriously, all the servants -minus one- leave the place. At the end of the evening, rather than going back to their homes, the guests stay on. They seem to be unable to leave the room. They sleep on the carpet and slowly their attitude verges on the insane. Promiscuity and hunger get the better of them. They are unable to cope while on the outside police and firemen are wondering what's happening inside. But nobody dares to go inside to see what's going on. After days of starvation, they capture some sheep and cook them in the middle of the room. The insanity is reaching crisis level until somebody finds out how to overcome their plight. They go back to their position and state of mind before everything happened and finally escape the house. I am always impressed how Buñuel manages to make strong social comments by using a surrealist imagery. The upper-classes seem at loss once all the servants are gone. They are unable to perform the most simple task. During the evening, all sorts of small details show us their defects. We find out -for example- that the master of the house was keeping recreational drugs in a box for special parties. The final is targeting religion as all the former guests are going to mass following their ordeal. Once there, they start to isolate themselves again while the priests look on. Like Fernando, I prefered Viridiana or Tristana to the The Exterminating Angel. Nevertheless, it was an interesting film to watch.

feaito

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby feaito » June 7th, 2011, 7:49 am

Christine I agree one hundred percent with your comments. Excellent review.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » June 7th, 2011, 2:23 pm

Me too, I prefer Viridinia but Bunuel is always interesting.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » June 10th, 2011, 8:33 am

A couple of days ago I watched "Slim Susie," a Swedish film from 2003.

I was surprised to see it was from 2003, because it played like a parody of "Wallander," the Millenium trilogy (the "Girl Who" movies) and 'Swedish noir' in general. it is about a guy who returns to his small town and deals with the aftermath of a drug deal gone bad. There is violence, but the film is very funny, as everyone is rather odd. The town's one policeman, who always seems on the verge of slipping into a catatonic state, made me think of "Wallander." "Slim Susie" is a very entertaining film.

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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » June 10th, 2011, 8:43 am

Great thread! I am enjoying reading all the reviews. :D

feaito

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby feaito » June 10th, 2011, 6:09 pm

JackFavell wrote:Great thread! I am enjoying reading all the reviews. :D
Glad to read that Wendy, I'm enjoying too!

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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby Ann Harding » June 11th, 2011, 3:46 am

Yesterday I watched a terrific Italian melodrama Malombra (1942) directed by Mario Soldati with Isa Miranda. This film belongs to the 'calligraphic movement' meaning that Italian cinema developed a type of flamboyant melodrama taking place in the past with some Gothic elements during the Fascist period. Mario Soldati adapted a novel by Antonio Fogazzaro taking place in the late XIXth century. Marina di Malombra (Isa Miranda) lives with her uncle in a gloomy castle overlooking Lake Como. Feeling desperately lonely, she discovers one day a letter left by her uncle's late wife, Cecilia. The woman describes how she was imprisoned after her husband caught her with her lover. Slowly, Marina starts to feel like the reincarnation of the late Cecilia. She writes to a novelist signing the letter Cecilia asking him if reincarnation is possible. Later, the novelist Corrado Silla (Andrea Checchi) comes to the castle at the invitation of the uncle (who knew his mother). Marina falls in love with Corrado whom she thinks might be the reincarnation of Renato, Cecilia's lover... As you can see the story is a typical melodrama with love, tragedy, revenge and an atmosphere of gloom. In the title part, I was very impressed by Isa Miranda. I had seen her before in Ophüls' La Signora di tutti (1934) where she stroke me as rather lifeless. But, here, her striking features (half-Garbo, half-Dietrich) make the very embodiment of the mad Marchioness who thinks of her herself as the reincarnation of a dead woman. She is really wild: playing the piano during a stormy night or organising a dinner during a stormy and windy evening on the outside. The film is really a great melodrama reminiscent of those of Douglas Sirk, when he was still Detlef Sierk. I never thought Italian cinema had produced any of these. The end of the film is as wild as the lead character with a Noirish feel: her madness leads her to murder. Really impressive. It was a tough job watching it: the print I saw had Spanish subs, but I managed.


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