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WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » May 17th, 2012, 7:58 am

Yesterday, I watched "Stalin's Bride" (1991) directed by Peter Basco.

It is a Hungarian film of a Russian story set in the 1930s. A mentally disturbed woman is shunned by people in her village. She picks up phrases like "Stalin will protect me" and "spy" and during the purges she starts denouncing people who were mean to her. They are arrested and taken away. Eventually one of the villagers murders her.

Not the most fun movie to watch, but compelling and very interesting. Basco had made an earlier film about political trials and false confessions, "The Witness," which is rather funny and views its simple-minded protagonist with some sympathy. Perhaps this was a post-1989 return to the theme with Basco unshackled by the need to be "safe."

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MichiganJ
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby MichiganJ » May 22nd, 2012, 12:23 pm

I watched Hideo Gosha's Three Outlaw Samurai, an exciting and extremely entertaining film. Like the better known Kurosawa Samurai films, Three Outlaw Samurai is essentially a western. But while comparisons to Kurosawa are valid (particularly the humor found in Yojimbo and Sanjuro), the violence and pessimism that permeates the film reminded me most of Peckinpah.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 28th, 2012, 1:01 pm

I watched the disturbing The Stoning of Soraya M the title gives it away, it's no surprise that the film has a disturbing aspect, what I didn't appreciate was that it was a true story. Directed by Shoreo Agdashloo, Soraya is an Iranian woman trapped in a marriage to a thug of husband who wishes to divorce her to marry a girl of 14, he will not give her enough money to survive with her daughters, he beats her black and blue frequently and in the village, a hot bed of Sharia law, she has no form of redress. When her husband can't get his divorce he conspires to get rid of his wife by pressing a charge of adultery, Soraya is accused of adultery with a widower that she is caring for, the widower is threatened with losing his son if he doesn't comply. Soraya is found guilty and sentenced to be stoned, the film from here treads the careful path of not being too weepy but from someone who is used to having the suggestion put on screen and making my imagination do the work, I discovered here that my imagination did not know the horrors and this film shows the horrors of a stoning in Iran. It' is a film that is for the curious, people who like foreign cinema, people who want to know what goes on in other parts of the world. I'm quite fainthearted when it comes to horror on screen but this was necessary and most definitely something that should be widely known.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

kingrat
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby kingrat » May 30th, 2012, 7:37 pm

I watched TCM's Jean Renoir double feature of THE RULES OF THE GAME and PARTIE DE CAMPAGNE. Both were quite good, though I must say that THE RULES OF THE GAME did not seem like one of the great films of all time. It begins quite slowly, and the characters were not easy to sort out. The actor who played the aviator did not have a memorable face, and like a number of people over the years, I wondered why so many men were gaga over Nora Gregor. Clearly this part needs a Carole Lombard or a Vivien Leigh, a Mireille Balin or a Constance Bennett, who speaks very nice French in ROCKABYE and THE COMMON LAW. (Speaking of Lombard, MY MAN GODFREY would make a great pairing with this film.) The downstairs triangle was much livelier and more interesting, but I found myself more emotionally involved with the camera movements than with the characters. The great camera movement down the hall and back after the servants' meal is really wonderful, as background characters go in and out on their own errands. The hunt scenes are memorable, and memorably grim, if you're not used to shooting birds and bunnies. I know people want to read in deep connections with the oncoming war, but are they really in the film? It seems an open question.

feaito

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby feaito » May 30th, 2012, 8:03 pm

Very interesting point of view and analysis Kingrat.

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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » May 30th, 2012, 8:13 pm

Wow, kingrat!

You know, when I saw Rules of the Game years ago, I felt a little cheated. Everything I read about it said it was brilliant. I was confused by it - there are a lot of characters, and I couldn't tell many of them apart, but I always chalked that up to watching an especially bad print. But then there is the reputation the film has...I did not really feel I understood the film by the end. What was it really about? Was I missing something? Why is it considered great? It seemed pretty light to me in some respects, which doesn't preclude it from being great, but I did not see what sets it above other films and I was disappointed. I thought the lack was in me. I was hoping another viewing would help me to see what it was I missed the first time.

kingrat
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby kingrat » May 31st, 2012, 6:33 pm

Maybe one of the film's champions, and there must be some around here, will explain to us what we're missing. Some films want us to be very detached from their characters. I do feel detached from THE RULES OF THE GAME, but am not at all sure that's what Renoir wants. I can tell what directors would see in the film, like the low-budget solution to the airport scene at the opening, the camera movements, the implications of life going on outside the frame. But would France have been better prepared to face the coming calamity if the upper and lower orders had been faithful to their spouses?

Oh, I loved the way PARTIE DE CAMPAGNE changes key at the end. Unexpected but satisfying.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » June 1st, 2012, 3:43 pm

Me too, I'd read that it was one of the best films ever made, I liked it but I've found other films far more accessible. Perhaps it's a film in which it's genius becomes more apparent on repeated viewings. I did view it in the early days of discovering foreign cinema so I'd probably view it far more favourably today, maybe it's time to get it on the rental list again and view it so we can have more of a discussion about it.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » June 1st, 2012, 8:15 pm

Today I watched "Camille Claudel" (1988) about the French sculptor.

I have mixed emotions about this film. It took me a while to warm up to it, but then I probably needed to know more about French culture. Isabella Adjani played Camille, and it took me a while to appreciate her. However, I loved Gerard Depardieu (who played Auguste Rodin) from the start. I stayed with the movie because of him, and then, after the halfway point, I became taken with this story of a female artist who breaks down when her love for another artist goes sour. The second half of the film is very interesting and powerful.

I didn't realize until the movie was nearly over that Camille's brother Paul was the writer Paul Claudel. Here is where my lack of knowledge of French culture hurt me. How is Paul Claudel regarded? I have a vague memory that although he lived in the 20th Century, he seemed to belong to an earlier era in style and subject matter. (I have not read anything by him.) Is he in bad odor today for political choices he made? The movie certainly disliked him.

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MichiganJ
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby MichiganJ » June 2nd, 2012, 7:39 am

For me, Rules of the Game is one of the greatest films ever made, and certainly the best of 1939, but it does suffer from Citizen Kane syndrome. The plot works on many levels and is rewarded with multiple viewings. The cinematography, particularly the deep focus, became hugely influential, and Renoir's long takes allow for some spectacular camera movement, making the camera, and therefor us, an additional character. The hunting scene is one place where Renoir uses many setups, angles and editing (consider how many animals are killed in mere seconds), and the quick cuts make the sequence stand out and become almost frightening.

I'd definitely recommend watching it again, perhaps as a double bill along with Altman's Gosford Park.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » June 2nd, 2012, 7:50 am

Thank you, Mich! This is what I wanted to know. Perhaps it's the consequent viewings that are needed for me to appreciate the film.

feaito

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby feaito » June 2nd, 2012, 8:08 am

feaito wrote: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.


Well these were my feelings when I watched it many months ago. In fact, I launched this thread with this film :wink: Definitely I will be revisiting it many times.

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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » June 2nd, 2012, 8:18 am

Thanks for that, Fer! I missed your post when the new thread opened, but I did go back and read it later on.... but I guess I am just a flighty person, because I did not remember it. I will definitely be giving The Rules of the Game another look. I think there are some films where an initial viewing just isn't going to cut it. You are too busy trying to digest the plot, figure out who the characters are, etc. that you can't really get to the real meat of the movie, the overarching themes and layers.

feaito

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby feaito » June 2nd, 2012, 8:22 am

Welcome Wendy.

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Mr. Arkadin
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby Mr. Arkadin » June 2nd, 2012, 2:01 pm

MichiganJ wrote:For me, Rules of the Game is one of the greatest films ever made, and certainly the best of 1939, but it does suffer from Citizen Kane syndrome. The plot works on many levels and is rewarded with multiple viewings. The cinematography, particularly the deep focus, became hugely influential, and Renoir's long takes allow for some spectacular camera movement, making the camera, and therefor us, an additional character. The hunting scene is one place where Renoir uses many setups, angles and editing (consider how many animals are killed in mere seconds), and the quick cuts make the sequence stand out and become almost frightening.

I'd definitely recommend watching it again, perhaps as a double bill along with Altman's Gosford Park.


Spot on. I see Rules of the Game as the culmination of a trilogy including Grand Illusion (1937) and The Human Beast (1938), which deal with the idea of man and his place in society. In Grand Illusion we see good men pitted against each other for the sake of nobility and honor. The Human Beast contrasts this theme with the notion that man might seek goodness, but is corrupted and flawed, while Rules of the Game discards the idea altogether and says there is no goodness, honor, or love--only the facade of such that society follows in pretense to salve their empty souls. Other ideas and themes exist, but this is the main thread I see.


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