WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Moderators: Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957, moira finnie, Lzcutter

kingrat
Posts: 2207
Joined: August 20th, 2009, 2:46 pm

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by kingrat »

So glad you liked ROCCO and PURPLE NOON. Alain Delon and Maurice Ronet, Matt Damon and Jude Law. Neither pair and neither film of Patricia Highsmith's THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY is exactly shabby. Rene Clement and Anthony Minghella are exceptional directors, too. The novel and the two films all take slightly different tacks and all three have different endings, each of which works on its own terms.

I think this tribute to Alain Delon was a great idea. Maybe this will open the door for even more of Delon's French films to appear on TCM.
User avatar
JackFavell
Posts: 11946
Joined: April 20th, 2009, 9:56 am

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by JackFavell »

I was disappointed that I couldn't sit and watch all day long! Two in a row was enough, but I would have loved to see Once a Thief. I did see his section of The Yellow Rolls Royce which was quite good. But I like that kind of movie anyway.

It's so odd that a man that good looking could really act. He had it all. I wish Alison was here, she'd have some good things to say about Delon.

I haven't seen The Talented Mr. Ripley, nor have I read the book. I felt solidly on Delon's side, because he seemed to really care about the girl at first, and Greenleaf was such a _______, but when you think about it, he's just as bad. Of course, once he was in for a penny, he was in for a pound, there's no stopping once you've started with a whopper like that. It was just fascinating to watch him cooly go through with it. There were things in that movie that really make you wonder about Rene Clement, or perhaps it was the writer who came up with those little touches on forgery and such. And the locations really put it over the top for me, that was as big a draw as Alain Delon's face. Everything was so perfect, so richly detailed, and expensive looking. Even the guy's typewriter looked expensive!

You could have ended it, Player-style, with him getting away with it just as easily, and left those disturbing thoughts in the viewer's head.
kingrat
Posts: 2207
Joined: August 20th, 2009, 2:46 pm

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by kingrat »

I liked PURPLE NOON even better when I watched it after reading your enthusiastic review. I'd seen it a few years ago after THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY came out. This time, it stood on its own as a superb film. Alain Delon is equally good as an actor, a movie star, and a shirtless hunk, which is pretty amazing.

I couldn't agree more with your praise of Rene Clement's direction. To mention only one scene, when Tom tries on Philippe's clothes and looks at himself in the mirror, pretending to be Philippe. The pacing throughout the film is great, with tension and narrative clarity. The cinematographer is the great Henri Decae, best known for his work with New Wave directors. Did it seem to you that Clement was incorporating some New Wave techniques without slavishly imitating them or abandoning his more classical approach? I'm not sure I could quote particular sequences, but he did seem to having the best of both worlds.

If Alain Cavalier's HAVE I THE RIGHT TO KILL (1964), aka THE UNVANQUISHED, comes back around, don't miss it. The original French title apparently means "Missing Without Leave," and THE DESERTER would have been a much better title than HAVE I THE RIGHT TO KILL, which sounds like a treatise film, which it is not. Apparently this was the first Delon film to fail at the box office. Too bad, because his acting is absolutely first-rate. The French apparently didn't like the references to the OAS, the right-wing group which sought to undermine the new Algerian government in 1961. It does help to know a little about the French loss of hegemony over Algeria. Most of the New Wave directors were right-wing during the Algerian rebellion, including Godard, though not Louis Malle or Cavalier.

Delon plays a deserter from the French army who goes along with his former commander's plan to kidnap a leftist lawyer, played by Lea Massari. This could be the set-up of a political film, but it goes in noirish directions instead. Though I didn't always know where the film was headed, I enjoyed the journey. For examples of Cavalier's skill: notice how a kitchen clothesline is used in an early scene. Much later, Delon and Lea Massari are in a hotel room. She's sitting on the side of the bed. He puts his head in her lap, and this seems like a gesture of complete submission to her. Then his arms reach up and he pulls her face down to his. Really a nice moment. I would definitely be interested in seeing more of Cavalier's work.
User avatar
JackFavell
Posts: 11946
Joined: April 20th, 2009, 9:56 am

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by JackFavell »

Yes, I got a definite new wave feel from Purple Noon. I think that's what made it so fascinating... it seemed to happen in real time, and the edits SEEMED just a bit ...arbitrary, in that sort of New Wave way, though I'm sure each one was carefully crafted. it was all done to create an impression of .... laissez faire, I think, combined with a very ambivalent, unsettled feeling. Especially the scenes on the boat struck me as disjointed and off kilter, slow, moody and stark, but a different stark, more of a sunlit aloneness. One really feels time passing in this movie.

The battle between Greenleaf and Ripley lent itself to the kind of methodical, Peter Brook, Lord of the Flies power game style of film-making, but it felt instead loose and easy, primitive, instinctual, sun-washed and lazy. It's a great combination, lazy and deadly. I can't tell you how much I hated Greenleaf. That's the set-up. Clement took care to create an entire mindset for us, very subjective, letting us in on Ripley's feelings (which at first were quite high minded, LOVE, after all was his motivation) while keeping us gawping at his beauty which matched the setting perfectly. You could really see how he would feel entitled to that luxury! I felt he deserved it after all his hard work and of course his beauty didn't hurt. He looked like he belonged. You can't help admiring him.

I think this is what's great about the movie - you have these battling ambivalent or even not so ambivalent feelings. Of course he couldn't get away with it forever, but I loved that he came that close to closing it, only to have an entirely fateful accident stop him. It reminded me very much of Day of the Jackai which I like a lot, because it jerks you up against your own prejudices and emotions. Through his workmanlike approach to 'the job' at hand, you come to have feelings for the bad guy - until he does something so heinous you can't like him anymore. You, the audience actually become the enablers of the most evil character, allowing him to do his job even more efficiently. And it makes you realize all the more how phoney he is, that you yourself have been played and that's what makes him so successful. The rug is pulled out, the scales fall from your eyes in one swoop. All the movies I've seen lately kind of point the way toward this kind of movie making... The Killing is maybe the beginning of those 'rooting for the bad guy' films where you are so on their side that it's kind of disturbing. I admit, I love that kind of subjective film making.

I did watch the first half hour of Have I the Right To Kill, but I realized about the point where he put the straw through the keyhole that I was going to be sucked into watching for another couple of hours and I had to tear myself away and do some actual work. :D
User avatar
CineMaven
Posts: 3818
Joined: September 24th, 2007, 9:54 am
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Contact:

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by CineMaven »

:o I'm sorry...watching movies and writing thoughtful reviews is not work? :shock:

You must be talking to the wrong people.

( I've got to see this "Purple Noon" you two are talking about, because I absolutely loved "The Talented Mr. Ripley." And I think staring at Alain Delon for two hours is nice work if you can get it! )
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com
User avatar
JackFavell
Posts: 11946
Joined: April 20th, 2009, 9:56 am

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by JackFavell »

Oh Lordy, Maven, you MUST see this movie. If I can get it on youtube or Netflix, we can watch it together if you want to. But maybe you'll want to see it by yourself - just you and gorgeous Alain, alone together..... :D :D :oops: :oops:
kingrat
Posts: 2207
Joined: August 20th, 2009, 2:46 pm

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by kingrat »

Maven, I hope you can see PURPLE NOON. This year the Cannes Film Festival will show a restoration of it. Wouldn't that be great for the 2014 TCM festival, provided subtitles can be done by then?

Criterion seems to have lost the rights to FORBIDDEN GAMES and PURPLE NOON, two great films, which means the copies you can find of the DVDs are now more expensive. A British company has just brought out Region 2 (boo!) DVDs of FORBIDDEN GAMES, GERVAISE, and two of Clement's later thrillers. The best known of his later thrillers, RIDER ON THE RAIN, which I saw long ago, has fallen into public domain.

The good news is that we can buy DVDs of LA BATAILLE DU RAIL (BATTLE OF THE RAILS) and MONSIEUR RIPOIS (aka KNAVE OF HEARTS, aka LOVERS, HAPPY LOVERS), two of his most-admired titles beyond the big two. The bad news is that three films of his which sound fascinating are not available in any format:

LES MAUDITS (THE DAMNED) (1947) - Nazis and a French collaborator escape in a submarine to South America. See a couple of rave reviews on imdb. When you think about how Clement films the below-deck scenes of PURPLE NOON, don't you want to see how he shoots the submarine scenes?

THE WALLS OF MALAPAGA (AU-DELA DES GRILLES) (1949) - Won an Oscar for best foreign film. Jean Gabin meets Isa Miranda in Genoa. Sounds like he may be a criminal on the run. Even if this is an imitation of Carne's PORT OF SHADOWS, it sounds like something I'd want to see.

BARRAGE CONTRE LE PACIFIQUE (aka THE SEA WALL, aka THIS ANGRY AGE) (1958) - I think this is one of the films with rights issues, although it was remade in 2008 with Isabelle Huppert. Based on Marguerite Duras' novel about growing up in Indochina. Jo Van Fleet is the possessive mother, Anthony Perkins and Silvana Mangano are her children, Richard Conte falls in love with Silvana, and Alida Valli is involved with Perkins. How could you not want to see this? Perhaps scholars can see these films at the Paris Cinematheque.

Criterion? Bruce Goldstein's Rialto Films? I wish someone would make these available with English subtitles.
User avatar
Ann Harding
Posts: 1271
Joined: January 11th, 2008, 11:03 am
Location: Paris
Contact:

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by Ann Harding »

Dear Kingrat, count me in as René Clément admirer. The Knave of Hearts is definitely a winner, a lovely film with a great performance by Gérard Philipe shot on locations in London with a hidden camera. The film had been invisible for a long time due to rights problems. But a 2 years ago, it was broadcast on French TV in a very good print. As for the three films you mentioned, the first two are available on DVD:
Au-delà des grilles is on R2 DVD (no subs though) here. I saw the film in a cinema a decade ago. I felt it wasn't among his best films.
Les Maudits is now available on DVD and Blu-ray with French subs HoH. The film has got an interesting suspense. But again, it's not a major Clément like Knave of Hearts and Purple Noon.

Edit: I just noticed Knave of Hearts is available from amazon.com on DVD with English subs. Hmmm...it looks like a bootleg. The film is still tied up with various rights problems. And Les Maudits will get a Blu-ray release in the US next August from Cohen Media Group.
kingrat
Posts: 2207
Joined: August 20th, 2009, 2:46 pm

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by kingrat »

Ann, thanks for the great information about the Clement films, and I'm glad you're also an admirer. So glad that Les Maudits will eventually be out. I just ordered Knave of Hearts, and will report back after watching it. Thanks for the links!

It's also good to have you posting on the site. We've been missing your unique perspective.
User avatar
moira finnie
Administrator
Posts: 8176
Joined: April 9th, 2007, 6:34 pm
Location: Earth
Contact:

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by moira finnie »

For those of us who cannot afford one more DVD (darn it!), Knave of Hearts (1954) is available at the moment on youtube with English subtitles:

[youtube][/youtube]
Avatar: Frank McHugh (1898-1981)

The Skeins
TCM Movie Morlocks
User avatar
Ann Harding
Posts: 1271
Joined: January 11th, 2008, 11:03 am
Location: Paris
Contact:

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by Ann Harding »

kingrat wrote:It's also good to have you posting on the site. We've been missing your unique perspective.
Thanks Kingrat. I'll try to post more on SSO. I have been rather down the weather recently and didn't post much.
User avatar
Ann Harding
Posts: 1271
Joined: January 11th, 2008, 11:03 am
Location: Paris
Contact:

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by Ann Harding »

And here I am again! :)
Yesterday I watched Le Silence est d'or (1947), a René Clair shot in France immediately after his return from Hollywood. The film is nostalgic look at the early days of movie making around 1900. Maurice Chevalier plays a film director in a primitive studio who falls in love with a young girl who happens to be the daughter of one of his former loves. Of course, he will realise - in time - that the girl is better suited to the young man (François Perrier) who works with him at the studio. This gracious comedy entirely shot in studios has got charm and I really appreciated the look at movie making in the 00s, everything looked very relaxed and improvising was the word. But overall, the film was disappointing compared with some other brilliant René Clair comedies, not least Un Chapeau de paille d'Italie (An Italian Straw Hat, 1927). But it's a nice little film.
User avatar
CineMaven
Posts: 3818
Joined: September 24th, 2007, 9:54 am
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Contact:

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by CineMaven »

[u][color=#800000]JackFavell[/color][/u] wrote:Oh Lordy, Maven, you MUST see this movie. If I can get it on youtube or Netflix, we can watch it together if you want to. But maybe you'll want to see it by yourself - just you and gorgeous Alain, alone together..... :D :D :oops: :oops:
Oh geez, I missed reading this, thus my opportunity to check it out with you. Blast it! Well, uhmmmm...on second thought...maybe it IS better to be one on one with Alain Delon. I can get all his...nuances. ( Yeah, that's the ticket. ) Good suggestion Brother Rat about TCM showing this at their festival. I do give TCM great kudos on programming their films. That is what it's all about.

"Purple Noon" ey? :)
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com
feaito

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by feaito »

Hi Chris....Is the Clair film available with subs?
User avatar
Ann Harding
Posts: 1271
Joined: January 11th, 2008, 11:03 am
Location: Paris
Contact:

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by Ann Harding »

feaito wrote:Hi Chris....Is the Clair film available with subs?
There is a DVD with Spanish (Castillian) subs: here. Looks like bootleg, but no trace of a DVD with English subs.
Post Reply