WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Perhaps her director was a factor too. Hopefully, in time more of her movies will come to the market.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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La Signora Senza Camelie made in 1953 is one of Michaelangelo Antonioni's first directing efforts, it stars Lucia Bose as Clara Manni or La Manni who has made her name in Italian movies, her movies are popular rather than arty and her director is also something of a Svengali. She marries him as she doesn't have the will to say no, it is not a happy marriage, her husband forbids her finishing work on her nearly completed next film and instead films Joan of Arc with her, which turns out to be a turkey, this gives the director financial problems and he makes a suicide attempt. During this L Manni is pursued by a career diplomat and skrit chaser, she takes him at his word, realising too late that he only wanted a fling. Seperated from her husband, abandoned by her lover, she takes acting lessons in a bid to become a serious actress. Her ex has a good part available but will not give it to her, she has turned down countless scripts offering her roles that trade on her looks rather than talent but has to accept that it is as the sex symbol that the public and movie industry want her. She signs on for a sex symbol part, posing for pictures with tears in her eyes.

In the genre of films about films it's quite refreshing because it looks at the Italian film industry, the money men and producers are played a little more realistcally than the chief in A Star Is Born, the director and star, all are believable in their parts and with the background. It has gloss and the style of Antoninoni, crisp and fresh with a wealth of background detail. The Masters of Cinema have done a splendid job restoring it and bringing it to DVD.
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Ann Harding
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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Yesterday I watched an Italian melodrama by Vittorio Cottafavi, Una Donna ha ucciso (A Woman Killed, 1952). At the end of WWII, a young girl, Anna (Lidia Cirillo), is seduced by a British officer. This man is obviously a serial womanizer and at first, she resists his constant advances. Later, she falls for him and abandons her family to follow him in Rome. Once there, he tires of her and drops her like a stone. Anna, desperate, goes to his office where she overhears a phone conversation. The man is just disparaging about her. Desperate, she takes a gun and kills him. The story is obviously full of of the clichés you expect in such melodramas. But deep down, it shows the double standards experienced by women at the time, especially in Italy. A man can fool around while a woman's reputation is tarnished as soon as she has just one adventure. The film was well directed. I didn't know any of the actors. The British officer of the film was played by an American actor (Frank Latimore). I didn't think he made a believable British man. He was too pushy and behaved more like an American or an Italian. It was an interesting melodrama nevertheless.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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I've had a harrowing time today, alone, just before the kids break up from school, I decided to have a film fest and decided it was time to watch Umberto D and Shoeshine. I've put off watching Umberto D for a couple of years, I love De Sica's Neo Realistic period but it's pleasure and pain, like eating a lovely icecream but having sensitive teeth. Admittedly with Umberto D I had to take a couple of breaks, I found Bicycle Thieves harrowing and compelling, so this replacing the child with a dog was no less an ordeal. It is acted with such dignity by Carlo Battista and dignity by Maria Pia Casilio, each subject to the whims of a tyranical landlady. Umberto's problems are twofold, his pension is pitiful, he's see at first on a protest march, more than half his pension goes on his rent, he's in arrears and the landlady is wanting to throw him out, which she succeeds in doing later by knocking down one of his walls in his room. He goes through a series of undignified situations, selling his watch and two prized books and desperately trying to beg. His one joy in his joyless existence his Flike, his dog. When he is taken to hospital (as much for free lodgings) he discovers the landlady has let Filke run outside and he's been lost since. The coty pound, I turned it off and had to come back to it, he searches in vain for Filke, looking in all the cages, and trucks coming in laden with dogs, he frantically searches the truckload of dogs being taken to the gas chamber. Another seen a poor man inside is trying to rescue his dog but hasn't got the money to release it, it will be gassed. Things take a turn for the worst, Umberto's room is destroyed, he decides to take his life, but seeing Filke on the bad stops him. He departs early the next morning with Filke and takes him to a boarding house for dogs wanting to leave him in good hands but the proprietors are interested only in the money and not the dogs welfare. The film climaxes in the park, Umberto tries to give Filke away to a little girl, failing that he leaves him but the little dog faithfully follows his master, desperate, Umberto picks him up, clinging to him and stands by the railway track waiting for the oncoming train, but Filke wriggles free causing Umberto not to commit suicide. Filke runs off, seemingly deserting Umberto, who has to pull out all his tricks to convince Filke to come back to him. Here the film ends. I was blubbing so much in the last ten minutes, shouting to the TV, if any of the family had come in they'd have thought something really serious had gone on.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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Shoeshine for me is less harrowing but strikes at the social conscience, two boys, Guiseppe and Pascale are shoeshine boys, they've saved up to buy themselves a horse even though they are dirt poor. They are asked by Guiseppe's brother to deliver some blankets for sale to a fortune teller, the brother and friend then raid the house as police and steal lots of money. The boys are sent to a prison and kept in squalid conditions, 5 boys to a cell with poor food. The policeman tricks Pascale into grassing up Guiseppe's brother which causes a rift even though Pascale did it because he thought his friend was being beaten to death. Pascale who has no family and no solicitor is given double the sentence of Guiseppe and when they escape and meet up their story ends in tragedy. This is De Sica's earliest neorealistic film available to buy, 90 minutes of fast moving, thought provoking cinema.

De Sica's direction of children and young actors is a real talent of his.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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I also watched an Italian film last night, but it was not in the same league. Un amore a Roma (A Love in Rome, 1960) is a Dino Risi melodrama about a young aspiring actress (Mylène Demongeot) who falls for a young intellectual aristocrat, Marcello Cenni (Peter Baldwin). While she is genuinely in love with him, she can't help having affairs on the side. Marcello goes mad and they have many rows and break up. But, each time, he comes back to her, unable to live without her. He had several fiancees he left for her. In the end, realising she will never be faithful to him, he gets rid of her. This 60s picture shows a heroine who behaves like a female Don Juan. She goes from man to man as if to fight boredom. I must admit I had some difficulties to believe in the character, no matter how well French actress Mylène Demongeot played it. There was some comic relief when we witness the shooting of a low budget sword and sandal epic with Demongeot wearing a tiny skirt. Vittorio de Sica plays a tiny cameo as the harassed director of the picture. Overall, not among Risi's best pictures.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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I've never warmed to Dino Risi. I know he is called "The Italian Billy Wilder," but while I like Wilder, there is something in Risi's films that keeps me at a distance. His film about the two guys, one is a sheltered young man, the other played by Vittorio Gassman, is a rake, who spend a weekend together, and the sheltered guy's illusions are all shattered by Gassman, is clever but I couldn't warm to it.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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MikeBSG wrote:I've never warmed to Dino Risi. I know he is called "The Italian Billy Wilder," but while I like Wilder, there is something in Risi's films that keeps me at a distance. His film about the two guys, one is a sheltered young man, the other played by Vittorio Gassman, is a rake, who spend a weekend together, and the sheltered guy's illusions are all shattered by Gassman, is clever but I couldn't warm to it.
On contrary, I like Risi's comedies. The film you are talking about, Il Sorpasso (The Easy Life, 1962) with Vittorio Gassman and Jean-Louis Trintignant, is a great picture. Risi is quite ferocious in his depiction of Italian society. I also like his I Mostri (1963), a series of sketches delineating some monstruous behavious among Italian people. But this melodrama, Un amore a Roma, was lacking this extra zest I like in his films.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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I saw a couple of old favorites this weekend, after many years absence: Jean de Florette and Manon des sources. Yves Montand is just fab in both of them. They almost have a "Godfather" vibe, and Montand's character seems a bit like a local 'don.' :)
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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Professional Tourist wrote:I saw a couple of old favorites this weekend, after many years absence: Jean de Florette and Manon des sources. Yves Montand is just fab in both of them. They almost have a "Godfather" vibe, and Montand's character seems a bit like a local 'don.' :)
Personally, I like the Berri films moderately. The original Manon des sources directed by Pagnol himself is superior in atmosphere, acting and authenticity.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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I'd love to watch Il Sorpasso. Dino Risi's films aren't available here for rental.

I like Daniel Auteuil in Jean De Florette and Manon des Sources but the most memorable thing is the music. I'd love to watch Pagnol's version.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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charliechaplinfan wrote:I'd love to watch Pagnol's version.
For now, here is a clip:

[youtube][/youtube]
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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Yesterday I watched another Italian melodrama, L'Intrusa (The intruder, 1955) by Raffaello Matarazzo. Matarazzo seems to be enjoying some kind of cult following nowadays. Even Criterion released a boxset of his films. This is my third Matarazzo film and I must admit I cannot understand the appeal of this director. The storyline was such a pile of clichés, it was a laugh. A girl is found unconscious inside a boat. The local doctor cures her and helps her get a job. They end up getting married. The girl is troubled by her past: she was seduced and abandoned by a womanizer. She lost the child she was expecting and as a result can't have any. Then, the wife of her seducer has an accident in the village. Her husband helps her give birth to a child. She goes mad against her seducer. Then the husband says he married her out of pity rather than love....OMG! I love most periods in Italian cinema: the 'white telephone' comedies of the 30s, the flamboyant melodramas of the 40s and the great social comedies of the 60s. But, Matarazzo's film felt like a cheap photo-story. The twists and turns in the life of the tormented Lea Padovani made me laugh several times. As for the male lead, Amadeo Nazzari, he is certainly a very weak actor. I wouldn't even try to compare him with Marcello Mastroianni, Vittorio de Sica or Vittorio Gassman. He is just wooden like Rock Hudson. But, apparently he was the N°1 Matinee Idol of the Italian public at the time. Go figure... The film was on top rather claustrophobic. We were trapped inside a house where the actors delivered endless speeches about their supposed inner torments. Really quite silly.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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charliechaplinfan wrote:the most memorable thing is the music. I'd love to watch Pagnol's version.
The music in the two Berri films is not even original. The 'composer' reused Verdi's theme from La Forza del Destino...
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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Ann Harding wrote:
charliechaplinfan wrote:the most memorable thing is the music. I'd love to watch Pagnol's version.
The music in the two Berri films is not even original. The 'composer' reused Verdi's theme from La Forza del Destino...
That explains why it is so good. I loved the clip of Manon Des Sources, is that Michel Simon? Does he play the Daniel Auteuil character?

I watched two Italian comedies today, both starring Vittorio de Sica. First was Signor Max, a case of mistaken identity, Gianna/De Sica adopts the persona of Max after he gets mistaken for rich aristocrat. The storyline calls for plenty of changes of clothes and De Sica looks better. more natural as Gianni, the character of Max does not sit easy with him. One lady who sees Max as Gianni is the hired nurse played by Assia Noris, only she falls for Gianna but does not see that he plays the imposter Max. It's a great test of De Sica's flare for comedy. I'm quite impressed that I gleaned this much as the dialogue was Italian the subs were Spanish and I, to my regret only fully understand English.

Then it was L'avventuriera del piano di sopra where he stars with Clara Calamari, who ends up staying in his apartment one night after which confusion ensues involving some jewels and a ex husband. I can see similarities between these comedies that De Sica made and similar ones that were being made in America at the time, it's a pity they aren't better known.
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