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WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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

Postby Ann Harding » July 20th, 2011, 5:25 am

charliechaplinfan wrote:
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?

No the actor who plays the part of Ugolin is called Rellys. He was part of the Pagnol stock company. I guess he looks vaguely like Michel Simon, but he is quite different.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 20th, 2011, 12:45 pm

Ah, it was the voice that I thought gave him away. He's a master of disguises, well not in the same way as Lon Chaney but I find that he uses his body, objects, face, anything he can to look very different with every role I've seen him in.
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 » July 22nd, 2011, 6:47 pm

Alain Resnais is a filmmaker I don't know well, and his most famous films (HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR, LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD, NIGHT AND FOG) evoked respect rather than affection. As for LA GUERRE EST FINIE, that one was finie for me after 30 minutes or so, though I don't remember why. However, after checking out the reviews on imdb, I decided to record MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE (1980) from TCM, and I loved it. So which Resnais films are the next ones to try?

MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE begins with, and includes throughout, some biologically based theories of human behavior delivered by Professor Henri Laborit, who looks exactly the way Hollywood would cast him. We also cut between the lives of three children who grow up to be Roger Pierre, Nicole Garcia, and Gerard Depardieu. Depardieu grows up in a devoutly Catholic farming family; the other boy has a grandfather who owns a little island off the coast of Brittany. The girl grows up in a Communist family in a working-class neighborhood in Paris. We suspect that these parallel lives will intersect, and part of the suspense and satisfaction comes from seeing how this will happen, and which parts of their childhoods will remain important, which will wither away. Their favorite stars are Danielle Darrieux, Jean Gabin, and Jean Marais, and quick clips from their films are shown at key moments in the three lives. Everyone on those boards will love that aspect of the film, even if, like me, you don't recognize the films these scenes are from. Would you believe that Resnais uses a plot twist which could have come from a 1940s woman's melodrama? You have to love that. Well, actually you don't, but I did. Music, cinematography, and editing rhythms are all marvelous. Resnais' camera placement isn't flashy or obtrusive, but it always seems to be in the right place.

Resnais even uses Professor Laborit to create some suspense in the fictional stories. When the professor talks about suicide, we immediately begin to wonder how that might work into the evolving plot. I could mention a few other things I particularly liked, and carp just a little about how one of the professor's theories about psychosomatic illness is illustrated, but would rather let you discover this on your own. I will say that the island adds a certain aura of romance--the movie would not be the same without the island--and that if you pay attention to the scene the actress plays early in the film, you will enjoy a scene late in the film even more.

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MichiganJ
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby MichiganJ » July 23rd, 2011, 7:46 am

For me, most Resnais films demand multiple viewings and I'm always happy to revisit Marienbad, even more than Hiroshima Mon Amour. Mon oncle d'Amérique was my first Resnais film, and the depth, humanity, and above all the humor had me hooked. I would certainly recommend Je t'aime, je t'aime (1968) and I also really enjoyed the musicals: the lip-synching (and thematic kin to Mon oncle d'Amérique) Same Old Song (1997) and the kooky Not on the Lips (2003).
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Ann Harding
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby Ann Harding » July 23rd, 2011, 8:09 am

Yesterday I saw another Italian melodrama, Piccolo mondo antico (Little Old-Fashioned World, 1941), another calligraphic picture directed by Mario Soldati. Like Malombra (1942) I mentioned earlier, it's a film based on a novel by Antonio Fogazzaro. It takes place in the same area of Italy, in the lake district in the North (Lake Maggiore). During the 'Risorgimento' (when Italy started to become one nation), a young noble man, Franco Maironi (Massimo Serato) wants to marry Luisa (Alida Valli) born of humble origin. Franco's grandmother absolutely opposes the marriage. Nevertheless, Franco marries her and leaves his family. Franco has been disinherited by his nasty grandmother. She burnt his father's will so as to keep all the money herself. Franco and Luisa have a daughter Ombretta. But, one day, lacking money, Franco has to leave to get a job. During his absence, Luisa struggles to make both ends meet. Her daughter Ombretta falls accidentally into the lake and dies. Luisa cannot cope with the loss... Like Malombra, the story shows a confined world where death seems to be hovering over the characters trapped in a recluse life. The storyline cleverly includes the convulsive events just prior to the war against Austria (which owned Lombardia and Venetia). Alida Valli, just 20, shows already a considerable talent. The film is a superbly shot melodrama with loads of atmosphere. This period of Italian cinema really produced some fascinating films.

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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » July 23rd, 2011, 8:20 am

Ann, I find I have an odd relationship with Italian cinema. I like the films I'm not "supposed" to like. I like the genre films better than the films of the great masters of Italian cinema. In the genres, I don't especially like spaghetti westerns. In comedy, I don't really like Dino Risi but I prefer Mario Comencini (?). In horror, I can take or leave most of Dario Argento's work, but I really like Mario Bava's. Of Bava's films, I don't care for "Black Sunday/Mask of the Demon," but I prefer his color work, such as "Kill, Baby, Kill/Operation Fear" and "The Whip and the Body."

It is almost funny.

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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » July 23rd, 2011, 8:23 am

Yesterday I watched a Czech film from 2000, "Divided We Fall," (dir. Jan Hrebejk). It deals with the tangled relationship between a Czech, a Jew and a Sudeten German during the Nazi occupation.

It was okay. Only okay. The performances were good, but I thought the film moved too slowly and it failed to build as strong an atmosphere of entrapment as it could. One scene copied a scene in "Closely Watched Trains" too closely for my taste.

I think "I Served the King of England" (2006) directed by Jiri Menzel, is a much better look at this era.

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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby ChiO » July 23rd, 2011, 9:12 am

MichiganJ wrote:
For me, most Resnais films demand multiple viewings and I'm always happy to revisit Marienbad, even more than Hiroshima Mon Amour.

I'm with you, brother. I love HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR, but LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD is endlessly fascinating to me.

kingrat -- Give STAVISKY a try.
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Mr. Arkadin
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 23rd, 2011, 11:05 am

MikeBSG wrote:Ann, I find I have an odd relationship with Italian cinema. I like the films I'm not "supposed" to like. I like the genre films better than the films of the great masters of Italian cinema. In the genres, I don't especially like spaghetti westerns. In comedy, I don't really like Dino Risi but I prefer Mario Comencini (?). In horror, I can take or leave most of Dario Argento's work, but I really like Mario Bava's. Of Bava's films, I don't care for "Black Sunday/Mask of the Demon," but I prefer his color work, such as "Kill, Baby, Kill/Operation Fear" and "The Whip and the Body."

It is almost funny.


I like all the masters, but I also love all the genre films (SP Westerns, Eurocrime, Giallo, Horror, etc.). I have been toying with the idea of starting a Giallo thread, but I honestly don't know when I'd have the time to put it together. I love Bava's color films as well, my favorite being Kidnapped AKA Rabid Dogs (1974).

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

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 23rd, 2011, 11:08 am

ChiO wrote:
MichiganJ wrote:
For me, most Resnais films demand multiple viewings and I'm always happy to revisit Marienbad, even more than Hiroshima Mon Amour.

I'm with you, brother. I love HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR, but LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD is endlessly fascinating to me.

kingrat -- Give STAVISKY a try.


Marienbad is also a favorite of mine.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 23rd, 2011, 12:31 pm

I loved Hiroshima Mon Amour so much but Marienbad had the complete opposite effect on me, I found it difficult to watch and unlike some films that I've failed to like on first acquaintance I'm not sure I could try it again.
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 Rita Hayworth » July 23rd, 2011, 1:09 pm

charliechaplinfan wrote:I loved Hiroshima Mon Amour so much but Marienbad had the complete opposite effect on me, I found it difficult to watch and unlike some films that I've failed to like on first acquaintance I'm not sure I could try it again.


Is Hiroshima Mon Amour is something to do with United States dropping an atomic bomb on Japan to end World War II?

I was reading all these posts and this sounds like an interesting movie to watch. I have trouble understanding most of these (foreign films) movies because of my hearing impairment ... is this movie has English Subtitles or not?

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

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 23rd, 2011, 1:58 pm

Here's a brief overview:

http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oGdSrZ ... _Mon_Amour

The DVD is subtitled in English.

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby Rita Hayworth » July 23rd, 2011, 2:37 pm

Thanks Mr. Arkadin!

kingrat
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Postby kingrat » July 25th, 2011, 3:15 pm

Definitely the best movie deal of the week: my local branch library was selling discarded VHS tapes for fifty cents each, so I bought Robert Bresson's A MAN ESCAPED (1956). The print was far from pristine, but not bad enough to ruin the film. This is my favorite of the five Bresson films I've seen. I also really like DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST and LES DAMES DU BOIS DE BOULOGNE, like TRIAL OF JOAN OF ARC fairly well, and do not care for AU HASARD, BALTHAZAR, except for the donkey.

A MAN ESCAPED concerns a French prisoner trying to escape from a Nazi prison during WWII. Bresson eliminates the backstory, minimizes the roles of the Nazi guards, and concentrates on the prisoner's quest to escape. His use of the minimal tools available and scraps of information from other prisoners becomes fascinating. Bresson uses voiceover more than dialogue, and at certain points Mozart's Great Mass in C Minor appears on the soundtrack. Just when the prisoner is ready to escape, he suddenly acquires a young cellmate who may be an informant for the Nazis. The film can be read as an allegory of the soul's search for salvation, but doesn't have to be. Although Bresson casts the film with non-professional actors, they are both attractive and talented, which is not the case with BALTHAZAR. Francois Leterrier, who plays the prisoner Fontaine, became a director; Charles Le Chaince, who has a James Dean/Sal Mineo vibe as the young cellmate, did not act again, although both men have the looks and talent for an acting career.

One way of appreciating the film is to imagine the Hollywood version. In the late 1940s you might have had Gary Cooper as the prisoner, Mickey Rooney as his cellmate, and Barry Fitzgerald as the priest. Or imagine a late 1950s Universal remake with John Gavin as the prisoner, Troy Donahue as the cellmate, and Karl Malden as the priest.

The changing attitude toward actors and the changing theology seem interrelated in Bresson. Both A MAN ESCAPED and DIARY OF COUNTRY PRIEST express orthodox Catholic views, and A MAN ESCAPED shows the community of believers (the French prisoners) who help each other in the limited ways available. This is one of the most attractive features of the film. AU HASARD, BALTHAZAR seems Jansenist (the 17th-century movement which incorporated elements of Calvinism into Catholicism). Just as the director seems increasingly alienated from his actors, he portrays human beings as disgusting creatures unworthy of the salvation God grants to an occasional sinner (a standard Calvinist point of view, of course). In A MAN ESCAPED the identification of director and deity is (fortunately, from my perspective) not complete.

In any event, A MAN ESCAPED thoroughly lives up to its high reputation. Maybe next week the library will have PICKPOCKET and MOUCHETTE in the remainder box, too?


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