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Old 02-06-04, 11:16 AM   #1
cycletourist
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The foreign film thread

I just finished watching Y Tu Mama Tambien. Ugh, what a lame movie. I just don't understand what all the fuss is about. The movie is OK but it isn't the masterpiece that reviewers made it out to be. It isn't even useful as a spanish language study tool because all the dialogue is foul language and mexican slang. Neither of which will help me as a student of the language.

El Mariachi is another mexican film with cheezy acting and dialogue but at least I enjoyed watching that one.

I just bought The Crime of Padre Amaro on eBay. I hope it is a better than Y Tu Mama Tambien.

Aimee and Jaguar is an EXCELLENT german film. The movie is set in Berlin in the last days of world war 2. And there is a bicycle scene toward the end of the film. Mostly Martha was another really good german film. Even though I am not a student of german (at least not yet) I still want to see both of these again.

I liked La Femme Nikita- a french film about a female drug dealer that gets caught and then recruited to be an assassin for the french secret service. The American remake with Bridget Fonda was terrible.

And of course, Amelie was so good I bought the DVD and watched it at least a dozen times!! Great film!

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Old 02-06-04, 11:39 AM   #2
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Sometimes I like German movies, Das Boot, Europa Europa, Nasferatu, and Run Lola Run. Actually I love German movies.
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Old 02-06-04, 11:53 AM   #3
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Sometimes I like German movies, Das Boot, Europa Europa, Nasferatu, and Run Lola Run. Actually I love German movies.
I bought Run Lola Run on eBay but it hasn't arrived yet.
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Old 02-06-04, 12:56 PM   #4
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Why are foreign films so much better than hollywood films? Is it because they don't rely on special effects and car crashes every 3 minutes to keep my attention? Or is it because the characters are better developed? Or is it because Hollywood is so bad that ANYTHING seems better by comparison?

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Old 02-06-04, 01:09 PM   #5
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We only see the best of the best from the rest of the world, we get to see all of our crap, it would be different if we only saw the 5 best Hollywood movies eash year. Example, go see Monster, its a muther of a movie
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Old 02-06-04, 04:04 PM   #6
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Just because a movie is foreign, doesn't mean it's a masterpiece. The thing I've noticed is that when movies are raved and raved about, I'll go see them and... yeah?So? This applies to hollywood movies even more- most of them are just mediocre. If they get lukewarm reviews, they're bad and if they get bad reviews, they're not worth the time out of your life.

However, even mediocre foreign movies are still better than mediocre american movies, but it doesn't mean it's not disappointing. Often I will see a foreign movie that everyone raves about and it's the same thing, yeah so? But once in a while I'll stumble upon a foreign film that no one mentions or is a few years old, and it'll be wonderful.
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Old 02-06-04, 04:23 PM   #7
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Have you seen The City of Lost Children or Delicatessen?
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Old 02-06-04, 04:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by temp1
Have you seen The City of Lost Children or Delicatessen?
Not yet but both are on my list.
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Old 02-06-04, 04:30 PM   #9
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I would watch Deli first, its a nice warm up to TCOLC, both are insane, I'm kind of jelous, experiencing these movies for the first time is something you'll remember.
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Old 02-07-04, 01:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by temp1
Have you seen The City of Lost Children or Delicatessen?
Brilliant! Hard to believe that same director (Jean-Pierre Jeunet) allowed himself to be swallowed and then spit back up by the Hollywood Machine while making ALIEN: Resurrection, an awkward hash of a movie. He redeemed himself with Amelie, but I hope he's never again tempted to make another American film.
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Old 02-09-04, 11:25 PM   #11
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I think you'll be pleased with Padre Amaro. Not the easiest film to watch, but compelling filmmaking. If you enjoy it, seek out City of God.

Although I've seen my share of crappy foreign films (most recently, The Spanish Apartment), I'd say they're my preferred movie-going choice as they're usually smaller, more personal films that don't come with all the weight of big Hollywood budgets, directors and stars that create big box-office expectations that, in turn, creates a need to churn out safe, homogeonized product that will please as broad a ticket-buying audience as possible.

The best movie I saw last year was Man on the Train (now available on dvd), a French film about two strangers' transformation as they become unlikely friends. And don't miss The Triplets of Belleville if it happens to find its way to your burg!

And good call on Jeunet RobCat. It seems to be one of the crazy ironies of the movie industry that talented, visionary directors can toil from independent project to independent project with barely any budget but great critical acclaim, then the Hollywood machine finally discovers them and they get attached to some big-money piece of dreck. They finally get some money to play with, but their artistic integrity gets sold down the river. I fear Kevin Smith may be the next casualty, as the trailer for his Bennifer studio pic, Jersey Girl, makes it look like some kinda schmaltzy milkdud pap.
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Old 02-09-04, 11:42 PM   #12
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Check out American Movie, funny, it feels like a foreign film.
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Old 02-10-04, 12:05 AM   #13
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Red, White, and Blue are three great French films you should check out.
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Old 02-10-04, 12:18 AM   #14
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Blue is one of my favorite movies! The "tri-colore" trilogy is based on the french flag (liberty, equality, fraternity)

Kieslowski's "Decalouge" is equally brilliant (10-part)

Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita, Leon and Big Blue. All great.

Gotta have a cycling theme so Triplets of Belville must be in this thread!

Brilliant American director- PT Anderson's "Magnolia" Holy crap that movie blows me away.

Cipo- good pick. City of God. hoo-ya.
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Old 02-10-04, 03:28 AM   #15
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i'll second that about the Juenet films. 'Delicatessen is a classic.

In the UK, BBC4 ran a series of 'World Cinema' culminating in a vote for best film of 2003. 'Belleville Rendezvous' (Triplettes of Belleville)
won.

At the same time another channel screened 'Amores Perros'; a Mexican film from 2000, which is a slant on the 'boy and his dog' theme. Definitely worth a look.

The bicycle theme cannot be complete without a mention of 'Bicycle Theives', (1948, Vitorio De Sica) - still one of the best films ever made.
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Old 02-10-04, 10:38 AM   #16
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Barbet Schroeder's "More" and "La Valle (Obscured By Clouds)" are both cool movies that Pink Floyd did the soundtrack for.

"The Closet" is a good French comedy.
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Old 02-10-04, 11:32 AM   #17
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Best foreign films (from my DVD collection):

Amelie
Central Station
Chocolat
Cinema Paradiso (one of my all-time favorites)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
das Boot
Life is Beautiful
Like Water for Chocolate
Run Lola Run
The Third Man

Other good ones I've seen and also recommend:
Talk to Her
All About my Mother
Grand Illusion
The Closet
La Cage aux Folles
Princess Mononoke
Secrets & Lies
Whale Rider
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Old 02-10-04, 12:14 PM   #18
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Some great american movies

Quote:
Originally Posted by cycletourist
Why are foreign films so much better than hollywood films?
Hollywood is an industry, it's designed to maximize profits. Similar to top 40 music, it's designed to appeal (no matter how shallowly) to the most people in order to bring in the most revenue.

But it's not foreign vs. Hollywood. There are some american films that are truly great. I like well-paced ("slow paced" to people used to Hollywood movies), subtle, dialog driven dramas or comedies (often with little or no plot). Some of my favorites from recent years:

Spring Forward
You Can Count on Me
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
Lone Star

I'm a huge fan of Whit Stillman films. Barcelona being the best, IMO.

Bottle Rocket is a brilliant comedy, a gem that too many people have never heard of.

The Coen Brothers have some classics (Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, many more)

Jon Favreu's "Swingers" and "Made" were both excellent comedies.

"In the Company of Men" is brilliant, if you have the stomach for it.

Let's see, what else. A lot of low budget flicks that were almost great (or at least acheive greatness at points), like "Jesus' Son" and "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys".

And then there's indy documentaries like Buena Vista Social Club, Brother's Keeper, ...
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Old 02-10-04, 02:02 PM   #19
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On the topic of good films, what to you, makes a film good? Is it the plot, the dialog, the characters, the cinematography, or just an over all feel of the movie? For some of you I'm sure its more than just one item, but is there one aspect that stands out to you?

Often I'll find myself really liking a film for technical reasons. An domestic example of this for me is Out of Sight. While not the best movie ever made, there are just things about the way the director used color, the camera work, and other little subtle things I notice. Perhaps I applaud these because I used to devlop and print my own film, so I had respect for some of the elements I noticed from traditional photography.
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Old 02-10-04, 02:34 PM   #20
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A good film is art, and therefore very difficult to describe. Best I can do is that it communicates something interesting, altering or inspiring to you, and it communicates it in a better way than other, more direct means of communication might.

Sometimes this is done through cinematography, sometimes dialog, sometimes atmosphere, usually a mix of all of the above. Depends on the subject, the message, a lot of different things.
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Old 02-10-04, 03:32 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brillig
Hollywood is an industry, it's designed to maximize profits. Similar to top 40 music, it's designed to appeal (no matter how shallowly) to the most people in order to bring in the most revenue.

But it's not foreign vs. Hollywood. There are some american films that are truly great. I like well-paced ("slow paced" to people used to Hollywood movies), subtle, dialog driven dramas or comedies (often with little or no plot). Some of my favorites from recent years:

Spring Forward
You Can Count on Me
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
Lone Star

I'm a huge fan of Whit Stillman films. Barcelona being the best, IMO.

Bottle Rocket is a brilliant comedy, a gem that too many people have never heard of.

The Coen Brothers have some classics (Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, many more)

Jon Favreu's "Swingers" and "Made" were both excellent comedies.

"In the Company of Men" is brilliant, if you have the stomach for it.

Let's see, what else. A lot of low budget flicks that were almost great (or at least acheive greatness at points), like "Jesus' Son" and "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys".

And then there's indy documentaries like Buena Vista Social Club, Brother's Keeper, ...
Sounds like you like INDEPENDENT films. Some of those you listed are independent- not in the Hollywood system.
For example, all Jarmusch films are independently financed by european investors - including Ghost Dog. He is an American but I would catagorize him as an independent since he works outside the system.
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Old 02-10-04, 04:05 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerX
Sounds like you like INDEPENDENT films. Some of those you listed are independent- not in the Hollywood system.
Yeah, that's exactly what I was trying to say. The choice was being made like it was between Hollywood and foreign films. I was trying to make the point that there are a lot of films that are American that aren't Hollywood (i.e. "independent") or in the grey area (independent production with major distribution).
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Old 02-10-04, 08:20 PM   #23
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To me, Hollywood films are foreign films I do like the domestic product. The Castle, and The Dish spring immediately to mind. I'm not sure if it went o.s. but another neat little Aussie comedy of late is Crackerjack.

btw, City of Lost Children is one of my alltime favourites. Is it on DVD? THe copy I taped off SBS is getting worn out.

Then there's that three part New Zealand production that I thought was quite enjoyable.
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Old 02-10-04, 08:23 PM   #24
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Not all Hollywood films are necessarily dreck either. I like sci fi, and films like K-Pax and Gattaca set a high benchmark in quality sci-fi film making.

Ooops. That was a bit ot. Ok - good foreign sci-fi - gotta make a vote for Cube. (Does Canadian count as foreign?)
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Old 02-10-04, 08:49 PM   #25
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Here are a few of my prefered foreign films:
tops: The big Blue - gorgeous film
also like once were warriors brutal film but very
well done.
Priscilla queen of the desert funny, quirky, camp
and totally ripped off by To Julie newmar from wong foo
or whatever that was called.
K-Pax, sci fi? not sure bout that but I loved the flick.
5th element now that was good sci fi (and foreign to boot with all that foreign language)

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