Thursday Movie Picks: Non-English Films

 

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is a yearly re-occurring theme, and one of my favorites. Non-English Films! I love seeing what other countries have to offer film wise and I feel fortunate that I'm able to get my hands on so many, even if it takes a bit of waiting. As always, I set a rule for myself not to reuse films I've used in the past, so here's what I came up with this year.

1) Parasite

From South Korea, it feels right to mention the only good thing to come from 2020 - and that's this year's reigning Best Picture champion. Director Bong Joon-Ho's quote  “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films” is something I 100% agree with and wish more people would get over. Parasite was an excellent film and one of the rare instances where the festival hype paid off exactly the way I thought it would. I love this movie.

2) The 400 Blows

From France, this was a film I had on my very first Blind Spot list and has been one I've been thinking about a lot lately. It's anchored by one of the best child performances out there and was my intro into French New Wave. I still have far to go in that genre but now that I have HBO Max, I'll have the option to watch this again and I'm very happy with that. 

3) Scenes From a Marriage

From Sweden, this is a film that I liked upon first viewing, but as I get further away from it I feel like my feelings for it grow stronger. It's such a well made movie. I think I love it more every minute. Ingmar Bergman is basically the biggest motivator for me joining the Blind Spot blogathon and he's never disappointed me as a director. Even the films of his I don't care for, I still never full on hate. 

14 comments:

  1. I'm doing much better this week, I've seen two out of these three!

    I liked The 400 Blows but have never felt the urge to return to it though to be honest there are very few foreign language films I watch more than once. Elevator to the Gallows, Diabolique and The Wages of Fear are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head that I've seen more than once. Oh and Wild Strawberries.

    Scenes from a Marriage requires a real investment of time but unlike Bergman's Fanny & Alexander it was time well spent. I can't say I loved the film or either of the main characters but it was an involving well made movie.

    Still have to catch up with Parasite.

    Since the foreign theme only comes around once a year I have trouble remembering which ones I've used before so I chose three that I've watched within the last year that I liked.

    Drunken Angel (1948)-Gangster Toshiro Mifune visits Dr. Takashi Shimura, after an unfortunate incident with a bullet. The doctor, who despises the Yakuza, discovers the young man is suffering from tuberculosis, a disease symbolic of what is happening to the doctor and the community he serves. Facing his own anger and fear, the doctor aligns himself with the gangster's world. This film noir was directed by Akira Kurosawa.

    Le Silence de la Mer (1949)-An elderly Frenchman (Jean-Marie Robain) and his niece (Nicole Stéphane) are forced to give shelter to a Nazi soldier (Howard Vernon) who seemingly loves their country and culture. Though they refuse to speak to him over time they form a strange sort of bond.

    La Notte (1961)-In Milan, Lidia (Jeanne Moreau) suddenly storms out of a fancy party held in honor of her husband, Giovanni (Marcello Mastroianni), to celebrate the publication of his new novel. Distressed at the news that her friend Tommaso (Bernhard Wicki) has a terminal illness, Lidia begins roaming the streets of the city, questioning her marriage to Giovanni. Meanwhile, Giovanni, seemingly oblivious to his crumbling relationship with Lidia, attempts to seduce beautiful young Valentina (Monica Vitti). Written and directed by Michelangelo Antonioni.

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    1. I haven't seen any Kurosawa films and I know I need to. That first pick and La Notte in particular sound really interesting.

      I agree on time being better spent with Scenes than Fanny. I can't imagine watching the 5 1/2 hour cut of Fanny that exists.

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  2. Parasite was so good...until the ending when it suddenly went all Tarantino bloody. For some reason that just didn't seem to fit for me at all. I do love it when they are under the table caught like cockroaches and they all try to scurry away but keep hiding when the light comes on. I love 400 Blows which I have not seen for over 30 years and would love to see the whole series. I haven't seen your last pic at all.

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    1. I liked the gore at the end of Parasite, I think it worked and the way people were describing the movie, as much as I tried to stay spoiler free, I thought something like that might happen.

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  3. Ah, 3 amazing picks. My mother loves Parasite. She thought it was awesome. I love all 3 of the films you chose while I did mention Parasite but it's not in my three picks as it's more about focusing on other Korean films.

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  4. Great list! I still need to watch Parasite! Luckily it's on Hulu!

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  5. I've seen your first two picks and both of those are great movies.

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  6. I really want to watch Parasite. Waiting for it to get on one of the streaming platforms.

    The only one I've seen is 400 Blows, which I saw a looonng time ago, so I remember very little. I don't think I like it as much as you did.

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  7. I haven't seen your second and third pick but Parasite was so freaking good and is one of my favourite foreign films.

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