WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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kingrat
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by kingrat »

I’ll double post this on Foreign Films and Film Noir, because PORT OF SHADOWS (LE QUAI DES BRUMES) (1938, dir. Marcel Carne) fits both categories. The fog. Shadows. Much of the film set at night. The first real light in the film is the shine from Michele Morgan’s translucent raincoat. The tough but sensitive hero (Jean Gabin). A strong sense of fatalism. Doomed romance. Gangsters. A young woman who needs the protection of the hero. Colorful supporting characters. Memorable dialogue. The boat that’s leaving Venezuela, with a promise of escape and a new life, but you know the hero will not be on it.

What’s not to like about this film? TCM probably showed the now out-of-print Criterion Collection version, which isn’t perfect, but some parts are quite lovely. Jean Gabin plays a deserter who hides out in Le Havre, but meets a beautiful woman and plenty of trouble. Instead of the comic earthy types he often plays, Michel Simon is a creepy guy on the wrong side of the life who likes to listen to religious music and wants to control his young niece. The supporting characters, and actors, are great. There’s Panama, who owns a bar/flophouse right next to the water, who will never find anything to equal his trip to Panama in 1906. There’s Half Pint, who explains quite simply why he drinks: to get drunk. The painter (Robert Le Vigan) has some of the best lines ever written (Jacques Prevert wrote them). He says he tried painting women, children, flowers, but he kept showing the hidden things behind them. When he tried painting a swimmer, he painted a drowning man. The essence of noir, yes? This whole scene is mind-bending.

As you might have gathered, this has immediately become a favorite, and I ordered the Criterion disc, out of print but still easy to obtain. In addition to the noirs to come, there are obvious links back to THE PETRIFIED FOREST and forward to THE ICEMAN COMETH as well. And how differently would things have turned out if two men hadn’t worn the same size shoes . . . .
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ChiO
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by ChiO »

And how differently would things have turned out if two men hadn’t worn the same size shoes . . . .
For another take, there is I WOULDN''T BE IN YOUR SHOES (William Nigh 1948), a Steve Fisher screenplay adapted from Cornell Woolrich story. Woolrich's story was first published in March 1938. Coincidence or...Fate?
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MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by MikeBSG »

Yesterday I watched "L'Enfer" (1993) directed by Claude Chabrol.

I was very impressed with this one. It sneaks up on you. Initially, you're not entirely sure what kind of film this will turn out to be. (Okay, if you ignore Chabrol's name in the credits.) It looks like it might be some kind of romantic comedy like "Cousin, Cousin" (or however that one was spelled.) We see a married couple, with the man stressing out about running a hotel in rural France. Then he gradually slides off the deep end and begins imagining that his wife (Emmanuelle Beart) is having sex with every man in the area. There are scenes that go from laughter to chills as this guy won't back down in his mad assertions.

In some ways, this reminded me of the scene in "Raging Bull" when DeNiro accuses Moriarity of sleeping with his brother and she, fed up with his suspicions, says yes. But "L'Enfer" shows how things got to that situation and what comes afterward.

It has been years since I saw Emmanuelle Beart in anything. What a lovely woman!
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by MikeBSG »

Today I watched "Bon Voyage" (2003) directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau.

This was a gripping film about the Fall of France in 1940. In some ways, it played like a farce, with people running about, telling lies, and trying to avoid being discovered. Yet there was a serious atmosphere as well. Terrific cast, with Isabelle Adjani, Gerard Depardieu, Virginie Ledoyen and Gregori Derangere all splendid in the major roles.

One odd thing. The American actor Peter Coyote turned up in a major supporting role. This floored and distracted me as much as Jodie Foster turning up in "A very Long Engagement." I realize that this is my problem and not the filmmakers, but seeing American actors in a foreign film (playing French people, not American tourists) throws me for a loop.

"Bon Voyage" had a big, epic feel. I strongly recommend it.
MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by MikeBSG »

Yesterday I watched "Twenty-Four Eyes" (1954) directed by Keisuke Kinoshita.

I really liked this film, which surprised me because I hated the only other Kinoshita film I've ever seen.

"Twenty-Four Eyes" is about a young female schoolteacher in rural Japan. It follows her life (and the lives of the first students she ever taught) from 1928 to 1946. It is a long movie, about 2 hours and 45 minutes. But it is extremely powerful. It made me think of the first teachers I ever had, but it also shows how dreams were blighted by the Great Depression and lives cut short by the World War. At the end of the film, there is a class reunion, and it is overwhelmingly female. The male students are all dead, except for two, and one of those is blind. For Japanese males born in 1922, I'd guess that isn't far from accurate.

(The title refers to the fact that the teacher has 12 students in her class.)

This film pulled me in from the first. The only other Kinoshita film I've seen, "You Were like a Wild Chrysanthemum," utterly froze me out. The film was presented with a picture frame around the screen, which I found utterly distracting.

I'm very glad I gave "Twenty-Four Eyes" a try.
kingrat
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by kingrat »

I watched The Life of Oharu (1952, dir. Kenji Mizoguchi). Although the film is long and episodic, I liked it very much. Oharu begins life as the daughter of a man with a high position at court, but when she falls in love with a servant, her family is disgraced. Her fortunes cycle up and down, but go up only to go further down. As a woman, she has little control over what happens to her, and if it's unlikely that one woman would go through quite so many changes, that makes her life exemplary for many women of different ranks. The most striking scene to me, funny and horrifying in equal measure, was the one when a highly placed nobleman has very precise physical specifications for a concubine, and the man delegated to find a match examines many young women in a marketplace.

The print shown by TCM had rather crackly sound, and I've love to see a restored version of the film. I've only seen four Mizoguchi films--Sansho the Bailiff and Ugetsu, both quite good, and Chikamatsu Monogatari, not quite so striking but also interesting. Maybe it's time to investigate the ones in the "Fallen Women" box from Criterion.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by CineMaven »

"HIGH TIDE AT N00N." Pleasant movie of a dying fishing village where the way of life is changing. A young girl marries a ne'er do well young man. Another young man loves her from afar unrequitedly. It was Flora Robson Day. It had a nice flow and feeling. Not a comedy, but I liked the feeling it evoked, as I enjoyed "The Maggie." A way of life kind of film. Betta St. John was a very soulfull young lady.

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Oh yeah...I fell in love. :oops: .....Michael Craig. ( Sigh! ) And he was the unrequited lover!!
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I'm so glad you liked The Life of Oharu, I felt the same when I watched it for the first time, I was so taken with it I went back and watched it again. I'd recommend any of Mizoguchi's talkies, the fallen woman series is a good set to get, I haven't seen one I wasn't moved by, he's an amazing director, I prefer him to Ozu, who's films I also like. I only wish more of his movies would get released.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
feaito

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by feaito »

I revisited one of my favorite films: Vittorio De Sica's awesome "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" (1971), a poignant story of the whereabouts of a couple of affluent Jewish families in Ferrara, Italy, in between 1938-1943. Beautiful, moving, realistic, but at the same time ethereal and evocative. Dominique Sanda gives a knockout performance as the contradictory Micol; a pampered and aristocratic jewish princess. The Finzi-Continis live in a world of their own; their civility, sophistication and good natured approach towards life and other people are otherworldly in a way; especially that of Micol's parents and her grandmother. Their downfall due to Fascism and WWII is ever so unfair and sad....This film left me with a sentiment of saudade.
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Rita Hayworth
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by Rita Hayworth »

feaito wrote:I revisited one of my favorite films: Vittorio De Sica's awesome "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" (1971), a poignant story of the whereabouts of a couple of affluent Jewish families in Ferrara, Italy, in between 1938-1943. Beautiful, moving, realistic, but at the same time ethereal and evocative. Dominique Sanda gives a knockout performance as the contradictory Micol; a pampered and aristocratic jewish princess. The Finzi-Continis live in a world of their own; their civility, sophistication and good natured approach towards life and other people are otherworldly in a way; especially that of Micol's parents and her grandmother. Their downfall due to Fascism and WWII is ever so unfair and sad....This film left me with a sentiment of saudade.
I have the same feeling too. I saw that movie too one time in Vancouver Canada with some friends and what you've written here is right on the nose. You are not alone feaito ... I wanted to convey that to you.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I keep meaning to watch it, I can't imagine why I haven't done, De Sica is one of my favourite directors. I'll make a special effort.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
feaito

Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by feaito »

Rita Hayworth wrote: I have the same feeling too. I saw that movie too one time in Vancouver Canada with some friends and what you've written here is right on the nose. You are not alone feaito ... I wanted to convey that to you.
Thanks Erik; I appreciate it
charliechaplinfan wrote:I keep meaning to watch it, I can't imagine why I haven't done, De Sica is one of my favourite directors. I'll make a special effort.
.

Let us know what are you feelings after you watch it Ali.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by feaito »

Last Saturday I watched the long anticipated -by me- Bertrand Tavernier film "La Princesse de Montpensier" (The Princess of Montpensier) (2010), based upon a novel by Madame de Lafayette, starring Mélanie Thierry who plays the title character, the daughter of the Marquis de Mezieres, who's betrothed to the powerful (Henri) Duke of Guise's (Gaspard Ulliel- "Hannibal Rising" & "Jacquou Le Croquant") brother, Mayenne (César Domboy), but who -due to power machinations- ends up marrying the son of the powerful Duke de Montpensier, Phillippe de Bourbon, Prince de Montpensier (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet). The film is set in France during the bloody religious wars between Catholics and Huguenots, under the reign of Charles IX (under the tutelage of his mother Cathérine de Medici). Raphäel Personnaz (Vronsky in "Anna Karenina" (2012)) who plays the scheming King's brother, Prince Henri, Duke of Anjou. Lambert Wilson plays one of the most likable characters, in between both factions at war, the Count of Chabannes and the mentor and friend of the Prince of Montpensier. A well-done and beautifully set period drama, in a time in which women -in this case madame la Princesse, torn between passion and duty- of the high ranking nobility were seen as used as trading goods.

I understand that the characters are all real but that their exact names and titles were not used (i.e. Le Prince de Montpensier, was the future Duke the Montpensier) and that the events depicted in the novel and the film really took place during Louis XIV's reign (when the authoress lived) and involved other "important" people of that time.
kingrat
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by kingrat »

LA TRAVERSEE DE PARIS (1956, dir. Claude Autant-Lara) literally means “The Journey Across Paris,” but the original American title was FOUR BAGS FULL and the title of the version which Rialto Productions will release this month is A PIG ACROSS PARIS. That’s a good title, because Bourvil and Jean Gabin carry four suitcases of black market pork across Paris, hoping that the Nazis won’t catch them. Bourvil is an unemployed taxi driver—with the lack of gasoline, no one needs his services—so he’s turned to the black market. His pal has been arrested, so he takes a chance on a stranger, Jean Gabin. The story mixes comedy, drama, and suspense, and if you like Gabin, what more do you need to know?

Bruce Goldstein of the Film Forum and Rialto Productions pointed out that for the original audience, the Nazi occupation of France was as recent as the events of 9/11 are to us. Francois Truffaut hated Autant-Lara’s films—he made the kind of script-based studio films which drove the New Wave into hissy fits--but thought this was the perfect subject for Autant-Lara and praised it highly. The direction is sharp, such as the use of silhouettes in a scene where the Nazis are about to arrest our anti-heroes—or do worse than that.

Goldstein pointed out that Rialto’s release will have new subtitles. When we spoke briefly at Club TCM, he said that the old subtitles were the worst he’d ever seen. Even I caught one obvious blooper. According to the subtitles, the route across Paris will go through “the marshes.” The actual speech says through “the Marais,” which, true enough, means “the marsh,” but the Marais is a well-known district of Paris named after the marsh which existed there back in medieval times.

I don’t often get a chance to see the once-famous films of the “tradition of quality” which were deemed “not cool” by the New Wave, but when I do, I usually like them, so I’d be interested in investigating more of Autant-Lara. A PIG ACROSS PARIS seems too assured to be his only good film.
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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by JackFavell »

Sounds like I might give Autant-Lara a try soon. I love the idea of the movie, and Gabin is growing on me.

I watched Alain Delon today in Rocco and His Brothers, which was wrenching and terribly sad. Delon is wonderful, as is the rest of the cast, but he really shines. I know Renato Salvatore was great too, because by the end of the picture I hated him. I really liked Max Cartier, who played Ciro. His summation of their lives at the end of the picture, telling Luca that the brothers underestimate him, that Rocco is too forgiving, was pitch perfect. There wasn't a moment in this very long movie that I wasn't engaged in it, I never thought about the length until after it was over.

I then watched Purple Noon, which was a FASCINATING film, I really REALLY liked it. It became apparent early on that this was the film they based the newer Talented Mr. Ripley on, which I didn't realize when I tuned in. Philippe Greenleaf was such a jerk I was glad when Delon killed him. The location shooting was great, the way it was directed (by Rene Clement) was brilliant, slowly ratcheting up the suspense, bit by bit, and the ending was marvelous. I really wanted him to get away with it, it became so very disturbing at the end, the prospect of him actually getting through it all AND getting the girl, well, I'm glad it ended as it did, it was another perfect ending.
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