WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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ChiO
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by ChiO »

A year and 3 months have passed since I posted:
We did not see many of the 2011 cohort of films, but A SEPARATION (Asghar Farhadi 2011) was easily the best. Every character, at some point, elicits the viewer's sympathy and empathy, but each is also flawed and acts in a way that is not admirable. Except...each lie, each deception, each ill-advised choice is, at some level, justifiable. People whose lives are bound together through love, family and money, but whose desires work at cross-purposes, is universal. Only the language is "foreign."

And even though the movie is gripping throughout, the last 5-10 minutes is one of the best payoffs I have ever seen. I love it when that happens.

Prediction is always a dangerous game, but this could be the movie from 2011 that is still talked about 20 years from now.
We watched it this past weekend with friends. It didn't change my mind, except maybe that now I'm hard pressed to think of a movie I have seen that was made in the past ten (twenty?) years that I liked more.

Just a joy (in a depressing sort of way).
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by JackFavell »

Gosh, that sounds wonderful! I'll have to see if I can find it.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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[u]JackFavell[/u] wrote:Purple Noon is available at Hulu I believe, if you haven't already used up a free watch there. Otherwise it's like 31 bucks.

"Play...play.... for ME."


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Eat your heart out out Tyrone Power....
* * * *
[u]Robert Regan[/u] wrote:Theresa, all the talk about Purple Noon reminds me that I think you would really like Patricia Highsmith's books. She is unique among "crime writers", too creepy for some, but I don't think that would bother you! The Talented Mr. Ripley and Strangers on a Train are a coupler of her "nicer" books.
* * * *

I bit the bullet yesterday and went to Barnes & Noble to buy "Purple Noon." It was touch and go for a moment there. One saleslady only found the Blu-Ray disc ( ACK! I stay steadfast in my refusal for keeping up with the Technical Jones! ) but another intrepid salesman, went the extra mile looking high and low on the mis-placed shelves and found a copy for me. As soon as I drown myself in the Esther Williams films TCM will show, I will break out a bottle of wine, get my self situated, and spend the night with the deadly handsome and murderous Alain Delon.
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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by JackFavell »

Alain Delon and a glass of wine sounds perfect. A girl could get in trouble that way!
MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by MikeBSG »

Today I watched "And God Created Woman" (1956) directed by Roger Vadim.

I liked it. It isn't a great movie, but it is very entertaining, particularly when Curt Jurgens is around. Bardot is lovely and a lot of fun. I loved the scene in which she danced to calypso music toward the end of the film, but she was pretty good throughout the film. Hard to believe this was her first movie. Jurgens brought a slyness to his role that made a nice change of pace from the "heavy drama" of the two French brothers who were infatuated with Bardot.

Basically, this was miles better than "Barbarella" or the Vadim episode of "Spirits of the Dead," (both of which were just dreadful). I know I've seen Vadim's modern-dress "Dangerous Liaisons," but I can't remember much about it. A friend of mine loves "Blood and Roses," so maybe I should look for that one.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by Mr. Arkadin »

MikeBSG wrote: A friend of mine loves "Blood and Roses," so maybe I should look for that one.
Blood and Roses (1962) is the best film that Vadim ever made and in my opinion it is also one of the best vampire movies ever.

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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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[u]Mr. Arkadin[/u] wrote:Blood and Roses (1962) is the best film that Vadim ever made and in my opinion it is also one of the best vampire movies ever.

Mr. A., I'm with you. "BLOOD AND ROSES" is definitely humdinger!! :)
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by CineMaven »

[u]Jack[/u] [u]Favell[/u] wrote:Oh Lordy, Maven, you MUST see this movie. If I can get it on youtube or Netflix, we can watch it together if you want to. But maybe you'll want to see it by yourself - just you and gorgeous Alain, alone together..... :D :D :oops: :oops:
[u]King[/u] [u]Rat[/u] wrote:Maven, I hope you can see PURPLE NOON. This year the Cannes Film Festival will show a restoration of it. Wouldn't that be great for the 2014 TCM festival, provided subtitles can be done by then?
[u]Robert[/u] [u]Regan[/u] wrote:Theresa, all the talk about Purple Noon reminds me that I think you would really like Patricia Highsmith's books. She is unique among "crime writers", too creepy for some, but I don't think that would bother you! The Talented Mr. Ripley and Strangers on a Train are a coupler of her "nicer" books.
[u]Jack[/u] [u]Favell[/u] wrote:Oh great! Now I have to wait two weeks before I hear how you liked it! :D Ooh la la!
HA.... :D Well not quite two weeks, but here are my thoughts on “PURPLE NOON”.

I’m a native New Yorker, born and raised. You can’t pull the wool over my eyes. I can smell game coming from a mile away. Of course Alain Delon can get whatever he wants. Pension, social security, everything. Anything. Foolish foolish me.

I enjoyed “PURPLE NOON” very much in the sure hands of René Clément. And I might have to take up Bob Regan’s suggestion of reading Highsmith’s work and seeing her inner workers of a murderer. I see she's a misanthropic old biddy. The stuff monsters are made of.

I was totally captivated by:

* location
* detail
* Alain Delon

LOCATION:

Aaaahhh Italy. This is not Rossellini’s neo-realistic war-torn Italy. In “Purple Noon” Italy is a luxurious luscious wasteland full of lazy and idle rich lazing about idly. The color was gorgeous. Azure waters, open air cafes, markets with fresh food. Abundance. Abundance of time. Loved the color and Clément use the location to the story's advantage. Loved the shots in the water. Haven’t seen such good use of boats and waters until “Jaws.”

DETAIL:

The attention to detail is paramount when you are a manipulative liar. I marveled at how Delon kept it all in his pretty little head. And how Clément did not shy away from showing all that’s entailed in keeping up this subterfuge. He took his time to show Risley’s ( that’s Ripley! ) plan. ( I think the detective mispronounced Ripley's name on purpose to rile him a little. ) Passport seals, practiced forgery, bank withdrawals, boat sale, stealing clothes, dumping dead bodies. All things that don’t belong to him. At one point, I was amazed he held two identities simultaneously. All under the police’s nose.

The “Freddy’s Dead” sequence ( if I may borrow liberally from “SuperFly” ) was particularly tense. How do you get rid of a body as the police bear down on you. Actor Billy Kearns, as Freddy, didn’t look like a lightweight, and in real time, just as Norman does with Marion Crane, Tom has to get rid of him. ( Did anyone notice the beautiful Romy Schneider as one of Freddy’s female companions in the beginning? )

In Clément's hands, the whole film felt like a journey. The pacing wasn’t slow, it kept moving forward with a lot of detail. I was caught up in the whole tale. And since I’m more of the Pepsi-generation than the MTV-generation, you can take your time with me to tell me a story. Purposefully let it unfold for me. I was in shock when after maybe 45-minutes into the movie, we find out that Greenleaf never knew Tom from before. Wha'?! Hey, who’s playing whom? Who’s the cat & who’s the mouse? I watched the bonus features that came with the DVD and I was sorry to hear that those upstarts of the New Wave ( Truffaut, chiefly ) spearheaded criticism of Clément’s style. I didn’t find anything old fashioned about his storytelling. I’ve got to look into his work now. He has my attention.

DELON:

Well he’s gorgeous. So let me get that out of the way.

I liked him as Tom. Well...I did kind of like Tom. He does seem pretty emotionless throughout. Whether he was put down by Greenleaf or faced a gentle early morning inquisition by a handsome detective, nothing totally seemed to phase him. I felt he liked the challenge. Whether he walked through the market, jumped out a window or carried the dead weight of a dead body he never seemed non-plussed. He’s so...what was the direction director Tourneur gave Jane Greer for “Out of the Past”? Ahh, “Impassive” the entire flick. Wait, there was that time when Greenleaf caught Tom wearing his clothes; that was a little awkward, provocative moment. I wanted him to get away with it. I can’t figure out why. He’s not earning anything on his own, he lies, cheats...murders. These are not admirable qualities. I did feel a little miffed when he went after Marge though. Marge was harmless, loving, yeah and a bit of an annoying little girlfriend who kept needing reassurance. Well, maybe reassurance was warranted since Greenleaf was a selfish, snobby S.0.B. But how tricky Tom is, to leave Marge all that money ( as Greenleaf ) and then to date her up so he could have access to that money ( as Ripley. ) Clever clever boy.

I’m sorry he’s going to get caught. But I'm hopeful he can slip out of that knot, too.

And now...I can read your posts and join the conversation you and Brother Rat had last month.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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[u]JACK[/u] [u]FAVELL[/u] - 5/9 wrote: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.
I agree with all you say. I found it kind of interesting that these these folks had such American names when they were not American. I also wanted Tom to get away with it, just like Kathleen Turner did in “BODY HEAT” even though she didn’t look totally happy at the end. I wanted to see ill-gotten gains rewarded and a chess game of wits bested by the bad guy. But the ending that the film did have was perfect irony. He thinks he’s won it all. Actually, this is the first time we really see him smile. We know something he doesn’t know. And that anvil is about to drop on his head.

* * *
[u]KING[/u] [u]RAT[/u] - 5/9 wrote:...Alain Delon and Maurice Ronet, Matt Damon and Jude Law. Neither pair and neither film of Patricia Highsmith's THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY is exactly shabby. Rene Clement and Anthony Minghella are exceptional directors, too. The novel and the two films all take slightly different tacks and all three have different endings, each of which works on its own terms. I think this tribute to Alain Delon was a great idea. Maybe this will open the door for even more of Delon's French films to appear on TCM.
Oui oui, ouvrez la porte pour Delon, I always say. I really enjoyed “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and Minghella’s patience in telling “The English Patient” story. It seems that Clément comes in in the midst of the Ripley / Greenleaf story and Minghella starts Tom off getting the job to bring Greenleaf back home. There was another Ripley version with John Malkovich that I’ve seen a little of, but didn’t hold my attention. Matt Damon was an excellent Ripley and I won’t give away any spoilers.

* * *
[u]JACK[/u] [u]FAVELL[/u] - 5/10 wrote:It's so odd that a man that good looking could really act. He had it all. I wish Alison was here, she'd have some good things to say about Delon.
Isn’t that the same thing they say of beautiful women? We just have to give the beautiful people a chance. But there is no hope for those that enter the Miss Universe contests. Tsk! Tsk! Not even the simplest sentence can be strung together by those girls.

* * *
I haven't seen The Talented Mr. Ripley, nor have I read the book. I felt solidly on Delon's side, because he seemed to really care about the girl at first, and Greenleaf was such a _______, but when you think about it, he's just as bad. Of course, once he was in for a penny, he was in for a pound, there's no stopping once you've started with a whopper like that. It was just fascinating to watch him cooly go through with it.
Again, I’m with you Wendy. I liked watching the methodical way he went about things. Kind of cold...dispassionate; like a rat in a maze. If you can’t go this way, go that way. If you can’t go that way...
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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[u]JACK[/u] [u]FAVELL[/u] wrote:There were things in that movie that really make you wonder about Rene Clement, or perhaps it was the writer who came up with those little touches on forgery and such. And the locations really put it over the top for me, that was as big a draw as Alain Delon's face. Everything was so perfect, so richly detailed, and expensive looking. Even the guy's typewriter looked expensive!
You’re so right. In all you say here. I am ready to move to the Italian Riviera right now if our gov’t. keeps going the way it is. I won’t have nearly the money Tom Ripley has, but maybe I can work in a pharmacy or at a hotel desk or something. The location was almost as gorgeous as Delon. Watching the bonus features with the DVD, it seems that Delon getting hit in the head by one of the sails was not in the script, and Clément left it in. I think though, that he had to get those extra shots of Delon trying to swim back onto the boat. Again it reminded me of Norman Bates when he tries to sink the car in the swamp...and the car doesn’t go down. Delon has to try and turn that boat around before the other boat sees Greenleaf’s body.
You could have ended it, Player-style, with him getting away with it just as easily, and left those disturbing thoughts in the viewer's head.
You know, I don’t think I would have minded seeing him get away with it; knowing that this unsuspecting cancer was out there. But the ending it did have was well-played.

* * *
[u]KING[/u] [u]RAT[/u] - 5/13 wrote:I liked PURPLE NOON even better when I watched it after reading your enthusiastic review. I'd seen it a few years ago after THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY came out. This time, it stood on its own as a superb film. Alain Delon is equally good as an actor, a movie star, and a shirtless hunk, which is pretty amazing.
Alain Delon did a good job in this film. But we’re kind of acting like we’re so surprised he can walk, chew gum and be so damned good looking. Funny. I agree with you Brother Rat, that the movie stands on its own very well.
I couldn't agree more with your praise of Rene Clement's direction. To mention only one scene, when Tom tries on Philippe's clothes and looks at himself in the mirror, pretending to be Philippe. The pacing throughout the film is great, with tension and narrative clarity. The cinematographer is the great Henri Decae, best known for his work with New Wave directors.
Vive Le Henri. He made the entire movie look like a picture postcard. Beautiful.
Did it seem to you that Clement was incorporating some New Wave techniques without slavishly imitating them or abandoning his more classical approach? I'm not sure I could quote particular sequences, but he did seem to having the best of both worlds.
* * *
[u]JACK[/u] [u]FAVELL[/u] - 5/14 wrote:Yes, I got a definite new wave feel from Purple Noon. I think that's what made it so fascinating... it seemed to happen in real time, and the edits SEEMED just a bit ...arbitrary, in that sort of New Wave way, though I'm sure each one was carefully crafted.
I wish I could say I noticed what he was doing. But I have to say I didn’t notice what Clément was doing. It all seemed to flow seamlessly; no Nouvelle Vague tricks. I’ve seen my share of French New Wave films ( “400 Blows” “Jules & Jim” “Contempt” “My Night at Maud’s” “Les Biches” etc. ) seeing some of the films at the 68th Street Playhouse near Hunter College. But I like his train of thought and cohesive storytelling. ( Shame on you Truffaut!! )
it was all done to create an impression of .... laissez faire, I think, combined with a very ambivalent, unsettled feeling. Especially the scenes on the boat struck me as disjointed and off kilter, slow, moody and stark, but a different stark, more of a sunlit aloneness. One really feels time passing in this movie.
“Sunlit aloneness.” I like that. I, too, felt like the movie was taking me on a journey, which I’m likening to your saying 'time passes' in this film.
The battle between Greenleaf and Ripley lent itself to the kind of methodical, Peter Brook, Lord of the Flies power game style of film-making, but it felt instead loose and easy, primitive, instinctual, sun-washed and lazy. It's a great combination, lazy and deadly. I can't tell you how much I hated Greenleaf. That's the set-up. Clement took care to create an entire mindset for us, very subjective, letting us in on Ripley's feelings (which at first were quite high minded, LOVE, after all was his motivation) while keeping us gawping at his beauty which matched the setting perfectly. You could really see how he would feel entitled to that luxury! I felt he deserved it after all his hard work and of course his beauty didn't hurt. He looked like he belonged. You can't help admiring him.
I felt the battle of Tom and Philippe started when Philippe kind of figured out that something was up with Tom. Before it felt like Greenleaf had the upper hand in their relationship. That uneven “I’m-rich- and-you’re-poor-but-I’m-going-to-let-you hang-out-with-me; you know-to-entertain- me” kind of thing. I’ll have to check out the movie again. Don’t remember seeing Tom being high-minded. In fact, I was wondering what he was doing there, catching all the abuse. ( Though I might take some **** for the chance to go on a yacht! )
I think this is what's great about the movie - you have these battling ambivalent or even not so ambivalent feelings. Of course he couldn't get away with it forever, but I loved that he came that close to closing it, only to have an entirely fateful accident stop him...
Tom sits in that lounge chair, stretched out with his hands behind his head, a self-satisfied smile is a killer. He sat there with a self-satisified cat with canary feathers in his mouth, look. Success within his grasp.
...And it makes you realize all the more how phoney he is, that you yourself have been played and that's what makes him so successful. The rug is pulled out, the scales fall from your eyes in one swoop. All the movies I've seen lately kind of point the way toward this kind of movie making... The Killing is maybe the beginning of those 'rooting for the bad guy' films where you are so on their side that it's kind of disturbing. I admit, I love that kind of subjective film making.
This is why I love movies. Where does the director choose to put the camera. Whose story are we looking at. The director can influence who we identify with. We can identify with Bambi or we can ( in a way ) identify with Hitler or with Rocky or with Norman Bates at a certain point. I loved the precision of the planning in “The Killing” and the precision of Tom Ripley and circumstances.
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MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by MikeBSG »

Today I watched "The Twilight Samurai" (2002) directed by Yoji Yamada.

This one did not work for me. It is about a debt-pressed samurai at the time of the Meiji Restoration. (In some ways, this film reminded me of "Unforgiven." A debt-pressed man is forced into an act of violence.) It might have worked as a 90 minute film. At 2 hours and ten minutes, it dragged on and on. It wasn't bad, but It just took forever to get where it was going.

Oddly, this film made me feel better about contemporary Hollywood. We may have lost the ability to make good Westerns, musicals and comedies, but the Japanese have lost the ability to make good samurai movies. Clearly, this is something universal in the movie industry and not just an American problem. We are not alone.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by MikeBSG »

On Wednesday I watched "The Young Girls of Rochefort" (1967).

It took me a while to get into it. (The scenes of the carnival driving to Rochefort and setting up just seemed pointless.) But when the two girls started to sing, wow, I was hooked.

And then Gene Kelly showed up! It was magical. He not only showed up, but he danced with children and some sailors, and I was grinning as much as Kelly was by the end of it.

I like "Umbrellas of Cherbourg" a bit more, but "Young Girls of Rochefort" really delighted me.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by ChiO »

Caught a couple -- actually, one-and-a-half -- recently.

RENOIR (Gilles Bourdos 2012) is based on a work by Jacques Renoir, great-grandson of Auguste Renoir and nephew of Jean Renoir, and himself a cinematographer and photographer. Jean is at Auguste's home convalescing from WWI injuries. At the home is Andree, a model for Auguste. Both Renoirs are smitten and, in effect, she becomes a Muse to both. She is a beautiful free spirit, casually posing in the nude and refusing to follow in the footsteps of the painter's previous models, all of whom now work as his servants and caregivers. The film, which we saw in a theater, is absolutely gorgeously shot (as one might expect given the subjects), but the narrative was not that engaging. We both left feeling glad that we saw it -- especially on a big screen -- but that we would likely have no urge ever to re-visit it.

That was the movie. Now the half-movie.

We were joined by two other couples (the two husbands being from London and Newcastle) at the Music Box to watch a live feed from the West End of The Audience, starring a Helen Mirren. Advertised as "Just Like Being There!", meaning "at the Gielgud", it wasn't (even taking into account any differences between North Side Chicago and London's West End). Mirren portrays Queen Elizabeth as she meets weekly, for 20 minutes per meeting, with the then-Prime Minister. At times, it is quite amusing -- especially the audiences with Harold Wilson, for whom she had great affection, and Callahan suddenly complaining (outside of an audience) that none of his audiences were included. The dialogue is, of course, fictional. And the audiences are presented non-chronologically. Mirren and some of the Prime Ministers are excellent. The play, written by Peter Morgan, is good enough. But the presentation drove me nuts. If it's a play, then put the camera in the middle of the theater and show me the entire stage as I would see it (if I could afford the best seat). If it's a movie, then use the camera cinematically. But, no, we get the whole stage, then annoying close-ups, back-and-forth, on the then-speaker, then back out again, over and over and repeated ad nauseam with each audience -- no more creative than if it were a bad TV talk show. Best part: a live interview with Peter Morgan at intermission.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

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I enjoyed UN FLIC (A COP, dir. Jean-Pierre Melville), a heist film with borrowings from THE ASPHALT JUNGLE and RIFIFI, very much. It tries to top those films by having not one but two nearly silent robbery sequences, a seaside bank and a train. Dialogue is minimal, but with Alain Delon as the tough, sometimes brutal, cop, Richard Crenna as the main villain, and Catherine Deneuve as the woman they both love, the relative lack of characterization matters less than it might. (Consider the way that Melville lets us know that an informant has a crush on Delon.) Deneuve doesn’t have much screen time, but she makes the most of it.

Here I’d thought that blue-tone photography was a recent fad, but UN FLIC’s blue-gray, blue-green color palette makes the faces look cadaverous, which is appropriate here. As much as I usually don’t care for blue-tone photography (or red-tone in Truffaut’s THE LAST METRO), this time it works, giving us a more than acceptable noir-in-color feeling. The opening, with deserted streets, the pounding of the sea, and a seemingly deserted apartment building in the middle of nowhere, has a strange surrealist appearance. The film grabbed me and didn’t let go. The only other Melville film I've seen is BOB LE FLAMBEUR; time to see more of them.

It’s only fair to say that some viewers are put off by the model work in this film, but it did not bother me. If Melville didn’t know exactly what he was doing, UN FLIC would be nothing more than a pastiche of earlier films—but Melville knows exactly what he’s doing.
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Re: WHAT FOREIGN FILMS HAVE YOU WATCHED LATELY?

Post by ChiO »

You haven't seen LE SAMOURAI (1967)? Cure that as soon as possible. I have enjoyed all 10 Melville movies I've seen (he directed 14), but LE SAMOURAI...one of my favorite movies, period.

And some guy named Delon is in it, too.

Then ARMY OF SHADOWS (1969).
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles
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