Monday, May 18, 2009

I've Loved You So Long & Film Recommends

French, and very lovely. I'd say Netflix it up, but don't read a goddam thing online. Don't even read the summary on the side of the Netflix envelop.

Your foreign film rental suggestions in Comments, please...


Grant said...

Sorry - completely unrelated, but some spotty Avid editors (myself included) thought we read somewhere that the Sony EX1 was used on some exteriors for S1 of 'Leverage'. Would someone kind member of the production disabuse (or abuse - that doesn't sound good) us of this notion?

Grant said...

...and in the spirit of the post, 'I've Loved You So Long' was spectacular, and Kristin Scott Thomas never better. I would have to say 'L'Appartement' directed by Gilles Mimouni and with a very young Monica Belluci (I can barely type her name without dribbling into the keyboard) and Vincent Cassel is my favourite French film of the last decade-and-a-bit. 'Sex & Lucia' was pretty damn amazing as well, and pretty innovative in the use of HD shooting.

Isis said...

My absolute favourite foreign film is Delicatessen:
so funny it even made my dad laugh out loud (which isn't easy)

Richard Jensen said...

"OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies" Imagine an Austin Powers Movie only much drier and no poo drinking.pedire

kinesys said...

Let the right one in. But then I am a staunch supporter of Cocoa Puffs where vampires are concerned.

I also liked Besson's original La Femme Nikita.

Also also: Kurosawa's Ran which features the only instance I have ever seen on film of a man acting with his feet. And the most riveting battle sequence ever filmed. hands down, bar none.

It's been many years and I don't know if it would still hold up today, but I also recall being totally in love with the entire Shogun mini-series on NBC back in the day. And much of that was entirely in japanese

jill said...

"Le Placard" ("The Closet" in English). Hilarious.

Ducky said...


mtw said...

Night Watch and Day Watch, because nobody likes making movies more than Bekmembatov.

The Orphanage, because a good ghost story crosses cultural boundaries.

District B-13, because it speaks the international language of blowing stuff up.

Tell No One, because it adapts American thriller tropes to a French setting and creates an exquisite human drama.

Priceless, because there's such a thing as light, commercial foreign romcom.

clyde said...

Whale Rider - amazing performance by a very young Keisha Castle-Hughes.

Strictly Ballroom - hilarious Aussie export.

Rouge - Irene Jacob is breathtaking in a very quiet film.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - I think Chow Yun-Fat is fantastic. His relationship with Michelle Yeoh very reminiscent of Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson in Remains of the Day.

wufnik said...

Two recent French movies that I enjoyed very much:
(1) Tell No One, which I see has already been recommended, but let me second that. An excellent and intelligent thriller, with a nice little turn by KST.
(2) Summer Hours, with Juliette Binoche, but really an excellent all-around ensemble. A move about loss and life changes, that reminded me at times (a bit) of Rocket Gibraltar. A bit more French, though.

Matt B said...

Damn, mtw already got District B-13 (originally Banlieue 13). So, I'll drop its spiritual twin from the other side of the world, Ong-Bak. I'm proud to say I saw each of those on the big screen.

Nato said...

"The Battle of Algiers" -- just finished watching it on Netflix, and it's a tense, mournful, boundlessly sympathetic look at terrorists and the soldiers who hunt them.

"Stray Dog" -- Rookie cop Toshiro Mifune and world-weary mentor Takashi Shimura team up to hunt down the desperate crook who's using Mifune's stolen gun to commit ever-worsening crimes in postwar Tokyo. Akira Kurosawa knocks this one out of the park.

"Elevator to the Gallows" -- Louis Malle directs Jeanne Moreau in a Hitchcockian tale of a murder plot foiled by a broken elevator and a pair of teenage joyriders. Awesomely suspenseful right up until the very last moments.

"The Nest" -- A gang of thieves, an aging security guard, and a group of UN peacekeepers hole up in a warehouse, besieged by an army of faceless thugs bent on freeing the peacekeepers' prisoner, a monstrous Balkan war criminal. A humanist action movie, if such a thing is possible, with an amazing knack for developing fully realized characters with the barest minimum of dialogue.

Evan said...

Lagaan. Yes, I know it's a four-hour Hindi bollywood-musical epic historical drama about cricket. Shut up and go put it on your netflix queue right now.

TimB said...

The Fifth Element

This french production isn't usually thought of as a "foreign film" but that's just because it's not all artsy.

Elizabeth said...

"Tell No One" is awesome, and available from NetFlix. Saw it at the local arthouse theater twice, it was that good.

Emily Blake said...

Taegukgi, a Korean film about two brothers who end up fighting on opposite sides in the war.

I'm not sure if any movie has ever made me cry as much as that one. Just spectacular.

I also love House of Flying Daggers.

mtw said...

Daratt, The Night of Truth, and Guelwaar, because African cinema is woefully unknown and under-represented.

The Band's Visit, because it's a truly "foreign" film in its pace and sensibility, and because it has one of the funniest scenes of 2008 smack dab in its middle.

jenniebee said...

I enjoyed The Horseman on the Roof, although the best part of that may have been that I actually got to go see a non-summer-blockbuster movie with my then-boyfriend by promising him that Juliette Binoche gets naked at the end of the movie.

GM Doug said...

Brotherhood of the Wolf - "Le Pacte des loups"

I love this film - some call it just a fancy Martial Arts/Conspiracy/Knights Templar/Horror/Period Film. But it's more than that. It's got just about everything thrown in really, it looks great with photography which is well crafted. It also has a beautiful song to finish out the titles.

In fact.. I'm going to watch it again this week, now that I think about it.

Anonymous said...

"Z"--Costa-Gavras' tale of a political crime may have been produced on a shoestring budget. But 40 years later, it still works as a riveting political thriller.

"Lilies"--John Greyson's visually amazing adaptation of a play about buried passions, murder, and betrayal. Yeah, it's Canadian and it's gay-themed. Deal.

"Duck Season"--If your tastes run to Jim Jarmusch films such as "Stranger Than Paradise," then you need to see this. Out of a very minimal setting, this Mexican film manages to be a hilarious portrayal of troubled adolescence. Besides, where else are you going to see really potent pot brownies and a Beatles visual gag in the same movie?

Capn Frank said...

Anything with Jacques Tati in it - Trafic, Playtime, Mon Oncle, M. Hulot's Holiday

Shall We Dance? (1995) - the original Japanese one

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

My Neighbor Totoro

Eat Drink Man Woman

Gojira (1954) the original in Japanese without Raymond Burr

Ms. Bizarro said...

The Host (Gwoemul) 2006 S. Korea

Shall We Dancu 1996 Japan

In The Mood for Love (Fa yeung nin wa) 2000 Hong Kong
(and anything else by Wong Kar Wai)

The Class (Entre les murs) 2008 France

Iain said...

Memories of Murder from the director of The Host - a laugh out loud serial killer movie, psychological drama and indictment of government sanctioned torture that could only come from Korea.

Next Door - truly disturbing Norwegian "adult" thriller.

and for a change of pace - Survive Style 5+ - kind of like a Japanese remake of a Mad magazine parody of Pulp Fiction with Vinnie Jones playing Vincent Vega. I'm sure there's some new primary colours in there I hadn't seen before.

Erik said...

I'll chime in with 2 more French movies, both starring the too-cute-for-words Audrey Tautou:

Amelie and A Very Long Engagement

Both are by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who was involved with Delicatessen mentioned above.

Doctor Jay said...

I'll chime in with two Japanese films that are funny, touching, and, ahem, very unusual.

First, Juzo Itami's Tampopo. All I can say is, I love me them noodles.

Then Takeshi Kitano's revisiting of Zatoichi. I think it's called "The Blind Swordsman Zatoichi" in English.

deanareeno said...

La Haine (written & directed by
Mathieu Kassovitz) warned if you rent the Criterion DVD, it has an "introduction" by Jodie Foster, which (despite its label) you should watch after watching the main film. The "introduction" is really a discussion of the movie that charges ahead assuming you've already watched it, and it gives away major plot points.

fliegr said...

La Moustache (2005). Odd and ultimately engrossing. Very hard to describe.

DJ said...

The Fast Runner

Hartwell said...

Nine Queens - A fascinating crime movie following an older con taking a young man new to the game around to show him the ropes as they get wrapped up in the "one last score" he needs to retire. Twists upon twists and con upon con build to an awesome ending while the characters get developed fantastically throughout the course of the film. It was remade into Criminal starring John C. Reilly, which I didn't see, but heard lost the heart and charm of the original.

The Aura - The second and last film by Fabian Belinsky (director of Nine Queens), this could not be farther from Nine Queens - whereas Nine Queens is a delicately built Rube Goldberg machine of a plot, The Aura is nothing but character development for two hours as an epileptic taxidermist who jokingly plans heists in his spare time, finds himself involved in a real one. Slow, ethereal and gorgeous, this movie was easily the best thing to ever come out of Sundance.

Stefan Jones said...

I'll second "A Very Long Engagement," "Tampopo," and "The Orphanage" mentioned above.

"I'm Not Scared" (

Boy playing in a field discovers a cell where a kidnapped child has been hidden. Edge of the seat thrilling at times.

"Crimson Gold" (

Iran-Iraq war veteran turned working stiff sees how the other half lives; has a chance to marry. Searing.

"The Color of Paradise" ( Blind boy taken home to live with his widowed father, who finds him a hindrance to his chances to remarry. 2 x 4 to the gut tearjerker.

"Travelers and Magicians" ( From Bhutan! Petty bureaucrat has a chance to leave his post in the sticks and move to L.A. He has to get to the capital ASAP, but keeps running into delays on way. Fellow travelers spin moral tales. Really, really leisurely.

"The Host" ( Not as good as some of the hype, but worth a look. Incredibly grim story about a dysfunctional family dealing with the kidnapping of their youngest by a mutant fish creature.

"The Lives of Others" ( Gray-souled Stasi operative is assigned to eavesdrop on a respected playwright.

"Goodbye Lenin!" (

Loyal GDR housemarm falls into a coma in 1989, and awakes in 1990, after the Berlin Wall has fallen and communism tossed on the dustbin of history. To prevent the shock from killing her, her kids outfit her apartment with the shabby trappings of East German life.

Sean said...

Since no-ones mentioning Johnny To EXILED and THE MISSION are both worth renting. THE MISSION is out of print right now(so is Army of Darkness oddly enough) so I'd just suggest buying it from a seller on amazon.


Eleanor said...

Jenniebee has already mentioned The Horseman on the Roof. :)

Le Bossu, for a bit of swash and buckle

Taxi (all of them) Luc Bessant, for some high octane action

Steven desJardins said...

"Electra, My Love". The Oresteia relocated to the Hungarian plains, with a dash of Communist ideology thrown in, and some absolutely beautiful long camera shots.

sisterjune said...

Untold Scandal - a lush sensual korean adaptation of the book/play las liasons dangreuses. it's set during pre chosun korea. the costumes are gorgeous, the cinematography is gorgeous and it's a beautiful film.

Let the right one in - also based on a book, and this one is a swedish film. in simple terms it's about a boy who befriends a vampire. the film manages to be both a love story and a very creepy horror story at the same time.

Kamikaze girls - Japanese film about two girls from very different japanese subcultures (one is a lolita and the other is a yankee/biker) who manage to become friends. it sounds kind of dull but the movie is actually alot of fun to watch and has that surreal edge that you often find in modern japanese films.

Hero - a wuxia film. ie one of those balletic chinese martial arts films. This is one of my favorites though, the cinematography is SO pretty and the fight scenes are perfect. but the best part is how the narrative of the story is weaved through and you hear the same story told in different ways, but not like rashomon, since it's just one person telling the story here. the ending is very powerful.

Lizzie said...

Whale rider (new zealand)
Life is beautiful (italy)
Hero (china)
A Tale of two sisters (korea)
Asoka (India)

are some of the best foreign films I've ever seen. and I've seen quite a few! Tale of two sisters managed to be one of the scariest movies I've ever seen and also completely devastating, that ending haunted me for weeks. Whale rider made me cry and is very uplifting, especially for a young girl and I saw it when I was pretty young. Asoka is a bollywood film but it has more intensity and violence in it than any bollywood film i've seen before. Personally it's my favorite, it still has the customary singing, dancing and love story but in the case of Asoka it's not the sole focus of the film, and about mid way it does a 180 in tone, which what separates it from many of other films of it's ilk. and also the ancient somewhat mythical setting lends it a certain charm as well.

Jo said...

As already mentioned: - The Horseman on the Roof and Nine Queens.

Also the french TV crime drama Spiral (Engrenages in French). It's a fantastic antidote to all those same-y US crime dramas and a real insights into an entirely different legal system.

d f mamea said...

read the script for I've Loved You So Long last year before catching it on the big screen. damn. and by a first-time director, too. damn.

i credit Wandafuru Raifu (aka After Life 1998) with showing my wife-to-be that i wasn't all guns and fast cars.

Original Lee said...

I love Brotherhood of the Wolf.

Also, a fairly old Aussie film, The Coca Cola Kid, has the best Coke jingle ever as part of the soundtrack.

The Fugue Filmmakers said...

MARTYRS (directed by Pascal Laugier) just came out on DVD and it is all kinds of hardcore awesome. The story structure is phenomenal; there are like four or five HUGE left turns in the plot. Definitely don't read anything about this before you watch, it's a real find.

But be aware, the violence is extremely graphic.

Jimmer said...

Great suggestions! My Netflix queue is now full to brimming.

My two cents - little known bit of genius, "The Saragossa Manuscript", a surreal, sexy, loopy, lush story within a story within a story from Poland.

Anonymous said...


(may need subtitles for non-Brits)

steckley said...

Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles. A movie I found far superior to I've Loved You For So Long, which I must admit, despite loving Kristin Scott Thomas, I just didn't understand the appeal. There was virtually no actual decision-making on the part of her character to keep the story moving. It just kinda bored me. She didn't really DO anything in the movie except maintain a vague and distant expression on her face in scene after scene.

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