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Helene PMed me about recommending some Bollywood movies that I admire, as an Indian and would recommend to fellow foreigners (as an American born girl who doesn't understand a word of Hindi). That got me to thinking, I'm studying French right now, and I'm beginning Italian and will be starting Chinese over the summer (I love languages!). I never know which French movies are critically acclaimed in France, and likewise with other foreign movies in their home countries, since I only see a small selection when I watch the Oscars.

So, I figured, why not have everyone recommend a few foreign films that they admire--in all languages and about all cultures. Even if it's a film made in America or England, it's probably considered "foreign" to others, so this way, we'll have an exciting set of movies that have been recommended by people we trust :( Good, bad, mediocre, how the public liked it, what the critics said, any actors/directors you recommend? It'd be nice to have a centralized list, that way, when we select movies, we aren't spending forever trying to figure out it it's worth the money to go see/rent/buy.

I'll start!!

Bollywood:

Parineeta: All about two families who's business intrigues separate two lovers. I won't spoil it, but I'll just explain why I liked it so much. First of all, I cannot stomach the established Bollywood actresses these days, as most of them flounce around with very little acting skills. Therefore, the decision to include Vidya Balan, a virtual unknown, was a risk, but she was marvelous. Subtlety in acting. I understand that her other movies are very good too, which I haven't seen, but if someone has seen "Guru" or "Eklavya", do tell me how she did. Saif Ali Khan is a very good actor, as well, but he's completely overshadowed by Ms. Balan, and he knows it. He lets her take center stage, knowing that the movie and its story will make them all stars. Finally, the producer: Vidhu Vinod Chopra is one of the best producers and directors in India these days. This movie was all about subtlety, which was a refreshing break from the horror of Devdas.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna : I have very mixed feelings about this movie. On the one hand, it's not as much of a horror as Devdas (the new version), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kal Ho Naa Ho, or Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. On the other hand, it's still pretty bad. The subject matter is interesting, if a little redundant. Shah Rukh Khan is FINALLY playing a 40 year old man, instead of playing an 18 year old, and when the actors aren't trying to be funny or "Western", they're doing a good job with the material. Watch it, but watch something of substance afterwards.....

Water: I know this isn't Bollywood, but Deepa Mehta does an amazing job. Considering what this movie went through to get it in production, I'm impressed that she tackled such an important topic in India, and she did it with sensitivity. John Abraham is one of India's treasures, (and he's just lovely to watch, both in acting....and in general :thumbsup: ). If you can stomach the subject of what Indian culture used to (and still does) to widows in India, do watch, it's lovely.

Those are the ones for now, I'll add a few more once the topic grows!!

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Water: I know this isn't Bollywood, but Deepa Mehta does an amazing job. Considering what this movie went through to get it in production, I'm impressed that she tackled such an important topic in India, and she did it with sensitivity. John Abraham is one of India's treasures, (and he's just lovely to watch, both in acting....and in general :thumbsup: ). If you can stomach the subject of what Indian culture used to (and still does) to widows in India, do watch, it's lovely.

Those are the ones for now, I'll add a few more once the topic grows!!

The other two Deepa Mehta films that round out the trilogy are also amazing - Fire and Earth. The three films - Earth, Fire and Water are connected only in that they each have to do with women affected by tradition, history, politics and circumstance and how they respond within the restrictions imposed upon them.

Truly amazing movies. That said I've also seen one of Deepa Mehta's Bollywood films and found it fun and enjoyable (unfortunately I can't remember the name.)

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Oh well, so let's keep this going:

My all time favorite movie, (which i saw for the first time when i was a kid, and just couldn't get away from its magic ever since): the tasteful french 1964 Jacques Demy's "Les parapluies de Cherbourg". (Can we live without the young and beautiful Catherine Deneuve and her blonde 'do ? :thumbsup: What about Michel Legrand's enchanting score...?

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My favorite is the Italian film,"Cinema Paradiso",growing-up film set in Sicily.For someone who wants to see small,independent films,try " the Bloosoming of Maximo Oliveros", a gem from the Philippines.Both are available in Netplix with English subtitles.

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I also love Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

Other favorites: Jeux Interdits, 400 Blows, Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Ikiri, Ugetsu, Floating Weeds, Sansho the Bailiff, Pan's Labyrinth

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I love Andre Techine, especially 'Wild Reeds', 'Alice et Martin' (has Juliette Binoche), 'Les Egarements' (with Emanuelle Beart), and most of all 'Les Temps Qui Changent', with Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve. Also many other Deneuve films, including 'Pola X' of Carax, 'Place Vendome', 'Ma Saison Preferee', 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses' (2003 French miniseries), and earlier 'Belle du Jour'.

Other French masterpieces are by Resnais, 'Hiroshima Mon Amour', 'L'Annee Derniere a Marienbad' (with Alain Robbe-Grillet) and 'Pas Sur la Bouche' (brilliant French musical 2003, but not easy to find.)

Also 'La Dolce Vita' and '8 1/2' of Fellini, Kaige Chen's 'Farewell, My Concubine' about Peking Opera, and the French-Vietnamese 'Scent of Green Papaya'.

Satyajit Ray's 'Apu Trilogy' is wonderful. And there are also lots of Bergman and Antonioni threads you can look at here--you don't want to miss these either. There's also Almodovar still working unusual wonders in Spanish, and some early directors like Fritz Lang and Pabst and Eisenstein which are basic for the silent period and just later.

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keeping my list rolling...

Luis Bunuel's irreverent 1961 "Viridiana", surrealistic 1962 "The Exterminating Angel"-(my favorite :thanks: ) and the great satiric 1972 "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie". Talk about being subversive! :dunno:

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How could I forget "Rules of the Game"?

In general, if you see anything by the trilogy of Japanese director gods (Akira Kurosawa, Yashiro Ozu, and Kenzi Mizoguchi) you can't go wrong.

"In the Mood for Love," "House of Flying Daggers," and "Raise the Red Lantern" are all beautiful films.

I admit I'm not much of an Ingmar Bergman fan, so someone else do a list for him.

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great satiric 1972 "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie". Talk about being subversive! :thanks:

I don't know if it worked as subversion: I'm afraid the perfect elegance of Delphine Seyrig convinced me of the importance of 'leg o' lamb' every time she said anything about it, no matter how shallow and against Bunuel's thrust--I think she could convince me of anything. Bunuel needed a less intense and much plainer actress (although she would still need to look rich and even fatuous) than Ms. Seyrig (who can't do fatuous no matter what--maybe she can't convince me of that), all of whose work I admire without reservation--even when she worked for Allen Ginsburg. And I think she was more perfect for Bunuel (instead of just for me) as the prostitute at the end of 'The Milky Way.' And for Truffaut's 'Stolen Kisses', she was, as Jean-Pierre Leaud describes her 'une femme superbe.' Some think that's Truffaut's best film, but there's also 'Jules et Jim'. I also think 'Rififi' of Jules Dassin is great--pretty rough noir stuff though, and all about tough guys not behaving very nicely in a number of ways. Not as great as Orson Welles's 'Touch of Evil' as noir masterpiece, but definitely exemplary.

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As another Indian-American (slowly becoming Brit?) can I join in on the Bollywood stuff? My fave of the Mehta trilogy is Earth... I love Lagaan, and Salaam Bombay is amazing. I also really did like Parineeta. Salaam Bombay is a Mira Nair film (she did Monsoon Wedding).... I'm going to have to sit an dreally think about others to sort them out....

..soon we're also going to need a thread on documentaries!

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Because I spend all my weekends at home with my parents (unfortunately, my particular college is one of the top Party Schools in the nation :( ), I usually end up watching older Bollywood films.

I thought at first that I'd despise them, however, I fell in love with these movies. Even the song and dance numbers I can deal with. Paakeezah is one of my favorites, if only for the songs and Meena Kumari, who died around when the film was made. Her life was probably more tragic than her character's. If you can watch the old version of Devdas (1955), you'll like it, I guarantee, a lot more than the new spectacle that was created recently.

I'm about to see Volver in a few hours. I'll post my thoughts!

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Heading South (Vers le sud), in French (subtitled) and English, with the amazing Charlotte Rampling, about middle-aged upper middle-class white women who vacation in 1970s Haiti for sex with Haitian men (talk about a film that Hollywood could never make--it really gets into all the cultural contexts);

and

Other Peoples' Lives. A MUST see. A surprisingly uplifting German film that won last year's Oscar for best foreign film.

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I'm about to see Volver in a few hours. I'll post my thoughts!

2006 "Volver" wasn't my favorite Almodovar's movie...I've followed his filmography with loyalty for years, and this is the list of the movies that i've seen of the spanish director,(if m. serve). I'll make a few recomendations on those that i particulary like.

2004 Bad Education

2002 Talk to Her

1999 All About My Mother. Intense and beautiful. Highly recomended. Oscar winner.

1997 Live Flesh

1995 The Flower of My Secret

1993 Kika

1991 High Heels A cult to kitsh as a genuine way of making art. Glamorous Marissa Paredes :D on it. Don't miss it.

1990 Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! . A very sensual and suggestive movie.

1988 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown .One of the best comedies i've ever seen in my whole life.

1987 Law of Desire . Again, great made kitsh on a gay story of love and madness.

1986 The Bullfighter. Very tasteful and elegant.

1984 What Have I Done to Deserve This? Neurosis at its best.

1983 Dark Hideout . Bizarre.

1982 Labyrinth of Passion

1980 Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls on the Heap . Just perfectly delightful as a way to see the introduction of the 80's in Spain.

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cubanmiamiboy, is there any film industry in Cuba? Any thing you would recommend seeing?

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I have to jump in here with Les Enfants du Paradis (France 1945).

It was a NY Times Critics' Pick and this page has a clip which is the original 1945 English-language trailer:

http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/9264/Les-E...aradis/overview

A link to the Wikipedia page for the film:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Enfants_du_Paradis

Changed my life! (seriously, more ways than one). The most amazing movie, made under the most incredible conditions.

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I have to jump in here with Les Enfants du Paradis (France 1945).

Changed my life! (seriously, more ways than one). The most amazing movie, made under the most incredible conditions.

I totally agree--one of the most glorious and beautiful films ever made. I put it in my top 3 of all-time favourites.

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cubanmiamiboy, is there any film industry in Cuba?

Yes, there's an important film industry, basically of experimental-independent low budget movies, primary made after 1959 and strongly influenced by the italian neo-realism cinema

Anything you would recommend seeing?

If you want to see a great cuban movie try to get Tomas Gutierrez Alea's 1968 masterpiece "Memories of Underdevelopment", :D which is based on Edmundo Desnoe's novel Inconsolable Memories and was selected among the best 100 films of all times by the International Federation of Film-Clubs. The story takes place during a transitory period in Cuba, between the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, events to which the film makes direct reference by using fragments of newsreels, recording of speeches and filming with a hidden camera . Alea made full use of the handheld camera technique in addition to voiceover, which, despite the protagonist's moral ambiguity, give the film a remarkable level of unity and completeness. Shortly, it tells the story of Sergio, a well-off apolitical intellectual guy, who becomes increasingly self-absorbed and alienated from the world around him when, at the onset of the revolution, his wife and friends leave Havana. Walking the streets of the city at this “time of departure”, Sergio, while considering his countrymen “underdeveloped” in order to satisfy his intellectual quest to become a writer, is confronted with his own inability in self-realisation. Aesthetically, i find that "Memories" resembles the early-'60s work of Antonioni. Its mood, conveying the characters' labyrinth of moral ambiguity and detachment and the use of long, isolating camera takes gazing at deserted streets and characters' faces, are some of the Alea's key elements remainders of those of the Italian director. Also from Alea i would highly recommend the following movies:

1962 The Twelve Chairs. Great comedy

1966 Death of a Bureaucrat. Hilarious view of cuban bureaucracy.

1972 A Cuban Fight Against Demons. Surrealistic and experimental. :yucky:

1976 The Last Supper. Surreal and plenty of simbolic images.

1979 The Survivors. Excelent film telling the story of an upper class bourgeois cuban family's reaction to Castro's revolution, as they decide to lock themselves in their Havana mansion in January 1959 "for a couple of months until the new Castro's government falls off". Reminiscence of Bunuel's "The Exterminating angel" :clapping:

1994 Strawberry and Chocolate. Oscar nominated for best foreign film and a brave take on gay/political issues. :clapping:

Also, try this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema_of_Cuba

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Thanks, ngitangali, for starting the topic, and to everyone else who’s posted so far.

'L'Annee Derniere a Marienbad'

I admire this, too, and it doesn’t get revived very frequently.

I have to jump in here with Les Enfants du Paradis (France 1945).

Changed my life! (seriously, more ways than one). The most amazing movie, made under the most incredible conditions.

I feel the same way about it. Maria Casares is wasted, and the child actor who plays the son deserves to be consigned to The Sound of Music, but everything else is miraculous.

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Maria Casares is wasted, and the child actor who plays the son deserves to be consigned to The Sound of Music, but everything else is miraculous.

How can Casares be wasted? Because it's a supporting role done by a great Comedie Francaise actress? Martita Hunt, Wendy Hiller, Edith Evans and Dame May Whitty have done them too. I think any time you see someone of that calibre of talent it's worth it, especially if the film is of such high quality (I didn't find the child actor irritating either, but I'll look more closely next time). 'Wastings' to me usually mean someone excellent but in a lead role in a dreadful film, like Deneuve in 'April Fools' or Laurence Olivier in 'Bunny Lake is Missing' or Faye Dunaway in 'Eyes of Laura Mars.' And all the big names in 'The Pledge' were wasted in the most unceremonious way--but I would wager it was their choice and therefore their fault, probably a lot of interconnected professional networks among the personnel which produced what I thought to be a dreadful picture. Unless you meant that you didn't think she was good in the part. I might even say the Lunts were wasted in 'The Guardsman', which is a silly period piece, but they bring it to life. No offense, of course, just curious. I thought they were all amazing in 'Les Enfants'.

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How can Casares be wasted? Because it's a supporting role done by a great Comedie Francaise actress?

I meant that it’s a thankless role for Casares. It’s not that the role is in support, but that it’s limited and unsympathetic, to me at any rate, and not worthy of her. I wouldn’t say that Hunt is wasted as Miss Havisham, for example (or Evans in her brief role as Ma Tanner in the movie of Look Back in Anger, a small gem).

I thought they were all amazing in 'Les Enfants'.

They are all amazing. I’d seen good film acting before, but this movie was for me a revelation of what it can be.

I might even say the Lunts were wasted in 'The Guardsman', which is a silly period piece, but they bring it to life.

It’s fair to say that all too often the Lunts wasted themselves in such things, although they had a splendid farewell in The Visit. They are wonderful in The Guardsman, but without them there wouldn’t be much point. Irving Thalberg wanted them to come back and do a film version of the Maxwell Anderson play they're performing at the start of the movie. I doubt it would have been a masterpiece but it would have been interesting to see them in something a little weightier.

I'm about to see Volver in a few hours. I'll post my thoughts!

Please do, ngitanjali.

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A pair of friends of mine saw the Lunts in The Visit and were entranced by them.

The boy who played Little Baptiste in Les Enfants was named Jean-Pierre Belmon, and according to IMDB.com, made only 2 movies, of which it was the 2nd. I didn't find him any more irritating than any other little boy; in fact in the scene where he goes to Garance's box in the theatre to tell her how happy his mother and father and he are together, I thought he was particularly good. I thought Maria Casares particularly good in a very difficult part; maybe it needed an actress that good to make it effective?

Someone has posted the scene where Baptiste witnesses the thief of the man's watch on youtube with the title: Les Enfants du Paradis (Chapter 4 "Witness). It's just so great.

Interestingly there is a radio personality named Jean-Pierre Belmon, and according to the picture on this page, it very well could be him, i suppose he'd be in his late 60s by now, you have to scroll down to the picture:

http://mediterranee.france3.fr/emissions/c...25328771-fr.php

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Wow! Such nice recommendations! With winter break coming up for me, I'll certainly have lots to watch :clapping:

Now, more on Volver. I don't speak a word of Spanish (yet, I'm taking a Spanish language intensive over the summer here at university), so I watched it on TV, subtitled. I really really liked it. Penelope Cruz did a great job, however, (not due to any fault of her own), she was completely overshadowed by the other actresses (most of whom I hadn't even heard of). Each person really got into their character, and it was just a wonderfully directed, scripted (or subtitled), acted movie. The plotline was extremely shocking, especially the twist at the end, but it just made all the idiosyncrasies of each character come to life and be better explained.

Do watch, I think it's wonderful. In French class, we're going to watch "Etre et Avoir". Any thoughts?

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I don't speak a word of Spanish (yet, I'm taking a Spanish language intensive over the summer here at university), so I watched it on TV, subtitled.

I know the feeling. I myself felt frustrated several times back when i came to US and my english wasn't that good, when going to the movie theaters and not having subtitles, so not being able to understand half of the dialogues... :beg:

Penelope Cruz did a great job, however, (not due to any fault of her own), she was completely overshadowed by the other actresses (most of whom I hadn't even heard of).

The "dead-ghostly" mother is played by great actress Carmen Maura :bow: , one of Almodovar's favorite muses and seen in almost all of his old works. You HAVE to see her playing a male-to-female transexual on his strong gay themed 1987 "Law of Desire" . She is FANTASTIC! :clapping:

The plotline was extremely shocking, especially the twist at the end.

"Shocking" and "twisted" are mantras-(along with "women" and "neurosis")-in Almodovar's filmography, so be prepared if you plan to watch some of his old movies. :)

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ntgitanjali,

The oldies are the goodies, for sure. I grew up in a small town and if someone got hold of a vhs of an Indian movie, it would make the rounds. When I got to college I realised that our movie watching was at least 10 years behind the times! But yes, Pakeezah is amazing. (By the by, when I was in Uni I was also apparently in a top party school... this stunned me! I had no clue where most of said parties were... I think those lists are rather flawed, for a variety of reasons!)

cubanmiamiboy, thanks for the recommendations! I'm going to see what I can find over the Christmas holiday... and start brushing up my Spanish as well.

I admit that I've never really gotten into French films... Anyone care to recommend a good first one?

I'm also going to have to dig up some Nollywood examples for you folks...

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I can't imagine a better one than a favorite of mine, Tatie Danielle. I know that it's pretty darned unusual as films go in general. I seem to recall that it was nominated for either a Foreign Film Oscar or the actress herself was nominated for something, I think her name was Tsilla Chelton. I think I would recommend it especially for a first French film as it is so incredibly strange and funny.

IMDB.com has a short trailer:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100747/traile...play-E16845-310

That's really just a clip from the film that I can tell. There are some clips on Youtube, as well as what looks like an actual 30 second commercial for it. that is entirely in French. I remember the "hook" for the advertisement though, as being something like "Tatie Danielle, you don't know her yet but she hates you already".

Roger Ebert wrote:

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.d.../106140302/1023

Here is the most popular film in France right now, about an unpleasant old lady who sits up at night thinking about ways to make life difficult for those who love her. She manipulates them with guilt, she deceives them with lies, she appeals to them with piteous tears, and she walks on their flower beds. What a crone.

And yet Etienne Chatiliez's "Tatie Danielle" plays, perversely, as a comedy: as a two-edged movie about human nature. So often when we speak of movie characters as being "human," we mean that they are nice. We forget that being human can also involve being nasty, vindictive, greedy and scheming. Tatie Danielle is a spoiled old lady who has become expert, after long years of study, at the art of imposing on other people.

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