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Also, Los Taratos, directed by Francisco Rovira Beleta. It is a Gipsy setting of Romeo and Juliet, with a powerful performance by Carmen Amaya, and a very young Antonio Gades.


Nitpick: it's Los Tarantos, actually. See: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056555/

I suppose Saura's Carmen has already been mentioned.

A good Russian movie would be the mammoth version of War and Peace directed by Sergei Bondarchuk. See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063794/ Not all the DVD versions are the same, however.

There are battlefield coreographies even, but with battallions of extras on TDY from the Soviet Army, instead of dancers. The ball sections in the Natasha Rostova part are beautiful.

Thanks for posting, sunday. I have never seen the Bondarchuk War and Peace and you remind me that I should.

Truffaut got off to a stunning start by making three instant classics in a row, but later on his output was up and down. He never made anything entirely not worth seeing, though. Well, maybe The Bride Wore Black. Hitchcock was a bad influence on him.

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A good Russian movie would be the mammoth version of War and Peace directed by Sergei Bondarchuk. See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063794/
I agree 100%. I remember seeing this in in a theater New York City long ago. It was shown over two days. The biggest surprise was how different it looked and felt from King Vidor's earlier abridgement, with Audrey Hepburn/ Henry Fonda/ Mel Ferrer. That's the one that westsern audiences we were all familiar with, which led to a sense of disorientation when seeing Bondarchuk's. The Natasha, especially, took some getting used to. She isn't Hepburn. What she is, however, the the character Tolstoy imagined.

It's probably not for those who like bright colors, snappy dialogue, and a sense of contemporaneity in their historical films. The length -- and its loyalty to the novel -- mean that it doesn't have a single arc of development or even a strong, unifying sense of directorial style.

It completely changed the way I visualized at the novel when I reread it several years later.

There are battlefield coreographies even, but with battallions of extras on TDY from the Soviet Army, instead of dancers. The ball sections in the Natasha Rostova part are beautiful.
I can still see the Battle of Borodino and the scenes of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow: ghastly and beautiful at the same time. Really impressive. You can't glorify war after watching these scenes closely. But you can understand better those who do.
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As not everyone in BT is from the States I am using "foreign films" to include films from the US. Please move if you feel this is inappropriate...

Two older documentaries I have found engrossing are Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock? (2006) and The Real Dirt on Farmer John (2005).

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innopac, you are quite right to note that not all BTers hail from the States, but since the site is based in the US our general perspective is American as a rule. Ideally we'd like to keep this thread to "foreign" films.

However, we don't have a thread on documentaries, so I'm going to cut and paste your post into a new one. Thanks for posting!

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I've just joined a movie-by-mail club out of Winnipeg, and I had to make a wish list of at least 30 movies from which new ones will be auto-shipped when I return others. This thread has made it so easy, and I thank everyone who posted.

Many of these movies are listed as having "High" availability on the site. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, but I'll take it.

I saw "Lorna's Silence" yesterday, the Dardenne Brothers' most recent film. While nearly every review says it isn't as good as their previous films, I thought it quite remarkable, if I agreed with one critic who said it was as if there was a missing reel. The lead actress, Arta Dobroshi, gave a stunning performance. (And I covet her haircut.)

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A while ago I saw the Cuban film "Barrio Cuba"-(2005). I strongly suggest it, as is one of the most powerful/dramatic portraits of the contemporary Cuban society I've seen in ages.

"Potent emotions and engaging characters are the hallmarks of "Barrio Cuba," a rangy, earthy item from esteemed helmer Humberto Solas that strips away the tourist view of la Isla. While the pic stumbles, particularly over its final reel, too close to the old schmaltz formulas, this warmly human portrait of a society desperately seeking upbeat moments in relentlessly downbeat circumstances provides an invaluable cinematic record of a city that looks on the verge of collapse"




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I recommend Life and Nothing But, a film by Bertrand Tavernier which takes place after World War I.

There is a Major (Philippe Noiret) who is trying to count and identify the thousands of dead soldiers, a young woman who mourns her missing lover, a wealthy woman who is traveling the countryside trying to find her missing husband, an officer who must choose an appropriate body for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a sculptor who suddenly has more than enough work creating memorials in every town....

It is a fascinating film and so relevant to today... I thought it was brilliant.

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On the web I can see that the film has been criticized for being too long and slow. I saw it on dvd and there was an interview with Tavernier and Noiret which was worth watching. Tavernier had to fight for this film.

For me it was almost like a documentary. It felt so real.

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Amalric was wonderful in "A Christmas Tale". It was strange, though, to see it very soon after "My Favorite Season", with Deneuve's daughter, Chiara Mastraoianni, playing her daughter-in-law instead of her daughter 15 years later, in a different, equally complicated relationship with Deneuve's character. Anne Consigny gave a great portrayal of Deneuve's onscreen daughter, Elizabeth, a mess attempting to be a control freak, thrown by the fact that people's affection is not a matter of justice or fairness.

Despite the wonderful scenes where Deneuve tells her son (Amalric's character, Henri) and Henri's girlfriend that she doesn't like Henri, never has, the movie had a bit of "The Big Chill" optimism. Henri, conceived as a marrow donor for an older brother -- he didn't match -- is a trainnwreck, but much less of one than Daniel Auteuil's Antoine in the earlier move, which gives "A Christmas Tale" a more Hollywood indie feel. Emmanuelle Devos brought the quirkiness of the ghosts in "Truly, Madly, Deeply" to her nonplussed-proof performance as Henri's girlfriend, Faunia, which underlay her characterization in the 2007 "Two Lives...Plus One".

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