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World Cinema...
...want to expand my knowledge.

 9:51 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Seem to be on a dvd buying spree these recent weeks - about 20 in the last four or five. However, I'm running out of inspiration. I haven't rented a decent film from the local Blockbuster since I don't know when - everything 'Hollywood' seems to be boringly formulaic, puerile or all FX and no plot, or a combination of all three.

What I'd like to do is expand my knowledge of World Cinema, but don't know where to begin. I have six or seven films by Akira Kurosawa, and intend to increase that number; also in the "collection" are such films as Stalingrad, Das Boot, Battle Royale, The Warrior, Amelie, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Irreversible & Intacto. The most recent addition is Casshern - bought blind - and most disappointing (especially when paying £15-20 for World Cinema titles!).

In walking into the local music/film stockists I'm overwhelmed by the selection of World Cinema available. Almost everything (unsurprisingly) is labelled "a classic" or "must see" ("must see" what? The lawyers about getting your money back having forked out on making such a quickly forgotten turkey?)

So, a few recommendations of true classics, or genuine "must see" films in the broad World Cinema genre would be very much appreciated. All very subjective, I know...




 1:40 am on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

La Dolce Vita directed by Federico Fellini.

The Life of Oharu, Ordet, The Seventh Seal with Ingmar Bergman starring, The 400 Blows, The Rules of the Game directed by Renoir, The Lady from Shanghai, if you don't have Ikiru by Kurosawa, pick it up, Pyaasa, Umberto D.

Caveat - I very much like Amelie, but I also like Once Upon A Time In The West.


 3:42 am on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Get 'The Big Blue' (Le Grand Bleu) - directed and written by Luc Besson. Make sure you get the director's cut.


 8:02 am on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not avant garde .. but ...

A Better Tomorrow & Prison on Fire : Directed by John Woo. You'll see a side on Chow Yun Fat and John Woo that most people have not seen.


[edited by: shri at 8:14 am (utc) on July 19, 2005]

[edited by: lawman at 11:47 am (utc) on July 19, 2005]


 8:11 am on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Get "Ong Bak" from Thailand - it's brilliant (in my opinion - and Tom Cruises).

Action movie set in Bangkok - really worth a look.

For cuddling up to your nearest and dearest get "Cinema Paradiso" guaranteed a snog at the end of that one.



 9:18 am on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

What Kurasowa have you seen?


 10:52 am on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the suggestions thus far. Of all those I've seen but one - Ikiru.

As for Kurosawa's films, I have a copy of, or have seen:

Seven Samurai
Throne of Blood
Hidden Fortress
Stray Dog...



 4:37 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Surely you're aware of the International Movie Database Site? If you can't locate it send sticky.


 6:52 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Lol, rocknbil. Have you actually looked at imdb's list of all time top films (as voted for). Star Wars and Lord of the Rings make up five of the Top 15..:-)



 9:34 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

You should watch To Live by Zhang Yimou if you like sagas/period pieces. One of the top 5 movies I have ever seen. It chronicles a couple's life from turn of century China through the revolution to the '60s. Not formulaic, and beautifully shot. Downside is it is long and has subtitles but it is so good you forget about time and start to not even need the subtitles by the end.

Keep the tissues handy . . .



 10:14 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

I like two old Italian movies :

The conformist
Padre Padrone

Of course, they where good old books before becoming good old movies.

My favorites local ones are :

Le déclin de l'Empire Américain
Les invasions barbares


 12:33 am on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

From attending the city film festival over the past few years I have grown to appreciate more films from South Korea, in particular those from Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy, JSA).

The early Yakuza movies of Sejin Suzuki were also recommended to me and I bought a couple (Branded to Kill, Underworld Beauty) and quite enjoyed them.

I did try to watch some Takashi Miike movies, but I jumped ahead of myself and saw "Ichi the Killer" too so which has discouraged me somewhat from seeing any more of his work.



 10:09 am on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

The Japanese director Juzo Itami has a great selection to choose from. Tampopo is a favorite along with all of the Taxing Woman movies.


 3:10 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

101 Reykjavik (Iceland)
Festen (Denmark)
Mifune (Denmark)
Lola Rennt (Germany)
37°2 le matin (France)
Ringu and Ringu 0 (Japan)
Audition (Japan)
Kolya (Czech Republic)
Otesánek (Czech Republic)
Metropolis (Germany)


 8:43 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Strange Brew (Canada)
starring Bob and Doug MacKenzie



 9:33 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

I always liked "Belle epoque"


 10:21 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

I received the following in the mail today:
Sympathy for Mr Vengeance
Memories of Murder
Attack the Gas Station

I have seen the first movie, the second is by Chan Park Wook also and the third movie was recommended to me. The fourth movie was free when I bought the first three (I have heard it is meant to be good though.)



 4:16 pm on Jul 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Italian's do it best - Giuseppe Tornatore's "Cinema Paradiso" and "Malena" will warm the cockles of your heart.

If you're interested in Indian fare (no, not "Bend it like Beckham" or "Monsoon Wedding"!) try "Fire."

Sarah Atkinson

 5:08 pm on Jul 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree with ronin aboult metropils.

there is also
"Porco Roso" pretty good

and one aboult wwII piolots from europian conunrty that is invaded by germany. they go to England to fight. very good "Into the Blue" or somthing like that.

Kind hearts and Correnets and that other alec ginness movie aboult the bank job. of course if you are paying in pounds then those wouldn't be forgin to you.

Kama Sutra... ok so it's a little umm revialing (thats a good word for it) but still a realy good movie.

You should see Hero at least once but I wouldn't recomend buying it.


 5:35 pm on Jul 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

You may want to check out
Past Foreign Film Oscar Winners [greencine.com] it's off of greencine, and they have lots of lists and reviews and a stronger focus on the non main stream movies.

good luck!
Kung Fu Hustle rules!


 6:57 pm on Jul 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Howzabout some Finnish cinema?

If (World) war (II) movies are your interest, I (and others) highly recommend Talvi Sota [imdb.com] ("Winter War"), directed by Pekka Parikka. It's a long movie, over 3 hours. That red blood on the white snow.....

Movies directed by famed Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki [imdb.com] are to be recommended. For some goofy comedy, try Leningrad Cowboys Go America [imdb.com], and the follow-up, Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses [imdb.com]. (Some folks might care about this: Nicky Tesco, of The Members fame, appears in both flicks.) For a humourous stab at Shakespeare, the film noire Hamlet liikemaailmassa [imdb.com] ("Hamlet Goes Business"), is worth checking out.

Want drama & some romance? The loose trilogy Varjoja paratiisissa [imdb.com] ("Shadows In Paradise"), Ariel [imdb.com], and Tulitikkutehtaan tytto [imdb.com] ("The Match Factory Girl") are worth looking into.


 9:48 pm on Jul 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Casshern was interesting to look at but not much going on, agreed.

I really liked the noir infused Sword of Doom, starring Tatsuya Nakadai. One of my all time favorites, it's a spooky samurai movie.

I really love Beat Takeshi in Fireworks. That's a must see movie. He also remade Zatoichi, which is 100% entertaining. Also a must see movie.

As far as Asian Flicks, here are my faves that I can watch over and over and over again:

Comrades, A Love Story (stars Maggie Cheung)

The following contain charming and nuanced performances by Faye Wong, Maggie Cheung, and Tony Leung. The stories are well paced, never boring, and at certain points take your breath away from the inventiveness of the plot and dialogue (yes, even in subtitles)

  • Chunking Express
  • In the Mood for Love
  • 2046

If you're looking for well done Asian cheese, you can't go wrong with So Close. It has high production values and beautiful actresses running around in hot pants kung-fu'ing the hell out of everything in sight.

Kung Fu Hustle is a really funny movie. By the same guy who made Shaolin Soccer (if you get Shaolin Soccer, avoid the American release, it's reportedly been butchered). It's a fantasy movie, surreal, but funny and entertaining. Easily recommended.

Shall We Dance (the Japanese original) is good.

The Eye is scary without being explicit about gore. It just freaks you out like when someone relates their ghost story to you.

Talking about scary, The Devils Backbone is pretty good. If you enjoyed the guy from Motorcycle Diaries as well as Amores Perros, be sure to catch him in Almodovar's Bad Education. Wow, what a fascinating movie! If you aren't familiar with Almodovar, then you must see "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," "All About My Mother," and "Talk to Her." Every one of those flicks are excellent.

A Pedro Almodovar film fest is in order for me. I need to revisit his movies.

Favorite French Flicks:
Menage [imdb.com] (aka Tenue de soirée) starring Michel Blanc and Gerard Depardieu.
Jean de Florette (also with Depardieu)
The Closet (also with Depardieu)
The Hairdresser's Husband [imdb.com], starring the wonderful actor, Jean Rochefort.
Ridicule [imdb.com] was also a thouroughly entertaining movie, also starring Rochefort.

As far as Italian flicks:
Nights of Cabiria by Fellini. Wow!
Divorce Italian Style, hehe really funny. It's Marcello lusting after Claudia Cardinale. Unfortunately he's married and divorces were hard to come by, unless he was the cuckolded. But his wife adores him. So goes to tremendous lengths to get her into an affair, and afterwards, goes to great lengths making a public show of being grief stricken, all in an effort so he can kill her and be let off by the court system... Yes, it's black humor at it's darkest.
Cinema Paradiso

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