Ahh, the wonderful world of the foreign film where one might be forced to watch a bowl of fruit for 15 minutes before you see the words, "Fin". Hahahaa, ok, they are not that bad and, in fact, many are quite good, excellent actually, but I don't see that many in my humble town I live in and I wanted to "bend" the rules because I love doing that. Wandering Through The Shelves is a weekly blog post where anyone can join and choose 3 films that suit that theme. Here are my 3...
1. THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI-1920(I THOUGHT IT WAS 1917)
Post war German film exploded where we can see the effects of the German expressionism to this day. None shows this better than this film with all the jagged cuts, wonky lines and a great way to use black and white. The film industry was poor to say the least so they used inventive ways to create a story and film it. This is a great film that is shown in every film class and with reason. You have Francis telling the story to an older man about how he met the beautiful Jane at some fair. At this fair, they are "entertained" by Dr. Caligari who shows them a somnambulist, played by Conrad Veidt, who is at the complete control of the doctor. Soon enough, murders start happening and Jane is in mortal danger. This is a must see in my eyes with an unexpected ending that left me gobsmacked. I just realized this flicker is 100 years old!
2. THE LAST LAUGH-1924
I watched this film only this past year and I loved it! This German film is directed by the great FW Murnau(of Nosferatu fame) and stars Emil Jannings as a proud doorman of a prestigious Berlin hotel. He is proud of his position as it holds high esteem but his employer believes that younger blood is needed and demotes him to a lower level bathroom attendant. He is so humiliated that he keeps up the charade where he lives and with his daughter. It shows the slow decline of a once proud man to one who hates to look in the mirror. Jannings often played these types of characters and he did it well. Murnau hated the fact that he had to tack on a happy ending and, even though it looks contrived, I don't mind it.
3. DIE NIBELUNGEN-SIEGFRID-1924
Oh those Germans and there sagas. I actually read the book and wrote an essay on this of which I got an A-...for this C student, I was tickled pink. This is like the Tales of King Arthur but German with a cast of thousands. The hero, after killing a dragon and getting the horde of gold from the dwarf King, is asked by his king to win the beautiful Brunhild's hand in marriage. With help from some magic, he wins and Brunhild marries Gunther while Siegfried marries Kriemhild(ughh, these names!). Let's just say Brunhild is suspicious and things don't end well. You see, Siegfried defeated the dragon Fafner and bathed in his blood to become invincible not realizing a leaf fell on his back making him susceptible in this one spot. There is a second part to this film but I have not seen it yet but would love to. This is a pretty good retelling of this legend and, once again, I enjoyed watching it. I am a sucker for silent films.
Have you seen foreign films? Let me know...