Thursday, December 2, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks: Oscar Edition-Best Foreign Film

 


December 1st and I am thinking Christmas is 4 months away not 3 weeks. I am decorating but taking it easy. If you read my previous post, you will know I got great news and I don't have cancer. I figured I didn't, but was glad to hear it none the less. Now, Wandering Through The Shelves has Best Foreign Film for the theme this week and I am wondering how many have seen some foreign films. Well...off we go.

1. 8 1/2-1963 (ITALY)


This is a true classic and worthy of its fame as a great film even if it is not one of my favourites. I get the reasons for its fame from the great acting to the cinematography but the Avant-Garde film needs several viewing from me to understand it. Frederico Fellini created this work based on his own life and he ended up loving this film he created.  I love Marcello Mastroianni and he is great here as a director having "director's block". He is making a film but can't seem to get it together and between the film people coming after him plus his wife and mistress, he can't seem to get it together. In between this, he sees his perfect female star in his head but then brought to life when he actually sees her. Anyway, I should see this film again and see if I like it better than the first time. 

2. CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN TIGER-2000(TAIWAN)


Taiwan got the Oscar but it was an International co-production between Taiwan, China, The U.S. and  Hong Kong. It was filmed all over China and the locales are stunning, even the desert locale. This film takes on a mystical role but it is also a love story between the 2 young loves who are passionate and the older couple who share a deep love but they prevent themselves from taking the passionate route for reasons you find out in the film. The stunt work was done by the actors and there was no CGI except to get rid of the wires holding the actors up (for example, when they fight in the trees). A warrior wishes to retire and he asks the woman he loves, also a warrior to bring his sword to their benefactor. When back at the benefatcor's place, she meets the young Jen who is unhappy in her life. The sword is stolen and off goes the female warrior to reclaim it. There is a lot more to this poetic film directed by Ang Lee. I am not giving the film justice from my written words so please have a look at the film and see if you are not transfixed.

3. THE LIVES OF OTHERS-2006 (GERMANY)


I came across this film one evening and was transfixed by how intelligently written and directed it was. It takes place in the 1980s, when there was still an East Germany run by the Communist regime. At that time, everyone was watching everyone else and fear of being sent to the Gulag was very real. The "hero" of the film is a famous writer who holds opposing views to the Communist regime. The Staazi (secret police) can't take him away as it would cause an international incident. They decide to bug his place and see if they can't get something concrete on him. The hero is having a relationship with a well known actress and the secret police listen to everything. The head of this police starts listening more and more and develops a close bond with this couple even though they have never met. It gets to the point where this police man wants to help them and not have them disappear. I hope you get to see this well acted film that truly brings out what it was like in East Germany when the Communists were in power. Just so you know, my great Aunt still lived in Wittenberg (a mile south of Berlin) and she had to request the government for a fridge. She had to prove that a 70+ year old lady with bad legs needed a fridge. It took 7 years of bureaucratic crap for her to finally be approved to have one. 

So...know any foreign films? Let me know. 

25 comments:

  1. Hi, Birgit!

    I'm the weakest link in this category, dear friend, but enjoyed these clips and reviews.

    I learned of the avant-garde Italian film 8 1/2 many years ago, but I don't think I have seen it. As you might recall, Claudia Cardinale was an "it girl" of the 60s. I remember her appearing in the September, 1963, issue of Playboy Magazine. (Rest assured, I didn't read the articles. I merely looked at the pictures.) I saw Claudia in Girl With A Suitcase (1961) and in the 1967 Tony Curtis movie Don't Make Waves. I love (there's that word again) the art of filmmaking, and I am inspired to watch 8 1/2, possibly on a double bill with 9 1/2 Weeks. :)

    On film #2, you might want to correct the title to read: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Mrs. Shady has a keen interest in Chinese culture. She seeks out and enjoys films with Chinese settings, story lines, characters and dazzling cinematography. In the late 2000s, I joined her in watching CTHD.

    Thank you for sharing the story, albeit a sad one, about your great Aunt's plight in Germany. I have not seen the German film The Lives Of Others, but your plot summary has me interested.

    The only foreign film I can think of is Pee Wee's Big Adventure in Liechtenstein, now in post-production. :) But seriously, I need to plug an outstanding TV series (not film) that kept me riveted from start to finish - the award winning perod spy drama The Americans which is set during the Cold War.

    Enjoy the rest of your week and your first weekend free of worry about cancer. Celebrate every minute of life, dear friend BB. It is a gift.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am celebrating each day and enjoying decorating for Christmas. Man, I make goofs which is why I should not write this late at night. I hope Pee Wee didn't venture into any movie theatre :). I have not watched The Americans but heard nothing but great things about this series.

      Delete
  2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was an outstanding film. The wire work was amazing. It would certainly be my top pick.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've watched a lot of foreign films in my lifetime including your first two picks. I'm a big Fellini fan so 8 1/2 is a favorite of mine. Add to that any other of his films.

    Some that didn't win the best Oscar but are some of my favorites are Downfall(Germany 2004) and Battle of Algiers (Italy 1966) as well as Life Is Beautiful (Italy) which won best in 1998.

    Also so many great foreign films that didn't make the Oscars but are films that I truly enjoy.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know you love 8 1/2 so I had to include it here. I almost chose Life is Beautiful but saving that for another day.

      Delete
  4. I'm not familiar with these 3, but am so thrilled about the no-cancer report.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What great news Birgit!!! You're right having a feeling is one thing and having it confirmed is a whole other world.

    8 1/2 is one that didn't bowl me over. There are parts that I thought terrific but they are surrounding by a lot of rambling and navel gazing that got on my nerves. Mastroianni's presence helped immeasurably but I can't see myself watching it again anytime soon.

    I love Ang Lee and the fact that he doesn't stick to one genre of film but I HATED Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. One of my buddies and I went to see it in the theatre when it was out and being praised to the skies and neither of us understood why. It had a beautiful look but I didn't care a whit for the characters.

    I've yet to see The Lives of Others though it is most definitely high on my list of films to see.

    There are many foreign winners I've yet to see. I've used several of the winners I really liked and I considered doing a list of ones I hated but skimming through I think I managed to come up with these three that I haven't used, I don't think, and did enjoy.

    The Sea Inside (2004)-Quadriplegic Ramón Sampedro (Javier Bardem) is tired of the loss of mobility he’s endured since a diving accident crippled him years before. Though celebrated for the writing he’s passed the years with, he now sees his life as pointless and wishes to die with what dignity he still possesses. His friend Gené and attorney Julia work with a "Right to Die" organization attempting to persuade the courts to let Ramón end his own life. Heavy going but Bardem is brilliant.

    Day for Night (1973)-Director Francois Truffaut’s bittersweet satire of the chaotic behind the scenes happenings during the filming of the frothy comedy “Meet Pamela”. The calamities include a leading lady (Jacqueline Bisset) recovering from a nervous breakdown, the unions threatening to walk, the main supporting actress (Oscar nominated Valentina Cortese) being snockered most of the time, the cat can’t hit her mark and the thousand little emergencies that go into making a picture.

    A Man and A Woman (1966)-While visiting their children at boarding school a race car driver (Jean Louis Trintignant) and movie script supervisor (Anouk Aimée) meet and embark on a brief but gentle, swoony romance.

    On a side note, on your Girl Week post that focused on Ida Lupino I left you a couple of suggestion list for two of the actresses I mentioned that you said you weren't too familiar with. I wasn't sure if you went back to older posts, so I thought I'd let you know. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did go back to Girl Week and commented:) I am late here...Christmas decorating:)) I had a feeling you would hate Crouching Tiger. I think the Fantasy films that takes themselves seriously is not your cup of tea. You and I are on the same page with 8 1/2 but it is an important film in film land so I included it here plus one of my followers loves this film. I hope you get to see The Lives of Others because I think you will like it.

      I have not seen any of your picks but A Man and A Woman are on my list to see. I now want to see Day for Night just by your comment and the cat. I am not sure about the one with Bardem though...very heavy.

      Delete
  6. Awesome about the no cancer report. And I saw one of the three from this list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you and glad you saw one...which one?

      Delete
  7. My first pick would be The Garden of the Finzi Continis, but I also liked Crouching Tiger. Never saw the other two you chose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know your pick but will look it up.

      Delete
  8. I'm definitely not a person who watches foreign films. I know the Crouching Tiger has been shown before on TV, but I've never seen it. Next time it's on, I'll be sure to watch it, now that you have reviewed it.

    So hopeful all is going well and you are NOT overdoing things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am feeling great! I am back to my regular joint pain but no more pain from my operation. I am resting in between and enjoying decorating. I hope you see the film and like it.

      Delete
  9. I haven't seen your first pick, but I really enjoyed the last two

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One day the first film may be on your blind list because it is heralded as one of the best films ever.

      Delete
  10. I've heard of all but the last one, but seen none of them. As I like to sit and knit while watching movies, these are the sorts that I would skip, as I'd have to read subtitles and watch. Can't do that and knit, too.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Amazingly, I have seen two of three (Crouching Tiger and Lives of Others). The Lives of Others is one of the most memorable films I have seen.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Birgit - I'd love to see these as I don't think I've seen any of them. Excellent suggestions, as have your commenters added other suggestions to the mix.

    So pleased re the cancer and a pleasure to be here - cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Birgit, I saw the great news on your previous post and am SO happy for you! ♥ It's been decades since I watched 8 1/2, but didn't understand it all that much either. ☺ I never got around to seeing Crouching Tiger, but your recommendation certainly makes it attractive. A friend of mine lent me the DVD for The Lives of Others. It was a riveting film and for me, getting to hear German again was a bonus. Parasite (Korea) and Life Is Beautiful (Italy) are two Oscar winners deserving of the awards, IMO.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Birgit,

    Foreign films isn't a category I would enjoy. The translation caption is a bit distracting. We have watched a series or two from other countries and it took me a long time to adjust. Naturally, I do not gravitate toward this genre. But, it's interesting to see what's out there, though. Thanks for sharing your film picks. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I saw Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon a long time ago and had thought it was just ok. I didn’t get why the critics like loved it so much but thought I saw it quite young and so probably I just didn’t get it. Then someone told me…yeah Hollywood and the West loves it while in Asia people were like meh - the shots of the locales were impressive but the rest of it not as much. So I was not alone :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Cinema Paradiso always and forever.

    Life Is Beautiful.

    I second Crouching Tiger.

    ReplyDelete