View Full Version : What's your favorite foreign films?

02-03-2006, 10:23 PM
You know, those films in which the characters speak strangely and there are those funny words at the bottom and you really have to struggle to read them while trying to watch the film and sometimes those words just don't make sense....

I'm a sap, so my favorites are a bit on the sappy side:

1. Cinema Paradiso -- it gets me every time because I relate to the protagonist so much

2. Amelie (Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain) -- whimsical, sweet, quirky, and Audrey Tautou is cute as a button

3. Manon des Sources (Manon of the Spring) -- beautifully tragic/sad movie, and Emmanuelle Beart is gorgeous beyond words

4. Motorcycle Diaries (Diarios de Motocicleta) -- great film about a controversial historical figure

5. Dirty Pretty Things -- technically a foreign film but in English. Strange. Evocative. Provocative. Again, I'm in love with Audrey Tautou.

6. Ju Dou -- beautiful, sad, gripping. Gong Li is mesmerizing in this film

02-03-2006, 10:31 PM
Of the ones you list, I loved Manon des Sources, but also the one before it, Jean de Florette. I get to see a lot of good French original movies as I have a good friend who is French and a film buff. ANyone see Le Sabot des Arbres? Great!

I liked Motorcycle Diaries - I did almost exactly the same journey in 1971.
I did NOT like Amelie. It was just too.... too.. I dunno. Too something, It annoyed me almost beyond endurance.

I like Bollywood movies but at the moment the only one that comes to mind is Lagaan. Great film!

I know several original German movies; most Americans only know Run, Lola Run, which was OK but didn't knock me over. Prefer Angst Essen Seelen Auf (sic) by Fassbinder

02-03-2006, 10:37 PM
La Rafifi. . . how could you not like that. . . just about most of the work of Fellini as well.

02-03-2006, 10:52 PM
For some reasons, the appeal of Fellini just escaped me. I must not be as sophisticated as I thought. Never really a fan of Italian films either. French, I love.

02-03-2006, 11:08 PM
Wellll, I wouldn't consider any of these my favorite, but I did enjoy

Man Bites Dog, a cinema verite "documentary" about a serial killer. From Belgium, I think.

Fitzcarraldo, from German director Werner Herzog about a man played by Klaus Kinski who wants to build an opera house in the middle of the Amazon jungle.

I second Cinema Paradiso.


02-03-2006, 11:16 PM
My wife and I subscribed to Netflix as local rental shops just don't seem to have the movies we were looking for.

I just saw the restored version of Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Wow. The plot may have been simplistic and heavy-handed, but the art they put into the props and sets was just stunning. It was also interesting to see the way the used special effects that wouldn't even be attempted now, such as trying to make hand-drawn animation look real.

02-03-2006, 11:17 PM
I don't watch many foreign films, but I'd have to add the orginal Diabolique to the list. My French teacher in high school showed it to us in class. It's a murder mystery with some great twists. I've never seen the remake and don't intend to since I have good memories of the original.

02-03-2006, 11:34 PM
1. Ikiru, Kurosawa's greatest, about a dying bureaucrat in 1950s Japan

2. Wings of Desire, Wim Wenders

3. La Femme Nikita, which just rules

4. The Bicycle Thief

5. The Circle (Iranian film from a few years ago about women in Iran)

6. The Devil's Backbone, Guillermo del Toro directed - creepy stuff

7. Run Lola Run (Lola Rent)

8. Hable Con Ella (Talk to Her, Almodovar)

9. Amores Perros

10. Aguirre, the Wrath of God -- German movie, directed by Herzog, crazy stuff about the search for the Lost City of gold in South America. Klaus Kinski at his lunatic best.

02-03-2006, 11:36 PM
We watch mostly foreign films, and also subscribe to netflix because of their great selection.

I loved Motorcycle Diaries. It was incredible to hear about Che Guevera's start in life.

Elling is a favorite of both mine and my husbands. I think its Norwegian.

The Way Home - about a Korean boy who stays with his old grandma in the hills.

Character - about a boy who has a terrible father and even though he is not in his life, he makes his life a misery.

Billy Elliot - it's in English, but it's not US.

Kontroll - a Hungarian film about subway murders. VERY intense.

Those are some of my favorites, the ones I liked enough to own.

02-03-2006, 11:37 PM
4. The Bicycle Thief

One of my husbands favorite movies. I detest the end, so sad!!!

02-03-2006, 11:40 PM
My wife and I subscribed to Netflix as local rental shops just don't seem to have the movies we were looking for.That's the problem we have, too--so we haven't seen many. But I did like:

"Run Lola Run" (I run really fast in my dreams, and this echoed that nicely.)

"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" One of the few foreign films we could find.

Thanks for starting this thread Ray--it's hard to know what is good out there if you've never had anyone recommend anything.

02-03-2006, 11:41 PM
For classics, anything by Kurosawa.

For recent films, I would have to push City of God (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0317248/?fr=c2l0ZT1kZnx0dD0xfGZiPXV8cG49MHxrdz0xfHE9Y2l0eS BvZiBnb2R8ZnQ9MXxteD0yMHxsbT01MDB8Y289MXxodG1sPTF8 bm09MQ__;fc=1;ft=21;fm=1). Great film.

02-03-2006, 11:45 PM
It's a foreign documentary - "The story of the weeping camel." Incredible film.

02-04-2006, 12:00 AM
Ah Billy Elliot. At the end, when the father got all chocked up... damn!

02-04-2006, 12:24 AM
I haven't seen too many foriegn films outside of some of the ones that where already mentioned: Amelie, Lola Rent, Bicycle Thief, Ju Dou, Circle of God, Crouching Tiger, Le Chateu de Ma Mere, Peeping Tom, Grand Illusion, and the Celebration. There's probably a few more I can't remember, including an absolutely mundane French film about a hotel and party where the characters were merely "the man" and "the woman."

Celebration is my favorite, hands down, but Circle of God and Amelie are up there, too.

02-04-2006, 12:31 AM
I'm not a fan of foreign films because I'm such a slow reader. The subtitle is gone before I have a chance to read it.

That said, I did think Kung Fu Hustle was hilarious.

02-04-2006, 12:45 AM

02-04-2006, 01:01 AM
I liked the first Jacky Chan movie that came out here.

And does The Passion Of The Christ count?

02-04-2006, 01:11 AM
Love foreign films, but refuse to watch unless they are subtitled. The minute they dub them, I'm done.

Raise the Red Lantern – Chinese
To Live - Chinese
Scent of the Green Papaya – Vietnamese
Devils Backbone - Spanish
Das Experiment – German
Venus Beauty Institute – French
Eat Drink Man Woman - Chinese

02-04-2006, 03:47 AM
My favorites (or those that have stuck with me over the years):

Run Lola Run, also The Princess and the Warrior
The Brotherhood of the Wolf - great adventure period piece
Oldboy - Korean action with a hint of Greek tragedy
Farewell My Concubine
Shaolin Soccer
Avalon - weird cyberpunk story

There are probably others that just aren't coming to mind right now.

I love Netflix*. We got rid of cable a year and a half ago and get all of our televised entertainment from there. It's kind of funny that I see some movies listed here that are sitting in my queue.

*(Am I the only one who's filled all 500 slots in the queue? I can't be.)

02-04-2006, 03:51 AM
'Til Human Voices Wake Us But that's not wildly foreign, I guess. I don't need subtitles for your average Australian accent. I love that movie.

La Femme Nikita
Run, Lola, Run

02-04-2006, 03:56 AM
I don't watch many foreign films (unless you count LoTR :D ), but Life is Beautiful was just...

... beautiful.

02-04-2006, 06:00 AM
Le Diner de Cons (The Dinner Game) - most hysterical french film EVER

Amélie (of course)

Inspecteur Toto

La Boum (this is actually a terrible movie, but worth it for being so terrible)

8 Femmes (it's got singing)

I watched most of these in school. There are more, but can't think of them.

SC Harrison
02-04-2006, 06:29 AM
Through A Glass Darkly and Fanny & Alexander by Ingmar Bergman,

Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and...well, pretty much everything by Miyosaki,

Rashomon, The Seven Samurai...okay, everything by Kurosawa too,

Blue, White, and Red by Krzysztof Kieslowski,

La Ventura by Michelangelo Antonioni,

That's all I've got for now—these names are killing me.

02-04-2006, 06:44 AM

and anything by Jackie Chan, and KUNG FU HUSTLE, CROUCHING TIGER, SHAOLIN SOCCER, and the such. Haven't seen too many that aren't martial arts related... but again,


02-04-2006, 09:45 AM
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
House of Flying Daggers
Run Lola Run
The Brotherhood of the Wolf

Yeshanu mentioned this already (in jest perhaps?)....but could LOTR be considered a 'foreign film'? Is there a precise definition of a 'foreign film'?

Take care all -

02-04-2006, 10:02 AM
I think the Academy's definition of foreign film is that it has to be produced and distributed (at least initially) by foreign companies. And I believe they have to be shown in a foreign country first (there were a few films that got disqualified because they were released in America at the same time). I don't think it needs to be in languages other than English (thus British films would qualify).

While I don't consider "Pride & Prejudice" a foreign film... I do consider "Billy Elliot" or "Danny Deckchair" foreign, even though they're in English. "Lord of the Rings" is not foreign because it was financed and distributed by American companies.

02-04-2006, 10:34 AM
Maestro, did you see Jen de Florette, which I mentioned in my first post? It's the prequel to Maon des Sources, and should actually be seen FIRST, because it explains her life an dher actions. It's great - with Gerard De[ardieu in the lead, as manon's father. Manon is a little girl in that movie. It's really heartbreaking - even better, I think, than Manon, though io can imagine that men found the grown up Manon riveting! She is very beautiful - but you can't really "get2 themovie unless you've seen the prequel.

Anyone else seen Lagaan?

Oh, and No Man's Land - which one the foreign Oscar the year Lagaan and Amelie lost.

02-04-2006, 10:45 AM
Sharon, yes I saw Jean de Florette but only after I saw Manon first. Story of my life. I usually see the sequel first LOL. I liked the first one, too -- really great. But I loved the Manon more for all the reasons I posted (especially Emmanuelle Beart...)

02-05-2006, 11:08 PM
Run Lola Run (Germany) - entertaining.
Antonia's Line (Belgium/Netherlands) - delightful.
Hero (China) - beautiful.
Like Water for Chocolate (Mexico) - interesting.

02-05-2006, 11:22 PM
Das Boat

The Red Balloon


02-05-2006, 11:50 PM
For A Better Tomorrow II, The Killer, Battle Royale, Old Boy, Audition, Zombi

02-06-2006, 12:04 AM
Das Boot

02-06-2006, 11:57 AM
The original Godzilla is awesome.

02-06-2006, 06:25 PM
I don't think it needs to be in languages other than English (thus British films would qualify).

Actually, they do. The award is really called "Foreign Language Film."

Nicholas S.H.J.M Woodhouse
02-07-2006, 01:15 AM
Chungking Express - probably one of my top 3 of all time films, especially when one takes into consideration the amount of time/money that went into it. I think its this film rather than his big budget efforts that establish Wong Kar Wai as a very fine director and writer.

I am a bit of an Eisenstein fan so: Battleship Potemkin, Oktober, Strike, Ivan the Terrible part one and two (in my opinion part two is far superior). out of all his films i would pick Ivan pt 2 as my favourite.

Tsui Hark's Knock Off.
entertaining high-editiing blockbuster. a poorer and yet more creative John Woo.

Truffaut's Les quatre cents coups
made on the cheap, timeless example of youthful rebellion without a clue. the ending is still perhaps the most impressive (and equally unimpressive) ending ever put on film.

Dead or Alive 2: Birds (2000)

probably the most brilliantly awful film I've ever seen, especially the final 10mins

02-07-2006, 11:25 AM
While I don't consider "Pride & Prejudice" a foreign film... I do consider "Billy Elliot" or "Danny Deckchair" foreign, even though they're in English. "Lord of the Rings" is not foreign because it was financed and distributed by American companies.

Hey, Maestro, perhaps you should have titled the thread otherwise, then; non-American films, as many of us are NOT American: so by this criteria we non-Americans could list all your Hollywood films as foreign, as they would be foreign to us.

I think the criteria should be filmed in a foreign language. Otherwise I feel left out.;)

I had an uneasy feeling when I read this post of yours for the first time, but I couldn't nail it down. Finally I got it!
In fact, for me all films except German are foreign ones as my nationality is German. ButI think the language should be the criteria, and Enlgish is my native lanuage.

02-07-2006, 12:47 PM
Das Boat.
All Quiet on the Western Front (original in German)
The Dinner Party (a Danish stunner)
Macbeth (Japanese version)
Any of Claude Renoir's because he had his Grandfather's eye for colour.
'King Lear' (Laurence Olivier's made in his old age.)

02-07-2006, 05:52 PM
I think the criteria should be filmed in a foreign language. Otherwise I feel left out.;)

Obviously I am too American for my own good. :) Even "foreign language" doesn't sound right now. How about:

"Non-English speaking" movies?


02-07-2006, 06:08 PM
"Danny Deckchair"

If you liked Danny Deckchair, check out "Enduring Love," featuring the same actor who played Danny Deckchair. WOW - an edge of your seat tale about a stalker. Here is a taste of it: (It begins on a sunny day as Joe and his girlfriend Claire (Samantha Morton) are having a picnic when a hot-air balloon comes crashing down in a field near them. A boy stays in the basket while his grandfather jumps out and tries to hold the balloon down. Joe runs to help, as do three other men who happen on the scene. The wind catches the balloon and it starts to rise. Eventually the men let go, one by one; but the last waits too long and is killed when he falls.
http://www.twnonline.org/archive_twn/041118/images/spacer_10.gifIn the immediate aftermath, Jed (Rhys Ifans), another survivor, practically forces Joe to pray with him. Joe, an atheist, humors him by pretending to participate.)

Definitely worth watching.

02-07-2006, 08:47 PM
I didn't like Enduring Love.

02-09-2006, 08:53 AM
I/we like(d):

Eat Drink Man Woman
In the Realm of the Senses
Crouching Tiger, Flying Dragon
Monsoon Wedding

02-09-2006, 09:01 AM
The original Godzilla is awesome.

Of course not! The original japanese Godzilla are the WORST movies I have seen in my entire life!!

E.G. Gammon
02-09-2006, 12:20 PM
After taking 5 years of Spanish in middle & high school, I became very interested in Spanish culture and foreign Spanish films. Two of my favorites are: Maria Full of Grace and Y Tu Mama Tambien.

02-09-2006, 12:29 PM
Two Hands, though it's not a foreign film to me, being Australian.
Enchanted April, don't know if it fits criteria - it's British - gorgeous. Loved the feeling of time out from life.

02-09-2006, 07:14 PM
There's only one foreign subtitle film I use to rent all the time. It was Babette's Feast. I use to work as an AV assistant for one of the professors who had a Film Appreciation course. Whenever she wanted to show an example of a foreign film, she chose that one.

My all time favorite is Final Fantasy IV: Advent Children. Watched that one several times already.

Celia Cyanide
02-09-2006, 08:01 PM
Battle Royale, Ju-on, Ringu, Memento Mori, A Tale of Two Sisters.

02-09-2006, 08:18 PM
I forgot about Maria Full Of Grace... good one, EG.

02-09-2006, 08:23 PM
Like Water for Chocolate (Como Agua Para Chocolate) is extremely sensual...

02-09-2006, 08:38 PM
Crimen Ferpecto
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2nd in my top 3)
Infernal Affairs
The Killer
Hard Boiled
Time & Tide
A Tale of Two Sisters (wow, the new favorite ahead of Crouching Tiger)
City of God (rounds out the top 3. Awesome flick)
Ninja Scroll
Spirited Away
Princess Mononoke

And I'm really looking forward to finally seeing 2046. My list is big on Asian cinema, mostly because I'm a sucker for Asian cinema...

02-10-2006, 12:13 AM
Like Water for Chocolate (Como Agua Para Chocolate) is extremely sensual...
Truer words were never spoken.

I tend to go for UK-based comedies. Their sense of humour just resonates more with me. A few current faves:

Waking Ned Devine
Brassed Off (not really a comedy, per se, but has lots of funny moments)
The Full Monty
Calendar Girls

I also like some Almodovar and old Robert Rodriguez. Amelie was really good for my romantic absurdist streak. And I really liked No Man's Land, even though it was ultimately so frustrating that I doubt I'll watch it again. I'm sure there are hundreds that I've watched and enjoyed that I'm blanking on, though.