101 Peliculas Con Subtitulos
A sampling of non-English language films I've seen...
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|flixsterman's Rating||My Rating|
A group of Italian villagers struggle to survive the final days of WWII, battling Nazi sympathizers and anxiously awaiting the arrival of the American soldiers who will liberate them. La Notte di San Lorenzo is a good film that may have been great had it be given a larger budget. For example, the highly anticipated American army is represented by a whopping TWO soldiers (neither of which ever utter a word), war planes are heard but never seen, an explosion in the church is represented by loud sound effects and a little smoke coming out of the door, etc., etc., etc... Still, you have to credit the Taviani brothers for making the most of what they had and giving us a film that seems to live well beyond it's means.
Sex and Lucia (Lucía y el sexo) 2001, R)
All Ladies Do It 1992, Unrated)
Dude, anybody can make a crappy movie about boobs. There are literally thousands of crappy boobie movies out there. But, how often do you come across a crappy movie about butts? To be completely fair, there are a few 'schwiiing!' moments here, especially if you like butts (I do! I do!), but overall this one stinks. (I should know, I watched it TWICE!!)
Salon Kitty (Edited Version) 1975, Unrated)
Hei tai yang 731 (Men Behind the Sun) (Squadron 731) 1988, Unrated)
Widely considered one of the world's most controversial films, Men Behind the Sun presents a gruesome depiction of a Japanese death camp in WWII. Speaking just for myself, after witnessing limbs being severed, electrocution, urine drinking, baby killing, live human vivisection, bludgeoning, freezing, skinning, crucifixion, microwaving and gassing, the part that bothered me the most is when they killed a cat. :(
La Dolce Vita 1960, Unrated)
Suna no Onna (Woman in the Dunes) 1964, Unrated)
There is enough symbolism here to keep a whole team of cinematic existentialists busy for months. At its core, it's a film about a man who gets trapped in a hole. Too simplistic? Probably. It's the story of an entomologist who gets captured by a group of villagers and is forced to shovel sand along side the beautiful Kyoko Kishida (I could think of far worse fates). He spends most of his waking hours plotting his escape, but the longer he's there the more he feels obligated to his hole-mate. Is he falling in love? Is he learning the meaning of true freedom? Can he figure out a way to escape? Does he really want to? Is he an 'everyman' and the hole a representation of an oppressive society? Can I find a clever way to end this review?
Ostre Sledované Vlaky (Closely Watched Trains) 1966, Unrated)
One of the key elements of a true classic it its ability to weather the ravages of time. Jiri Menzel's dark comedy, Closely Watched Trains, passes this test with flying colors. Menzel quietly lampoons teen angst in a manner that's unique and tragic. Viewers have been laughing at this one for forty (+) years and I suspect they'll still be finding humor and relevance in it for a long time to come.
Talk to Her 2002, R)
Pedro Almodóvar continues to confound and amaze me. He can take the most peculiar circumstances, the most perverse scenarios, and extract incredible, romantic love stories. I'm not certain how he does it, but after viewing several of his films I have formed a hypothesis: he views situations without prejudice. He ignores preconceived notions. Instead of focusing on the differences, Almodóvar concentrates on the commonality, thus encouraging us (his audience) to see the world with an unjaundice eye. In the end, what might have appalled us is now cause for reflection, maybe even celebration.
Seksmisja (Sexmission) 1984, Unrated)
Salo (Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma) 1975, NC-17)
Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso is one of my all-time favorite films so, from the beginning, I had high expectations for La Sconosciuta. Let me save you the trouble of finding this out for yourself, this is NOTHING like his earlier minor masterpiece. This is a dark thriller that starts like a three star film but ends like a five. Four Stars (I split the difference).
Live Flesh (Carne trémula) 1997, R)
Arguably one of his more conservative efforts, Live Flesh still remains true to the Pedro Almodóvar form. Like a magician plucking a rabbit out of his hat, Pedro finds tenderness and romance in some very dark & unromantic places. And, if you've only seen Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men, check your preconceptions at the door.
Children of Heaven (Bacheha-Ye aseman) 1997, PG)
Fantastic Planet 1973, PG)
Gwoemul (The Host) 2006, R)
Voces inocentes, (Innocent Voices) 2004, R)
Secret Things 2002, Unrated)
12 2007, PG-13)
Waltz with Bashir 2008, R)
Beaufort 2007, Unrated)
A fantastic offering from Israel depicting the comradeship between soldiers assigned to an isolated outpost in Lebanon. Director Joseph Cedar centers the focus on his characters by putting the camera right down in the trenches with them. Other than their mortars and missiles you never even see the enemy, increasing the sense of isolation and (sometimes) despair. A fitting tribute to the brave men who actually served at Beaufort.
Dai-Nipponjin (Big Man Japan) 2007, PG-13)
Battleship Potemkin 1925, Unrated)
L' Enfant Sauvage (The Wild Child) 1970, G)
Little Otik 2000, Unrated)
Spirited Away 2001, PG)
Spalovac Mrtvol (The Cremator) 1968, Unrated)
A Czechoslovakian funeral director, obsessed with cremation, adopts a warped sense of purpose when his German ancestry becomes a topic of interest in his community. Director Juraj Herz manages to take his main character from "merely distasteful" to "completely repulsive" in the span of 95 minutes, completing an arc that is as riveting as it is macabre. A dark and distinctly unnerving film.
Days of Glory (Indigenes) 2006, R)
Jungfrukällan (The Virgin Spring) 1960, Unrated)
Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime) 1999, PG-13)
Ma Mere,(Meine Mutter),(My Mother) 2005, NC-17)
Pierre is the product of a very unconventional marriage. Both his parents lead promiscuous lives and he spends most of his childhood in a Catholic boarding school. Soon after he returns home, now a young man, his father dies and his mother, undeterred by her husband's death, draws her son into her perverse lifestyle. I'm not sure I'm open-minded enough to fully appreciate Ma Mere. It attempts to titillate by venturing into those dark places where most people feel VERY uncomfortable. If there is a moral to this story it's simply this: "Don't hump your mother". (Frankly, I didn't need an artsy French film to figure that out.)
Never on Sunday 1960, Unrated)
Ratcatcher 1998, Unrated)
The Holy Mountain 1973, R)
I get the impression that writer/director Alejandro Jodorowsky was raised in a repressive Catholic boarding school populated with sadistic nuns and this, The Holy Mountain, is his revenge. It's full of blasphemous imagery that I'm certain caused more than one self-righteous christian to exit the theater before the last reel concluded. Personally, I wasn't offended, but I'm a less-than-devout protestant who is detached enough to see the irony of it all. I don't necessarily agree with Jodorowsky's vision but I definitely applaud his courage.
The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse 1933, Unrated)
In spite of the efforts of men like Johannes Schultz and Gustave Le Bon, hypnosis was often viewed as something supernatural or other-worldly well into the mid-twentieth century. This was not lost on German director Fritz Lang who made full use of public misconception here in this spin off of M. Though it's science is flawed, the rest of the film is well ahead of it's time. Lang's use of sound to tie scenes together (i.e. a ticking time-bomb becomes a man tapping on his breakfast egg) worked so well that similar effects are still being used today. The specter of Dr. Mabuse and his hypnotic mind control manifests itself in ghostly apparitions which Lang presents in transparent fashion, complete with makeup that is almost as effective and frightening today as it was in 1933. Don't expect this to be in the same league as Lang's landmark crime drama M, to compare the two would be unfair. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse is much more of a ghost story, a horror film, than it's predecessor but it is very much a classic in it's own right. Anchored in realism but delving far further into the macabre and the surreal.
Io non ho paura (I'm Not Scared) 2003, R)
Part suspenseful thriller and part coming-of-age drama, I'm Not Scared is a minor masterpiece of film making from director Gabriele Salvatores. It's a story of crime and courage, a story of a young boy's realization that there is evil in the world and those nearest him are not only aware of it, they may be a part of it. Not a perfect film, but the flaws are completely forgivable.
Roma, città aperta (Open City) 1945, Unrated)
Has to be one of the first post-war films to come out of Italy after WWII. In 1945 the Italians had every right to be anti-German, yet this film is less about that than it is an homage to the men, women and children who fought against occupation in the underground resistance movement. A fantastic film.
My Life in Pink (Ma Vie en Rose) 1997, R)
This man's name is John Austin Frazier...
Giulietta degli Spiriti (Juliet of the Spirits) 1965, Unrated)
Semi-autobiographical piece put forth by Fellini and his wife, Giulietta Masina. It's the story of Giulietta (Giulietta), the spouse of a wealthy socialite who is forced to come to terms with her fleeting youth and her husband's infidelity.
Tokyo Story (Tôkyô monogatari) 1953, G)
Not at all what I expected. Maybe that's because so many of my friends rated it five stars. Maybe because it's on so many lists of favorite films. I was fully prepared to be blown away by another Seven Samurai or Raise the Red Lantern and this just isn't that kind of film. Is this a meaningful motion picture? Absolutely. It's a window into 1950's Japanese society when the social structure was rapidly evolving. The extended family dynamic of the rural populous was under siege by the new mindset of industrial, more urban communities. Grandparents, once thought of as valuable and honored members of the household, were now being viewed as burdens and financial liabilities. Ozu doesn't dramatize or expound on this cultural shift, he simply frames it. He shows you 'what is' with minimal inference. In this respect, Tokyo Story is a masterful bit of film making. Would I recommend this film to a fellow cinemaphile? Absolutely. Would I recommend this film to one of my non-Flixster friends? The casual movie-goers who think that the pinnacle of production is either American Pie or (gasp!) Twilight? Absolutely not.
Noi the Albino (Nói albínói) 2003, PG-13)
Seven Samurai (Shichinin no Samurai) 1954, Unrated)
Naissance des Pieuvres (Water Lilies) 2008, Unrated)
Céline Sciamma's coming of age melodrama that's titillating in it's sexual ambiguity. Céline expends a lot of screen-time fostering the tension between her characters, so much so that it comes off a little sappy and pretentious. Still, the film works well and should be a sign of good things to come from this young and obviously talented director.
Chelovek s kino-apparatom (Man with a Movie Camera) 1929, Unrated)
Innovative, fast paced celebration of human society. Dziga Vertov covers it all, birth, death, and just about everything in between - including the making of this film. I saw Chelovek s Kino-Apparatom with a recently added and very modern score, it played like an extended MTV video. Way, way, way ahead of it's time.
Frontière(s) (Frontier(s)) 2007, NC-17)
For some reason, Netflix had this listed under the genre of 'Zombie Flicks'. It's not. It's more along the lines of Hostel or Wolf Creek or a hundred other TCM wannabes. The story line is gleaned from those films that preceded it, not that a story is all that important here. Any semblance of a plot is merely an excuse to show more decomposing corpses hung up on meat hooks. It's not a badly made movie, it's just that it's extremely unoriginal. There's not a single frame of film here, not one, that you couldn't point to and say 'I've seen this before'.
Sophie Scholl: The Final Days 2005, PG)
The more I see of Hitler's tactics the more I appreciate the talents of Albert Pierrepoint. The Nazis had a penchant for exterminating Germany's best and brightest, Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans were unfortunately no exceptions. There should be a special place in heaven for those who are willing to sacrifice everything for something as intangible as an idea.
Sansho the Bailiff 1954, Unrated)
Ugetsu monogatari 1954, Unrated)
Au Hasard Balthazar 1966, Unrated)
To paraphrase Bresson, Au Hasard Balthazar presents a progression of life. From tender childhood to laborious adulthood to a "time of talent & genius" to mysticism and, finally, to the inevitable demise that awaits us all. The approach is artistic and abstract with few empathetic characters. I appreciate this film but, because of it's dark tone, I can't say that I enjoyed it.
The Seagull's Laughter (Mávahlátur) 2002, Unrated)
A fantastic dark comedy from Iceland.
La Jetée (The Pier) 1962, Unrated)
La Soufrière - Warten auf eine unausweichliche Katastrophe 1977, Unrated)
"The sea was full of dead snakes. They had crawled down during the night by the thousands from the mountain Soufriere and fled into the sea where they promptly drowned."
Akahige (Red Beard) 1965, Unrated)
"The pain and loneliness of death frighten me. But Dr. Niide looks at it differently. He looks into their hearts as well as their bodies." Kurosawa does such a magnificent job of infusing the virtues of decency and humanity into the story that they almost become concrete, tangible characters. The fact that Red Beard is rarely, if ever, listed as one of Akira's cinematic milestones has me a little perplexed. Highly underrated.
The Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru (The Bad Sleep Well) 1962, Unrated)
La Mujer sin Cabeza (The Headless Woman) 2007, Unrated)
Vero is a vibrant, successful, mature woman who, through a moment of inattention, hits something with her car. It could have been a dog, it also could have been a child. La Mujer sin Cabeza is a slow-burn psychological drama, a tragedy that ebbs like a languidly receding tide. This is a premise that could have easily slid into the realm of pretentious melancholy but Maria Onetto's performance gives the story a little balance. A very brave film but one with a lethargic pace and limited appeal. Definitely not for everyone.
Kagemusha (Shadow Warrior) (The Double) 1980, PG)
Angst Essen Seele auf (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul) 1974, Unrated)
A very unconventional love story that director Rainer Fassbinder made "to fill the time" between his larger budget productions. Angst Essen Seele auf is an intimate portrait of the relationship between a sixty-something German widow and her forty-something Moroccan lover. Fassbinder effectively (and brilliantly) conveys their isolation and the whirlpool of racism and bigotry that surrounds them. This is a very odd film that is surprisingly touching and eloquent.
Une robe d'été (A Summer Dress) 1996, Unrated)
A short film (approx 15 min) from director François Ozon, available under the special features section of his See the Sea DVD. Conceptionaly sound but far too explicit for me. Ozon drifts into tangents of soft-core gay porn, forcing guys like me to keep one finger on the 'fast-forward' button at all times.
Alice (Neco z Alenky) 1988, Unrated)
Ballad of a Soldier 1960, Unrated)
Eyes Without a Face 1960, Unrated)
[Rec] 2007, R)
Mikres Afrodites (Young Aphrodites) 1963, Unrated)
Director Nikos Koundouros' self-proclaimed tale of "ideological nothingness" is beautifully presented. Based on Daphnis & Chloe, it flows with an economy of dialog, relying instead on a rich visual presentation. Nikos is not at all shy with his symbolic use of animals; a domesticated fox, a young man butting heads with a ram, a huge dead pelican tied to a wooden cross... Koundouros spoke in interviews of Mikres Afrodites being a story of desperation. For me it is more about desire. Maybe the two, desperation and desire, are inseparable?
The Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc) 1928, Unrated)
La Grande illusion (Grand Illusion) 1937, Unrated)
A series of German POW camps provide Renior's La Grande Illusion with a framework from which to illustrate social inequity. Two captured French airmen, one a well-to-do career officer and the other a former mechanic, discover that, even in prison, their class distinctions still wedge them apart. This socio-political undercurrent adds to the tension as the prisoners work feverishly to effect an escape. A milestone film that no doubt influenced later offerings like Stalag 17 (1953), The Great Escape (1963) and Hart's War (2002).
Matador 1986, NC-17)
An unlikely love affair emerges between two serial killers, one is a thrill-seeking ex matador and the other a gorgeous and twisted defense attorney.
El Mariachi 1993, R)
Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog) 1928, Unrated)
Entre tinieblas (Dark Habits) (Dark Hideout) 1984, Unrated)
Law of Desire 1986, NC-17)
Bad Education (La Mala educación) 2004, NC-17)
Le Samouraï (The Godson) 1967, PG)
High and Low (Tengoku to jigoku) (Heaven and Hell) 1962, Unrated)
Kurosawa's High and Low plays like two distinctly separate films. The first part being the dramatic moral dilemma of a corporate tycoon forced to choose between his own financial security and the life of a child. The latter part being a complex police drama outlining the excruciating detail of detectives on the trail of a psychotic kidnapper. I love the way the director stages his scenes here, particularly "junkie alley" where the addicts converge like so many zombies on anyone who strays into their midst. This could have easily been an inspiration for Romero's Night of the Living Dead. This is essential viewing for anyone who appreciates a good crime drama, Japanese cinema and/or Akira Kurosawa's body of work. Good stuff!
House of Fools 2003, R)
Drácula (Dracula, Spanish Version) 1931, Unrated)
Broken Embraces 2009, R)
Viridiana 1961, R)
Run Lola Run (Lola rennt) 1998, R)
Port of Shadows (Le Quai des Brumes) 1939, Unrated)
La Bête Humaine (Judas Was a Woman)(The Human Beast) 1938, Unrated)
Lovely Simone Simon (see Cat People) is a deadly seductress scheming her way from relationship to relationship. An accomplice to murder, she watches as husband kills lover. Feeling trapped, she takes a new lover, Jacques Lantier (Jean Gabin), and suggests that he kill the husband. A vicious cycle that could continue to perpetuate itself, but good ole' Jacques has a few demons of his own. La Bête humaine is a cinematic perfect storm. All the elements (Gabin, Simon, Renoir, Zola) come together to create a masterpiece of romance, tragedy and betrayal.
Fa Yeung Nin Wa (In the Mood for Love) 2000, PG)
Amores Perros 2000, R)
Dead Snow (Død snø) 2008, Unrated)
For once I didn't have to ask myself the age-old question, "Do I wanna watch a Nazi Movie or a Zombie Movie?" Here, the walking dead goosestep. A horror film with a sense of humor, Dead Snow never makes the mistake of taking itself too seriously. It's remarkably reminiscent of Bruce Campbell's Evil Dead anthology. Just good, unclean fun.
The Lives of Others 2006, R)
"It is easier to live through someone else than to complete yourself" -Betty Friedan (Doesn't Ulrich Mühe remind you of Kevin Spacey?) The Lives of Others chronicles one man's awakening and his transition from Stasi loyalist to compassionate human being. Director Florian Donnersmarck, along with such contemporaries as Oliver Hirschbiegel and Wolfgang Petersen, continues the trend of German film makers who are proving themselves enormously apt at honest self-reflection. This is one gutsy and remarkable film.
Serbis (Service) 2008, R)
I'm not sure what director Brillante Mendoza was thinking. Maybe the intentions were honorable, focusing on graphic realism with an unflinching eye for detail, but the auteuristic style is small compensation for the utter lack of substance and motivation. The setting is a run-down porn theater in the slums of Angeles (Philippines). Serbis takes us behind the scenes, from one amoral act to the next, exposing the poverty and hopelessness of those involved. Okay, I get it. If you go through the countryside turning over rocks you're bound to see a few creepy-crawly things. What else would one expect? The shortcomings of the characters seem to be the apex of the story. There's little else to latch on to. I found myself wanting the plot to go somewhere but it just doesn't. The technique is sound but, on the whole, the film is little more than tabloid cinema. Given Mendoza's reputation, I was completely disappointed.
See the Sea 1997, Unrated)