11 comments on “Our Favorite Foreign Films

  1. Other personal favorites that I would recommend to anyone interested in foreign cinema:
    Ikiru, 1952, Akira Kurosawa (Japanese)
    Seven Samurai, 1954, Akira Kurosawa (Japanese)
    Breathless, 1960, Jean-Luc Godard (French)
    Jules et Jim, 1962, François Truffaut (French)
    Life is Beautiful, 1998, Roberto Benigni (Italian)

    There are lots more, but I’ll stop there for now!

    • You’ll be happy to know I’ve added “Life is Beautiful” to my Netflix queue. Summary sounds quite intriguing, something similar to Pan’s Labyrinth, no? And I really feel like I’ve seen a modern “Seven Samurai” but I’m not finding it now 😦

      • Yay! So glad you’ve added Life is Beautiful to your list. And no, it’s not really at all similar to Pan’s, except that it’s set against the backdrop of a war. As for Seven Samurai, I just checked and it is available to rent on Amazon Instant Video. I bet the library has it too.

      • “The Magnificent Seven” (1960) was an Americanized version. Not exactly “modern” but a little more recent and had a great cast. One of my father’s favorite and I’m sure you’ll recognize the music.

  2. Hmmm, let’s see. So very many choices. I must add that I have the advantages of years in this regard AND I’m more open to viewing films of a more unchristian/existential nature than most Christian reviewers would be comfortable incorporating into their lists. But little of a Christian nature can put its finger on pulse of the angst of modern man like the disquieting films of Ingmar Berman. [“Wild Strawberries” (1957), “The Seventh Seal” (1957) and “The Silence” (1963)]

    Francois Truffaut is genius and I’ll let others pick their favorite. I’ve long since given up trying to choose one.

    One of the most disturbing films I’ve seen in a very long time is “The Lives of Others” (2006) (Disclaimer – There is a very needless sex scene in the middle of movie that nearly disqualifies it from any list) This is an extremely relevant movie and has much to recommend it particularly in light of the NSA scandals.

    Finally – just to add something different – how about “Das Boot” (1981). Great war movie and does a great job of making me feel claustrophobic.

    Honorable Mention (just because I raised daughters and it’s in English- just for Gene) I would add “Hillary and Jackie” (1998)

    Also in the Honorable Mention English Class would be the James Bond Movies and the Mad Max stuff (from a Christian perspective isn’t it interesting that the future is seen as dystopian – not that making a movie about a future utopia would be much fun but it DOES say something that the future is not seen as all puppies and puffy clouds. I believe Christians have something to contribute in that regard.)

  3. The first Ip Man is a great choice, the ending is really powerful and empowering consider the Chinese were under control by the Japanese. Ip Man 2 tried to follow the similar type ending but it didn’t quite work. For a more fantastical martial arts film, I’d go with Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon it’s a great story and has some thoughtful things to say. The other month I watched Grave Of The Fireflies, that’s a heartbreaker, surprisingly touching for an anime.

    • Good call on that sequel falling short. It’s a good continuation of the story but it’s missing a lot of the desperation and emotional depth of the first so it just doesn’t connect as well. Hidden Dragon is a gorgeous film. I think that and Hero, among others, achieve a level of beauty that most martial arts films don’t even try for and they really nail it. Thanks for commenting!

    • Crouching Tiger is another personal favorite of mine as well! It narrowly missed being on the list. And I agree with Gene about Hero as well. Did anyone see House of Flying Daggers? It’s another visually stunning martial arts film that I think gets overlooked.

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