Foreign Films To Change Your World

An Englishmans perspective
So many great movies, so little time.

Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (Aguirre, Wrath Of Gods) 1972
– Directed by Werner Herzog
This was one of three i considered by the eccentric Werner Herzog. Both Nosferatu and Fitzcarraldo also featured the main star Klaus Kinski but i think Aguirre just about out does the other two for sheer madness and extrodinary story telling matched stride for stride by Kinski’s over the top method style performance. Well worth checking out all 3 though.

Ran 1985
– Directed by Akira Kurosawa
A genuine masterpiece from acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. The photography and soundtrack are stunning, capturing the heart and soul of this story about fueding warlords. Losely based on the shakespearean tragedy King Lear.

Mitt Liv Som Hund (My Life As A Dog) 1985
– Directed by Lasse Hallström
This is a lovely film about a young boy’s experiences and how they will go on to shape the rest of his life. There are many wierd and wonderful characters on show, not least Laika, the russian dog sent into space that our hero spends much of his time, worrying about.

Manon De Sources (Manon Of The Spring) 1986
– Directed by Marcel Pagnol
This was the sequel to the equally impressive Jean de Florette and stars the beautiful Emmanuelle Béart as the eponymous heroine. This film is wonderfully thoughtful and provoking and shouldn’t fail to move even the most hardened amongst us.

Der Himmel Uber Berlin (Wings Of Desire) 1987
– Directed by Wim Wenders
One of my favourite all time movies and i would recommend this highly alongside Wenders english speaking classic, Paris Texas. The premise is terrific and i won’t spoil it by divulging it here if you know nothing about the film. To be watched alone if possible and without the chance for disturbance.

Dom za vešanje (Time Of The Gypsies) 1988
– Directed by Emir Kusturica
It is extrodinary to think that there was only one professional actor (the lead character) in this film. Most of the others on screen were real life gypsies and i think this helps give a truely magical yet somehow realistic feel to the movie and is testiment to the brillance of Kusturica. One of the best soundtracks you’re likely to hear which feature some inspiring gypsy themes and bulgarian chant arranged by composer and long term cohort Goran Bregovic.

¡Átame! (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!) 1990
– Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Even a poor Pedro Almodóvar film will have more wit and imagination than your average film. This one features a young Antonio Banderas and Almodóvar’s long time muse, Victoria Abril in a mad plot that isn’t worth telling here, as the less you know going in, will only add to the films eccentric charm. Not necessarily his best work but nevertheless, an erotic comedic of the highest order.

Cyrano De Bergerac 1990
– Directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau
I’m sure that many will be acquainted with this classic tale of disception and misunderstanding all in the name of love. For me, this is the best version and boasts a performance of both bravado and nuance by the great french actor, Gérard Depardieu.

C’est Arrivé Près De Chez Vous (Man Bites Dog) 1992
– Directed by Rémy Belvaux & André Bonzel
This is a strange little independant feature shot in a documentary style about a serial killer from his own point of view. As the camera crew follow his progress, they (along with the audience) are sucked in by his charm leading to terrible consequences. A film that questions voyerism and implicates the viewer as much as the killer, this will both fasinate and disturb. The lead actor was also one of the directors.

Il Postino (The Postman) 1994
– Directed by Michael Radford
Not much to say here – beautifully shot, wonderfully romantic, lyrical and poetic. Match this with some fantastic acting and a delicious score and you’re left with film to make you believe that anything is possible ….just go see it !!!

Festen (The Celebration) 1998
– Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
A very cool film set around a 60th birthday party celebration where various truths about the darker side of the family are revealed to the horror and surprise of the guests. Bleak and funny at the same time, you will often be squirming in your seat as the tale and it’s participants slowly unravel.

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