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Foreign Film Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by Sukebe Jiji, Feb 24, 2002.

  1. Sukebe Jiji

    Sukebe Jiji TRIBE Promoter

    I hope someone actually looks at this thread as it is also conveniently serving the double purpose of introducing me to the board...so hello hello

    Anyways, currently I am on a big Japanese film kick. Last night I rented Kore-Eda's Afterlife, he is the director who did Maboroshi if that helps at all. While Maboroshi, his first work, was extremely artistic, his appreciation for Ozu long and slow shot film techniques perhaps a bit overused, Afterlife reigns in his indulgences resulting in a far more viewer friendly work. He manages to find a nice balance between the slow moving shots and maintaining a strong plot. The plot itself is extremely touching I thought...really bitter sweet for lack of a better explanation. Afterlife's plot is basically - when you die you have to pick one memory to carry with you to the next life...the movie is all about picking that one precious moment in time.

    Does anyone else like Japanese movies? Hong Kong? I just find it nice to get away from Hollywood once in a while to watch movies with actual character and soul...

    Well, so ends my first post.
  2. I'm a fan of both. Big time.

    Hong Kong films, I tend to go for the more popular fare like John Woo, Ringo Lam, Tsui Hark, Ronny Yu, Chow Yun Fat, Jackie Chan and the likes. I've been a huge fan of the HK action genre.

    As for the Japanese stuff, I have to admit that I have a bit of a soft spot for the trashier stuff, but I've always been a staunch admirer of Akira Kurosawa's work. I've also really enjoyed the work of the director of Tetsuo the Iron Man (name escapes me), he's also done two very strong peices of work - Tokyo Fist and Gemini. I'd also recommend Ring, which is an absolutely solid peice of suspense/horror work, I've even reviewed Ring in Tribe a few months back.

    "Beat" Takeshi is great too, I really thought he was a lot of fun in Battle Royale

    From the Ministry of welcome aboard

    Prime Minister Highsteppa
  3. zoo

    zoo TRIBE Member

    Foreign films?

    Recently i watched The Princess and the Warrior

    It was pretty good .. starring the girl from Run Lola Run


    The Closet with supporting actor Gerard Depardieu was good


    That's all i can remember from the past few months


    I like watching what other "cultures" find entertaining as a regular feature film / artsy movie

    it's different, a new insight

    which is why it's good
  4. labRat

    labRat TRIBE Member

    i was going to rent Audition last night - but i didn't feel like reading subtitles. it looked interesting, about a man who's wife died and then he holds auditions for his new wife. something happens with one that he likes, and then something else happens (iono i didn't really pay attention after i read it was subtitled).

    actually, after reading this it sounds like it could either be really good and different or really crappy and gorey.

    either way, it will kill two hours.

    but i rented Monty Python and The Holy Grail DVD instead.


    p.s. welcome.
  5. Karim

    Karim TRIBE Member

    The only foreign films I've seen are Run Lola Run and the british imports (Trainspotting, Lock Stock, and Snatch)

    I feel like I am missing out when reading your threads. What do you guys recommend for a foreign film newbie? classics.

  6. Sukebe Jiji

    Sukebe Jiji TRIBE Promoter

    Yea! People responded


    Thanks for that list of movie directors there, I will definitely try to watch some of them. I am just curious by "trashy" do you mean the genre known as (roughly translated in English sorry) "Rising Sun" film? Like, they focus on Yakuza and there is lots of action etc etc? They focus on societal scum etc and were extremely popular in the 80s and early 90s? I have been meaning to see more of them but have simply never found the time.

    I DEFINITELY agree with the Kurosawa remark..I don't think I have ever met anyone who did not appreciate him. My fave Kurosawa flicks are (in no particular order), Seven Samurai, Ikiru, Rashomon and Ran the big budget epic remake of King Lear.

    Oh! and next time you rent some Hong Kong try to venture away from the action stuff, there are a lot of very striking movies without kung fu too! For example, Wang Kar-wei (I think that is spelt right..) but regardless the two movies I am thinking of are Raise the Red Lantern and Happy Together...Happy Together is a lot more obscure but an AMAZING movie...It is about two gay Chinese men and their on again off again relationship in Argentina. What makes it so amazing however is that it was done at the same time as the repatriation of Hong Kong so there is this constant analogy to that momentus event.


    I have heard of the Princess and the Warrior...what is it about again???

    As for the comment about the interest in what other cultures find interesting you should be careful. For example, some Hong Kong directors, to use a topic that has already been brought up, are popular in North America but extremely UN-popular in Hong Kong and China. Sometimes foreign directors "sell out" there home country or appeal to foreign stereotypes of that country...in the case of Hong Kong "Orientalist" ideas...but this again is still interesting I think. I am still unsure if I buy this argument or not, but it makes for a great debate.


    What country is Audition from?? Is it meant to be a comedy?? haha It sounds like a black british comedy...

    Good choice on the Monty Python though....I will never look at rabbits the same way again...oh and swallows too...

    thanks for the welcome

  7. zoo

    zoo TRIBE Member

    The only "oriental" foreign movie i have seen was Crouching Tiger ... and it seemed to simply be a fantasy-martial-arts-matrix-action movie

    not exactly your run-of-the-mill movie

    Princess and the Warrior is fun .. about a girl who is trying to find herself mentally and a man who has lost himself .. the movie has them running into each other by chance a few times and eventually you become interested in the reason they do everything they do

    It's a regular movie ... just in german.

    And that was the biggest appeal to me when i rented it.

    It doesn't sensationalize german culture or anything i might percieve of it .. it could very well have been filmed in english and kept the same point.
  8. By trashy, I mean mostly the quick titilation stuff that has plenty of overacting and the like... Some of it is very good, such as Fu-Doh which absolutely ruled in my books, and I honestly feel that they have their merit. But at the same time, they are so crazily acted, melodramatic and beserk in their storylines that I feel a little guilty in taking so much pleasure in them. Excellent example of this is Zero Wolf. Trashiest film I have seen in some time, but goddam is it ever entertaining, and definitely not boring. Check out Uzumaki too, it's like a warped version of a Tim Burton film, centering around the theme of spirals. The ending is pretty disturbing.

    Also I would highly recommend the Lone Wolf and Cub film adaptations as well as the Zatiochi (sp?) series, great Samurai films that were inspired from the comic book, which is now available here, courtesy of Frank Miller (writer of Batman's the Dark Knight, and the man who took the Marvel comic Daredevil into some very mature and very good territory)

    He is without a doubt one of film's greatest directors, and his work is distinct and varied. Ran was a beautifully and astonishing rendition of King Lear, and the way he managed to capture the castle battle scenes are still a pleasure to watch. Throne of Blood is his version of MacBeth, my favorite Shakespeare play and favorite Kurosawa adaptation, and has an ending that Brian DePalma ripped off for his ending of Scarface. His influence is far and wide, and his work is still acknowledged as being some of the most groundbreaking methods in storytelling, balancing character, mood, theme, story and photography unlike anyone else. He takes shots of clouds in Ran and makes them look absolutely fascinating. His work in Yojimbo and Sanjuro were keystones in the spaghetti western genres (Clint Eastwood's For a Fistful of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More were direct adaptations. So was, unfortunately, Bruce Willis' stab at it with Last Man Standing).

    Wong Kar Wai (that's the correct spelling), is someone I meant to mention as well. Happy Together and In the Mood For Love (which is on tonight on TMN) were such beautiful films to watch, esp In The Mood For Love, an affair that DOESN'T happen. I also really liked Chungking Express. Raise the Red Lantern I've seen, but couldn't really appreciate it (I don't think I was in the right frame of mind), but Shanghai Triad (from the same director, the title might be wrong) I really enjoyed.

    From the Ministry of will always love, however, the operatic mayhem of HK action flicks.

    Prime Minister Highsteppa
  9. Plato

    Plato TRIBE Member

    hey zoo, the princess and the warrior was also directed by tom tykwer (run lola run) and has him doing work on the soundtrack as well.
    his latest movie set to be released, heaven, does not star franka potente though, but cate blanchet and giovanni risbi
    i cannot wait to see it :)

    btw, who did you think sissy's father was?

  10. ViShiS*

    ViShiS* TRIBE Member

    Japanese films are amazing!

    If you ever want to see something totally crazy you need to see Tatsuo- The Iron Man. Japanese, black and white, stop-action paranoid science fiction. Tatsuo never gives you a break in the action and is totally insane. I can't even say that it is good, but you can't look away and you'll never forget it.

  11. MoFo

    MoFo TRIBE Member

    All I have to say is I don't know what people are talking about: Afterlife sucked.
  12. Bean

    Bean TRIBE Member

    In the mood for love

    One foreign film I really enjoyed was the movie In the mood for love.

    Although I enjoyed it, I believe I missed out on so many subtle, yet important aspects of the film because I

    1. do not speak the language
    2. am not familiar with the culture

    Here's the synopsis:

    Hong Kong 1962, Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai), a journalist, rents a room from Mr. Koo. He will live there with his wife, a hotel receptionist. It's sheer coincidence that he moves in the same day that Su Lizhen (Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk) moves in next door, at Mrs Suen's place. Lizhen works as a secretary to Mr. Ho (Lai Chin), the boss of a shipping company. It's also a coincidence that both of them are moving in without help from their spouses. Chow's wife is working her shift at the hotel at the time of the move. Lizhen's husband, Mr Chan, is away on a business trip; he works for a Japanese company, and is often abroad. Despite having convivial and neighbourly landlords, Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan often find themselves alone and lonely in their respective rooms.

    Neither of them ever finds out how it began, but Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan discover that their respective spouses are having an affair. The discovery shocks both of them. Chow, feeling hurt and wishing to understand how the affair happened, begins finding excuses to spend time with Mrs. Chan. They begin rehearsing what they will say to their spouses when they confront them with what they know. Then Mr. Chow invites Mrs. Chan to help him with a martial-arts series that he is writing for the newspaper. Their meetings are discreet, but people begin to notice. There seems no possibility that they, too, will drift into an affair. But Mrs. Chan's emotional reticence begins to haunt Mr. Chow and he finds his feelings changing. It's almost like being in love.

    Four years later, as a Singapore-based reporter covering General De Gaulle's visit to Cambodia, Chow Mo-wan finds himself remembering an old story about a way of unburdening yourself of a secret you don't want anyone to know.



    .:. Share what you know, learn what you don't .:.
  13. air-bag

    air-bag TRIBE Member

    WHAT? Dont lie you loved it!!!
  14. zoo

    zoo TRIBE Member

    the old man looking at her through the window when she left

    who i'm remembering was the same man she strapped down to the bed when he wanted to punch her teeth out

    i didn't know about a new movie,
    i'm definately looking forward to it though based on cast

    thx! ;0)
  15. zoo

    zoo TRIBE Member

    and as for the toaster and bathtub scenes ..

    i thought the black and white flashback scenes were amazing

    just the idea of putting the flashback there i guess
  16. Plato

    Plato TRIBE Member

    btw heaven is in german too, giovanni and cate speak it well :)
    so it doesnt feel like he's selling out to the larger masses :)

    and yes, someone else who thought it was the guy who punched her
    me and a friend keep having an argument over her paternity. i say it was that guy. she says it was steini (the guy she j/o)

    thats one more vote for my side! wheeeee!! :D

  17. Sukebe Jiji

    Sukebe Jiji TRIBE Promoter


    That is amazing that you know the Lone Wolf and Cub series (in Japanese Kodzure Ookami). Ironically, that manga series was one of the primary sources for my thesis...the thesis itself (even though this will terribly oversimplify it) was a look at the influence of historical meta-narratives and their place in Japanese manga..But yes that was indeed a terrific series.

    If you have the time, and energy, you should try to find a film called The Family Game, I think the directors name is Yoshimitsu. It is a biting satire of Japanese relationships in Tokyo during the 80s and it is absolutely hysterical. The other director you should try to look out for is Juzo Itami. He did a movie called the Funeral which is also a riot....

    Oh, and what do you think of Miyazaki? He did the anime films Nausica and Monoke Hime and actually has a brand new film out in Japan as we speak.


    What didn't you like about Afterlife? I can definitely see how some people might find it a bit tedious or what not....but believe it or not that is his fastest paced film to date in my opinion.


    If you are interested in Japanese films a good start is always with Kurosawa...they are fantastic films and moreover they are easy to find at most video places

  18. zoo

    zoo TRIBE Member

    i'd prefer them to speak english
    but whatever ..

    it couldn't have been steini

    he was too young

    yes, he killed her mom

    but she seemed in her 40s, he in his 20s at the time

    of course, it IS possible that he is her dad, but that doesn't explain the weird relationship the girl had with the old man

    but whatever

    it's a subjective movie
  19. The fact that the manga themselves is as much a comic book as it is an investigation and analysis of the philosophical paradoxes of how a man who is an assassin is burdened by the taking care of his child, yet completely free and liberated by the fact that his son is capable of choosing his own death, is fascinating. It's also an interesting deconstruction of how one can be adhering to a code, belief or way of life, but not truely living by it. That's what drew me to it, and it's understanding of following a way of life, and actually living it. :)

    I think I know which one you're talking about, as I think I spotted Criterion covering it in their DVD series. It's either that or something very similar.

    Also, I would recommend the Myamoto Musashi Samurai Trilogy (which is also covered by the Criterion Collection). It's the Japanese gone with the wind of its time and a celebration of one of my heros. Although, it is by no means a real biography of his life (I've been researching about the guy whenever I can, I find him both a genius and a hilarious paradox and even a nut), it's still a very important landmark in contemporary cinema. Great trilogy.

    Hadn't heard of his new movie, but was aware of his work, and really appreciated his film My Neighbour Tortorro, which makes me feel like a kid again (he did do that, right? I'm pretty certain that he did). I've seen Nausicaa and I've touched on some of the manga that's available (you can find it at Suspect Video if you're lucky, and most likely Silver Snail will have some editions of it. Interesting read.). As for Princess Mononoke, I'm a bit conflicted. I am a staunch believer that the story line of an original feature should be unmolested. However, with Neil Gaiman doing the rewriting of the script (who could ask for a better writer for the material?), and the great voice acting by Minnie Driver, Billy Bob Thornton and Jada Pinkett Smith, I have to say, I am rethinking that formerly firm stance. If they could do something like that more often, I don't think I'd have as much of a problem with the dubbing of Manga and Foreign films.

    From the Ministry of I'm very impressed, you really know your stuff

    Prime Minister Highsteppa
  20. noahmintz

    noahmintz TRIBE Member

    I love Hong Kong action films ... especially those of the Kung Fu variety
    North American action flicks are so played out and boring
    Not to say I don't like any of them ... but I think watching a Kung Fu fight is much more entertaining and impressive then watching some aging muscle man blow something up with a huge gun

    I saw The Princess and The Warrior and Gangster No 1 on the weekend and they were 2 of the best films I've seen in a while
    I found Princess and the Warrior to be a bit slow but it was still an excellent movie
    Tom Tywker (sp?) has a strange fetish with people getting run over by cars though

  21. Hey stu, there's a film that's being released in March I think that is out now on video and DVD in Chinatown, it's called Shaolin Soccer, and it's one of the most entertaining and hilarious films I've seen in some time, combining CGI martial arts with soccer. I can't recommend it enough, and I think you might get a real (shit ****pun alert****) kick out of it. Check it out.

    From the Ministry of recommendation

    Prime Minister Highsteppa
  22. kul-kat

    kul-kat TRIBE Member

    foreign films are the best because for them to be released here, they had to do really well in their own country. imagine someone sorting through all the hollywood shit and only showing you the best ones. you'd think that those american's were pretty damn talented.
  23. Sukebe Jiji

    Sukebe Jiji TRIBE Promoter


    WHOA! Stop the press!! There is a dubbed version of Princess Mononoke?!?! REALLY?!?! CRAP!! I have only ever seen the subtitled one!! Man oh man oh man....you learn a new thing every day
    That is impressive that you read parts of the Nausica manga btw...I kind of found it frustrating how different the manga is from the movie though, but I suppose expected. One example is Akira...the manga is INSANE!!!! I have the complete original Japanese version of it and I kid you not it is 6 phone books....absolutely amazing plot..the movie is still great and all, but a bit less complicated - for lack of a better word. :)

    And btw, what is this Criterion Collection you mention?? It sounds interesting

    Oh, and just fyi during the school year I live in nyc, not in Toronto, so making jaunts to the Silver Snail, although enjoyable, are rare for me ;)


    Actually, there are quite a few foreign films that are not at all popular in their native country but extremely succesful, both critically and financially, outside of it. The most obvious example is Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Although I think it may have had *some* success in Hong Kong, it was not very popular at all in mainland China. Some foreign directors cater to what they think other countries would like their films to be like, or at least this is an ongoing argument in some countries.

  24. You weren't aware of this? I'm kind of surprised, as it made a lot of noise when it got released theatrically by Miramax in 1999. Did pretty good business too for a non Disney flick. Great adaptation though, and again, a lot of that credit goes to Neil Gaiman, who wrote and supervised much of the Sandman series.

    Yeah, I know. My friend gave me the complete Akira series in individual issues for Christmas in exchange for 50 bucks. I'm still getting through it all.

    Criterion is an independent company that used to do the most comprehensive laserdiscs on the market when they were around. Now they've moved onto DVD and they haven't faltered one bit. They cover what they deem to be some of the more important films in contemporary cinema to date. They've done such films as the Seven Samurai, Hard Boiled, The Killer, Silence of the Lambs, Brazil, Life of Brian, Chasing Amy, Robocop, The Seventh Seal and a huge list of others. They have done some of the best DVD's out there, but they are very expensive (average price is about $80.00 with taxes up here, Brazil, however is going for about $100.00 and is a three disc package and includes all three cuts of the film). Still they are unmatched and unrivaled with all the supplemental material they include and are unbelievably in depth and complete.


    Oops. Sorry, Peter. It's hard not to get Torontocentric when almost everyone you know off this board you can see almost every weekend. Drop me a line if you come back to t-dot, as I'm sure we could have a pretty good talk about this and plenty more. :)

    From the Ministry of do you know Tonedeff perchance?

    Prime Minister Highsteppa
  25. Sukebe Jiji

    Sukebe Jiji TRIBE Promoter


    Well, I knew that Princess Mononoke got released in North America by Miramax but for some reason I thought it maintained its subtitles..hahaha..I suppose it was just a bit of wishful thinking on my part..but Neil Gaiman is indeed a great mind as far as being able to take a medium generally overlooked in N. America and giving it literary credibility. I meant to mention about the new Miyazaki film is that it is currently #1 in the box office in Japan (quite a feat - Mononoke Hime only made it up to #3 when it was released which was a big deal itself).

    You have the complete Akira manga in English translation? LUCKY MAN!! hahah Mine is in Japanese ...imagine trying to get through that plot in a foreign language! Scary, time consuming but rewarding :)

    I do not know Tonedeff at all, although I did see that he too is in nyc while I was pondering registering for the board.

    We should definitely meet up next time I come back (please reference my Great Gin Debate thread ;)) It is always a pleasure to talk to someone else interested in Japanese pop culture and media.


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