Saturday, September 15, 2007

Forty Foreign Films (1960-1987)

A little over a month ago Kimberly from Cinebeats was kind enough to ask me to contribute a list of my favorite foreign films for an online poll. I was intrigued but unfortunately she asked right as I was going on vacation and I missed the deadline for submission. I tried to get it together but time and my slightly mystified reaction at the poll's rules stopped me from doing it.
After seeing Kimberly's final list, and Neil's from The Bleeding Tree, I decided to go ahead and get one together for Moon In The Gutter. Since this doesn't count for anything I decided to create my own rules which are:

1. The films only range from the period 1960 to 1987. (Basically the first date is just to make it easier on myself as there are too many pre 1960 favorites to consider. The second date is because I typically think that at least twenty years should go by before films are put on any sort of best of list.)

2. Only one film per director. (This made it more difficult but otherwise it would have been mostly made up of French New Wave and Italian filmmakers and I wanted to highlight as many countries and directors as I could.)

3. This is a list of personal favorites. (Mainly what I mean by that is that I am not attempting to compile a list of the best or most important foreign films. These are the best and most important to me, and it allowed me to include worthy directors like Jess Franco and Jean Rollin over some of the more typically recognized masters.)

4. Films shot in a foreign language. (This is tricky, especially with the Italian films. Basically I just included this to leave off any obviously shot in English films from Britain, Canada, Australia it would have made the list near impossible for me.)

So, here is my list in chronological order. I hope it is of some interest.

1. EYES WITHOUT A FACE (France, Georges Franju, 1960)

2. LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD (France, Alain Resnais, 1961)

3. KNIFE IN THE WATER (Poland, Roman Polanski, 1962)

4. RED DESERT (Italy, Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964)

5. KILL BABY KILL (Italy, Mario Bava, 1966)

6. A MAN AND A WOMAN (France, Claude Lelouch, 1966)

7. TOBY DAMMIT (Italy, Federico Fellini, 1968)

8. THE GREAT SILENCE (Italy, SErgio Corbucci, 1968)

9. A GENTLE WOMAN (France, Robert Bresson, 1969)

10. PIGSTY (Italy, Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1969)

11. MY NIGHT AT MAUDS (France, Eric Rohmer, 1969)

12. LES BICHES (France, Claude Chabrol, 1969)

13. THE RED CIRCLE (France, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1970)

14. THE CONFORMIST (Italy, Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970)

15. EDEN AND AFTER (France, Alain Robbe-Grillet, 1970)

16. TWO ENGLISH GIRLS (France, Francois Truffaut, 1971)

17. FRUSTRATION (France, Jose Benazeraf, 1971)

18. SOLARIS (Russia, Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972)

19. All THE COLORS OF THE DARK (Italy, Sergio Martino, 1972)

20. THE MOTHER AND THE WHORE (France, Jean Eustache, 1973)


22. VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD (Spain, Jess Franco, 1973)

23. THE HOLY MOUNTAIN (Mexico, Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1973)

24. THRILLER, A CRUEL PICTURE (Sweden, Bo Arne Vibenius, 1974)

25. CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING (France, Jacques Rivette, 1974)

26. EMMANUELLE 2 (France, Francis Giacobetti, 1975)

27. THE LAST WOMAN (Italy, Marco Ferreri, 1976)

28. SUSPIRIA (Italy, Dario Argento, 1977)

29. STROSZEK (Germany, Werner Herzog, 1977)

30. FASCINATION (France, Jean Rollin, 1979)

31. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (Italy, Ruggero Deodato, 1980)

32. SLOW MOTION (France, Jean-Luc Godard, 1980)

33. THE BEYOND (Italy, Lucio Fulci, 1981)

34. DR. JEKYLL AND HIS WOMEN (Poland, Walerian Borowczyk, 1981)

35. POSSESSION (Poland, Andrej Zulawski, 1981)

36. FANNY AND ALEXANDER (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman, 1982)

37. THE EYES THE MOUTH (Italy, Marco Bellocchio, 1982)

38. ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA (Italy, Sergio Leone, 1984)

39. BAD BLOOD (France, Leos Carax, 1986)

40. BETTY BLUE (France, Jean-Jacques Beineix, 1986)

For all its failings and even though I will think of many I should have included after hitting the post button, I am glad to have a list that includes Jess Franco and Jacques Rivette, plus Jean Rollin and Ingmar Bergman. If nothing else I hope that the list shows that I love all kinds of cinema and for me there isn't such a thing as low brow and high brow. Great art is great art no matter its origins, or the particular route it takes to get to the truth it is seeking. These films are all masterpieces in my eyes, and they were all delivered by truly great masters.


Neil Sarver said...

Great list.

I still need to do something of a longer, finished list of foreign movies. I expect my rules will be similar to yours, which sadly will eliminate Incubus from the list of movies I nominated, but it'll open up a lot more choices than that.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Neil,
Really looking forward to seeing more of your list...all the best.

colinr said...

Great to see the fantastic Frustration make your list! I'd really like to hear your thoughts on this and other Benazeraf films.

Only having seen the first Emmanuelle film, I'm interested in your listing the second film highly - is it a lot better than the first?

Lastyear said...

Interesting list.I love Truffaut but consider Two English Girls one of his lesser films.And I like Toby Dammit but don't consider it on the same level as La Dolce Vita or 8 1/2.And Thriller i just don't get.Ive watched it twice and consider incompetent on every level.And to include Deodato,Franco and Rollin but no Luis Bunuel?Still an interesting list.I see a few i havent seen and should check out.It would be boring if everyone liked the same things.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Colin,
I really want to see more Benazeraf but his films are so hard to find. The clips I saw on his episode of Eurotika still haunt me, I hope to see more eventually.
Frustration is one of the few I have and I think it is a mind blower. Glad to hear you admire it as well...
as far as Emmanuelle 2 goes...Alex Cox called it something like "The Once Upon In The West" of erotic films and I agree with him. Its a genre hopping self referential masterpiece in my eyes (although Cox might be the only other person to rank it as highly as I do)...I think it is a much better film than the first one...thanks so much for the comments..

Last Year,
It is really funny you mentioned Bunuel. Late last night after I posted this I suddenly realized he wasn't on here and I panicked a bit. Visconti was another that I left off that I regretted but I knew inevitably that some would slip by me which is why I usually don't make these...
still, I resisted going back and changing anything because I did want to highlight directors like Deodato, Franco and Rollin.
Like you said, it would be very boring if everyone liked the same things...I really appreciate your comments. Hope you keep finding things of interest here...

Rogue Spy 007 said...

Hey Jeremy. Thanks for sharing this list with us. I've seen some of these movies, but I've never seen the majority of them. I'm going to be looking them up. Out of the ones I've seen, Suspiria and Cannibal Holocaust are my favorite two. This looks like quite an interesting list of films. Definitely gave me something to do.

cinebeats said...

You cheated Jeremy! ;D

We had every year up to 2002 to consider and Neil and I only got to list 25 films and no English language movies like Possession were allowed. Of course, I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me how Suspiria made the cut... really silly rules! I like your rules more and they would have made the list making process a lot easier for me.

I was most excited to see a few films on the list I haven't seen yet such as LES BICHES and EDEN AND AFTER because it's given me new reasons to search them out.

I also learned that you seem to prefer French cinema after reading this since at first glance I think it dominates your list. It's always fascinating to me what can be learned about individuals from these things. I hope you will write more about the films you haven't written about yet in your blog.

I hope you sent in your voting ballot to Edward! The voting period ends tonight at midnight and I sent my own ballot in yesterday. I had a really tough time of it because I think there is a lot a great stuff on the nominations list and rating them seems wrong in so many ways. I may post about my final nomination list later today if I get some free time. I've been super busy lately with freelance work that it's sucking up all my free time.

cinebeats said...

I also wanted to mention that I'm really itchin to see Celine and Julie Go Boating, which is on your list and made tha Favorite Foreign Film Nominee List as well. I read a review of it in a recent issue of Video Watchdog and it sounded fantastic. The film seems to be getting a lot of attention lately. Did it get a recent revival latley or play on cable TV? Hopefully I'll get a chance to see it soon!

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Keith,
I hope you enjoy some of the others that you might check out...isn't Cannibal Holocaust amazing?

Jeremy Richey said...

Hey Kimberly,
I just submitted my ballot of the 25 films. I hope I did it right, we ere supposed to submit a list comprised only of the nominees correct? Nine of my choices were on there and I managed to keep my only one film per director rule but the dates went flying out the window as I selected some pre 60 and post 86 films...I'll be curious to see the final list...
I wish that Celine and Julie Go Boating was currently available as I have been dying to see it again. It is a strange and hypnotic film, one of Rivette's best...
I know the French and Italian stuff dominated my list. Had I included stuff from the past twenty years there would have been a lot of Spanish it goes, I have been obsessed with French cinema since seeing that picture of Bardot in my early teens...
Thanks for the comments and alerting me that the poll was still open.

Rogue Spy 007 said...

Cannibal Holocaust was a really amazing film. I loved it. It was disgusting and sickening in parts. I was so thrilled with what happened to the idiots who messed with the tribe.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Keith,
The final half hour or so of C.H. has some of the most gruelling but brilliant filmmaking I have ever seen. I think the last line of the film, "I wonder who the real cannibals are", is one of the great last lines in any film ever.

scott said...

Oh, but where was THE MOON IN THE GUTTER????

scott said...

..I must applaud you for mentioning probably my favorite Franco film, A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks so much Scott,
I had to leave Moon In THe Gutter out due to my only including one film per director and I gave his Betty Blue the vote....
great to hear some kind words on the Franco film. I think it ius one of his most essential films and am hoping to write a longer piece on it soon...thanks again for the comments