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The FilmDebate Contributors Collaborate – Our Three Favourite Foreign Films…


Posted July 13, 2016 by

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Our Three Favourite Foreign Films

The fifth in our ‘contributors collaborate’ monthly feature…this time, we discuss our three favourite Foreign Films!

Adam Snowden

1. Oldboy – an amazing film, excellent on every level – intense, disturbing and completely unique in its construction. Well done Park Chan-wook.

2. Ringu – I love horror…especially Eastern horror. There is a reason why so many eastern horror films inspire western, mainstream remakes – they are intense, extremely suspenseful, and disturbing. ‘Ringu’ is one of my favourite Japanese horror films, it is a classic of its genre. Its American counterpart, ‘The Ring’, is arguably the best of a bad bunch, but is nowhere near the same calibre – ‘Ringu’ – watch it, fear it.

3. City Of God – While I have only seen this film a handful of times, it has always stayed with me, it is truly brilliant…I will say no more, just watch it if you haven’t already!

Cookie N Screen

1. The Tale of Two Sisters – One of the first films to ever creep me out. The film still has me guessing and turning over the ending and the cinematography is the pinnacle of horror making.

2. El Orfanato – A superb twisting and evocative Spanish horror that will punch your heart.

3. The Wings of Desire – Opulent, spectacular, heart-warming – Wim Wenders and Bruno Ganz spin such a delicate portrayal of humanity through the eyes of heaven.

Ruben Diaz

1. Oldboy – Brutal and beautiful. Smart, yet simple. A perfectly executed twist. Some of the best action sequences ever committed to film. Other scenes are like peaceful, moving paintings with emotional kicks and punches being thrown. Park Chan-Wook is a master of his craft and it shines in Oldboy.

2. Pan’s Labyrinth – It’s an adult fairytale, a historical drama, a coming-of-age story, and more. Pan’s Labyrinth is Del Toro’s best movie when it comes to completeness. Hellboy 2 might have that brilliant creature’s market scene and Cronos is creepy awesome, but Del Toro really put it all into Pan’s Labyrinth to tell a very personal, yet also fantastical movie.

3. Let the Right One In – It’s everything most every single other vampire movie is not. Let the Right One In is subtle, solemn, scary, sincere, and a sheer brilliant film that transcends its genre. Tomas Alfredson’s directing is spot on, capturing the mood of the film in every frame. The performances by Lina Leandersson and Kåre Hedebrant are damn near perfect. Of note, the American remake is not too bad either.

Larry Oliver

1. Amelie

2. The Seven Samurai

3. Les Quatre Cents Coups

Olatide Renee

1. The Raid – The Raid, one of my favourite action movies, the awesome fight scenes were choreographed brilliantly & realistically. For me The Raid just surpasses many other action films as the action sequences are just that good !

2. Battle Royale – Battle Royale a Japanese movie with a similar concept to the Hunger Games but way darker and executed much better. It’s dark, it’s violent and it’s unpredictable and that is why I love it! The different interesting personalities of the students, the various gory killing scenes, the great acting performances and the unexpected ending all mixed together created a superb and unforgettable action movie.

3. City Of God – City Of God is an excellent movie which shows the shocking and disturbing lives of people living in the slums. For some this movie may be hard to watch, but the story was told in such a compelling way which makes it even harder to look away.

Kevin Machate

1.  Pan’s Labrynth

2. Tell No One

3. Wild Tales

Katie Young

1. Pan’s Labyrinth – del Toro’s lush visuals and boundless imagination make this film as beautiful and awe inspiring as it is brutal. One of the only times I’ve actually fainted in a cinema!

2. Let The Right One In – a wonderful adaptation of a truly original and brilliant novel, the stark, cold beauty of this vampire film is enhanced by the lyrical sound of the Swedish dialogue.

3. Y Tu Mama Tambien – This 2001 offering from Alfonso Cuaron is, by turns, heart-breaking, funny, and seriously sexy. Set against a backdrop of political unrest in Mexico, it tells the story of two boys who go on a road trip with a beautiful older woman and make discoveries which change them all forever. I can’t recommend this film highly enough.

Jonathan Eig

1. High and Low – I like Kurosawa’s contemporary stories more than the samurai and this is my favorite.

2. The Lives of Others – the best movie I have seen made in the 21st century.

3. A Separation – the other best movie I have seen made in the 21st century.

Drew Oliver

1. The Orphanage – Even with The Conjuring and modern horror stepping up the game, this is one of the most terrifying movies I have ever viewed. The pace is very purposeful and the actions make you want to hide under the blanket. Even while reading subtitles, this movie will make your skin crawl. That says a lot because it does not utilize regular horror gimmicks. The fright is real. The treat of foreign films is usual for the artsy feel or the indie feel that we cannot capture in America or in English – The Orphanage is a different animal – utilizing a universal language of fear.

2. Blue is the Warmest Color – The biggest treat that a foreign film can give me is that different countries censor differently and this can give you a raw, true feeling of life. Blue does this by stripping itself down to its barest form and shows you the heart of the two main characters and the love for each other and then inevitably the hatred. No pun was intended for its stripping down, but even the sensual scenes are very real and make you feel for these two. America is not mature enough to view this movie (and its use of sex) and be able to connect with the realness of it. We are too uptight to see that this is how we actually live, but we just never see it from the outside. A true to life love story and heartbreak.

3. Ip Man – Everyone has those movies that they love or thoroughly like just because. I was convinced by a friend who loved martial arts movies to watch these and somehow fell in love. I think they are just fun and I never really gave martial art movies a chance. The story is actually compelling as well – but in a lot of “favorites” lists you always see people sometimes reaching and not connecting. This is my foreign film guilty pleasure that I can watch and thoroughly enjoy. Not on the top of any awards brackets, but I get to live vicariously through this man fighting the world for the working class.

Tim Buckler

1. Fist of Legend – Remake of Bruvce Lee’s Fist Of Fury starring Jet Li. Awesome martial arts movie.


3. The Artist – Don’t know if it counts but it is technically a french film and I love it so here it be.

Nolan Sordyl 

1. The Seventh Seal – Really, all of Ingmar Bergman’s films are masterpieces and deserve to be seen, but Seventh Seal is perhaps the most famous and most entertaining of them all. The black and white image of death on the beach will stick with you.

2. Cinema Paradiso – Sentimental to a fault, this film is a love letter to film and an affirmation to anyone who loves them that no, they’re not crazy. Touching, heart breaking, inspirational.

3. Tokyo Story – One of Ozu’s many masterpieces, the quiet and intimate portrait of a family coming back together after having grown apart is moving and an important cultural touchstone. Anyone who has ever grown up, grown apart from someone, lost someone, or had a family will be able to relate, no matter what country you come from.

Daniel Smith-Rowsey

1. In the Mood for Love – After Hong Kong became part of mainland China in 1997, many of us wondered about the vitality of HK film. For his first post-changeover film, Wong Kar Wai answered that question obliquely, tremendously, with this period piece about longing and formality and repressed emotions. Repetition is an old filmmaker’s trick; here, it unforgettably expresses the painfulness of unfulfillable, unquenchable love. Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung have never been better.

2. Persona – You love it or you hate it, but one thing is sure, no director with this strong of a mainstream reputation (Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries) has ever done this deep a dive into the avant-garde. Pioneering about film homosexuality and brilliantly perspicacious about film performance. Some films, you know the ending before you see it; in Persona, even the fifth time you see it, you’ll find yourself unable to guess/remember how it all ties together.

3. The Battle of Algiers – Perhaps the most staggering use of film realism, ever; many people thought this was a documentary, because it was audaciously filmed in the exact streets where it was set. This is an astonishing atomization of Algeria’s, and by extension, the Third World’s, overthrow of colonial powers. Shown to U.S. troops in Iraq ten years ago that they might better understand the locals, this film maintains a power and eloquence that most filmmakers will never approach.


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    I hate my life but at least this makes it beerabla.

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