I'm almost done with the DVD collection of my favorite English movies & Indian language movies (Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam...) and I'm currently looking to add some Non-English movies to my collection. This is what I have got so far
Bacheha-Ye aseman (Children of heaven)
Das Boot (The Boat)
Der Untergang (Downfall)
Jibeuro (The Way Home)
La Vita � bella (Life Is Beautiful)
Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves)
Shichinin no samurai (The Seven Samurai)
Ying xiong (Hero)
Can the ranchers suggest something more to add to the list?
Good topic. In retrospect, I think it was a mistake for me to leave Das Boot (The Boat) off my own "best films" list. It was one of the most memorable moviegoing experiences I've ever had. Painfully so, in the end, but that's a good thing as far as the filmmaker is concerned. Amazing movie.
As far as collections go, I would usually prefer to see something - e.g. rent it through Netflix - before buying a copy to keep. But I suppose that depends on the relative cost of rental vs. buying, wherever you're living now. So anyway these are my recommenations - whether you buy them or rent them (or ignore them) is up to you.
First, I endorse all the movies I've seen from Mani's list. This excludes Children of Heaven, Downfall, The Way Home, Bicycle Thieves, and Amores Perros. Haven't seen those. But we're in agreement over the others, which I have seen. So now I will add:
Brokeback Mountain (the language is close to English...) Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le pacte des loups) Cowboy Bebop (the series and movie) The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat) The Godfather, part II (seriously, half this movie is in Sicilian; it qualifies) Himalaya The Hidden Fortress (Kurusawa, and if you liked Star Wars, you really need to see this) Run Lola Run Shogun (the complete 12-hour miniseries, yes it's supposedly in English but massive portions are still in Japanese and untranslated; that's the point: Blackthorne doesn't understand all of what's happening about him) Tampopo Warriors of Heaven and Earth
[added - just saw weber's list, and I should have added The Seventh Seal, and perhaps the Tarkovsky Solaris. Oops.)
While we're at it, I will also recommend a few movies with no language at all, or movies in which the language is inconsequential:
Baraka Kayaanisquatsi Powaquatsi Winged Migration
I will also note that there are three excellent movies which I originally saw in Italian, though they are in fact English movies: Spartacus, Amadeus, and Gandhi. (Yes, I also saw many lesser films in Italian as well, but we won't discuss them here.) To most everyone else they're English-language movies, but not to me. [ September 12, 2006: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. The list looks impressive. I think I'm going to burn all the bonus I got recently
Few of the movies you have listed are already in my 'To buy' list (Run Lola Run, Seventh Seal & The Hidden Fortress). Let me check the others too.
Originally posted by Jim Yingst: As far as collections go, I would usually prefer to see something - e.g. rent it through Netflix - before buying a copy to keep. But I suppose that depends on the relative cost of rental vs. buying, wherever you're living now. So anyway these are my recommenations - whether you buy them or rent them (or ignore them) is up to you.
It's not about the cost, but about the availability. In the place where I live (Bangalore, India) very few titles are available for sale and even less for rental. So, I normally depend on my friends returning back from US to get the movies for me. I will give them a list of movies based on the reviews and feedbacks I got from various sources (including JavaRanch). Sometimes it doesn't work out well, but most of the times it does.
On the side track: Any comments on this BBC Series - I, Claudius? I have read good reviews on this series, but just wondering whether it is worth spending $60+ for a DVD set for a 30 year old series? Have anyone watched this DVD version? How is the quality of video & audio? (I know this is neither a movie nor non-English, but I don't want to start another thread for this. Also, now Jim has already hijacked the thread anyway, so what the heck!? )
[marc]: Note that Das Boot is available in 2 versions: The 208-minute "director's cut" and the 293-minute "original uncut version."
Yeah - the original theatrical release in the US was only 145 minutes, so the "director's cut" already added a lot, from that perspective. But the 293-minute version is apparently the complete version that ran on German television. Like you marc, I still need to see this complete version. Eventually...
[Henry]: On the flip side, I didn't like "Hero" much -- won't explain why because don't want to ruin it.
Just guessing, but you might prefer The Emperor and the Assassin - a non-martial-arts take on the same story, from a rather different angle.
Eat Drink Man Woman was great too; I'd forgotten that one. Speaking of non-martial-arts Chinese movies, Shower is a nice, enjoyable film with a similar appeal to Eat Drink Man Woman..
Kishore: I agree, The Motorcycle Diaries was quite good. I'd forgotten that one too. [ September 13, 2006: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Joined: Jan 30, 2000
[Mani]: On the side track: Any comments on this BBC Series - I, Claudius?
I've seen it a couple times, and strongly recommend it. Can't comment on the DVD quality as I watched it off tape. I have the feeling it was originally shot on video anyway. It's not the sort of thing where the video and sound quality matter that much - you watch it for the plot and acting. And they've got quite a cast on that series. Brian Blessed and Derek Jacobi are particularly memorable. And Sian Phillips as Livia. ("They say a snake bit her once. And died.") And you get to see Patrick Stewart with hair, and also a young John Rhys-Davies. Good stuff.
[Mani]: Also, now Jim has already hijacked the thread anyway, so what the heck!?
What hijack? Everything I listed qualified as a non-English movie in my opinion, at least partly. Well OK, I threw in Brokeback Mountain as a joke. And I don't remember how much narration there might have been in Winged Migration, but it was largely irrelevant, as I recall. And discussion of rent vs. buy was relevant because you're asking about recommendations of things to buy, but most of these are so varied in style and genre that I think you should really rent them first if you can.
Originally posted by Axel Janssen: Strange old movie is "Un chien andalou" (by Bunuel and Dali before Franco)...
I was really disappointed by that one -- probably because the ideas and techniques that were so cutting edge (if you'll pardon the pun) in 1928 have become clich� and just seem trite now. The audio commentary by "surrealism expert" Stephen Barber was less than worthless. (Yes, I can see what's on the screen. I was hoping for some insight, or at least trivia.) Still, the film is historically significant.
This is often associated with Luis Bunuel's L'Age d'Or, which I have not seen. I was about to buy it, but my disappointment in Un Chien Andalou dampened that impulse. I'll probably get to it eventually. (I also have the DVD set, Avant Garde - Experimental Cinema of the 1920s & 1930s, although I haven't watched it yet.)