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Five Movies, Five Countries 
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Post Five Movies, Five Countries
We've all too many movies on the queue and we're all burning to see maybe 15% of them. Maybe I shouldn't speak for you. Regardless, there they are (115 on Hulu alone) and they collect dust for no reason other than my preferring to watch The Town than, say, Crazed Fruit.

I've set a small challenge for myself (I've met it before, I can meet it again) to watch five movies from five countries before the month ends. I've got several from Japan, Russia, Germany, Italy, France, the United States, so on and on that I haven't seen so why not be a little un-lofty and a little arbitrary and re-nut (I'm stealing this idea from Kunz and modifying it to make it more realistic for me) with something that's actually likely to happen anyway. You're free to join in as I set my sights for the bronze metal of this so-called nuttage. Why be ambitious and go for the gold? Five movies from five different countries: no hard work, probably no pain. Mine will be all under 90 minutes, even.

Okay.

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Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:54 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
I'm in. I might actually be able to do this one.


Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:17 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Fuck it, I'm in.

Does the U.S. count as a country, or should we go all foreign?


Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:49 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
I'll try. But no promises that I'll be able to do it. But I will certainly give it a try.


Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:51 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Any country you like, US included. I'm probably going to try to keep to movies from before 1990, maybe 1980, but there aren't any rules. Any five movies, any five countries. My first selection proved to be a reminder that I have a lot of classics from a lot of countries that I haven't seen and that maybe it's a good idea not to get too arbitrary. I watched

#1 Crazed Fruit - Japan (Kô Nakahira,1956)

Decent Japanese film about a young man and his brother falling for the same woman. The twist is that the woman is living out three parallel and conflicting existences: one as the chaste maiden falling in love with an earnest young man, one as the wife of an American expat, and one as the manipulated prostitute who's falling into old habits of sexual indiscretion with the young man's brother. Not that the film is about sexual politics, exactly. A lot of the familiar themes are present and accounted for: generation gap, gender gap, wild youth, and Japan's confused post-war identity. The description of the film made it sound vaguely like Knife in the Water so I thought it could be interesting to see those ideas played around with in a more generally conservative setting. Crazed Fruit doesn't have the eroticism or mystery though it does have an intriguing enough story to keep things moving. Mostly: the last twenty minutes consist of 15 minutes of a boring chase so our triangle can have their moment of reckoning and 5 equally boring minutes of said reckoning.

The movie came at a period of time when Japan was sharing some of America's subcultures. If you do the math, you'll get a feel for what this movie looked and sounded like: troubled youth in troubling circumstances. The story isn't as circumscribed as all that though it mostly just hints at interesting ideas and relationships, never really exploring anything to a satisfying depth. It's a scant 85 minutes and good enough not to feel like a wasted selection though I could have afforded to be a little more selective.

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Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:11 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Mark III wrote:
Any country you like, US included. I'm probably going to try to keep to movies from before 1990, maybe 1980, but there aren't any rules. Any five movies, any five countries. My first selection proved to be a reminder that I have a lot of classics from a lot of countries that I haven't seen and that maybe it's a good idea not to get too arbitrary. I watched

#1 Crazed Fruit - Japan (Kô Nakahira,1956)

Decent Japanese film about a young man and his brother falling for the same woman. The twist is that the woman is living out three parallel and conflicting existences: one as the chaste maiden falling in love with an earnest young man, one as the wife of an American expat, and one as the manipulated prostitute who's falling into old habits of sexual indiscretion with the young man's brother. Not that the film is about sexual politics, exactly. A lot of the familiar themes are present and accounted for: generation gap, gender gap, wild youth, and Japan's confused post-war identity. The description of the film made it sound vaguely like Knife in the Water so I thought it could be interesting to see those ideas played around with in a more generally conservative setting. Crazed Fruit doesn't have the eroticism or mystery though it does have an intriguing enough story to keep things moving. Mostly: the last twenty minutes consist of 15 minutes of a boring chase so our triangle can have their moment of reckoning and 5 equally boring minutes of said reckoning.

The movie came at a period of time when Japan was sharing some of America's subcultures. If you do the math, you'll get a feel for what this movie looked and sounded like: troubled youth in troubling circumstances. The story isn't as circumscribed as all that though it mostly just hints at interesting ideas and relationships, never really exploring anything to a satisfying depth. It's a scant 85 minutes and good enough not to feel like a wasted selection though I could have afforded to be a little more selective.


Nice review major, especially like the highlighted parts. See if you can throw in a film from Australia that's worth seeing in the past fifty years that people may have missed, it'd make for interesting reading.

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Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:16 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
#1 Faust - Eine deutsche Volkssage (1926)

An F.W. Murnau silent. I thought this was going to be a morality play as it is played out as good vs. evil, God vs. Satan. However, it appeared to me in watching that it is more about the weakness of mankind in general and how the pursuit of desires can destroy individual lives as well draw others into the misfortune.

In keeping with the times there are some effects that are very primitive and almost silly now, but there are also many effects that are remarkable for the time they were produced and are still very worthy. To me, this was a very impressive production for the first 3/4 of the film with striking scenery and a large cast of extras. It slowed down to dramatize the ending and make a specific point. In my opinion, it would have been a better film if it had fast forwarded about 20 minutes to the final point. I'd give it 7/10.

This is the third silent I've watched in the past 3 or 4 months, the others were "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" and "Warning Shadows". I preferred both to Faust, perhaps due to my familiarity with the general plot of Faust.


Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:59 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
#2 Sunflower (1970)

The opening credits say this one was co-produced in Italy/France. I chose this one primarily to admire the beauty of Sophia Loren. Normally not the sort of movie I watch, but a challenge must be accomodated. This is a story about a couple separated by WWII, the husband never returns from the Russian front, but the wife is convinced he is still alive and goes on a search. I was actually very pleasantly surprised. The first half perfectly sets up for what follows. The second half is the logical, and therefore not so fun conclusion. Anyone who ponders a love from the past can appreciate the way this movie plays out. 7/10

I never quite realized that Sophia Loren is fairly tall, she is taller than all of the other woman and many of the men in the movie.


Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:28 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
You just made me realize I've never seen a Sophia Loren movie.

My first movie this month is Swedish: Fanny and Alexander in the three hour theatrical version. The title is odd in that Fanny's name isn't even mentioned for the first hour of the movie, and she's a minor character compared with Alexander. It took me a while to figure out which girl she was.

I had a problem watching it because I hated the Lutheran bishop who became their stepfather from almost his first appearance and I was skeptical that Alexander's mother would marry him in the first place, especially when he set the condition that she cut off all her former contacts, and her kids do the same. The actor's effective in creating one of the slimier villains in movies, but it's hard to watch him, and it was always a relief when the movie left his austere home to Alexander's grandmother's house or the Jewish shop where the kids take refuge. These places are full of life and color and I loved the people who inhabited them.

One thing that alarmed me: The grandmother's house is lit with a mixture of incandescent lights, lamps and candles. (The movie is set in 1907-8 when electric lighting was coming in.) The first hour is set on Christmas, and all the lights on Christmas trees are candles, and at one point one of the trees is moved with the candles lit. This is after someone walks down a set of stairs carrying a flaming bowl. Times have changed.

It's also a little alarming when the maid Maj gets pregnant, because her child in another movie grew up to be Darth Vader.

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Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:33 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
I'm down.

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Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:22 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
#2 Fear of Fear - Germany (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1975)

Somewhat wanting drama, made for West German television by the prolific Fassbinder. A woman, after delivering her second child, begins experiencing slips in sanity as she confronts what she calls The Fear: an existential disconnect from herself, who she believes she is. A loveless marriage, a lack of clear purpose, our woman begins treating her nondescript oppression through pharmaceuticals, alcohol and an affair.

The performances are what I've come to expect from the director: strange, not quite human. Small touches like the ripple effect used to illustrate insanity are a mite cheesy but the film does well enough by its message. The "relationship" between the protagonist and her mentally ill neighbor is interesting, particularly how it reaches its end and what it means. Not the best I've seen from the director, more a low-profile curiosity in the director's filmography. Still, if this is what he was doing when he wasn't doing something incredible, it's impressive. Best taken not as a social philosophy but as an empathetic look at a woman who suffers alone. Not quite good enough to recommend.

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Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:51 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
I'm looking for movies from Australia that I have yet to see and are available through one of my subscriptions services. This is no easy task. I'll keep looking.

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Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:53 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Mark you may have my nuts any time you want.

I'm in.

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Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:54 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
I will help you to bear this burden for as long as it is yours to bear.

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Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:03 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Mark III wrote:
I'm looking for movies from Australia that I have yet to see and are available through one of my subscriptions services. This is no easy task. I'll keep looking.

Here's a few I would recommend- Razorback(Russell Mulcahy's directorial debut), Chopper(fantastic performance by Eric Bana), Animal Kingdom(can't remember if you saw this one or not), Dead End Drive In, Escape 2000(AKA Turkey Shoot), BMX Bandits(Nicole Kidman's first acting role), Two Hands(one of Heath Ledger's most overlooked performances), Wolf Creek(ignore Ebert's review), Rabbit Proof Fence, Rogue, Red Hill, Bait 3-D, The Hunter, Tomorrow: When The War Began, The Sapphires, Uninhabited, and Ned Kelly.


Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:14 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Mark III wrote:
I'm looking for movies from Australia that I have yet to see and are available through one of my subscriptions services. This is no easy task. I'll keep looking.


I'm guessing you've seen Wake in Fright, but if not, hop to it.


Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:45 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Shade2 wrote:
Mark III wrote:
I'm looking for movies from Australia that I have yet to see and are available through one of my subscriptions services. This is no easy task. I'll keep looking.


I'm guessing you've seen Wake in Fright, but if not, hop to it.


I have not and this is exactly what I was looking for and so will be my #3. Thanks for the recommendation.

Vexer wrote:
Here's a few I would recommend- Razorback(Russell Mulcahy's directorial debut), Chopper(fantastic performance by Eric Bana), Animal Kingdom(can't remember if you saw this one or not), Dead End Drive In, Escape 2000(AKA Turkey Shoot), BMX Bandits(Nicole Kidman's first acting role), Two Hands(one of Heath Ledger's most overlooked performances), Wolf Creek(ignore Ebert's review), Rabbit Proof Fence, Rogue, Red Hill, Bait 3-D, The Hunter, Tomorrow: When The War Began, The Sapphires, Uninhabited, and Ned Kelly.


I've seen a few of those (Animal Kingdom was in my top 10 for 2010, Chopper I saw many years back, Wolf Creek was good and, though I loved Ebert, I knew when we'd likely differ) and, out of those that I haven't, several look promising. I'm trying to keep it to pre-1980 so I'll gladly keep your recommendations for a later thread.

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Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:08 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Didn't Ebert give Wolf Creek Zero Stars? If so, he's crazy. Especially since he liked the piece of crap that is The Devil's Rejects.

I didn't expect much from Rogue, I mainly saw it because Michael Vartan starred in it and I was a fan of his work on Alias. But it ended up being surprisingly good.

Red Hill starts off good, but it gets awfully dumb at times. Ned Kelly is a pretty good movie.

I haven't seen Tomorrow: When the War Began but it looked like a massive rip off of Red Dawn.


Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:20 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
ilovemovies wrote:
Didn't Ebert give Wolf Creek Zero Stars? If so, he's crazy. Especially since he liked the piece of crap that is The Devil's Rejects.

I didn't expect much from Rogue, I mainly saw it because Michael Vartan starred in it and I was a fan of his work on Alias. But it ended up being surprisingly good.

Red Hill starts off good, but it gets awfully dumb at times. Ned Kelly is a pretty good movie.

I haven't seen Tomorrow: When the War Began but it looked like a massive rip off of Red Dawn.

Devil's Rejects was actually a good film(better then House Of 1000 Corpses anyways) and I was really surprised that he actually liked it.

Tomorrow isn't really a "rip-off" as it's actually based on a series of books.

How did Red Hill get "dumb" exactly, seemed pretty smart to me.


Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:41 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Here's the program I've got tentatively sketched out for myself, in no particular order.

A Man Escaped (Bresson, France)
Tokyo Story (Ozu, Japan)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, Denmark)
Henry V (Branagh, Great Britain)
Persona (Bergman, Sweden)

I'll work these in with the two Walken films I've currently got on deck: The Funeral and The King of New York.

I realize either one of those could have been one of the five, since the United States is a country, but fuck it; where's the fun in that?

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Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:18 pm
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