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Five Movies, Five Countries 
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Ken wrote:
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?


A Man Escaped is terrific. Minimalism at its finest. Really, really like that movie

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Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:19 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
It is, at this point, the ugly gap in my Bresson record.

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Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:21 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
I'm also excited for Ken to watch A Man Escaped. It's a straight up masterpiece in this man's book...of masterpieces.


Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:26 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
I suppose I know what movie is first in the queue, then.

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Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:02 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Mark III wrote:
I have not and this is exactly what I was looking for and so will be my #3. Thanks for the recommendation.


Well dang son! I'm eagerly anticipating your thoughts, for real. I think it's a straight-up masterwork, but it certainly doesn't scream its arrival as such.

PeachyPete wrote:
I'm also excited for Ken to watch A Man Escaped. It's a straight up masterpiece in this man's book...of masterpieces.


I've actually never gotten around to this... the thoughts here have me thinking I should.


Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:08 pm
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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.


If The Castle is available, it's a must see. Brilliant.


Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:31 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
I suppose it's time to clear some of those foreign dvds I have for a long time.

Mother or Memories of Murder (South Korea)
Day for Night (France)
The Guard (Ireland?)
Persona (Sweden)

Throw in an upcoming theatrical viewing of Timeline (romantic drama, Thailand) to make it five.


Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:55 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Shade2 wrote:
PeachyPete wrote:
I'm also excited for Ken to watch A Man Escaped. It's a straight up masterpiece in this man's book...of masterpieces.


I've actually never gotten around to this... the thoughts here have me thinking I should.


Same. Actually, apart from Au Hasard Balthazar a long time back, I'm sorely lacking in Bresson viewings. Would A Man Escaped be as good a place as any to dive in?

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Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:06 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Blonde Almond wrote:
Shade2 wrote:
PeachyPete wrote:
I'm also excited for Ken to watch A Man Escaped. It's a straight up masterpiece in this man's book...of masterpieces.


I've actually never gotten around to this... the thoughts here have me thinking I should.


Same. Actually, apart from Au Hasard Balthazar a long time back, I'm sorely lacking in Bresson viewings. Would A Man Escaped be as good a place as any to dive in?


Absolutely. It's actually so riveting that it might erroneously make you think all Bresson films are white knuckle thrillers, but man is it a perfect movie

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Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:22 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
peng wrote:
I suppose it's time to clear some of those foreign dvds I have for a long time.

Mother or Memories of Murder (South Korea)
Day for Night (France)
The Guard (Ireland?)
Persona (Sweden)

Throw in an upcoming theatrical viewing of Timeline (romantic drama, Thailand) to make it five.


Day for Night is one of those movies that has such a love for film that it's hard to not get behind. It's so, so good.

JamesKunz wrote:
Blonde Almond wrote:
Shade2 wrote:
I've actually never gotten around to this... the thoughts here have me thinking I should.


Same. Actually, apart from Au Hasard Balthazar a long time back, I'm sorely lacking in Bresson viewings. Would A Man Escaped be as good a place as any to dive in?


Absolutely. It's actually so riveting that it might erroneously make you think all Bresson films are white knuckle thrillers, but man is it a perfect movie


This. I've only seen A Man Escaped and Pickpocket, and started with A Man Escaped. I had a similar feeling to the one Kunz described when I was getting ready to watch Pickpocket. I left disappointed.

Point being, you and Shade should both jump right in with A Man Escaped. It's fantastic.


Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:55 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Pickpocket is still my favorite Bresson, though I've always had an affinity for stories in the mold of The Stranger or Crime & Punishment. Michel fits right in with that archetype.

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Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:13 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
#3 Wake In Fright - Australia (Ted Kotcheff, 1971)

Very good obverse to the same year's Walkabout, a sad excoriation of Australia as a country that has adapted to penal limbo and won't evolve. We see only one woman, one aborigine and dozens (and dozens) of drunken white bums who spend their time gambling, hunting and beating one another.

The story focuses on John Grant, a teacher currently indebted to the state for $1000 and paying his dues in what he calls "slavery" by teaching a large classroom of students ranging from the very young to one whom appears to be in his twenties. For Christmas holiday, he's to fly to Sydney in order to be with his girlfriend and instead finds himself in the Yabba, the purgatory in which he'll be spending the next six weeks as he loses his money, his ticket out teaching, his hope of seeing his girlfriend, his identity as an educated man.

The poorly-paced beginning (a handful of scenes around a game of coin tossing is unnecessarily repetitious and eventually boring) eventually gives way to a series of tests of John's masculinity and identity as a put-upon intellectual when he falls into a threatening acquaintanceship with Tydon, an alcoholic doctor who sees through Grant's vision of himself. The heart of the movie is this relationship which moves from curiosity, to something like admiration and onward to sexual assault and, inevitably, thoughts of murder.

The film has a significant history as a lost film and, though this can lend some excellence-through-mystique, it is deservedly celebrated. The movie examines masculinity (there's no missing this: there's but one woman in the cast and she's only there to establish Grant's level on the ladder), degrees of civilization but the chief concern is Australia's slow death in a limbo state. The water that runs is only for washing, the only thing that people drink is beer and whiskey: what else is there to do? Very grim film. Recommended viewing.

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Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:02 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Anyone seen Lancelot of the Lake, or his last film L'Argent? Or The Trial of Joan of Arc?

I like Bresson, and Man Escaped is probably my favorite. Pickpocket is very good too, and Au Hasard Balthazar is pretty great as well. Mouchette is probably his bleakest film. It struck me as too bleak to be effective, actually. And Diary of a Country Priest just didn't do much for me, it felt flat.

The three I mention above are all interesting though. Bresson hated Dreyer's take on Joan of Arc, so he made his version the opposite in every way. His Lancelot is in some ways an antithesis to Excalibur, but with pretty much the same bleak tone.

L'Argent is actually pretty interesting, maybe even one of his best. The story takes some pretty unexpected turns toward the end.


Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:25 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Taking it lowbrow here, but

BoyTown (2006) (Australia)

A middle-aged crew of ex-boyband members, led by Glenn Robbins, attempt to reform and exploit their success of 2 decades earlier. The jokes are based on the kind of tropes you will predict perfectly for this kind of thing, BUT, this film isn't that bad. It picks holes in the whole, silly charade of the pop music business and what the hell business middle-aged saddos have in attempting to woo young audiences. And perhaps most importantly, the songs did make me laugh.

Interestingly this film was released at a notable time as far as British audiences are concerned - Take That (the Godfather of UK boybands, the New Kids on the Block of England) reformed for real in 2006 ... to great success.

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Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:32 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (New Zealand)

The sequel to the pretty goddam epic Once Were Warriors feels more like a TV movie than the original, and just lacks the same impact.

The story continues with the fallout of the Jake Heke, now effectively ostracised from his family and eventually barred from the local pub he enforced his alpha-dog reputation. Jake's life is now empty. His Wife ends up with another man, his kids have quite correctly deduced that he's a brutish thug who has destroyed everything he's ever touched. The plot of the film is Jake coming to terms and trying somewhat to develop some kind of restitution for his past. The acting of Temuera Morrison is just as good as the first film, but the script and direction are (sometimes comically) insufficient for the job. It ends up (to be fair like the first one does sometimes) relying on the striking scenes of desperation and overpowering sink-estate personalities that despite the very particular setting (scarcely urbanised Maoris) will be recognisable in outline for people all over the world.

If you like the first film, which despite hardly being a technical masterpiece, was a raw and powerful piece of cinema, than this is probably worth a watch, just for the sake a bit of voyeurism into the lives of this particular corner of the underclass.

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Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:47 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
#3 Breaker Morant (1980)

Courtroom drama that takes place in a British outpost. Three Australian soldiers (serving in the British army) caught up in British Military politics. Pretty straightforward with court proceedings interspersed with depictions of the actual events being recalled. Much fine acting (a complete abundance really), outstanding period depiction and makeup, and the very finest dialog of any movie I've ever seen. I don't know how I've gone this far without seeing this film. 9/10.

I will always remember rule 303 and Morant's closing line.


Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:45 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
CasualDad wrote:
#3 Breaker Morant (1980)

Courtroom drama that takes place in a British outpost. Three Australian soldiers (serving in the British army) caught up in British Military politics. Pretty straightforward with court proceedings interspersed with depictions of the actual events being recalled. Much fine acting (a complete abundance really), outstanding period depiction and makeup, and the very finest dialog of any movie I've ever seen. I don't know how I've gone this far without seeing this film. 9/10.

I will always remember rule 303 and Morant's closing line.


This was the one I was going to watch before Wake In Fright got brought up. There were a couple of interesting titles, movies I'd never heard of, when looking for stuff from Australia, the US (and, later, North America in general) that I would be interested in. If I go with the US, I think I'll look at The Beguiled and if I go with Mexico, far more likely, I might go with Redes. I've added Breaker Morant to the queue given your praise of the dialogue. Check out The Friends of Eddie Coyle for more excellent dialogue.

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Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:14 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
About Breaker Morant - keep in mind that I am not normally a dialog interested person so I may not know that which I judge. In the first 20 minutes or so there is the atmosphere of an Oscar seeking British costume drama and I was quite worried about my choice. However, the underlying political motives drew me in. To someone else it may not be as interesting, but for me it was a great surprise for a film with very little mystery and more closeups than any I can remember.

I will definitely check into The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Wake in Fright was definitely an interesting study. I found long stretches not to be very interesting and I may have been a little uncomfortable due to my own past alcohol abuse. I did like the way that film ended very much.


Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:31 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
CasualDad wrote:

I will definitely check into The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Wake in Fright was definitely an interesting study. I found long stretches not to be very interesting and I may have been a little uncomfortable due to my own past alcohol abuse. I did like the way that film ended very much.


I liked much of the movie though it needed that ending to consolidate the disparate strands that make up most of the running time. For a movie about a place where nothing happens, nothing happening can be a tricky sell for a guy (me, maybe you) that expects some overt action or, at the very least, character growth. This was more subtle and better because of it. I'll agree that there are some long stretches that aren't particularly gripping; the first 30 or so minutes weren't a good indication of where things were heading.

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Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:07 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
CasualDad wrote:
#3 Breaker Morant (1980)

Courtroom drama that takes place in a British outpost. Three Australian soldiers (serving in the British army) caught up in British Military politics. Pretty straightforward with court proceedings interspersed with depictions of the actual events being recalled. Much fine acting (a complete abundance really), outstanding period depiction and makeup, and the very finest dialog of any movie I've ever seen. I don't know how I've gone this far without seeing this film. 9/10.

I will always remember rule 303 and Morant's closing line.


Love this fucking film. One of the best courtroom films ever

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