Foreign films ... my favorites                                                       (latest update:  19 October 2019)
 

my favorite movies

my favorite minor movies

my favorite documentaries

 

major movies to avoid

 

Deserted Island Movies home page

 

Kohn's Corner

 

my Amazon reviews, mostly about books, movies and music 

Loved and recommend unreservedly (year, director, country):

  • Ajami (2009, Copti/Shani, Israel)
  • Amelie (2001, Jeunet, France)
  • Another Year (2010, Leigh, Britain)
  • Au Revoir les Enfants (1987, Malle, France)
  • Battle of Algiers (1967, Pontecorvo, France)
  • Beaufort (2007, Cedar, Israel)
  • Beyond the Hills (2012, Mungiu, Romania)
  • Breaker Morant (1980, Beresford, Australia)
  • Children of Paradise (1945, Carne, France)
  • City of Life and Death (2009, Chuan, China)
  • Coming Home (Zhang, 2014, China)
  • The Counterfeiters (2007, Ruzowitsky, Germany)
  • In Darkness (2012, Holland, Poland)
  • Departures (2008, Takita, Japan)
  • Dheepan (2015, Audiard, France)
  • District 9 (2009, Blomkamp, South Africa)
  • Divided We Fall (2001, Hrebejk, Czech Republic)
  • Don't Tempt Me (2001, Yanes, Spain)
  • Downfall (2004, Hirschbiegel, Germany)
  • The Emigrants - The New Land (1971, Troell, Sweden)
  • Everlasting Moments (2008, Troell, Sweden)
  • The Fall (2006, Tarsem, India)
  • Fear and Trembling (2003, Corneau, France)
  • Four Lions (2010, Morris, Britain)
  • Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 3-film series (2009, Oplev, Sweden)
  • Hero (2004, Zhang, China)
  • Himalaya (1999, Valli, Tibet)
  • Jean de Florrete / Manon of the Spring (2007, Berri, France)
  • Love and Anarchy (1973, Wertmuller, Italy)
  • My Life as a Dog (1985, Hallstrom, Sweden)
  • Pan's Labyrinth (2006, Del Toro, Mexico)
  • Pelle the Conqueror (1987, August, Sweden)
  • The Pianist (2002, Polanski, Poland)
  • Ponette (1996, Doillon, France)
  • Raining Stones (Loach, 1993, Britain)
  • Salaam Bombay (Nair, 2003, India)
  • Son of Man (2006, Dornford-May, South Africa)
  • Son of Saul (2015, Nemes, Hungary)
  • Venus in Fur (2014, Polanski, France)
  • A Very Long Engagement (2004, Jeunet, France)
  • Watchtower (2012, Esmer, Turkey)
  • The Well Digger's Daughter (2011, Auteiul, France)
  • The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006, Loach, Ireland)
  • Z (1969, Costa-Gavras, France)

 

Liked a lot and recommend with enthusiasm:

  • 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007, Mungiu, Romania)
  • 8 Women (2002, Ozon, France)
  • 400 Blows (1959, Truffaut, France)
  • 1000 Rupee Note (2014, Sathe, India)
  • 1001 Grams (2014, Hamer, Norway)
  • All About My Mother (1999, Almodovar, Spain)
  • All Together (2011, Robelin, France)
  • Amarcord (1973, Fellini, Italy)
  • Angels' Share (2012, Loach, Scotland)
  • The Artist and the Model (2012, Trueba, France)
  • As I Open My Eyes (2015, Bouzid, Tunisia)
  • Attenberg (2010, Tsangari, Greece)
  • The Aura (2005, Bielinsky, Argentina)
  • Autumn Sonata (1978, Bergman, Sweden)
  • Autumn Spring (2001, Michalek, Czech Republic)
  • Babette's Feast (1987, Axel, Denmark)
  • Bad Day to Go Fishing (2009, Brechner, Uruguay)
  • The Band's Visit (2007, Kolirin, Israel)
  • Belle Epoque (1992, Trueba, Spain)
  • Before Your Eyes (2009, Bezar, Turkish Kurdistan)
  • Bicycle Thieves (1948, De Sica, Italy)
  • Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958, Monicelli, Italy)
  • Black and White in Color (1976, Annaud, France)
  • Black Jack (1979, Loach, Britain)
  • Bleak Street (2015, Ripstein, Mexico)
  • Blue is the Warmest Color (2013, Kechice, France)
  • Campfire (2004, Cedar, Israel)
  • Children of Men (2006, Cuaron, Britain)
  • Chungking Express (1995, Kar-Wai, China)
  • City of God (2002, Meirelles, Brazil)
  • Closely Watched Trains (1966, Menzel, Czechoslovakia)
  • Colors of the Mountain (2010, Arbelaez, Columbia)
  • Cronos (1993, del Toro, Mexico)
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2001, Lee, China)
  • The Dance of Reality (2013, Jodorowsky, Chile)
  • The Dark Horse (2014, Robertson, New Zealand)
  • Day for Night (1973, Truffaut, France)
  • The Day I Saw Your Heart (2011, Devoldere, France)
  • Deep Crimson (1996, Ripstein, Mexico)
  • Dekalog (1989, Kieslowski, Poland)
  • Delicatessen (1991, Jeunet, France)
  • Dersu Uzala (1975, Kurosawa, Russia)
  • Diabolique (1955, Clouzot, France)
  • Earrings of Madame de (1953, Ophuls, France)
  • The Fairy (2011, Abel/Gordon, Belgium)
  • Finding Your Feet (2017, Loncraine, Britain)
  • The Firemen's Ball (1967, Forman, Czechoslovakia)
  • Following (1998, Nolan, Britain)
  • Footnote (2011, Cedar, Israel)
  • Foreign Letters (2012, Thier, Israel)
  • Fuse (2003, Zalica, Bosnia)
  • The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980, Uys, Botswana)
  • Graduation (2016, Mungiu, Romania)
  • Le Grand Voyage (2004, Ferroukhi, France)
  • Happy-Go-Lucky (2008, Leigh, Britain)
  • Happy Times (2000, Zhang, China)
  • Headhunters (2011, Tyldum, Norway)
  • A Hijacking (2012, Lindholm, Denmark)
  • Hobson's Choice (1954, Lean, Britain)
  • Hope and Glory (1987, Boorman, Britain)
  • House of Flying Daggers (2004, Zhang, China)
  • The Human Resources Manager (2010, Riklis, Israel)
  • The Hunt (2012, Vinterberg, Denmark)
  • L'iceberg (2005, Abel/Gordon, Belgium)
  • Incendies (2010, Villeneuve, Canada)
  • The Inheritance (1962, Kobayashi, Japan)
  • The Intouchables (2011, Nakache/Toledano, France)
  • I Served the King of England (2006, Menzel, Czechoslovakia)
  • Jimmy's Hall (2014, Loach, Ireland)
  • Ju Dou (1990, Zhang, China)
  • Kills on Wheels (2016, Till, Hungary)
  • King of Devil's Island (2011, Holst, Norway)
  • Life Is Sweet (1990, Leigh, Britain)
  • Life of Riley (2014, Resnais, France)
  • The Lives of Others (2006,  von Donnersmarck, Germany)
  • The Long Good Friday (1980, Mackenzie, Britain)
  • Longitude (2000, Sturridge, Britain)
  • Look Both Ways (2005, Watt, Australia)
  • Looking for Eric (2010, Loach, Britain)
  • Lost in Paris (2016, Abel/Gordon, Belgium)
  • Loves of a Blonde (1965, Forman, Czechoslovakia)
  • Macbeth (1971, Polanski, Britain)
  • A Man Escaped (1956, Bresson, France)
  • Manuscripts Don't Burn (2014, Rasoulof, Iran)
  • Marketa Lazarová (1967, Vlácil, Czechoslovakia)
  • Masaan (2015, Ghaywan, India)
  • Mataharis (2007, Bollain, Spain)
  • Max Manus: Man of War (2008, Ronning/Sandberg, Norway)
  • The Measure of a Man (2015, Brize, France)
  • Micmacs (2009, Jeunet, France)
  • Millions (2004, Boyle, Britain)
  • Monsoon Wedding (2002, Nair, India)
  • The Motorcycle Diaries (2004, Salles, Argentina/Chile/Peru)
  • Mr Turner (2014, Leigh, Britain)
  • Newton (2017, Masurkar, India)
  • Nights of Cabiria (1957, Fellini, Italy)
  • Nine Queens (2000, Bielinsky, Argentina)
  • Oldboy (2003, Park, Korea)
  • The Organizer (1963, Monicelli, Italy)
  • OSS 117, Cairo Nest of Spies (2006, Hazanavicius, France)
  • Paris Je T'aime (2006, "many," France)
  • Persepolis (2007, Satrapi, France/Iran)
  • The Piano in a Factory (2010, Meng, China)
  • The Pool (2007, Smith, India)
  • The Pope's Toilet (2007, Charlone, Uraguay)
  • Il Posto (1961, Olmi, Italy)
  • Private Fears in Public Places (2006, Resnais, France)
  • The Queen of Katwe (2016, Nair, Uganda)
  • Quest for Fire (1981, Annaud, pre-history)
  • Revanche (2008, Spielmann, Austria)
  • Roman de Gare (2007, Lelouch, France)
  • Run Lola Run (1998, Tykwer, Germany)
  • Scenes from a Marriage (1974, Bergman, Sweden)
  • Schneider vs Bax (2015, van Warmerdam, Netherlands)
  • The Seduction of Mimi (1972, Wertmuller, Italy)
  • Senso (1954, Visconti, Italy)
  • Seven Beauties (1975, Wertmuller, Italy)
  • Seven Minutes in Heaven (2008, Givon, Israel)
  • A Simple Life (2011, Hui, China)
  • The Soft Skin (1964, Truffaut, France)
  • Something Like Happiness (2005, Slama, Czech Republic)
  • The Son (2002, Dardenne brothers, France)
  • Stolen Kisses (1968, Truffaut, France)
  • Summer Hours (2008, Assayas, France)
  • Summer Night (1986, Wertmuller, Italy)
  • Sweet Sixteen (2002, Loach, Scotland)
  • Swept Away (1974, Wertmuller, Italy)
  • Talaash (2012, Kagti, India)
  • The Tall Blonde Man With One Black Shoe (1972, Robert, France)
  • Talk to Her (2002, Almodovar, Spain)
  • Tango (1998, Argentina, Saura)
  • Tell No One (2009, Canet, France)
  • Tess (1979, Polanski, Britain)
  • This Happy Breed (1944, Lean, Britain)
  • Tickets (2005, Olmi/Kiarostami/Loach, Italy)
  • Timbuktu (2014, Sissako, Mali)
  • Together (2000, Moodysson, Sweden)
  • Tokyo! (2009, Gondry/Carax/Bong, Japan)
  • Toni Erdmann (2016, Ade, Germany)
  • Topsy-Turvy (1999, Leigh, Britain)
  • A Touch of Sin (2013, Zhangke, China)
  • Trishna (2011, Winterbottom, India)
  • Tuya's Marriage (2006, Wang, Mongolia)
  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964, Demy, France)
  • Untold Scandal (2004, Lee, Korea)
  • Up and Down (2004, Hrebejk, Czech Republic)
  • Vera Drake (2004, Leigh, Britain)
  • Volver (2006, Almodovar, Spain)
  • A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2009, Zhang, China)
  • Welcome (2009, Lioret, France)
  • Walkabout (1971, Roeg, Australia)
  • The Wave (2015, Uthaug, Norway)
  • Ways to Live Forever (2010, Ron, Britain)
  • Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963, de Sica, Italy)
  • Yi Yi (2000, Yang, Taiwan)
  • Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001, Cuaron, Mexico)
  • Zero Bridge (2008, Taba, Kashmir)
  • Zero Motivation (2014, Lavie, Israel)

 

 

Liked in parts but not enough to recommend:

  • Before the Rain (1994, Manchevski, Macedonia)
  • Buddy (2003, Tyldum, Norway)
  • Carnage (2011, Polanski, France)
  • The City of Lost Children (1995, Jeunet, France)
  • Elena (2011, Zvyagintsev, Russia)
  • Even the Rain (2010, Bollain, Spain)
  • Flowers from Another World (1999, Bollain, Spain)
  • Kagemusha (1980, Kurosawa, Japan)
  • Li'l Quinquin (2014, Dumont, France)
  • Ma Loute (2016, Dumont, France)
  • Man Facing Southeast (1986, Subiela, Argentina)
  • A Matador's Mistress (2008, Meyjes, Spain)
  • Painted Fire/Chihwaseon (2002, Kwon-Taek, Korea)
  • The Return (2003, Zvyagintsev, Russia)
  • The Robber (2010, Heisenberg, Austria)
  • Rumba (2008, Abel/Gordon, Belgium)
  • A Screaming Man (2010, Haroun, Chad)
  • Ushpizin (2004, Dar, Israel)
  • Wind Journeys (2009, Guerra, Columbia)
  • Wonderful Town (2008, Assarat, Thailand)
  • You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet (2012, Resnais, France)

 

 

Can't recommend but couldn't stop watching and won't soon forget:

  • Borgman (2013, van Warmerdam, Netherlands)
  • Celebration (1998, Vinterberg, Denmark)
  • Dogtooth (2009, Kynodontas,  Greece)
  • My Father My Lord (2007, Volach, Israel)
  • La Haine (1995, Kassovitz, France)
  • My Joy (2010, Loznitsa, Russia)
  • The Lure (2015, Smoczynska, Poland)
  • The Piano Teacher (2001, Haneke, Austria)

 

 

Highly rated, even classic, films I thoroughly, completely didn't like:

  • La Belle Noiseuse (1991, Rivette, France) ... One of the rare films to get 100% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, but for me a talkative, artsy clunker, boring except when Emmanuelle Béart was on screen, didn't matter whether clothed or nude. This film was final proof for me that I have no right brain (artistic), only left (logical). After the first hour (of 4), I saw it was hooey and fast forwarded most of the time. Whenever I'd stop and hear more dialogue, I'd hope it would get better, but it never did. Then again, as mentioned, 100% of the critics loved it.
  • Breathless (1960, Godard, France) ... Pretentious dialogue. Unbelievable characters. If not for the handsome Belmondo and pretty Seberg, unwatchable.
  • Contempt (1963, Godard, France) ... "Only" 94% of Rotten Tomatoes critics liked this waste of film stock. I confess to liking it only when Brigitte Bardot was on the screen.
  • Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959, Resnais, France) ... Finally watched in 2012, as mature as I'll ever be, and think it's the worst "important" foreign film I've ever seen. From a director I respect for "Night and Fog" and many of his later films.
  • Juliet of the Spirits (1965, Fellini, Italy) ... Must be something wrong with me. 81 at Rotten Tomatoes, 83 at Metacritic, but I gave up about half way through. This film looked good, but was sunk, for me, by too much inane, arty, unrealistic talk. I'll take the hit; I just don't get Fellini's genius.
  • Last Year at Marienbad (1961, Resnais, France) ... Watched in 2018, and can't understand its rave reviews. Stayed for half the film until I could take no more. Later read reviews that confirmed the movie's pretentious script never got any better. Guess I just don't appreciate French surrealism. When people talk about "artsy-fartsy French films," they're probably thinking of this one.
  • My Night at Maud's (1969, Rohmer, France) ... Some good moments but talkative and philosophical beyond realism. (Or is this how the French are?) Unrealistic, too, when an attractive woman repeatedly invites you to stay the night, and you do sleep with her ... but above the blankets. Then again, two Oscar nominations, so what do I know?
  • Nostalghia (1983, Tarkovsky, Russia) ... No, this is the worst. Needlessly long takes in which nothing happens. Inane dialogue. Symbolism beyond understanding by us plebs. An "art" film only true "artists" can appreciate. Stayed to the end to see if it finally got better. It did not.
  • Nymphomaniac II (2013, Trier, Denmark) ... The arthouse porn of Volume I apparently didn't have enough room for the director to inflict hurt, pain and humiliation on the "heroine." Trier seems to be using film to work out his deep emotional problems with women. I've now seen five Trier films -- the two Nymphomaniacs, Melancholia, Breaking the Waves, and Europa, and disliked all of them. N II wasn't just dislikable, but despicable. No doubt Trier's technical skills are fine, but he's in need of a therapist. His films are a waste of talent.
  • La Strada (1954, Fellini, Italy) ... 97% of Rotten Tomatoes critics liked it. Not me. Giulietta Masina was delightful, if cute mentally handicapped women appeal to you. No one else in this film was appealing at all. Many critics talked about the film's symbolism, its origin of Fellini's recurring themes. Taking the chance I'm sounding like Homer Simpson, but this film is boring and terribly acted (except by Ms Masina).
  • Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2011, Weerasethakul, Thailand) ... Obscure director, laughably amateurish, right up there in the prize for worst, but 89% of critics at Rotten Tomatoes somehow liked it.
  • Wild Grass (2009, Resnais, France) ... Didn't despise this film, just disliked it very much (and didn't finish it). Such a stupid script wasted on such fine actors. But just when I'm about to give up on Resnais, he gives us "Life of Riley" or "Public Fears...."
  • Withnail and I (1987, Robinson, Britain) ... Great film if you like losers, misfits, creeps. Maybe it got better. Couldn't finish it.