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Underrated or relatively unknown cinema

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  • Underrated or relatively unknown cinema

    I'll list a pair of movies that could be considered either classics or guily pleasures. Both movies are by Luis Buأ±uel:

    Belle de Jour
    Cet obscur objet du dأ©sir

    Both of these movies are (as was typical for Buأ±uel) suggestive and strange. There is also a thread of berserk comedy that runs through them. Parts of Cet obscur objet du dأ©sir provoked astonished laughter through an approach that might be called "slapstick surrealism."

    LSN

  • #2
    A "lesser" flim from Franأ§ois Truffaut: "L'Homme qui aimait les femmes." I've mentioned this one to Dee before. I like it, but it's not one of his major works. It's quite entertaining, I thought.

    LSN

    Comment


    • #3
      Don't know if these really count as 'underrated or relatively unknown' but anyone with a real interest in cinema (rather than munching popcorn while watching the latest Summer flopbuster) really ought to be familiar with the films of Andrei Tarkovsky. (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001789)

      The English titles of his films are:
      Ivan's Childhood
      Andrei Rublev
      Solaris
      The Mirror
      The Stalker
      Nostalgia
      The Sacrifice


      Not a particularly large ouvere since Tarkovsky died relatively young, but hugely impressive films if you can make the effort to sit through them - being Russian and 'art house' they're not exactly a laugh a minute but they are tremendously good for the Soul.
      _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
      _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
      _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
      _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

      Comment


      • #4
        Another film that all students of cinema must see at least once is Abel Gance's Napoloen, a very strong contender for 'Greatest Film Ever Made' (although I know many cinephiles loath such things).

        A word of warning - avoid the Francis Coppola 1981 'restoration' and go for the Kevin Brownlow/BFI 2004 restoration (preferably with Carl Davis score) which is some 50mins longer than the '81 version (with score by Carmine Coppola), although that now makes the restored version some 5 hours long, but this only means that some 60mins of Gance's original 1927 version missing. :(

        Unfortunately, due to legal threats from the Coppola lawyers, the chances of seeing the Brownlow/Davis version in the future seems very very slight. I was fortunate enough to see it with Davis conducting a live orchestra in December 2004, which may have been one of the last ever performances of the film, unless the copyright issues can be resolved.

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0018192
        _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
        _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
        _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
        _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

        Comment


        • #5
          I do rate Tarkovsky a lot, especially "Solaris", "The Stalker" & "Ivan's Childhood".

          Another two Russian director's I would rate are Sergei Einsenstein & Sergei Bondarchuk. The former's "Ivan the Terrible" & "Alexander Nevsky" are well worth checking out.

          Bondarchuk's "War & Peace" was groundbreaking for it's time, as well being the most expensive movie filmed up till the 70s.

          F.W. Murnau is best known for "Nosfertu", but "Faust" is up there with that film. "Der Golem" by Paul Wegener is another from the same school, as is "The Cabinet of Dr Caligari"
          ‘In real life people do not spend every minute shooting each other, hanging themselves or making declarations of love. They don’t spend every minute saying clever things. Rather they eat, drink, flirt, talk nonsense."

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree with the recommendations of Abel Gance and Eisenstein, most assuredly.

            Another film director that often slips people's minds is Ingmar Bergman. I have watched his film from the '50s, Wild Strawberries, a number of times and I admire it quite a bit as visual poetry and a study somewhat in the manner of August Strindberg.

            An obscure Swedish film that I like is the version of Strindberg's Frأ¶ken Julie (Miss Julie) made by Alf Sjأ¶berg. It's not without flaw, but I think it's effective and affecting cinema.

            LSN

            Comment


            • #7
              I must admit that Bergman is my favourite director. Late last year, and early this year, I picked up quite a few of his lesser known works that came out on DVD, from early embryonic works like "Crisis, "To Joy" and "Port of Call", through to the heavily cryptic personal films like "Persona" and "The Rite" and the later colour films, where Liv Ullman and Max Von Sydow virtually took the leads in every film,e.g., "Hour of the Wolf", "Passion of Anna" and "Shame". I would especially recommend "Shame". A great character study regarding how individual personalities change when war comes to a small Swedish Island.

              My favourites still remain his prime era, which house the likes of "Through a Glass Darkly", "The Silence", "The Virgin Spring", "The Magician", "Winter Light" and, of course, "The Seventh Seal" and "Wild Strawberries". However, my absolute favourite is "Fanny and Alexander", which is a colossal epic of a tale.
              ‘In real life people do not spend every minute shooting each other, hanging themselves or making declarations of love. They don’t spend every minute saying clever things. Rather they eat, drink, flirt, talk nonsense."

              Comment


              • #8
                Cries and Whispers I thought a terrifically good film when I first saw it and still think of it as one of my favourite Bergman films (alongside Persona, The Seventh Seal and The Rite, which of course was made for TV rather than the cinema).

                As a teenager I saw an awful lot of foreign-language films on the BBC when they still scheduled non-English films on their two main TV channels. As well as Bergman, I saw a range of French films from A Bout de Souffle, Alphaville, and Celine et Julie vont en Bateau to L'أ‰tأ© Meurtrier, Mortelle Randonnأ©e and On ne meurt que 2 fois.* This is an entire cinematic education that is largely denied to modern teenagers sadly. Without seeing Claude Chabrol's thrillers, Roman Polankski's Repulsion and The Tenant, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai or Rashأ´mon or a host of silent classics I know my appreciation for cinema as an art form would be greatly deficient, despite being familiar with directors like Welles, Hitchcock, Powell/Pressberger or Ford, Lean, Leone and scores of English-language films.

                That said, I still know that there are huge gaps in my film knowledge - I don't think I've ever see The Virgin Spring or Wild Strawberries although I'm sure I have them in off-air VHS copies at home somewhere. 8O

                *English titles = 'Breathless', Celine and Julie Go Boating', 'One Deadly Summer', 'Deadly Run', and 'He Died With His Eyes Open'. Do people prefer the original titles or the names they're known by in English? I must admit I find the latter easier.
                _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Mention of Kurosawa calls to mind his film Ran, which was based in part on King Lear.

                  The photography is great. The story and acting are even better.

                  It's not a comforting little bedtime story, of course...

                  LSN

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm perfectly happy with the original titles. French is one of my primary languages, and jag kan tala svenska (I speak Swedish), so those in particular don't bother me.

                    I thought about listing Wild Strawberries in its original title in Svenska, but I worried I might be confusing the issue, since the movie has a certain reputation in English. Next time, I won't be so timid.

                    LSN

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      How about Werner Herzog? I heartily recommend him, if only to check Klaus Kinski's performance as Lope de Aguirre.... :notworthy:

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by demos99
                        Cries and Whispers I thought a terrifically good film when I first saw it and still think of it as one of my favourite Bergman films (alongside Persona, The Seventh Seal and The Rite, which of course was made for TV rather than the cinema).

                        As a teenager I saw an awful lot of foreign-language films on the BBC when they still scheduled non-English films on their two main TV channels. As well as Bergman, I saw a range of French films from A Bout de Souffle, Alphaville, and Celine et Julie vont en Bateau to L'أ‰tأ© Meurtrier, Mortelle Randonnأ©e and On ne meurt que 2 fois.* This is an entire cinematic education that is largely denied to modern teenagers sadly. Without seeing Claude Chabrol's thrillers, Roman Polankski's Repulsion and The Tenant, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai or Rashأ´mon or a host of silent classics I know my appreciation for cinema as an art form would be greatly deficient, despite being familiar with directors like Welles, Hitchcock, Powell/Pressberger or Ford, Lean, Leone and scores of English-language films.

                        That said, I still know that there are huge gaps in my film knowledge - I don't think I've ever see The Virgin Spring or Wild Strawberries although I'm sure I have them in off-air VHS copies at home somewhere. 8O

                        *English titles = 'Breathless', Celine and Julie Go Boating', 'One Deadly Summer', 'Deadly Run', and 'He Died With His Eyes Open'. Do people prefer the original titles or the names they're known by in English? I must admit I find the latter easier.
                        "Cries and Whispers" is another great film. From the same period, "Scenes from a Marriage" too.

                        Mentioning "Alphaville" reminds me of runs of Jean-Luc Godard films that appeared on the BBC once upon a time.

                        I cannot remember if this film is a Godard one, but maybe you know the name of it anyway? It features Isabelle Huppert as a teenager who kills her parents...based on a true story.

                        Another film that springs to mind is Andrzej Wajda's "Danton" from 1983.

                        Also by Kurosawa - "Kagemusha".

                        Werner Herzog's "Fitzcarraldo" is another one to add to the list.
                        ‘In real life people do not spend every minute shooting each other, hanging themselves or making declarations of love. They don’t spend every minute saying clever things. Rather they eat, drink, flirt, talk nonsense."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you like asian cinema - well, even if you don't, his movies are from another planet! : Ki-duk Kim (corean). Not so unknown anymore since "Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter...and Spring" but not the best-known in this thread either
                          I recommend "bin-jip" ("3-iron") for a first contact.

                          Oh and since I'm talking asian directors: shohei imamura. My favorite japanese director. Yes, I mean better than kurosawa. *dodges stones* . Warm water under a red bridge, Ballad of Narayama, Kanzo sensei....choose one. No. Watch them ALL !!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Demos - you're quite right. If Ian Curtis was going to hang himself now, he'd have a lot of trouble finding a Herzog movie to watch first.

                            But yeah, I remember getting a working education of French New Wave cinema, plus we had 'Das Boot' and 'Heimat', Wenders and Fassbinder - one reason foreign languages may be in decline in UK schools is that there is now zero exposure on mainstream TV to foreign film.
                            BBC 2 even had a series of mainstream French 'policiers' and stuff like 'Subway' so it wasn't always the arty stuff.

                            On the plus side, you can now rent virtually anything you want via on-line DVD rental.

                            My throw in : 'Daisies' or 'Sedmikrasky' by Vera Chytilova, which is a 60s Czech film from the New Wave era (whether it's New Wave or following a tradition of experimental film is another debate). I also like the fact that the Communists hated her, then following the fall of Communism she started getting up the new state's nose too.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Blackbeard
                              I cannot remember if this film is a Godard one, but maybe you know the name of it anyway? It features Isabelle Huppert as a teenager who kills her parents...based on a true story.
                              Violette Noziأ¨res. Not Godard, Chabrol. Great movie, too.

                              Comment

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