What country has the best foreign films?

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Re: What country has the best foreign films?

Postby plllll » Fri Dec 20, 2002 12:28 am

Italy!!!!!!!!!! By far.

Re: What country has the best foreign films?

Postby plllll » Fri Dec 20, 2002 12:29 am

Italy!!!!! It is the only country that has Marco Leonardi and Raoul Bova!!!!!!!

Re: What country has the best foreign films?

Postby asia_bebe » Wed Jul 09, 2003 8:53 pm


i think their movies are like one of THE BEST! from my point of view CHINA i would take my side on

but, then i would have to take


for LOVE MOVIE ! OH MY GOSH THEY MAKE THE BEST LOVE MOVIES it's so touchin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! or else KOREAN Series of MOVIES !!!!

but, for LOVE I would CHOOSE HINDI !!!!!! THE BEST



Re: What country has the best foreign films?

Postby ksparent » Thu Jul 10, 2003 11:12 am

It was a trick question, right? No country can have foreign movies, only native ones.

Or perhaps I should pick some country without a strong movie industry, like Antactica since every movie in the world would qualify as a foreign movie to it.

Okay, so it's not technically a country.

Re: What country has the best foreign films?

Postby Gaz » Thu Jul 10, 2003 1:16 pm

Exactly! Antarctica has the best foreign films - stands to reason. Don't know why I didn't think of it before. Too stupid probably.

Re: What country has the best foreign films?

Postby gratefultiger » Thu Jul 10, 2003 11:28 pm

A great Antarctic film is SOUTH - Ernest Shackleton's expedition A silent classic from 1919,with unforgettable cinematography by the master Frank Hurley an excellent Doco!

Re: What country has the best foreign films?

Postby auteur » Fri Jul 11, 2003 2:57 pm

This "inane question"(gaz)has generated some valuable comments. Fact is the foreign films that get distribution nowadays(and local video release) are the ones distributors find easy to market/most likely to make money(wvq). These are the films on which we base our notion of a nation's cinema(bigpoppa). I try to fight by watching films with no distribution at festivals and buying imported videos(not region 1).
Current East European cinema is particularly neglected in English-speaking countries. Mexico had a "golden age" parallel to the one in Hollywood, and Argentina and Brasil produced many excellent films during the 60s and 70s that we'll never get a chance to watch.
Having said that, I'd like to hail the French for consistently producing quality films decade after decade, and also for financing films from countries with limited resources. Three countries that have produced some of the most important films in the history of the medium:Russia, Italy and Germany, are clearly no longer as important ("Bella Martha","Bread & Tulips", "Nowhere in Africa" are worth-watching but not great cinema). Great movies are more likely to come out of Iran, Taiwan, and South Korea nowadays.
On a positive note, within the past year or so, three masterpieces I thought I'd never get a chance to watch have been released on dvd in North America:
Fritz Lang's Ger/India co-production "Indian Epic"(1959),
"El Imperio de la Fortuna"(1974) from the great Mexican director Arturo Ripstein, and "Daisies"(1968) from the Czech Republic.

Re: What country has the best foreign films?

Postby Gaz » Fri Jul 11, 2003 8:51 pm

I know, I know, but my point still stands. I was rash as usual to condemn the question, but it is still stupid to class one country as above the rest.

I agree in general on the point about Russian, German and Italian cinema. The best films nowadays seem to me to be independent US/UK films, and films from France, Latin America and Scandinavian/ex-Russian states.

There are, of course, many exceptions.

Re: What country has the best foreign films?

Postby auteur » Sat Jul 12, 2003 4:13 am

I wasn't being derisive, gaz. Your point still stands. Note, for instance, the number of remarkable Hollywood films directed by European immigrants, and how many recent films are co-produced by two or more nations. But many have inclinations toward films from a particular country, and I find their explications interesting. Anyway, this board has actually generated discussion, which is not too common.
If we limit our discussion to the present, I'd have to say that the films that are moving the medium forward, and creating truly original art, are not coming out of Europe and the Americas.(There are exceptions).
Abbas Kiarostami from Iran and the taiwanese Hou Hsiao-hsien have created an "unfinished cinema"(a term used by A.K. in a statement he made at Cannes '95) that encourages one to "participate" in completing the film through interpretation of rather ambiguous images. Hou in particular likes to let the viewer decide where to direct his attention: no close-ups, no detail shots, no highlighting, the most subtle camera movement, etc. Other directors who attempt to shakes us out of nostalgia and comfort are: Taiwanese Edward Yang(A Brighter Summer Day, YiYi), Korean Jin-ho Hur(One Fine Spring Day,Christmas in August), Jia Zhangke (Unknown Pleasures,Platform), Stanley Kwan(Actress, Rouge)and Alexandr Sokurov, from Russia.

Re: What country has the best foreign films?

Postby groom_daniel » Sat Jul 12, 2003 10:27 pm

Nationality is important in the sense that Hou Hsiao-hsien and Edward Yang make films about personal and national identity within their country; what it means to be Taiwanese given the turbulent history of the country (credit: All Movie Guide). Hsiao-hsien and Yang are, first and foremost, Taiwanese directors making films that interest Taiwanese people. The same is true for most directors working within their native countries. They may not be as overt as Hsiao-hsien and Yang in making films about national identity or the social & political history of their country, but they're all a part of their culture and the primary audience is their people.

I don't think you can say Taiwanese films are better than Chinese films, and I doubt anyone here would do that, aside from saying they enjoy one more than the other. You can definitely make comparisons between the two, because it's pretty clear, to me, that a whole generation of Taiwanese and Chinese directors have informed and influenced one another, and their films contrast and complement each other. The same kind of connections could be made throughout the history of film.

I agree with katsuben that our fascination with certain cinema usually comes from an interest in that culture (I'm personally interested in the Japanese aesthetic of Mono No Aware), but it's more useful to compare directors within that cinema (and the subject matter they deal with), or take a broader look at the history of that cinema, and where a particular director fits in. If you want to compare directors, films, or even entire cinemas from different countries, it's probably be best to compare them in terms of what's universal to all of them -- not necessarily the human truths, but the cinematic language of filmmaking and editing.

At the end of the day, filmmaking is all about economics and where the money is, so you get producers looking all over the world for pockets of money (usually where a government has allowed a tax break for filmmaking). Thus nationality is becoming less important in modern cinema. The greater emphasis is on where the film can be shot for cheapest (even if that location is filling in for another), and cheaper distribution (provided you do post-production in their country), etc., which is great in terms of bringing the international filmmaking community together, but one can no longer say that films are entirely national, because most films that "travel", so to speak, are co-productions at some level. Most of the films that screen internationally are a result of being shown at overseas film festivals, and a hell of a lot of money is poured into getting those films screened in the first place. It's an incredibly competitive market. My producing teacher was telling us about what Cannes is like, and it's just a madhouse.

In the end, a person's choice in cinema usually comes down to aesthetics, and those aesthetics come out of a rich tradition of filmmaking or art itself, or a turbulent political history. A lot of great films are made during or after periods of war, for instance. Personally, I'm interested in great stories from anywhere, but that in itself is an aesthetic.


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