Edward Copeland has created an opportunity for film bloggers to nominate and create a list of the top 25 non-English language feature films. Having the opportunity to submit my nominees along with others, the nomination list turned out with these 122 films making the cut. So I decided earlier in the week I'd get busy and try to catch as many of these films before the September 16th deadline in order to produce a better and strong top 25.
Here's some thougths on the first films I've tackled.
This delightful film falls into the category of "appreciation" more than "entertainment." The film is so unique as it's wide-angled scenes go phrenologically through a futuristic day in a glass-building-fillled France were Monsieur Hulot and a group of American tourist continue to bump shoulders with each other in a very idiosyncratic and funny (funny-smile, not funny-ha-ha) world.
There seems to be a lot of statements and thoughts that seem to sneak out of the film about technology, the future, and loss of genuine human interaction as a result of advancement. Many of the scenes reminded me of futuristic images from Terry Gilliam's Brazil (recently mentioned here), and yet Play Time is not negative or dooms-day-ish, rather it's light and playful in nature.
I loved this classic French New Wave film, that I had not yet made time to watch until now. The story is a simple character study of a young boy (often regarded as part-autobiography of director Truffaunt). The young kid is certainly far from angelic, but his chaotic and inconsistent home life only aids in his deviant behavior that leads him to getting in trouble at school, home, and eventually with the law.
The plot, story, acting, and style of this film were all enjoyable, and I think that as a film it tells a valuable modern message about a mother who is too pre-occupied with her own desires to be a good mother, who as a result has an adverse effect on her son, who's basically unwanted.
They say this film inspired City of Angels, but to say that purely doesn't recognize that this film is far more about art than about plot. The film follows two angels who can hear the thoughts of other people, and offer than comfort and influence by their presence. But similarly to Pleasantville, these angels live in a black and white world where for centuries they have missed out on true human experience. One of the angels, Damiel (Bruno Ganz) unsatisfied with his Angelic life begins to develop a love connection with a trapeze artists, and for her sacrifices his immortality.
The movie is very artful, infusing the screenplay with the words of Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and making a number of thoughts about Germany, past, present and future. While I was not particularly fond of this film, my favorite part were the scenes where Peter Falk played himself as an American film star with his own angelic past.