A Language Learner's Forum Film Club

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Le Baron
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Film Club

Postby Le Baron » Mon Mar 20, 2023 5:34 pm

jeff_lindqvist wrote:Either it's a misprint, or the poster is Norwegian/Danish. (It's sommaren in Swedish.)

Good spot. I'd never have noticed.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Film Club

Postby tractor » Mon Mar 20, 2023 5:40 pm

jeff_lindqvist wrote:Either it's a misprint, or the poster is Norwegian/Danish. (It's sommaren in Swedish.)

It's most likely a Norwegian poster. The KF logo in the bottom right corner was the logo of Kommunenes Filmcentral A/S.
https://snl.no/Kommunenes_Filmcentral_A/S
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Film Club

Postby Raconteur » Mon Apr 17, 2023 11:42 pm

Le Baron wrote:I did a calculation of the number of 'films waiting to be watched'. Excluding those on the ext-HDD. It really feels like having my work cut out for me. Some have been waiting for as long as five years! 241 films as follows; with a few where I haven't found any subs yet for languages I wouldn't be able to follow:

Chinese - 9
Bengali - 2
Dutch - 3
English - 50
French - 78
German - 52
Italian - 31
Iranian - 2
Japanese - 5
Korean - 1
Polish - 1
Russian - 1
Spanish - 3
Swedish - 3
That's quite a list! Where do you find/look for films from outside of the mainstream (Hollywood, Netflix et al.) ?
I'm so tired of what's on Netflix/HBO/Apple TV ... not just because of the streaming selection, but also because somehow, ever so gradually, I became largely a consumer of TV series. I really want to get back to watching films, especially classics.

If some sources of yours are not entirely kosher, let's say, you can also send me a PM! Thanks :lol:
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Film Club

Postby Le Baron » Sun May 14, 2023 12:56 am

Profumo di donna - Dino Risi, 1974.

Directors have certain actors they like to work with, or even don't like to work with (think of Klaus Kinski!) and Vittorio Gassman is Risi's actor. Here he is again perfection, like he was in Risi's Il Sorpasso further up in this thread. In several ways the two films have much in common: a vague journey across Italy, a boisterous man with a more timid companion - who like Trintignant's character in Il Sorpasso engages in brief soliloquy to 'air his thoughts'.

The writing in this film is excellent, both the screen story and the dialogue, by Risi and Ruggero Maccari for which they were both nominated for Academy awards. Gassman won the golden palm at Cannes.

There's a slow descent from uproarious comedy to tense drama. Gassman portrays a blinded ex-army captain with a brash attitude which borders on the insulting at times, yet you can't help but like him, even if you want to strangle him. A young army recruit is sent on leave to accompany him on a trip he is making to Naples via Genoa and Rome. When they step out of the train he immediately takes them both to an outfitters and gets himself a natty cream three-piece and a fine fitting grey number for his companion. In Genoa he gets the young fellow to procure him a specific putain, right down to what her hair colour should be, he says he can smell a woman's scent around him. He causes chaos in a train and a café; gets his young aide, who he renames 'Ceccio' to telephone and invite his girlfriend to a café and then after kissing her in a less-than fatherly fashion, he tells the boy that she's obviously a pute and wasn't just picked up in a car by her 'uncle', which seems to be true. What he's really doing is 'saving' Ceccio from naivety and educating him. In Rome he tricks a young nun at the Catholic hotel to hold his pecker because he claims he can't find Ceccio to 'help him' in the bathroom.

When they eventually reach Naples the tone changes, gets a little darker as we learn about him before the accident which blinded him, from one of the odd bevy of young women - who were once just girls, but are now grown up - at the house of the equally blinded comrade he has come to visit.

The title may seem familiar and indeed it was remade in the 1990s with Al Pacino in Gassman's role. No offence to Al, but he didn't quite match Gassman here. Sadly the young fellow playing Ceccio was killed in a motorcycle crash just before he turned 18 and a month before the release of the film, and therefore didn't get to see its great success.

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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Film Club

Postby Le Baron » Sun Aug 06, 2023 8:54 pm

Who are you Polly Maggoo? (William Klein 1966). It's on Arte currently.

A typical, but good example of the sort of 'new wave' art film from France at that time. Suffused with surrealism, oblique politico-cultural touches and unexpected editing (though this editing works here as it moves between scenes). There is a lot to unravel if one is so inclined, or just to take in. American 60s model Dorothy McGowan stars as the titular character and does a fine job. Arte's website listed her in the credits as 'Catriona McGowan'. Which is odd.

When the intrusive film crew invaded her room for filming and she was giving her life story, she said :"Quand j'ai 16 ans je suis venu 'mannequin', en français 'cover girl'..." :D One of those cases where the English term for some pop-culture thing is the most well-known term in a foreign language. Like the word 'star' has now replaced 'vedette'.

I also liked the bit where the 'prince' went to his little media den and in a bored way just touched momentarily and disinterestedly all the things to which he had easy access. TV on (cool TV) remote control toys, reel-to-reel tape machine which then provided his applause for that conjuring trick.

There are some Godard-like touches. Such as the jab at the French believing themselves to be America's 'parent'. Also the remark: "TV films are better than the cinema. You watch TV absent-mindedly, like it's life. At the cinema you pay too much attention, we shouldn't." This is discussed in that book Godard On Godard. His faith in TV as a more immediate propaganda medium reaching the masses has some truth, though just like the same people don't go to an art film, some don't watch the TV message. Or see it and equally pay no attention, or may not 'understand' it. This film seems to be mocking that somewhat because we see behind the scenes how manufactured and somewhat vacuous the message is. And like when she says to Jean Rochefort: "The world could fall apart and all you would do is film it."

It's amusing, if not very subtle, that everyone accuses her of being unreal and a masquerader, but it is everyone else striking a permanent overdone pose. I don't know what to make of the thin filament running through it concerning 'Cinderella'. Apart from it being played out via the 'prince' and then referring to her as Cinderella. And yet the prince is fickle with no real unique desires. And Polly Maggoo, (who is she?) is just one person in a giant crowd.

I liked this film. I think Terry Gilliam must have seen it, the influence appears strong.

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Le Baron
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Film Club

Postby Le Baron » Sun Sep 03, 2023 1:29 am

Jacques Deray Le Solitaire (1987)

I'm in the 80s for this Jean-Paul Belmondo vehicle playing his 'supercop' action-hero character he slipped into from the mid-70s after Peur sur la ville (1975, Henri Verneuil) and Le Professionel. By 1987 this type of film was a standard all over the world. Without a doubt American films in popular culture definitely reigned supreme, so all countries wanted to make cool action comedies like Beverly Hills Cop. This film isn't unique in that regard, there are hundreds of films like that from France of the period and beyond. This one really goes for the American feel with the 'you killed my partner' theme. He is in fact a 'Dirty' Harry Callaghan figure, loose with his fists and firearm in a way you can't quite take seriously. The villain is also nearly as annoying as the villain in Dirty Harry, so you're rooting for his comeuppance.

Belmondo is 54 here and whilst he looks good physically it's a bit much to have him knocking off several women and planning a weekend away with some lady swim instructor who looks about 18. It's like Roger Moore's late Bond films where he's smooching in bed with some young filly and he's all turkey-necked and love handles. To be fair to Belmondo he's not quite that, but his once cheeky avant-garde face has taken on the leather handbag look. He does his own stunts, but they're a lot tamer than in previous films.

However, some of the dialogue is funny. Some might be unintentionally funny, but it's all delivered well by a cast of regular character actors. As I watched I thought about how Jacques Deray rather slipped away from the 'stylish thriller' into the formulaic thriller. A few years earlier another of the Belmondo films they did was a bit of a flop. I think the pair of them, Deray and Belmondo yearned to make action films, but undermined themselves a bit by overdoing it. Belmondo especially because he was a gifted actor who drifted into playing a two-dimensional tough guy cop one time too many.

When I was a kid we were in Belgium and I watched Le Professionel on video at a friend of my mother's (both mothers having skipped off out and left us in alone...such neglect) . A few years after it first came out, so it was new-ish. And I enjoyed it as any young lad would (whilst likely missing all the subtleties), so I think I would have enjoyed Le Solitaire in the same way. Having seen it now it seems thin to me. Enjoyable enough as a crime film romp, but a bit corny.

The music is very 80s and in the nightclubs the live acts were singing in English in full-on American accents. There were also a lot Talbot cars hanging about, but superflic Belmondo drove a first generation Peugeot 305, complete with yellow headlights.

2.5 out of 5 stars, for easy entertainment value.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Film Club

Postby Le Baron » Thu Mar 28, 2024 2:30 pm

Adulterio All'Italiana - Adultery Italian Style. (Pasquale Festa Campanile, 1966)

Starring Nino Manfredi and Catherine Spaak.

This is a really excellent comedy, belonging to the commedia all'italiana. As a counterpoint to both Divorce Italian Style and Marriage Italian Style, both of those starring Marcello Mastroianni. This film is more 'sixties' in tone to me, also it turns the patriarchal approach completely on its head.

The script is very sharp and there are a number of top notch sight gags and set pieces and the ending is a complete winner. I've only seen Manfredi in semi-comic/dramatic roles like We All Loved Each Other So Much (with Vittorio Gassman) and Bread & Chocolate, but here it is full-on farce and he performs some good physical gags as well. Catherine Spaak is a good counterpart and also a fine comedy actress, she was also in a lot of commedia all'italiana.

By the way, despite the shot below, the film is in colour.

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Pedantry is properly the over-rating of any kind of knowledge we pretend to.
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