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I broke my Bergman/Kurosawa/Fellini cherry this past week..

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I broke my Bergman/Kurosawa/Fellini cherry this past week..

Old 06-21-05, 01:37 AM
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I broke my Bergman/Kurosawa/Fellini cherry this past week..

I'll just start off by saying that my DVD collection consists of Planet Of The Apes Boxsets, Romero's Dead Trilogy, and Tarantino flicks. Pretty basic and "hollywood".

Last week I decided that I would check out more black & white/silent/art house films from famed directors that I've read so much about on these forums. I've never seen a "Criterion Collection" movie in my life and instead of blind buying the flicks, I headed over to my local library to rent them for about a buck each. I picked up the following: Seventh Seal, Seven Samurai, La Dolce Vita, Rashomon, and Wild Strawberries all in VHS tapes. *Some spoilers ahead*

Yes this was quite a treat for this "cinephile" newbie....

1. Seventh Seal: From the moment I saw "Death" on screen I knew I was about to experience something very different. The cinematography and poetic dialogue of the characters drew me in. The one scene where the Knight is confessing to the priest about his conflicting emotions of God really gave me chills. What a visual ending (Dance With Death) as well...truely haunting.

2. La Dolce Vita: I didn't "get it" after watching it, but after some readers analysis' of the film I understood what Fellini was saying. You could see how the shallowness of the "sweet life" consumed Marcello. A lot of memorable scenes and beautiful actresses too. I definitely would watch this again. Is it true the term "Papparazzi" derived from this movie? If so..I can see why!!

3. Rashomon: I had to unfortunately watch this movie with the english dubbing. I can see how "Hero" was influenced by Kurosawa's tale of 'Lies'. Amazing cinematography, the rain, the use of lighting in the woods, and unique story telling. Most memorable scene is when the "Psychic Medium" is telling the Warrior's version of the story. Had a bit of over-acting in some scenes maybe it was the english dubbing and the crazy laughter that threw me off. I do like Kurasawa's style of directing though, but the ending with the baby kinda felt added on.

4. Seven Samurai: I can't make a judgment on this movie for the white subtitles text and very white contrast of the movie made it impossible to read. I saw only like 70 % of the text, considering a blind buy from the high praise of the movie though.

5. Wild Strawberries: Wow....I can't even describe my fondness for this movie. The surreal dream like sequences, the touching love story of childhood, and the terrific acting from all the characters make this an incredible movie viewing experience. It's official...i'm an Ingmar Bergman fan

Now that i'm entering in the world of "criterions and real cinema" I plan to watch a lot of them this summer if time permits. I've read high praise about Ikiru, 8 1/2, La Strada, and Nights Of Cabiria. I plan on blind buying Fanny & Alexander and the Ingmar Bergman Trilogy [Through a Glass Darkly/Winter Light/The Silence]. My sister recently bought me "Passion Of Joan Of Arc" based on the recommendation of the guy who worked at Virgins' Record Store which I eagerly look foward to experiencing.

What other "Criterions" would you guys recommend I rent/buy?
Old 06-21-05, 07:54 AM
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The first time I saw La Dolce Vita (two decades ago!) I didn't really "get" it at first. Then, the next day I was walking down the street thinking about it, and it all started to come together. I was so struck by the force of the film I had to sit down for a few minutes and collect my thoughts.

Do yourself a favor and explore the genius of Jean Renoir. The Grand Illusion and Rules of the Game are two of the finest films ever made.
Old 06-21-05, 09:38 AM
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Great to see more people giving classic foreign films a try.

Bergman and Fellini should be required viewing for everyone who appreciates film - truly amazing directors.

Don't limit yourself to Criterions either. There's a wealth of foreign films available from other studios.

You've picked some more quality films for future viewing, I also recommend Bergman's Cries and Whispers (Criterion) and Persona (MGM)... as well as Fellini's Amacord (Criterion).

I also urge you to check out the films of Werner Herzog (if you haven't already)... namely films such as Aguirre: Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo and Nosferatu - released by Anchor Bay (and part of the Herzog/Kinski boxset).

Also check out the Keislowski's Three Colours Trilogy and The Dekalog.

I can go on forever recommending foreign films, there's just so many great ones out there. I think you'll have alot to look forward to.

Enjoy !
Old 06-21-05, 10:11 AM
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you have to rent/buy Bergman's The Hour of the Wolf - it's his really heady and out there - essentially Bergman doing horror. Watch it late at night, it's really creepy
Old 06-21-05, 10:16 AM
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Glad to hear you enjoyed those wonderful films. To add another recommendation, Godard's Band of Outsiders is a joyous celebration of youth, restlessness and cinema. Check it out.
Old 06-21-05, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Coral

I also urge you to check out the films of Werner Herzog (if you haven't already)... namely films such as Aguirre: Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo and Nosferatu - released by Anchor Bay (and part of the Herzog/Kinski boxset).


as a supplement to Fitzcarraldo - see Burden of Dreams - which is a behind the scenes docu on the making of the film and essential viewing.

As to Rashomon did you have the time to listen to the commentary on the Criterion DVD? As I recall I think it kind of explains the "baby" scene.
Old 06-21-05, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Coral

Don't limit yourself to Criterions either. There's a wealth of foreign films available from other studios.

and that's another can of worms

rent Aleksandr Sokurov's Russian Ark - which one simply has to see for it's seemless single tracking camera shot through the entire film. The film is also notable for Sokurov's exemplory use of sound - it's a film where both the eye and ear are in for a treat.
Old 06-21-05, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Coral
I also urge you to check out the films of Werner Herzog (if you haven't already)... namely films such as Aguirre: Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo and Nosferatu - released by Anchor Bay (and part of the Herzog/Kinski boxset).

Also check out the Keislowski's Three Colours Trilogy and The Dekalog.

I can go on forever recommending foreign films, there's just so many great ones out there. I think you'll have alot to look forward to.

Enjoy !
As a fan surrealism/avant-garde films I was recommended by some people to check out Even Dwarfs Started Small because of how surrealistic and disturbing it was. I found it to be a quite harmless and fun day in the life of "little people". It was like watching an episode of the Little Rascals but with mature undertones. Hehe gotta love little Hombre.

Is Dekalog the mini-series where each movie is based on one of the 10 Commandments? It has a pretty high ranking on imdb. I would definitely check it out if I can find it.
Old 06-21-05, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by eternalmothug
Is Dekalog the mini-series where each movie is based on one of the 10 Commandments? It has a pretty high ranking on imdb. I would definitely check it out if I can find it.
Yep, that's the one.

Definitely check it out.

I envy you checking out these films for the first time.

I wish I could wipe my memory clean so I can feel like I'm watching these great films for the first time. On the plus side, there are still tons to watch.
Old 06-21-05, 01:47 PM
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Last summer was my summer of movies. I still have a lot of stuff to watch though, and i'm thinking of continuing now that it's summer again. I need to see Wild Strawberries and The Seventh Seal again, along with some more Bergman (Persona specifically sounds great).

I'm going to recommend.. Amarcord(Fellini), Ikiru/Throne of Blood(Kurosawa), and the Bicycle Thief(De Sica). You must see these sometime this summer! Oh, and Rules of the Game(Renoir).
Old 06-21-05, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by eternalmothug
As a fan surrealism/avant-garde films I was recommended by some people to check out Even Dwarfs Started Small because of how surrealistic and disturbing it was. I found it to be a quite harmless and fun day in the life of "little people". It was like watching an episode of the Little Rascals but with mature undertones. Hehe gotta love little Hombre.
is this on home video?
Old 06-21-05, 02:09 PM
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Shop on Main Street is a great Criterion Collection DVD that nobody talks about. I think it is one of the better films in the collection. Give it a rent.
Old 06-22-05, 02:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Coral
Also check out the Keislowski's Three Colours Trilogy and The Dekalog.
I just want to second this suggestion. Seeing The Decalogue for the first time was the single best dvd experience of my life. Kieslowski is a master storyteller. It never ceases to amaze me how poignant a story he can tell in under an hour. In case you are not familiar with The Decalogue, it's a set of 10 films, each one an hour in length (originally created for Polish tv).

Glad to see a new Bergman fan born (and hopefully Fellini as well) but don't forget about Kieslowski, and I think The Decalogue is a great place to start with him.
Old 06-22-05, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by chente
Shop on Main Street is a great Criterion Collection DVD that nobody talks about. I think it is one of the better films in the collection. Give it a rent.
I agree... It is one of my favs as well. The ending is very powerful.
Old 06-22-05, 06:30 PM
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with both your and chente's recommendation I have added Shop on Main Street in my Netflix queue - thanks, looking forward to watching this.
Old 06-23-05, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by eternalmothug
4. Seven Samurai: .......... considering a blind buy from the high praise of the movie though.
You might consider holding off on your purchase of "Seven Samurai" as Criterion will be reissuing it in the future (likewise "High and Low", and probably further down the road "Yojimbo" and "Sanjuro"). Plus, there's lots of other Criterion Kurosawa - "Kagemusha", "Red Beard", "Stray Dog", "Hidden Fortress", "Throne of Blood", "Lower Depths", "Ikiru", and one you already mentioned "Rashomon" - to tide you over until then. "Ikiru" is my favorite. "Hidden Fortress" and "Throne of Blood", imho, are good starting points to begin an exploration of Kurosawa; broadly-speaking from a critical perspective they might be considered "Tier 2" Kurosawa (I personally rank them higher) plus they are quicker-viewing and thereby perhaps more accessible than some of Kurosawa's other films.

Plus, do consider the non-Kurosawa samurai film "Harakiri" aka "Seppuku" that is being released by Criterion in a couple of months. As of this writing, I prefer it over any of the Kurosawa samurai films - do keep in mind however that it is slower-paced and more stageplay-like than a lot of Kurosawa's samurai films.

Last edited by flixtime; 06-23-05 at 11:48 AM.

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