Category Archives: Foreign Language Film

Tickets (2005) Film Review

Three stories by three directors all based on trains on the same day. An older man returning home dreams of a relationship with a beautiful colleague; a horrible woman is accompanied by a young man who is not her son, but it is for a long time unclear who he is in relation to her; and a trio of Scottish soccer fans encounter a family of refugees after a ticket goes missing.

I wanted to like this film. I feel like it’s an ‘important’ film. Each of the directors (Abbas Kiarostami, Ken Loach and Ermanno Olmi) are significant directors. But to me, each story felt underwritten and weak, and while I concede that they make statements about human nature… I just didn’t care. To me, it felt like the type of film I may have pretended to love back at uni to impress a lecturer.

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An Autumn Afternoon (1962) Film Review

 

Shuher Hirayama (Chishu Ryu) is an widower who is cared for my his daughter, Michiko (Shima Iwashita). He doesn’t want things to change, but starts to realise that if he doesn’t let his daughter marry, she may be stuck alone forever. He comes to these realisations through interactions with some old school mates and an old teacher.

It’s very much a film of its time. I loved seeing Japan as it was in the 60s, just the general day-to-day of the place. However, it really could have used a bit of editing… it goes for nearly two hours, but could easily have been told in half that time. However, I think this is partly because most film storytelling is far faster now, and it’s easy for me to become impatient with a slow story.

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Pom Poko (1994) Film Review

When raccoons keep having their world destroyed by urban development, they decide to take matters into their own hands.

Studio Ghibli films are their own strange, wonderful, mysterious worlds. This is like Watership Down, only with terrorism and shapeshifting… it’s magnificently odd and wonderful.

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2046 (2004) Film Review

This is a confusing but very beautiful story of Chow Mo-Wan and his various loves. Unfortunately, I watched this some time ago, and so I am going on my memories of the film and descriptions online, but I remember it being stunning, with some beautiful science fiction set in a fictional future world of 2046. I don’t think I’d rush out to see it again, but must try to remember to find a proper screening in a cinema in 2046 (surely it will happen!) so I can appreciate it properly.

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The Trouble With You (En Liberte!) (2018) Film Review

Yvonne (Adele Haenel) discovers that her late husband, known as a heroic police officer is the idol not only to her and her son, but to their whole city, was corrupt. The man who he framed and was sent to prison, Antoine (Pio Marmai) is being released and while she is convinced by her son’s godfather, Louis (Damien Bonnard) that proving his innocence will destroy her son, she wants to make sure that Antoine is ok. And he is not – being locked up has changed him, and he is now a psychopath.

It’s got a lot going for it – absurd (and very dark) humour, some great action sequences, a good basic concept. But, as a whole, it doesn’t work. The reasons for doing things get lost, and it becomes just far too ridiculous. Still, the acting was pretty fantastic, and it was delightful to see Audrey Tatu in it as the wife of Antoine.

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Sink or Swim (Le Grand Bain) (2018) Film Review

Bertrand (Mathieu Amalric) is depressed, unable to go to work and his wife is finding it difficult to be understanding. Going for a swim, he sees a notice for a men’s synchronised swimming team and decides to give it a go. They are a bunch of middle-aged misfits – stuck in bad jobs, dealing with anger issues, not reaching the goals they wanted in life. They bond, and then they discover the European men’s synchronised swim team competition and decide to give it a go.

This film is kind of charming, but it drove me a bit nuts. I didn’t love the casual racism and homophobia throughout, and I felt like it was trying to cover far too many stories within the one film. There were moments that I really enjoyed, and I could even appreciate the ridiculous competition, but overall I just didn’t love it.

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Aurore (2017) Film Review

Aurore (Agnes Jaoui) has hit a point in her life where things need to change. Her new boss at the restaurant is arrogant and treats the staff poorly, and everything else is just too much. So, she takes things into her own hands.

Women of a certain age are often ignored, certainly they rarely get entire films about just life. This is one of those films that capture a particular time in a particular place, and it was good, but not great. It was fun and the characters were charming, but I walked out wondering what exactly the point of the whole thing was.

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