Thursday, November 17, 2011

Foreign Entity

World Movies, a channel on Australia's version of "cable", Foxtel, have been running a national vote to discover Australia's favourite foreign film. Given the idea of the channel is films that are in another language, we can forgive the ghettoisation of such a list. But, hey, I have a blog label called "foreign films" so, er, I'm not one to talk. I'm not sure how the people responsible for the list chose these specific 25 films for visitors to vote on, but I guess they did a good job. Why Almodovar's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is on there and not All About My Mother is perplexing, and how does one pick just a single Bergman or Kurosawa to represent an entire filmography? Federico Fellini and Jean Luc Godard, however, were the only filmmaker to be given two contenders for voters to choose from. Thankfully, the rather terrible Jules et Jim polled the lowest number of votes so I feel somewhat taken by that stat.

Of course, 25 is a rather miniscule number to boil down an entire history of cinema into, but what can you do? I'm sure titles like The 400 Blows, The Umbrellas of Cherbough, The Battle of Algiers, Festen, Pan's Labyrinth, Hero and any number of forgotten genre pictures would have made fine additions to the list. For whatever reason, my mind always seems to drift towards Gabriel Axel's Babette's Feast when people ask me what my favourite foreign language film is. A new blu-ray released for that 1987 Best Foreign Language Film winner would be nice, pretty please. I love that film beyond words, I swear.

It's to little surprise that the results tallied Jean Pierre Jeunet's Amelie as the most popular. It's hard to deny that movie's place in popular culture and the fondness that many viewers have for it. Plus, it certainly helps that it's one of the few foreign language titles that seemingly everyone has seen, whether they liked it or not. What I did find surprising was Life is Beautiful ranking #2. I guess all the Oscar backlash in the world can't curb the fact that audiences actually loved that movie then and continue to do so. Surprisingly high rankings for Three Colours: Blue and Metropolis are nice to see, too. I wonder, what would you include?

From the press release:

This weekend is your chance to see all these modern masterpieces and cinematic classics you’ve always planned to, with over 48 hours of non-stop films on World Movies. Beginning at 8:30pm on Friday 18th November, the ’25 Films You Must See Before You Die’ marathon is the easiest way to catch the movies every cinema-lover should see. The 25 films will be counted down to number one, which will be screened after 8pm Sunday.

World Movies is available on Foxtel and Austar (Channel 430).

Australia’s favourite 25 Films are:
1. Amelie
2. Life Is Beautiful
3. Cinema Paradiso
4. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
5. City of God
6. Seven Samurai
7. Das Boot
8. Run Lola Run
9. Ring
10. Three Colours: Blue
11. Metropolis
12. In The Mood For Love
13. La Dolce Vita
14. Mon Oncle
15. Breathless
16. The Seventh Seal
17. Wings of Desire
18. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
19. The Bicycle Thief
20. 8 ½
21. Belle de Jour
22. Les Enfants Du Paradis
23. The Rules of the Game
24. Y Tu Mama Tambien
25. Jules et Jim

1 comment:

GlenH said...

Hmmm... My first thought was that it was skewing towards more recent films that more people would have seen and that's definitely a factor. But it seems that, wierdly enough, In the Mood for Love and Y Tu Mama Tambien didn't benefit - I would have guessed that they'd both end up in the top 10.

I think the other big factor was "pure entertainment. There's a lot of action/comedy/thriller at the top of the list and the "artier" stuff seems to have been relegated to the bottom.

I'm guessing Metropolis got a bit of a boost from the restored edition screenings but it's still nice to see silent cinema do relatively well.

I'm also happy to see Blue do so well as it's one of my personal favorites but from my perspective the list is lacking Woman in the Dunes which is possibly my all time favourite film, bar none.