World Traveler’s 38 Films

Here you’ll find 38 (or so) films recommended to me by cousin three Christmases ago.  The dude has traveled the world and watched countless films along the way.  He put pen to paper and, in three minutes time, devised this list.

This list was lost to me for a long while, and I only recently rediscovered it. I look forward to exploring the below films, and based on the handful I’ve so far viewed, I think you, our readers, will too.

Consider this page a place to discuss any of the movies/filmmakers listed as well as to suggest any piece of cinema from any far-flung locale.**

I’ll also be posting my own thoughts as I manage to cross off each flick from my queue.

Enjoy, and happy watching!

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Moscow Doesn’t Believe in Tears (Russia)

Kolya (Czech)

Das Experiment (Germany)

Any movie by Aki Kaurismaki (Finland)

Divided We Fall (Czech)

Underground (Serbia)

Želary (Czech)

Burnt by the Sun (Russia)

Circle (Iran)

Any movie by Kiarostami (Iran) – suggested:  A Taste of Cherry

Any movie by Fellini (Italy) – suggested: Amarcord

Confusion of Genders (France)

Hero (China)

Raise the Red Lantern (China)

To Live (China)

The Eye (Hong Kong)

In the Mood for Love (Hong Kong)

Chungking Express (Hong Kong)

Eat, Drink, Man, Woman (Taiwan)

Yi Yi – A One and a Two… (Taiwan)

Carandiru (Brazil)

Eternity and a Day (Greece)

All that Jazz (USA)

Nashville (USA)

Yesterday (South Africa)

All About My Mother (Spain)

Live Flesh (Spain)

Golden Balls (Spain)

Jamón, Jamón (Spain)

Take My Eyes (Spain)

Solas (Spain)

Tesis (Spain)

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (USA)

The Barbarian Invasions (French-Canadian)

The Piano Teacher (France/Austria)

Good Bye Lenin! (Germany)

Microcosms (France)

Withnail & I (UK)

Abre Los Ojos (Spain)/Vanilla Sky (USA)

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(**Note: As you’ll notice, my cousin, hailing from southern Europe, included a few American selections.  In maintaining the integrity of his original list, I’ve kept them on board.  Those exceptions aside, please limit discussion to non-American cinema.)

[Films in RED have since been viewed and commented on below.]

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5 Responses to World Traveler’s 38 Films

  1. David says:

    Abre Los Ojos | Vanilla Sky: I’ve already kinda, sorta made my thoughts known through our film draft.

    Same goes for Hero.

    And Yi Yi – A One and a Two…. There’s a bit in this movie where a character comments on film, its ability to let you explore multiple other lives in the single one each of us has been granted. Yi Yi is a perfect example of that.

    All are terrific films and receive my highest possible recommendation.

  2. David says:

    The Barbarian Invasions: In focusing on a difficult subject, death, it handles itself with incredible warmth and humor without ever feeling contrived or undeserved. It conveys a (not terribly strong but present) sense of closeness amongst the characters–friends saying goodbye. It’s unsurprising then Barbarian Invasions is a sequel of sorts to Arcand’s 1986 The Decline of the American Empire (in my queue atm).

    A strong recommend.

  3. David says:

    Eternity and a Day: Oh boy…

    Theo Angelopoulos is one of the most inaccessible filmmakers on planet Earth. He is the antithesis of Michael Bay (not that Michael Bay is “good” by any means).

    He states everything with either very broad or incredibly vague symbolism, and nearly every moment stretches on for maddening amounts of time. Most often, Angelopoulos’ eye rests on a static frame, absent of noise. That or slow, slow tracking shots.

    Angelopoulos could film one shot to its cut point per day beginning on February 1 and have his entire film assembled before month’s end, leap year or not.

    Now, if I hadn’t just looked it up on Wikipedia, I would’ve said the first two films of his I watched, Landscape in the Mist and Ulysses’ Gaze, ran 3.5 – 4 hours long. In truth, they each respectively run a full hour shorter.

    Having watched the above mentioned movies before arriving at Eternity and a Day, I was better prepared to confront Angelopoulos for a third round. Sure enough, I did like EaaD, at least in a manner of speaking.

    I don’t think anyone seriously interested in film, philosophy, politics, and/or history can help but admire Angelopoulos’ work. However, I don’t think anyone could honestly enjoy or register any sort of lasting or meaningful emotional reaction with it. I still have impressions of the various actors (all uniformly great), and if I really rack my brain, I can recall a scene here or there.

    More than anything, though, I’m pissed I’ve even spent this amount of writing on a venture I consider to have put me, despite its merits, further in the red.

    Unless you’re more patient than Andy Stitzer or have an unhealthy obsession in hunting down every filmed scene of Harvey Keitel’s flaccid cock, I’d recommend 99.99% of readers skip Angelopoulos’ list of flicks. If you must proceed, then Eternity and a Day is probably your best bet.

  4. David says:

    Amarcord: Disappointing, at least initially so. It contains many beautiful (peacock in the snow, cruise liner) and bizarre (tobacco lady) images sure to stay with me forever. But I never felt entirely engaged with the proceedings, though I’m certainly used to episodic structure, and specifically have viewed one Fellini prior to this, the superlative La Dolce Vita. I’d suggest starting with that film or perhaps the oft-praised 8 1/2 before taking a glance at this.

  5. David says:

    Chungking Express: One of maybe 5 films I could put on at anytime no matter my mood. Amazing, too, (for such a fast, ‘small’ film) the myriad new details I catch with every viewing. Not only does it earn my highest recommendation, but it’s also a must for anyone serious about film.

    In the Mood for Love: Turning to the 21st century, Wong Kar Wai transitioned from the messy, kinetic approach that marked Chungking Express and the bulk of his 90s oeuvre to a steadier, (even) more wistful pronouncement as seen in 2000’s In the Mood for Love. Many consider it his master work. Being a favorite director of mine, it’s hard to choose, but this is definitely top 2 or 3 WKW for me. Another must for all film aficionados.

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