Foreign Language

  • A Cat in Paris (Une Vie de Chat)
    I like to recommend films for kids every now and then. Accordingly, allow me to point you to a charming 2010 Oscar-nominated French animated film originally titled Une Vie de Chat that was subsequently re-voiced using English language actors as A Cat in Paris. The titular cat of the film is Dino, who lives […]
  • A Time for Drunken Horses
    I remember the Kurdish area on the Iran/Iraq border as a land of stunning beauty and inordinate risk. No movie captures both realities better than A Time for Drunken Horses. Made by then-unknown Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi in 2000, it’s the first widely-released film in the Kurdish language, one of many virtues that help […]
  • Behind the Sun
    Artistic concepts and projects can span the world. If Shirley Jackson’s classic American short story The Lottery could be said to have an Albanian parallel, it would be Ismail Kadare’s novel Broken April, which a French and Swiss production group, in alliance with some very talented Brazillians, turned into 2001’s Behind the Sun. The […]
  • Ernest & Celestine
    I received some nice notes from parents who enjoyed watching my recommendation A Cat in Paris with their kids (as well as from some non-parents who enjoyed it just for themselves). So I return this week to the same terrain with another absolutely charming French-language animated film that was re-dubbed for American audiences: Ernest […]
  • La Maschera del Demonio
    American film fans probably associate Italy first with spaghetti westerns, and next with romances or white telephone films. Few realize that Bel Paese is also the source of some chilling horror fare, including the 1960 film that put Mario Bava on the map: La Maschera del Demonio. The story opens with a witch (Barbara […]
  • Les Yeux Sans Visage
    In the decades immediately following the war, French film makers didn’t produce many horror movies, but when they did they took more risks than studios in other countries who simply revived classic monsters or reworked hoary ghost stories. Among the most compelling and influential of such productions shocked audiences when it was released in […]
  • Män Som Hatar Kvinnor
    The left-wing Swedish author Stieg Larsson had a strange and remarkable life. As a teenager, he witnessed some of his friends commit gang rape, and was haunted thereafter both by guilt about his failure to intervene and the omnipresence of violence against women. As a journalist he was unknown outside of Sweden when he […]
  • Onibaba
      When movie aficionados think of Japan, their minds typically turn to Akira Kurosawa. That’s understandable, as one could make a plausible case for him being the best director in the history of cinema. But Kurosawa is far from the only brilliant filmmaker to hail from the Land of the Rising Sun. Another is […]
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
    Film buffs are one of the few groups of people who have extremely positive associations with the words “Weimar Republic”. The German film industry had an embarrassment of talent and explosive creativity in the 1920s. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is one of a number of innovative German movies of the era that profoundly […]
  • The Hands of Orlac
    The idea that a possession or even more creepily a body part of a dead person can take over the life of its living owner has appeared in fairy tales and ghost stories for centuries. In cinema, the touchstone story of this sort is Maurice Renard’s 1920 novel Les Mains d’Orlac, which has been […]
  • Vampyr
    Some film historians consider Carl Theodor Dreyer cinema’s most visionary director. His talent is on vivid, memorable display in the pioneering 1932 horror classic Vampyr. The story, which Dreyer and co-writer Christen Jul adapted in part from the writings of Sheridan Le Fanu of Carmilla fame, concerns a student of the occult named Allan […]