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November Film Recommendations Part 2

09 December 2012 | Features, Film Lists | by David Zou

I  recommended 7 awesome films that I watched this month in my previous post,  here comes another 7:

Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville ,1969 )

army of shadows

Perhaps this is French auteur Jean-Pierre Melville’s best film in his career. Army of Shadows told a story of the struggle and self-sacrifice of a French Resistance army during their glorious mission in WWII.

On the surface, Army of Shadows is a intense thriller like many other war movies, but deep inside it’s very human. The fear of killing enemy and being killed before accomplishing mission has never been so vividly portrayed in any other movie.

Get Army of Shadows (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Amarcord  (Federico Fellini , 1973 )

AMARCORD

Amarcord is Fellini’s Fanny and Alexander, if you choose only one Fellini film to watch, this is undoubtedly your best choice. Nobody can put the adolescent sexual fantasies and growing pains on the screen in such a comical way except Fellini, it reminds you of the people and stories happened in your hometown when you were a teenage. No plot is needed here, just a collage of memories and dreams.

Get Amarcord (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001 )

the-royal-tenenbaums

The Royal Tenenbaums is Wes Anderson’s all-time best.  I was never tired of seeing the prologue scene, the efficient narrative, the fast pace, the colorful character. I was especially addicted to the first ten minutes and the rest of the running time. The way he told the story of a dysfunctional family was ingenious. Each of the character has their own stories and charms; the general tone is sad throughout the film but many of the scenes are lightened up by the score. This is one of the few Anderson film I would like to revisit.

Get The Royal Tenenbaums (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Something Wild (Jonathan Demme, 1986 )

something wild

This is definitely a wild film, from its characters to the plot and even music. The first half hour is crazy, an executive vice president of a company meets a strange good-looking woman outside a restaurant. They drive to a motel afterwards and make love that night.  The prelude sounds trite but the wildly unexpected is yet to come.

Get Something Wild (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Rififi ( Jules Dassin, 1955 )

rififi

The heist scene in Rififi has been broken to pieces and studied over and over again by many subsequent directors who intended to make a film in the same genre. If you think the heist scene  in Melville’s Le Cercle Rouge is the best you’ve ever seen, try this film, this is the original. The scene not only inspired directors but also imparted many real-life criminals with much useful knowledge by presenting details concerning burglary and theft.

Another great influence this film had on later gangster films is its emphasis on brotherhood, the bond among men.You could easily find this trait in many of Melville and John Woo films.

Get Rififi ( Du rififi chez les hommes ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, Blu-Ray, Reg.B Import – United Kingdom ]

Face to Face (Faccia a faccia) (Sergio Sollima , 1967 )

faccia_a_faccia

Tired of spaghetti westerns directed by Sergio Leone? This film is a decent alternative. Different from Leone’s action-packed westerns, faccia a faccia has less action scenes and deeper meanings: the professor character played by veteran western star Gian Maria Volonté adds a different flavor to the film. The film is also much more profound than the good vs evil theme characterized by most traditional westerns, in that it reveals that one can be both saintly and devilish.

Get Face to Face (Faccia a faccia) (Cara a cara) [Reg ion2]

Tropical Fish ( Chen Yu-hsun , 1995 )

tropicalfish

Such a fantasy film is a rarity in Taiwan cinema history and director Chen Yu-hsun dedicated it to all the people who likes daydreaming. The story is about a boy who doesn’t do well in school and is kidnapped to rural Taiwan several weeks before the vital high school entry exam. It’s interesting that the kidnappers are not actually gangsters but some coarse and warmhearted rural dwellers who want to be rich overnight. Replete with warmth, imagination and adolescent worries that can easily win empathy from audiences, this comedy is a great example of New Taiwanese Cinema.

Get Tropical Fish (Blu-ray+DVD) (English Subtitled)

 

It’s Your Turn

Which films on the list you have watched? Share your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

 


   

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  • I’ve only seen Something Wild — it was a long time ago, but I remember not being all that crazy about it. I do like Jeff Daniels, though. I’m off to add Army of Shadows and Amicord to my to-see list. Great post, David!

    • Thanks,Stephanie.I’m not too crazy about SOMETHING WILD either,I just like the first half hour,I think the last half hour is awful.

  • Oops … Amarcord.

  • I’ve only seen in that list are Something Wild, Amacord, and The Royal Tenenbaums. The rest I haven’t as I’m eager to see Army of Shadows.

    • Get yourself more Melville,man,wonderful stuff.

  • I had similar reaction to Something Wild as you, the film,starts out promisingly, but is overlong, and second half isn’t as strong.

    Don’t know Army of Shadows, looks to have high ratings on rotten tomatoes and IMDB. I don’t think I’ve watched any Jean-Pierre Melville films so far. Le Samourai is already on my list, and I will add Army of Shadows, because you say it’s his best film.

    • Yeah,the only thing that excites me in the second half of Something Wild is Ray Liotta’s menacing performance. Don’t forget to add Le Cercle Rouge,these three are Melville’s best films from my perspective.