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10 Fabulous Foreign-language Romance Films You Must See

13 February 2013 | Features, Film Lists | by David Zou

With the approach of Valentine’s Day, many would hope for Cupid’s arrow to work its magic and bring true love spell. Besides receiving chocolates and flower bouquets from beaux and belles, watching romance films will also remind us of the fragrant flavor of love. The following recommendations, though different from traditional Hollywood romance films, conveys the same message: true love is indomitable and therefore conquers all.

1. Amelie

Amelie

The warmhearted Amelie, while seeking for the owner of a mysterious toy box, falls in love with a quirky guy who collects discarded photo booth pictures. It’s hard not to love such a film with candy colors, wild fantasy scenes and whimsical experiences. No doubt Amelie’s inspirational love adventures spurred many to find excitement out of the tediousness of everyday life.

 

2. The Dreamers

The Dreamers

A French poet’s twin son Theo and daughter Isabelle meet and ‘adopt’ conservatively educated Californian student Matthew during the time of May revolution in France. With their parents away for a month, they drag him into an orgy of indulgence of all senses. This romance film is famous for its classic film references and bold sexual threesome scenes. The seductive Eva Green was later picked up as the Bond girl in the first Daniel Craig 007 movie.

 

3. Chunking Express

Chungking-express

Two interwoven stories,two protagonists both forsaken by their lovers, are elaborately captured in Wong Karwai’s stunning slow-motion shot and ingenious use of color to create a nostalgic portrait of Hong Kong in the 1990s. Wong Karwai fans will find the same beautiful but inpermanent love from the movie. The purple dialogue constantly reminds us that romanticism always goes hand in hand with regret.

 

4. Paris,Texas

paris-texas-1986

Wim Wenders unveils an amazing landscape of the American Southwest in the movie. The lonesome and resolute vagabond Travis, drifts around,trying to recollect the past by seeking his long-parted wife. The seemingly simple plot conveys a powerful message on the paradoxical co-existence of men’s masculinity and emotional fragility. The visual portrayal of nature will surely evoke viewers’ sentimental love for the southwest.

 

5. Jules and Jim

jules and jim

Jules and Jim is unquestionably a memorably touching fairy-tale-like narration of a romantic triangle. Jules and Jim both fall in love with the same woman, the vivacious and boyish Catherine, who marries Jules but later falls for Jim. The matrix of romance, however, helps their friendship evolve. The movie revolutionalizes the traditional notion that “love is selfish”. The carousel music and the black-and-white cinematography also contribute to the greatness of the movie.

 

6. Betty Blue

betty blue

Zorg’s life has always been wrapped in tranquility and uneventfulness until Betty, a wild and beautiful woman, becomes part of his life. The arrival of the beauty forces Zorg off the traditional track and puts him on a journey of ceaseless adventures. Betty’s personality disorder leads to a series of arson, assault and self-injury, while their love grows alongside her insanity. Though some may find the excessive nudity and craziness in the movie repulsive, Jean-Jacques Beineix convinces all of us that true love itself is irrevocably destructive.

 

7. Once

Once

A Dublin musician, deserted by his sweetheart, lives a dilapidated life by fixing vacuum cleaners and playing the guitar for money on the street by night. A girl, a Czech immigrant as well as a piano player, happens to know him. Similar wrenching memories make them empathize with each other and create sincerely beautiful music together. The ingeniously-designed plot and the unforgettable and heartbreaking music are both enchanting. Enviably,the once-on-screen pair later became an off-screen couple.

 

8. Pierrot le Fou

Pierrot-Le-Fou

Leaving the mindless bourgeoisie behind and seeking his own happiness is what Ferdinand,the protagonist in Pierrot Le Fou, always wants to do. He finally elopes with Marianne Renoir and shows the world what a romantic couple desperately in love should really do. In the movie, Jean-Luc Godard demonstrates the keenest satire of the shallow and senseless bougeoisistic life. Plus, the blissful color imagery vaults Pierrot le Fou to the forefront of the French New Wave.

 

9. Turn Left,Turn Right

turn left turn right

Modern people, isolated in tiny shoebox apartments in the same skyscraper, leading parallel lives, ascending in the same elevator, always regrettably ignore the existence of the other. The segregation brought by high-tech and urbanization is perfectly depicted in the movie based on the comic book by Jimmy Liao. Two persons who are destined to be together are always tricked by some twist of circumstances. They never find each other till the very end. Close proximity, sadly, becomes a synonym for indifference in urban life.

 

10. Fanfan

fanfan

Alexandre, frustrated by the boredom and routine of his life, starts his search for passion by socializing with Fanfan. Though their Platonic friendship creates some frustration at first, it does help them escape the banality of any “coupledom”. Passion and magic of any relationship will become insipid with the passage of time, but a little craziness can always add some flavor to the secret recipe of love.

 

 


   

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  • Steven Flores

    With the exception of “Betty Blue”, “Fanfan”, “Turn Left, Turn Right”, and “Pierrot Le Fou”, I’ve seen the rest of these classics.

  • Oh man, what great choices here. Amelie, Paris, Texas, Chunking, Jules and Jim, Pierrot le Fou… love love love them!

  • Beck Potucek

    jftr, it’s spelled “Chungking.”