Saturday, December 03, 2005

Obscure but Great Movies

The last week of November 2005 i started a movie meme akin to what i did months before with a book meme -- i'm compiling bloggers' choices of their favorite "great but obscure" movies into one long post.

I wrote a mass email challenging bloggers i knew and their (and my) readers to post titles of films they have seen that they think are wonderful, that they would watch over and over, but which are obscure enough that the average person probably would not know them by name.

I have compiled these also into a handy word document. If you'd like one just email me and i'll send you the most current version.

Finally, thanks to all the participating blogs!

Which reminds me that most of the fun (besides watching the movies) will be in reading the summaries and justifications each of the bloggers has posted at their sites. The link to the blogs below go straight to their movie postings -- so check 'em out, and then spend some time scouting around the rest of their sites.

The list
I'm linking films here to their IMdB page. Several of the nominating blogs link their movies to other sites, many of them far more extensive and enlightening than IMdB.

Great But Obscure Movies (blogs/posts/commenters nominating)

Alien Avengers/Welcome to Planet Earth (US/1996) (Science & Politics)
American Splendor (US/2003) (
Words & Pictures)
Antonio Gaudi** (Japan/1984) (Ijon Tichy on
Cosmic Variance)
Apple -- see Sib
La Ardilla Roja/The Red Squirrel** (Spain/1993) (Greg A. on
Cosmic Variance)
Atanarjuat** (Canada/2001) (The House & other Arctic musings)
Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob/The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob** (France/Italy/1973) (
Snail’s Tales)
Badkonake Sefid/The White Balloon** (Iran/1995) (Skookum Talk)
The Bag of Knees (US) (John Farrell on Cosmic Variance)
The Barbarian Brothers (US/Italy/1987) (deniz on
Snail’s Tales)
Battleship Potemkin -- see Bronenosets Potyomkin
Belizaire the Cajun (US/1986) (The Corpus Callosum)
Beyond Silence -- see Jenseits der Stille
Black Cat, White Cat -- see Crna Macka, Beli Macor
Blackboards -- see Takhte Siah
Bliss (Australia/1985) (Spyder on
Cosmic Variance)
Blue -- see Trois Couleurs:Bleu
Bom Yeoreum Gaeul Gyeoul Geurigo Bom/Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter . . . and Spring (South Korea/Germany/2003) (suzannagig-jig)
Brazil (UK/1985) (Words & Pictures/ Firefly Forest Blog)
Bronenosets Potyomkin/Battleship Potemkin*** (Russia/1925) (Skookum Talk)
The Business of Fancydancing (US/2002) (milkriverblog/10,000 Birds)
Cane Toads, An Unnatural History (Australia/1988) (
Words & Pictures)
Chong Qin Sen Lin/Chungking Express** (Hong Kong/1994) (223 on
Cosmic Variance)
Cinema Paradiso – see Nuovo Cinema Paradiso
Cidade de Deus/City of God** (Brazil/France/US/2002) (Hacienda del Gringo)
Cité des Enfants Perdus/City of Lost Children** (France/Germany/Spain/1995) (
Skookum Talk)
The Color of Pomegranates -- see Sayat Nova
The Commitments (Ireland/1991) (milkriverblog)
Como Agua para Chocolate/Like Water for Chocolate** (Mexico/1992) (
The Corn is Green (US/1945) (deniz on
Snail’s Tales)
The Corporation (Canada/2003) (Thomasburg Walks)
Crna Macka, Beli Macor/Black Cat, White Cat** (France/Germany/Yugoslavia/1998) (points of departure)
Dark City (Australia/US/1998) (
points of departure)
The Day I Became a Woman -- see Roozi Ke Zan Shodan
Dead Man (US/Germany/Japan/1995) (
Les Dimanches de Ville d'Avray/Sundays and Cybele (France/1962) (suzanne via email)
Dirty, Filthy Love (UK/2004) (
Dirty Weekend (UK/1993) (Diane on
Musings on story and life)
Diva (France/1981) (Shadan07 on
Cosmic Variance/Words & Pictures)
Dongdong de Jiaqi/A Summer at Grandpa’s** (Taiwan/1984) (223 on
Cosmic Variance)
Don't Look Now (Italy/UK/1973) (Mike Molloy on
Cosmic Variance)
La Double Vie de Veronique/The Double Life of Veronique** (France/Poland/Norway/1991) (223 on
Cosmic Variance)
Eat Drink Man Woman -- see Yin Shi Nan Mu
Edwin (UK/1984) (
Snail’s Tales)
Escanaba in da Moonlight (US/2001) (
Musings on story and life)
El Espiritu de la Colmena/The Spirit of the Beehive** (Spain/1973) (223 on
Cosmic Variance)
Être et Avoir** (France/2002) (
Words & Pictures)
Everyman (US/2002) (John Farrell on Cosmic Variance)
Faces (US/1968) (Ijon Tichy on Cosmic Variance)
A Family Thing (US/1996) (
Skookum Talk)
Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (US/1997) (Thoughts from Kansas/Science & Politics)
The Fisher King (US/1991) (
Fitzcarraldo (Peru/Germany/1982) (Shadan07 on
Cosmic Variance/Words & Pictures)
Floating Weeds -- see Ukigusa
The Fog of War (US/2003) (
Thoughts from Kansas)
French Twist -- see Gazon Maudit
Funny Ha Ha (US/2003) (Ijon Tichy on
Cosmic Variance)
Gabbeh** (Iran/France/1997) (
Skookum Talk)
Gates of Heaven (US/1980) (Nils on
Thoughts from Kansas)
Gazon Maudit/French Twist** (France/1995) (
Cosmic Variance/aszter on Cosmic Variance)
Geronimo: An American Legend (US/1993) (Mike the Mad Biologist)
Gertrud** (Denmark/1964) (Ijon Tichy on
Cosmic Variance)
Die Geschichte vom Weinenden Kamel/The Story of the Weeping Camel** (Germany/Mongolia/2003) (
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (France/Germany/UK/Japan/1999) (
Research at a Snail’s Pace)
Les Glaneurs et al Glaneuse/The Gleaners & I** (France/2000) (Skookum Talk)
God of Cookery -- see Sik San
Grateful Dawg (US/2000) (
Crows Really Are Wise)
Greaser’s Palace (US/1972) (Shadan07 on
Cosmic Variance)
Green Card (Australia/France/US/1990) (Jane Swanson on
Musings on story and life)
The Hanging Garden (UK/Canada/1997) (
In the Common Hours)
Harold and Maude (US/1971) (
10,000 Birds/rosagirl on Musings on story and life/Words & Pictures)
Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pompoko/Pom Poko** (Japan/1994) (
Skookum Talk)
Himalaya – le Enfance d’un Chef** (France/UK/Switzerland/Nepal/1999) (
Research at a Snail’s Pace)
Der Himmel Uber Berlin/Wings of Desire** (Germany/France/1987) (Banana Slug)
Institute Benjamenta (UK/Japan/Germany/1995) (Ijon Tichy on
Cosmic Variance)
Jenseits der Stille/Beyond Silence** (Germany/1996) (
In the Common Hours)
Johnny Stechino** (Italy/1991) (Sheila on
Musings on story and life)
Kakushi Toride no san Akunin/Hidden Fortress** (Japan/1958) (
Skookum Talk)
Kandahar -- see Safar e Ghandehar
Kelid/The Key** (Iran/1987) (
Skookum Talk)
Khane-ye Doust Kodjast?/Where is the Friend's House?** (Iran/1987) (Skookum Talk)
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (US/1976) (Ijon Tichy on
Cosmic Variance)
The King of Comedy (US/1983) (betsy on
Musings on story and life)
The King of Hearts -- see Le Roi de Coeur
Koroshi no Rakuin/Branded to Kill** (Japan/1967) (Skookum Talk)
Laws of Gravity (US/1993) (Mike the Mad Biologist)
Liberty Heights (US/1999) (milkriverblog)
The Life of Birds (UK/1998) (
10,000 Birds)
Like Water for Chocolate -- see Como Agua para Chocolate
Liquid Sky (US/1982) (serial catowner on
Cosmic Variance)
Little Big Man (US/1970) (Rurality)
Lola Rennt/Run Lola Run (Germany/1998) (
The House & other Arctic musings/Beth on The House & other Arctic musings)
Lost in La Mancha (UK/US/2002) (
The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (US/2001) (anonymous on
Love Streams (US/1984) (Ijon Tichy on
Cosmic Variance)
The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob -- see Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob
The Magic Christian (UK/1969) (
Words & Pictures)
The Magnetic Monster (US/1953) (
The Man in the White Suit (UK/1951) (
Snail’s Tales)
El Mariachi** (Mexico/US/1992) (
Research at a Snail’s Pace)
Matewan (US/1987) (Levi on
Cosmic Variance/Skookum Talk)
Ma Vie en Rose/My Life in Pink (France/Belgium/UK/1997) (
Skookum Talk)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (US/1971) (suzannagig-jig)
Me, Myself, I (Australia/France/1999) (
In the Common Hours)
Messer im Kopf** (Germany/1978) (Words & Pictures)
The Mission (UK/1986) (Court on
Musings on story and life)
The Music of Chance (US/1993) (Levi on
Cosmic Variance)
Mutual Appreciation (US/2005) (Ijon Tichy on
Cosmic Variance)
My Architect (US/2003) (Banana Slug)
My Dinner With Andre (US/1981) (Crows Really Are Wise/Science & Politics)
My Life in Pink -- see Ma Vie en Rose
Nueve Reinas** (Argentina/2000) (Hacienda del Gringo)
Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (Italy/France) (rani on
Musings on story and life)
O Brother Where Art Thou? (UK/France/US/2000) (
Skookum Talk)
Once Were Warriors (New Zealand/1994) (
The House & other Arctic musings/Deirdre on The House & other Arctic musings/suzannagig-jig)
Ordet** (Denmark/1955) (Ijon Tichy on
Cosmic Variance)
Otesanek** (Czech Republic/UK/Japan/2000) (OutEast on
La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc*** (France/1928) (Ijon Tichy on
Cosmic Variance)
The Phantom from Space (US/1953) (
Pom Poko -- see Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pompoko
A Prayer for the Dying (US/1987) (Mike the Mad Biologist)
Prospero’s Books (France/Italy/Netherlands/UK/Japan/1991) (
Firefly Forest Blog)
Rabbit-proof Fence (Australia/2002) (
Ravenous (Czech Republic/UK/Mexico/US/Slovakia/1999) (Banana Slug)
The Red Squirrel -- see La Ardilla Roja
The Replacement Killers (US/1998) (Mike the Mad Biologist)
Richard the Second (US/2001) (John Farrell on Cosmic Variance)
Robin and the 7 Hoods (US/1964) (Shell on
Musings on story and life)
Le Roi de Coeur/The King of Hearts (France/Italy/1966) (Carol Perry via email)
Romero (US/1989) (Mike the Mad Biologist)
Roozi Ke Zan Shodan/The Day I Became a Woman** (Iran/2000) (
Skookum Talk)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (UK/US/1990) (
Research at a Snail’s Pace)
Ruben and Ed (UK/1991) (rosagirl on
Musings on story and life)
Run Lola Run -- see Lola Rennt
Safar e Ghandehar/Kandahar** (Iran/France/2001) (
Skookum Talk)
Salesman (US/1969) (Levi on
Cosmic Variance)
Sans Soleil** (France/1983) (Robin on
Cosmic Variance)
Sayat Nova/The Color of Pomegranates** (Armenia/1968) (Ijon Tichy on Cosmic Variance)
Secondhand Lions (US/2003) (
Skookum Talk)
Secrets of the Roan Innish (US/Ireland/1994) (afarensis)
Shadows (US/1959) (Ijon Tichy on
Cosmic Variance)
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors -- see Tini Zabutykh Predkiv
Shall We Dansu?/Shall We Dance? (Japan/1996) (
Sib/Apple** (Iran/France/1998) (
Skookum Talk)
Sik San/God of Cookery** (Hong Kong/1996) (
Birdchick Blog)
Six Degrees of Separation (US/1993) (Missy on
Musings on story and life)
Slacker (US/1991) (Moshe on
Cosmic Variance)
Smoke Signals (US/1998) (milkriverblog/10,000 Birds/WoodSong/In the Common Hours)
The Snapper (UK/Ireland/1993) (
Research at a Snail’s Pace)
Solomon and Gaenor (UK/1999) (deniz on
Snail’s Tales)
Solyaris ** (Russia/1972) (
Firefly Forest Blog)
Some Kind of Wonderful (US/1987) (Becca on
Musings on story and life)
Sono Otoko, Kiyobo Ni Tsuki/Violent Cop** (Japan/1989) (Banana Slug)
The Spirit of the Beehive -- see El Espiritu de la Colmena
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter . . . and Spring -- see Bom Yeoreum Gaeul Gyeoul Geurigo Bom
Stranger than Paradise (US/Germany/1984) (Levi on
Cosmic Variance)
The Story of the Weeping Camel -- see Die Geschichte vom Weinenden Kamel
Street of Crocodiles (UK/1986) (Ijon Tichy on
Cosmic Variance)
Sullivan's Travels (US/1941) (Banana Slug)
A Summer at Grandpa's -- see Dongdong de Jiaqi
Suna No Onna/Woman in the Dunes** (Japan/1964) (Ijon Tichy on Cosmic Variance)
Sundays and Cybele -- see Les Dimanches de Ville d'Avray
Sweet Sixteen* (Scotland/2002) (milkriverblog)
Sympathy for the Devil (UK/1968) (Spyder on
Cosmic Variance)
Takhte Siah/Blackboards** (Iran/Italy/Japan/2000) (Skookum Talk)
The Thin Man (US/1934) (
Skookum Talk)
Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines (UK/1965) (Erin Curra-Spurger on
Tini Zabutykh Predkiv/Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors** (Ukraine/1964) (Ijon Tichy on Cosmic Variance)
Tokyo Monogatari/Tokyo Story** (Japan/1953) (Ijon Tichy on
Cosmic Variance)
Tortilla Soup (US/2001) (
Trois Couleurs:Bleu/Blue** (France/Poland/Switerland/UK/1993) (Amara on
Cosmic Variance)
Truly, Madly, Deeply (UK/1991) (
In the Common Hours/The House & other Arctic musings)
Tully (US/2000) (
In the Common Hours)
Twelve Monkeys (US/1995) (
Skookum Talk)
Ukigusa/Floating Weeds** (Japan/1959) (Ijon Tichy on Cosmic Variance)
Vanya on 42nd Street (UK/US/1994) (
Cosmic Variance/Levi on Cosmic Variance)
Vernon, Florida (US/Germany/1981) (Nils on
Thoughts from Kansas)
Violent Cop -- see Sono Otoko, Kiyobo Ni Tsuki
Waking Ned Devine (Ireland/UK/France/US/1998) (
Musings on story and life)
Welcome to Planet Earth – see Alien Avengers
Whale Rider* (New Zealand/2002) (milkriverblog/The House & other Arctic musings/Deirdre on The House & other Arctic musings)
Where is the Friend's House? -- see Khane-ye Doust Kodjast?
The White Balloon -- see Badkonake Sefid
Wings of Desire -- see Der Himmel Uber Berlin
Woman in the Dunes -- see Suna No Onna
The Woman in the Window (US/1945) (Levi on
Cosmic Variance)
A Woman Under the Influence (US/1974) (Ijon Tichy on
Cosmic Variance)
Yin Shi Nan Mu/Eat Drink Man Woman** (Taiwan/US/1994) (
Research at a Snail’s Pace/suzannagig-jig)
Yojimbo (Japan/1961) (Skookum Talk)
Zatoichi** (Japan/2003) (Banana Slug/Science & Politics)

[* These films are in English, but the dialect is so strong that you may need to use the English subtitles]
[**These films are in the language of the home country. Unless you speak that language, you'll need subtitles]
[Languages in these films include: German, French, Japanese, Ukrainian, Armenian, Washoe, Inuktitut, Danish, Mongolian, Romany, Serbo-Croatian, Gaelic, Maori, Spanish, Italian, German Sign, Latin, Russian, Spokane, Cantonese, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Polish, Hebrew, Yiddish, Welsh, Tibetan, Mandarin, Shanghainese, Portuguese, Lakota, Persian, Pashtu, Kurdish]

Many thanks to these participating or responding blogs: Words & Pictures, Crows Really Are Wise, Dharma Bums, Snail's Tales, The Corpus Callosum, Cosmic Variance, Banana Slug, Mike the Mad Biologist, Thoughts from Kansas, The House and other Arctic musings, WoodSong, Musings on story and life, 10,000 Birds, Firefly Forest Blog, evolgen, afarensis, In the Common Hours, Science & Politics, Birdchick Blog, Research at a Snail's Pace, 6th International, Hacienda del Gringo, Rurality, Fragments from Floyd, suzannagig-jig, Skookum Talk, and Carol Perry, Erin Curra-Spurger, Tammy Criswell and all the commenters on the various blogs.

It turns out that the Obscure Movie Meme is still a living, breathing beast. I'm going to start posting new additions here as i find them (including two new excellent posts today), with only minimal details, but links to the original posts for you to find out more. Then, i am going to add all the new nominees to the printable document list i have compiled.

So if you'd like that, just drop me a line at hurricane(a)hotmail and i'll zip it off to you.

So, first we have a fine set of additions from polymania. Be sure to check out the post there. Here are his recommendations: Brazil, Donnie Darko, Live from Shiva's Dance Floor, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Roger Dodger, Stir of Echoes, Hable con Ella/Talk to Her, Unknown White Male, Waking Life, Whale Rider.

Then we have a fine long list from Bora Zivkovic at Science And Politics. Bora had seconded some earlier recommendations but came back and added a slew of his own. I agree completely with him that the best indication of a good movie is whether or not you'd watch it again. I use that as my own guideline when buying dvds -- will it be worth it in multiple watchings to do so. Here are his recommendations: Kwaidan, Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Tampopo, Throne of Blood, Yojimbo, Aristocats, Fiddler on the Roof, Midnight Express, Hair, Seventh Seal, Ko to Tamo Peva/Who's Singing Over There, Spaceballs, (Susan and) Jeremy, Shane, Dom za Vesanje/Time of the Gypsies, Wild Things, Good, Bad and Ugly, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Dark Star, Dr.Strangelove, Easy Rider, Mars Attacks, Charlotte's Web, Love Story, History of the World, Part I, Clash of the Titans, Two Mules for Sister Sara, Soylent Green, Deliverance, Sleeper, Underground, WR: Mysteries of Orga(ni)sm, Animal Farm, Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask, Young Frankenstein, Serendipity, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother.

Karen at Rurality wrote to add some movies. She also suggested a couple other memes and i'll likely take her up on them later (after things calm here in a couple of weeks) -- Cult Movies and Like-It-Even-If-It's-Dumb Movies, the latter for which she's already suggested Overboard (US/1987).

Here's her additions to the big meme:
Powwow Highway (UK/1989) (Rurality)
Eating Raoul (US/1982) (
Start the Revolution Without Me (US/1970) (
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension (US/1984) (Rurality)

And Tammy Criswell inquired about finding some obscure movies. We assume she likes them well enough to nominate them:
Stardust (UK/1974)
Lisztomania (UK/1975)
Sparkle (US/1976)