THE BEST MOVIES THIS CRITIC EVER SAW!!
Foreign Classics

AUTUMN TALE (1998)
Marie Riviere, Beatrice Romand. French film with subtitles. Sensitive (if a little talky) story of two woman in their forties: Isabelle, a happily married bookstore owner, and Magali, a widowed wine grower. Believing that "at my age, it's easier to find buried treasure! than finding someone to love,” the 45-year-old widow turns to her friend for help. Misguidedly, Isabelle places a misleading personal ad, and then impersonates her friend, while checking out the gentleman who answers the advertisement. The romantic shenanigans become both funny and poignant. Director Rohmer who over the past decade gave audiences three other films in this series, including Summer’s Tale, Winter’s Tale, and Springtime, here provides a clean, entertaining story about middle-aged friendships. PG (mild, adult subject matter). PREVIEW REVIEW

BABETTE’S FEAST
This 1987 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film centers around two devout Danish sisters who show kindness to a homeless woman. When she wins a lottery, the woman shares her good fortune in a most lavish manner. Based on a short story by Isak Dinessen, it is a beautiful tale of devotion and sacrifice, as well as a healing parable where quarreling friends and acquaintances are brought together once they shed their pious austerity. The film urges us not to hide behind our religion, but to put it into action.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1946)

French version with Jean Cocteau. In order to save her father, a beautiful girl agrees to live with a feared wolf-like beast. But after time passes, they learn to love one another. This moody, atmospheric B&W rendition of the classic fairy tale is a masterpiece. In French, with subtitles, it is both beguiling and fanciful.

MY FATHER'S GLORY (1990)
French with subtitles. Based on Marcel Pagnol's memoirs about his childhood summer vacation in the country, this is an example of storytelling at its absolute finest.

THE OX (1991)
Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann. Drama–not rated (a few expletives in the subtitles, depressing subject matter, but ultimately uplifting). A Swedish film nominated for Best Foreign Film in 1991, it is based on a true story about the moral conflict a man goes through after slaughtering a stolen ox in order to keep his family alive. Masterful storytelling, beautiful cinematography. Harsh penalties, but forgiveness and mercy triumph. - Use TVG

PONETTE (1997)
French with subtitles. Not rated (3 or 4 obscenities, but I caught no misuse of God's name; adult subject matter as the lost of a parent and subsequent unhappy searching for her mother may disturb children). After the death of her mother, a child attempts to understand where her mommy is, and believes if she can get close enough to God, He will send the mother back. Sometimes difficult to view, as we are frustrated that we cannot relieve her sadness, but it is an insightful look at the world of children, with an uplifting ending and powerful performances by the three lead children. There’s also a positive portrayal of a Christian woman as she relates the story of Christ to this little one. Four-year-old Victoire Thivisol won the 1996 Venice Film Festival Best Actress. How they got such a dynamic, moving performance out of this cherub is beyond me, but even if she never does another thing, this little girl has greatly contributed to the world of art and the spirit of man. - Use TVG

TOGETHER (2002)
This Chinese film concerns a widowed father who sacrifices everything in order to support his teenage son’s gifted musical abilities. The son can’t see the sacrifices made on his behalf until the end. Beautifully filmed in the “Forbidden City” of China, full of humor, drama and insight, Together is a powerful morality play with an ending that moved me to tears. It reminded me of 1 Timothy 5:8, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, he has denied the faith.” There are other movies with the same title. This is from China and South Korea and is rated PG. MOVIE REPORTER REVIEW

WINGS OF DESIRE (1988)
This fanciful story of an angel overseeing the city of Berlin until he falls in love with a French girl and seeks to become human was the Best Foreign Film of that year. Bruno Ganz, Peter Falk, Solveig Domartin. Rated PG-13. I don’t support the theory that angels desire to switch places with humans. However, this is thought-provoking material and expertly handled by director Wim Wenders. It is comforting speculating the possibility of a guardian angel who protects and guides over us. German with subtitles (broken up whenever American actor Falk speaks). Caution, it does contain some mature situations. - Use TVG. MOVIE REPORTER REVIEW

THE CHORUS (2004)
This French film (with subtitles) is an emotional, music-filled tale about how a very humble man’s simple dreams changed the future for a forgotten group of children. - Use TVG. PREVIEW REVIEW

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