Thursday Thirteen – Favourite International Movies

I’ve been extremely fortunate in my film education as I have parents who are passionate about movies, and who encouraged me as a teenager to watch films which weren’t necessarily made in Hollywood. We lived in Edinburgh, and were regular patrons of the two independent cinemas The Cameo and The Filmhouse, and we were members of the Alphabet video rental service, which had a phenomenal selection of arthouse movies. The cinemas are both still there, and I continue to go whenever the opportunity presents itself, but I’m not so sure about Alphabet… Anyway, I thought this week that I would share 13 of my favourite films made out with the USA and the UK, and they are all accompanied with a clip from the movie or the trailer. Enjoy!

1. Cinema Paradiso

2. In The Mood For Love

3. Amelie

4. La Double Vie De Veronique

5. Farewell My Concubine

6. The Big Blue

7. Pan’s Labyrinth

8. Three Colours Blue

9. Three Colours White

10. Three Colours Red

11. Curse of the Golden Flower

12. Monsieur Hire

13. Volver

Thoughts, comments and recommendations are all welcome!!


December 5, 2007. meme.


  1. Janet replied:

    I love Amelie!!!

  2. pussreboots replied:

    #4 is a personal favorite of mine. I have to admit that I haven’t seen most of these on your list. But I haven’t seen most recently films due to a lack of time and money. Happy TT.

  3. Samantha_K replied:

    I own Amelie, Pan’s Labyrith, and Volver. Amazing films. I was a film student and love international films.

  4. SandyCarlson replied:

    I’ll have to try some of these. Thank goodness for YouTube and the freedom to sample the best!

  5. Angela at mommy bytes replied:

    Great list! I’ve seen Red, Amelie, Cinema Paradiso, The Big Blue, and Farewell My Concubine. I really enjoyed watching some of the trailers of movies that I hadn’t seen (eating up all my TT visiting time!). For Chinese films, I also like Raise the Red Lantern and To Live. And for French, Diva and Jean de Florette.

  6. shesawriter replied:

    Number 4 has been in my netflix queue for about two months. I’ve seen Amelie a while ago. Don’t remember too much about it. Pan’s is one of my favorite movies all the way around. I saw Volver but didn’t care too much for it.

    Some of my favorite Foreign films include are After The Wedding, Old boy, The Devil’s Backbone, Run Lola Run, The Princess and the Warrior, and House of Flying Daggers.

    My Thursday Thirteen #3

  7. Ellen replied:

    What a wonderful TT. Thanks for posting all of that. My favorite out of US film is Babette’s Feast! Happy tt…

  8. nicholas replied:

    It’s always fascinating to look outside the Hollywood loop. I’m ashamed to say that the only one of your thirteen that I have seen is Amelie, which was excellent. Audrey Tatou was also in a film called He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (sorry, I forget the French title)which was every bit as good. I recommend it.

  9. Greatfullivin replied:

    I have to admit I have not seen these films. Thanks for the trailers. Have a great TT.

  10. No nonsense girl replied:

    great list!!! 🙂

  11. Secret Agent Mama replied:

    Amelie is one great movie. I’d like to see Pan’s Labyrinth but that trailer kinda looks crazyish.

  12. Natalie replied:

    I’ve seen numbers 1 & 3, so I guess I’m not a totally uncultured swine. LOL! I took a French & Italian cinema class in college, so I’ve seen a lot in those languages. Not that I speak those languages, thank goodness for subtitles.

  13. SJ Reidhead replied:

    Try living in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico and make a list like this – doesn’t work. We don’t even get top ten movies!

    The Pink Flamingo

  14. CandyQ replied:

    I’ve only seen #s 2, 3 & 5. :o) Wonderful list!

  15. cajunvegan replied:

    Make sure you see La Vie en Rose (about the life of Edith Piaf) when it hits video. Best foreign movie of 2007 hands down.

    I loved several of those you listed. Where was Life Is Beautiful?

    Got superstitions? Check out 13+1 I grew up with in rural Louisiana.

  16. Rae replied:

    I havent seen any of those but I heard Amelie & Pan’s Labyrith were great movies Happy TT-

  17. Celticangel replied:

    I completely agree with La Double Vie De Veronique. Excellent film. I’ve been enjoying Hindi films lately. My favorite one is Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. It has a happy ending, and it has my favorite actors, too.

    Also, my T13 with your idea is up.

  18. Deanna Dahlsad replied:

    How cool! It’s like a shopping list for me!

  19. This Eclectic Life replied:

    I have seen Amelie, but none of the others. Wow! I’m bookmarking this one to come back and read. I never know what to order from Netflicks!! Thank you (you have eclectic taste, it looks like).

  20. amypalko replied:

    Wow, so many lovely comments!

    Amelie is such a fabulous film, isn’t it Janet? I just love the whole aesthetic of it!

    I just love La Double Vie De Veronique, Puss Reboots! I have the Van Den Budenmeyer music on my ipod.

    I think, Samantha, that if I hadn’t ended up studying literature then I would have turned to film. It’s such a great love of mine.

    YouTube is fabulous for finding clips of films. I don’t know how we managed before it, Sandy!

    I saw Raise The Red Lantern a very long time ago, Angela. I think that’s one I need to revisit. And of course, Jean de Florette and Manon de Sources are just phenomenal!

    I swithered about putting Oldboy on the list, Shesawriter, as I was so blown away by it. But it is a bit disturbing, isn’t it!

    I’ve heard of Babette’s Feast, Ellen, but I’ve never seen it. I think my parents have it though, so I’ll need to borrow it!

    Oh, I don’t know that one, Nicholas! I’ll need to check it out 🙂

    Glad you liked the trailers, Greatfullivin!

    Thanks, No Nonsense Girl 🙂

    Please don’t be put off by the trailer, Secret Agent Mama! Pan’s Labyrinth is one of the best films I’ve seen in years. Just fabulous!

    Yes, Natalie, subtitles are an absolute necessity, but I always wish that I could understand the film without them. As I said in a comment to Milan about his post on Serbian vampire fiction, I always feel as though things get lost in translation.

    I have friends that used to be in the same position, SJ, and what they did was they bought the dvds 2nd hand from Amazon, watched them and then sold them again through Amazon marketplace. Although many of the internet rental services would probably work out better these days.

    So much to explore, CandyQ. How exciting!

    I so wanted to see La Vie En Rose, Cajunvegan, and the reason why Life is Beautiful isn’t on the list is because I haven’t seen it! So that’s 2 to add to my growing list of must-see movies 🙂

    You must try and see some of these movies, Rae! They truly are such a treat for the eyes and often a feast for the soul.

    That’s funny, Celtic Angel, I was just thinking that the list was lacking a Hindi film. Unfortunately, I know very little about them, so I shall start my education with your suggestion. Thank you!

    You must come back and tell me how you get on with them, Deanna!

    I’m so glad you’re going to follow up on some of these, Shelly. Let me know what you make of them 🙂

  21. Milan replied:

    Lovely selection of movies. Yes I’ve seen all of them except In The Mood For Love. While watching the trailer I thought it 2046 by Wong Kar Wai. It’s incredibly similar (male actor is the same and the atmosphere, and I’d say the topic as well).
    Concubine along with Kislovski trilogy are exceptional indeed.

    BUT(!!!) you should really see some Serbian movie. We have amazing films. probably the best known is emir Kusturica and among his work Underground (work title Once upon a time, there was a land… my eyes are watering already), winner of the Cannes film Festival.
    Here is (not quite) trailer:

    It’s just … amazing movie. Of course there are much more.

    Interesting thing is that in Belgrade movies like these are filling the cinemas, unlike Hollywood hits. We have three huge festival dedicated to “artistic” films and they are almost always sold out. We have festival of blockbusters but the interest is more than poor comparing with the artistic one. If you go on the street and ask people to choose between Hollywood and European movie I doubt you’ll more than few who’d choose Hollywood (and to be honest I’s proud on such result).

  22. Milan replied:

    I’ve just noticed I skipped few words/letters in previous comment (blush). I hope it’s still understandable.

  23. On a Limb w/ Claudia replied:

    I’m kind of amazed at how many of these I’ve seen. We started this 5 star only thing at Netflix and have seen a bunch of these films. I do love Amelie, Pans Labrynth and Volver (although I think the earlier film was better – sorry don’t remember the name at this moment).

    Curse of the Golden Flower is wonderful. But so is Hero and the House of flying daggers. Such beautiful film making…

    Happy TT Amy!

  24. amypalko replied:

    I’m so glad you popped by, Milan, as I was hoping you would recommend some Serbian films 🙂 I don’t know the one that you suggested but will definitely check the clip out on YouTube. Oh, and it sounds as though you’ve just given me yet another reason to visit Serbia: the film festivals! I’ve been the Edinburgh film festival a few times, but unfortunately I never have enough time or money to see all the films that I would like to. Also, please don’t worry about missing words or letters – you’re comment is perfectly understandable!!

    I’m not at all familiar with Netflix, Claudia. I must check it out! The director of Volver is Pedro Almodovar. I remember watching a lot of Almodovar’s films as a teenager prior to my Spanish exams – an education in themselves, it must be said!

  25. Milan replied:

    @Claudia: (sorry for commenting a comment) do you mean on “La mala educación” (Bad Education in literal translation) de Pedro Almodóvar?
    I must say I didn’t like that one (and I’m not impressed with Volver either). My favourite Almodóvar film remain Tacones Lejanos (High Heels).
    I must say I have all of his films in my collection 🙂

    (@amy: I replied you on my blog and telling you this only to clarify why I don’t like vampire fiction and now that you know my preferences about it, any recommendation is more than welcome)

  26. Milan replied:

    about Underground:
    This sprawling, exhausting, deeply moving Palme d’Or winner represents the pinnacle of Serbian director Emir Kusturica’s considerable abilities, and what is easily one of the best cinematic achievements of the 1990s. It encapsulates 50 turbulent years of Yugoslavian history, from the outbreak of World War II in the 1940s to the destruction of this once-great nation in the 1990s.

    [now come spoilers]

    Underground is basically a parable, and doesn’t always adhere to the laws of physics. It isn’t for the literal-minded, the impatient, or the partisan. It’s loud, it’s long, and it isn’t for the easily offended. It may just also be one of the saddest movies ever made and stands as a fitting tribute to a country that exists only in the hearts and minds of its former residents.

    so true…
    (now I’ll stop hijacking your TT)

  27. Malcolm replied:

    “Amelie” is a personal favorite of mine. I am surprised that Hollywood hasn’t tried to make its own inferior version. If you don’t already have it, I recommend the “Amelie” soundtrack as well.

  28. Linda replied:

    I loved “Il Postino.”

  29. amypalko replied:

    Wow, Milan, I so have to check that film out! It sounds just amazing. I love getting recommendations for films, books, blogs etc. I’ll let you know how I get on with Underground. Oh, and I’m just about to go over to your blog and leave you a recommendation for some decent vamp lit!

    The soundtrack to Amelie is so special, isn’t it Malcolm. I’ve got a couple of the tracks on my ipod, but I don’t have the whole album though. I was actually noticing as I was putting this TT together that the soundtracks to a lot of them are amazing. I love the music for In The Mood For Love and The Big Blue, oh, and Blue and La Double Vie De Veronique. Too many to mention!!!

    I actually haven’t seen Il Postino, Linda, but I have heard so many good things about it, that I really must. Thanks for the recommendation 🙂

  30. Milan replied:

    Sorry (this is last one I promise) but since you’re talking about soundtracks …
    Underground has probably the most popular soundtrack in Serbia (and region) ever!
    Trumpets have very specific place in our culture so any celebration, especially weddings have their moments with trumpet orchestra. It the wildest part of the wedding, it last not more than an hour. Official orchestra/bend is “passing the torch” to the trumpets and no one is sitting anymore. (You can find me dancing on the table! not joking)
    After Underground have won Palme d’Or in Cannes there was a trumpet party whole night through the streets of Cannes and that was the craziest night Cannes remember.
    Of course after that songs from the film became regular on the repertoire of every single trumpet orchestra in Serbia. Especially Mesecina (Moonlight) but also Kalashnikov (no need for translation)

    here are the links (obviously scenes aren’t from the film) so you can imagine how everything looked like… or you can’t? Anyhow here is another reason for visiting Serbia!



  31. damozel replied:

    Oh man, I LOVE Amelie. In fact, I loved it so much that we’ve started ordering everything that Audrey Tatou (sp?) has starred in. So far, they’ve all been pretty great.

    I plan to order Pan’s Labyrinth from Netflix, and I’m really glad you reminded me of the “three colours” series. I read a lot of reviews when it came out but never got around to watching it.

    thanks for the clips. I’ve bookmarked it as a reminder to myself of films yet to be enjoyed.

    thanks for visiting ours…

  32. amypalko replied:

    Those were great clips, Milan! Thank you so much for linking to them. There is nothing quite so rousing as the sound of a brass band! One of the first posts I wrote on the blog was about a British film called Brassed Off which is about a mining town’s brass band. The post has a clip from the film I think you might enjoy. It’s a very different style of music from the Underground clips, though!

    Audrey is just wonderful, isn’t she, Damozel! I really wanted to see the film A Very Long Engagement, but I never got round to it in the cinema. Oh, and you must see Pan’s Labyrinth. Fabulous film, but wach with your tissues. I was literally sobbing when the lights came up.

  33. Linda R. Moore replied:

    I can’t view the videos, but I’ve seen some of the movies. Amelie was lovely! I also liked Delicatessen by the same director: very dark humor, but still.

    I have three TTs this week:
    13 emotions we could do without
    13 things about Lodi, California
    13 sayings from the biker community

  34. amypalko replied:

    What a shame you’re not able to view the videos, Linda! I’ve never seen Delicatessen, but I’ve heard it’s a good one. Another one to add to the ever-growing list!

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