Hi There,

Thank you so much once for all your excellent responses to my rather thin ‘World’ cinema and TV drama list from last week. I was quite right when I said it was the tip of a very large iceberg – you have now given me the iceberg! For which many thanks!

 I now have a lot of viewing to catch up on – and I’m very much looking forward to it. And I hope you too will enjoy this extensive list of recommendations.

As you’ll see there are a few repeated recommendations – but I thought it would be interesting to let you know how some of these films were mentioned by several different people.

If this does nothing else, it should provide some great Christmas present ideas!

To make this easier to read I’ve combined different people’s suggestions into country lists…


‘…these are just personal favs – mostly heartwarming and funny and/or poignant…’

Romauld and Juliette – Coline Serreau

Toto le Héro – Jaco Van Dormael

Potiche – Franc̡ois Ozon

Le Bonheur (…est dans le pre) – Étienne Chatiliez

Tatie Danielle – Étienne Chatiliez

Pot Luck – Cédric Klapisch

When the Cat’s Away – Cédric Klapisch

Ma Vie en Rose – Alain Berliner

Heartbreaker – Pascal Chaumeil

My Best Friend – Patrice Leconte

Monsieur Hire – Patrice Leconte

Ridicule – Patrice Leconte

Le Dîner de Cons – Francis Veber

The Closet – Francis Veber

The 400 Blows – Franc̡ois Truffaut

Belleville Rendez-vous – Sylvain Chomet

Après Vous – Pierre Salvadori

Les Apprentis – Pierre Salvadori

Priceless – Pierre Salvadori

The Green Ray – Eric Rohmer

Pauline at the Beach – Eric Rohmer

Trop Belle Pour Toi – Bertrand Blier

L’Atalante – Jean Vigo

Les Visiteurs – Jean-Marie Poiré

The Horseman on the Roof – Jean-Paul Rappeneau

The Dreamlife of Angels – Erick Zonca

Au Revoir les Enfants – Louis Malle

Mina Tannenbaum – Martine Dugowson

Les Amants du Pont-Neuf – Leos Carax

La Règle du Jeu – Jean Renoir

‘…I look forward to catching up with the films on your list. From France, I was surprised that you omitted Daniel Auteuil’s ‘The Well-Digger’s Daughter…”

2 Days in Paris by Julie Delpy with Julie Delpy & Adam Goldberg
La Môme by Olivier Dahan with Marion Cotillard

Il Y A Longtemps Que Je T’Aime by Philippe Claudel with Kristin Scott Thomas & Elsa Zylberstein
Pour Elle by Fred Cavayé with Vincent Lindon & Diane Kruger

L’Affaire Farewell by Chritian Carion with Guillaume Canet &Emir Kusturica
Le Code À Changé by Danièle Thompson (France’s Nancy Meyers) with Karin Viard
Les Invitées De Mon Père by Anne Le Ny with Karin Viard &Fabrice Luchini
Welcome de Philippe Lioret with Vincent Lindon

Des Hommes Et Des Dieux by Xavier Beauvois with Lambert Wilson & Michael Lonsdale
La Rafle de Rose Bosch with Jean Reno & Mélanie Laurent
Polisse by Maïwenn with Karin Viard, Marina Foïs, Joey Starr & Maïwenn
Potiche by François Ozon with Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Karin Viard & Fabrice Luchini


L’Exercice de L’État by Pierre Schoeller with Olivier Gourmet & Michel Blanc
Les Femmes Du 6ème Étage by Philippe Le Guay with Fabrice Luchini & Sandrine Kiberlain
Elle S’Appelait Sarah by Gilles Paquet-Brenner with Kristin Scott Thomas

Tell No One – ‘fantastic

The Hairdresser’s Husband

La Gloire de mon Pere

Le Chateau de Ma Mere

The Beat my Heart Skipped

Les Amants du Pont Neuf

Look at Me – ‘a young girl struggles to accept her appearance and to cope with the selfishness of her vain and successful father. Witty and incisive as well as acutely observed and moving.’

‘For a good rom-com, I thought Hors de prix (Priceless) was very funny and a nice twist on the more traditional romance storylines. Much better than many of Audrey Tautou’s more well-known films.’

La Haine – ‘full of punch and power’

Etre et Avoir – ‘a documentary that is as moving and effective as a carefully scripted film’

‘Another goody is French film Pour Elle (masterfully deconstructed by Mary Kate O Flanagan at The London Screenwriters Festival) which was an absolute revelation to me, so much so that I’m busy passing it around to everyone I know at the moment as my ‘Must See’ movie, it’s really intelligent, entertaining, edge of the seat stuff. The writers (Fred Cavaye and Guillaume Lemans) carry the audience along on a journey of seemingly impossible daring and ambition as a husband plots to break his wife out of prison after her wrongful murder conviction. The story is about a man who never gives up on the woman he loves, it’s about a hope that relentlessly drives the protagonist to extreme jeopardy and risk when all the chips seem permanently super glued to the baize. Hope in Pour Elle, is the life that could lie ahead for the Auclert family when the cameras stop rolling, it never loses sight of this. Without hope any story is after all, nothing more than a dystopic misery memoir without any of it’s jazz hands aflutter.

One of my favourite films of the past ten years is Hors de Prix (Priceless) with Audrey Tatou. Forget weak Hollywood/tasteless UK attempts at RomCom. This French film managed to make fun of the call girl profession with humour, finesse and glamour and still had a damn good love story in it. If Hollywood had made it, it would have been brittle. The UK – well, we do do vulgarity rather well. Instead the French produced a film of lasting quality and humour.’

A Prophet – ‘robust yet lyrical crime film, the protagonist goes on a bruising journey from immigrant prison inmate to criminal kingpin by ingeniously using his non status‘.


Spiral – ‘Absolute class on a stick…’ – thrice recommended.


También La Lluvia by Iciar Bollaín (screenplay by Paul Laverty) with Luis Tosar & Gael Garcia Bernal (2010)

All About My Mother – ‘my favourite Almoldovar’

Night of the Sunflowers – ‘unsettling thriller set in poverty hit rural Spain. With the plot chopped into six, several characters overlap as they face, escape and try to trace a rapist.’


Also, a wee shout out for from Argentina. Not sure if it qualifies as ‘recent’, but a sublime film

El Secreto De Sus Ojos \ The Secret in their Eyes by Juan José Campanella with Ricardo Darin & Soledad Villamil (2009)

NB This also was recommended by three different people

Las Acacias – a relationship blossoms between a truck driver and his passenger on the way to Buenos Aires. It’s a stunning film, demonstrating just how much can be conveyed with next to no dialogue.


‘One of my favourite films (not on your list) is “After Life” a Japanese film by Hirokazu Koreeda. Wonderful stuff.’

Even more surprising was no mention at all of Japan and Korea.…’


The Wave


‘…not sure about Michael – chillingly observed, but the decision to jump on the ‘ambiguous ending’ bandwagon was a real disappointment and actually, in the end, dishonoured the story, I felt.


Melancholia by Lars Van Trier with Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, John Hurt & Charlotte Rampling (2010)

I recommend also the Danish film ‘After The Wedding’. Brilliant.


Those Who Kill – ‘only one series was made which is such a shame as it was gripping TV, with fantastic stories.’



You, the Living – ‘droll humour might not be for everyone, but the film’s depiction of Swedish life is incredibly cinematic without actually moving the camera…’

Let The Right One In


Le Temps Qu’Il Reste by and with Elia Sulieman (2009)


Toto the Hero – ‘A visual feast of a film. This is the magical story of a man eaten up by his belief that he was switched at birth. With one of the most moving scenes of a broken man that I have ever seen on screen. if you’ve never seen it get hold of a copy now!


The Maid – ‘a fantastic portrayal of a woman suffocated over the years by her existance who learns to live again after a new maid is employed to work alongside her‘.


Lights in the dusk


Old Boy

Mother – ‘great thriller / drama with an original and driven protagonist, an unlicensed acupuncturist widow who strives to prove her simple minded son innocent of a girl’s murder. Each plot twist shows up the hypocrisies of all characters involved and society.’


I thoroughly recommend the Icelandic film Jar City (2006) – a twisty, suspenseful, ‘wtf was that?’ movie that’s totally absorbing – if there was ever anything ripe for an English language remake this is! Seriously – if you know anyone who would buy the rights, urge them to do it.


Insomnia – ‘Scandi again… (I think Norwegian) – this might be the one case where I think the Hollywood remake did improve on the original – watch both and see what you think.’



Russian/Finnish film – The Cuckoo (2002) – ‘a WWII tragi-comic love triangle between two soldiers and a Saami women – none of whom speak the others languages.

Silent Souls(2010) – ‘magical!

Also… years ago, I saw a wonderful film late night on BBC 4 – where has their foreign film slot gone anyway? – It was about some census-takers who had to sit inside people’s homes on tall ‘tennis umpires’ chairs and observe the villagers… who definitely did not want to be observed, but had to agree because it was an official government initiative. How the two lots of people adjusted to each other was comic, poignant and beautifully observed – but I have no idea what it’s called and I’d love to get hold of a copy.’

(ED – does this ring a bell with anyone?)

There are many really interesting indie films from Australia and New Zealand that are well worth searching out:


Two Hands(1999) – ‘Gregor Jordan’s first major feature film starring a very young (and sadly missed) Heath Ledger – a magic realism crime caper, one of my favourites‘.

Also – Gettin’ Square (2003)- ‘a bit cheap and cheerful, but some lovely moments, reminded me a bit of a less polished ‘Layer Cake’


Kiwi film The Price of Milk (2000) – ‘has some of the most gorgeous cinematography I’ve ever seen – it’s a romantic magic-realism fable about not knowing how good you had things until they’re gone… I’m not doing it justice, but it’s so difficult to describe you have to see this film. If I had to choose a set of Desert Island Disc films, this would definitely be high on the list to take and watch again and again‘.


Best of Youth ‘my 2nd favourite film after The Godfather

Mid August Lunch (Pranzo di ferragosto) – ‘A man living on his own with his mother gets stuck looking after five old ladies for the August holiday. Fabulous character studies, very funny and features plenty of food and wine – what more could you ask for?

I’m not Scared

‘…and of course’ Cinema Paradiso

Il Divo – ‘biopic like no other. Stylish and stylised, the film soars around the crime and murder that surrounded former Italian Premier Andreotti. Is he the most cunning criminal in the country because he’s never been caught, or is he the most unfairly persecuted in the history of Italy?


In the Mood for Love – ‘such a beautiful film – almost every shot could be a still. And achingly sad.’

Kung Fu Hustle

Infernal Affairs trilogy


City of God


Once Upon a Time in Anatolia – ‘mesmerising and melancholic long night’s journey as members of an investigation team try to locate a buried body in the Anatolian steppes‘.


Katalin Varga – ‘haunting tale of a woman’s revenge on the men who raped her 11 years previous. British director, but actors, film crew and music are all from the area. And the story is from a local folk tale.


Pan’s Labyrinth

Strawberry & Chocolate


Waltz With Bashir



To all of you who contributed a very big thank you…

Until next week,

Happy Writing and Happy Viewing!

Best wishes



Nov 30th 2012