Monday, August 20, 2007


Choosing the best non-English language films

Over the past several weeks, I invited (or by extension invited) various people from critics to bloggers to professors and just plain movie fans to submit lists of their top 25 non-English language features so I could compose a list for a survey of all interest film fans to determine a Top 25 list similar to what the AFI does or what the Online Film Community recently did.

I now see how difficult list compiling can be. I set a few guidelines for eligibility: 1) No film more recent than 2002 was eligible; 2) They had to be feature length; 3) They had to have been made either mostly or entirely in a language other than English; 4) Documentaries and silent films were ineligible, though I may do lists for those in the future if this goes well. In all, 434 films received votes, not counting those that had to be disqualified for not meeting the criteria.

I see now why lists can sometimes cause such headaches. We had to decide things such as whether Sergio Leone's spaghetti Westerns were eligible (We decided no since most people are only familiar with the English dubbed version and the American actors didn't speak in Italian.) Some people voted for Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy as a whole, while others nominated some of the films, but not the others. In the end, all three titles made the cut, though interestingly White failed to receive a single vote for it outside the trilogy votes. Then there were the differences in titles. Thanks for IMDb which helped me avoid listing the same movie under different names. I also originally planned to have the eligible list consist of films that made at least 5% of all ballots, but soon realized that that would make pretty much every film that got at least one vote eligible, so I opted instead for films that appeared on at least three ballots.

So now the computing has been done. Be sure to check the list of who made up the nominating committee and a list of titles that I've never seen with links to similar posts elsewhere as well as a discussion of more idiosyncratic choices. The 122 films that made the cut appear below the fold.

A first place vote received 25 votes, second place got 24 votes, etc. In the event of tie scores, the total number of ballots on which the films appear decided who is ahead of the other.


Aguirre, the Wrath of God directed by Werner Herzog
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
All About My Mother directed by Pedro Almodovar
Amarcord directed by Federico Fellini
Amelie directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Amores Perros directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Andrei Rublev directed by Andrei Tarkovsky
Army of Shadows directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
Ashes and Diamonds directed by Andrzej Wajda
Au Hasard Balthazar directed by Robert Bresson
Band of Outsiders directed by Jean-Luc Godard
The Battle of Algiers directed by Gillo Pontecorvo
Beauty and the Beast directed by Jean Cocteau
Belle de Jour directed by Luis Bunuel
The Bicycle Thief directed by Vittorio de Sica
The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Black Orpheus directed by Marcel Camus
Three Colors: Blue directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski
The Blue Angel directed by Josef von Sternberg
Breathless directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Celine and Julie Go Boating directed by Jacques Rivette
Children of Paradise directed by Marcel Carne
Chungking Express directed by Wong Kar-Wai
Cinema Paradiso directed by Giuseppe Tornatore
City of God directed by Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund
Cleo From 5 to 7 directed by Agnes Varda
Come and See directed by Elem Klimov
The Conformist directed by Bernardo Bertolucci
Contempt directed by Jean-Luc Godard
The Cranes Are Flying directed by Mikheil Kalatozishvili
Cries and Whispers directed by Ingmar Bergman
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon directed by Ang Lee
Das Boot directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Day for Night directed by Francois Truffaut
Day of Wrath directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer
The Decalogue directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski
Dersu Uzala directed by Akira Kurosawa
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie directed by Luis Bunuel
The Double Life of Veronique directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski
The Earrings of Madame De... directed by Max Ophuls
8 1/2 directed by Federico Fellini
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser directed by Werner Herzog
Exterminating Angel directed by Luis Bunuel
Eyes Without a Face directed by Georges Franju
Fanny and Alexander directed by Ingmar Bergman
Farewell My Concubine directed by Chen Kaige
Forbidden Games directed by René Clément
The 400 Blows directed by Francois Truffaut
The Gospel According to St. Matthew directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Grand Illusion directed by Jean Renoir
The Great Silence directed by Sergio Corbucci
High and Low directed by Akira Kurosawa
Hiroshima Mon Amour directed by Alain Resnais
Ikiru directed by Akira Kurosawa
In the Mood for Love directed by Wong Kar-Wai
I Vitelloni directed by Federico Fellini
Jules and Jim directed by Francois Truffaut
La Dolce Vita directed by Federico Fellini
La Strada directed by Federico Fellini
Last Year at Marienbad directed by Alain Resnais
L'Atalante directed by Jean Vigo
Late Spring directed by Yasujiro Ozu
L'Avventura directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
L'Eclisse directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
The Leopard directed by Luchino Visconti
Le Samourai directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
Lola Montes directed by Max Ophuls
M directed by Fritz Lang
The Marriage of Maria Braun directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Masculin-Feminin directed by Jean-Luc Godard
My Night at Maud's directed by Eric Rohmer
Nights of Cabiria directed by Federico Fellini
Nosferatu the Vampyre directed by Werner Herzog
Open City directed by Roberto Rossellini
Ordet directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer
Orpheus directed by Jean Cocteau
Persona directed by Ingmar Bergman
Pickpocket directed by Robert Bresson
Pierrot le fou directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Playtime directed by Jacques Tati
Raise the Red Lantern directed by Zhang Yimou
Ran directed by Akira Kurosawa
Rashomon directed by Akira Kurosawa
Three Colors: Red directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski
The Red Desert directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
Rififi directed by Jules Dassin
Rocco and His Brothers directed by Luchino Visconti
The Rules of the Game directed by Jean Renoir
Run Lola Run directed by Tom Tykwer
Sansho the Bailiff directed by Kenji Mizoguchi
Satantango directed by Béla Tarr
Scenes from a Marriage directed by Ingmar Bergman
Seven Beauties directed by Lina Wertmuller
Seven Samurai directed by Akira Kurosawa
The Seventh Seal directed by Ingmar Bergman
Shoot the Piano Player directed by Francois Truffaut
Smiles of a Summer Night directed by Ingmar Bergman
Sonatine directed by Takeski Kitano
Spirited Away directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Stolen Kisses directed by Francois Truffaut
Story of the Late Chrysanthemums directed by Kenji Mizoguchi
Suspiria directed by Dario Argento
Talk to Her directed by Pedro Almodovar
Tampopo directed by Juzo Itami
Throne of Blood directed by Akira Kurosawa
The Tin Drum directed by Volker Schlöndorff
Tokyo Story directed by Yasujiro Ozu
To Live directed by Zhang Yimou
Ugetsu monogatari directed by Kenji Mizoguchi
Umberto D directed by Vittorio de Sica
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg directed by Jacques Demy
The Vanishing directed by George Sluizer
Viridiana directed by Luis Bunuel
The Wages of Fear directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot
Three Colors: White directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski
Wild Strawberries directed by Ingmar Bergman
Wings of Desire directed by Wim Wenders
Woman in the Dunes directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara
Yi Yi: A One and a Two directed by Edward Yang
Yojimbo directed by Akira Kurosawa
Y Tu Mama Tambien directed by Alfonso Cuaron
Z directed by Costa-Gavras

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I think this is the first time that I've been completely happy with a given list of 'greatest films'. 22 of my 25 picks made it in, as did about 50 others which I wanted to include on my list but couldn't manage.

My 3 favourite foreign-language films that didn't make it are Bunuel's Tristana, Godard's Weekend (which surely missed out only because not enough people have seen it? right? surely?), and Makavejev's Man Is Not a Bird - which doesn't surprise me, though it's a shame that Makavejev's output isn't more readily available.

You only get two complaints from me:
- could we extend the deadline by a couple of weeks? There's a fair few titles in there that I've never seen and I'd really like to catch up with them before I have to vote;
- could we vote for 50 titles rather than 25?
Three of my nominees didn't make it (Hou Hsiao-hsien's Millennium Mambo, Godard's A Woman Is A Woman and Kiarostami's Taste Of Cherry, but this is still a great list. I've got about as many films to catch up with as you do, Edward.
Goran: Weekend got two votes, but you were the only votes for the other two. As for extending the deadline, I picked that date because it's before I have a brief vacation from work, so I'd have more time to put together the final presentation. I still think we should probably stick with 25. Many participants were hard pressed to come up with 25 nominees in this round, so I bet that very few potential voters will have even seen 50 of the films.
I thought about putting Man Is Not a Bird on my list but I opted to go with Loves of a Blonde instead. Too bad neither film made the list. Not too many fans of Czech New Wave, eh? ;)

But wow, I'm so happy with what we do have. 16 of my picks made the list, including Eyes Without a Face which is one of the few films to make me look away from the screen in horror (I usually have a strong constitution for those sorts of things). So, yay! Thanks for doing this Edward.
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Claire's Knee was one vote shy of the three needed, so it almost made the cut.
i haven't done the math of how many of mine got it, but i was hoping for either Lelouch's "A Man and a Woman" or Menzel's "Closely Watched Trains"

other than, i'm quite happy with the list
MAN IS NOT A BIRD is my favorite Makavajev film too, and I briefly entertained voting for it, but in the end left the director off. 25 is not a lot of slots, really.

But I was overall pretty happy with the list I submitted, and with this selection of films to choose from for the final list. There are a few titles that make me shudder, but not enough to make me worry about the final list.

I only wish there were a few more titles from countries outside Europe and Japan (and to a lesser extent Hong Kong and China). But I'm not terribly surprised by that result.

My choices that failed to obtain 2 other votes:

GERMANY YEAR ZERO (Roberto Rossellini, 1947)
LOS OLVIDADOS (Luis Bunuel, 1950)
FLOATING CLOUDS (Mikio Naruse, 1955)
WOMAN IN THE DUNES (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964)
BLACK GIRL (Ousmane Sembene, 1966)
WHERE IS THE FRIEND'S HOME? (Abbas Kiarostami, 1987)
ALICE (Jan Svankmajer, 1988)
HYENAS (Djibril Diop Mambety, 1992)
LA PROMESSE (Jean-Luc and Paul Dardenne, 1996)
FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 1998)
BLISSFULLY YOURS (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2002)
How can u ever forget The Apu Trilogy by "Satyajit Ray"
I agree. As I mentioned in the post about films left out and that I haven't seen, Ray's votes seem to have been split. About four of his films got votes and Pather Panchali got two votes, but none received enough to make the final cut and Pather Panchali was the only one of The Apu Trilogy to get any votes.
Just curious--was mine the only vote for Seduced and Abandoned?

Overall a satisfying list. Good selection of warhorses, interesting recent choices and a smattering of wild cards. (And cheers for Army of Shadows--how many of us had even seen that one three years ago?) Anyone could transpose this list into a Netflix queue and come out with a pretty solid grounding in international cinema, though Ray is indeed a painful omission, especially given the overrepresentation of some directors. (I don't say which, no food fight for me today.) It makes me wish I had included the very great Pather Pachali, but I thought for sure it would get in without me. :(
P.S. I am also quite surprised that Spirit of the Beehive didn't make it. That one used to be a Greatest List staple.
The only thing dampening the fun of this is that I didn't get to cast a vote for Fitzcarraldo.
Campaspe: You were indeed the only votes for those two.

Michael C.: If you had been able to vote for Fitzcarraldo, it would have made it. It was just one vote shy.
Too bad so few have been able to see Through the Olive Trees. I think it's Kiarostami's best work, and certainly would merit inclusion on such a list.
The folks at Criterion should take some pride in this list. It's remarkable evidence of how much influence they have in shaping the film canon.
Edward, had you given any specific direction to the contributors as to whether this is a Top Favourites list or an All Time Best? I'm not trying to be picky with semantics, but I know this came out a few times in the discussion over the Online Community List. If I'm trying to pick an All Time Best list, I will consider different aspects in my choices (technique, influence, a document of a certain time period, etc.) than if it would simply be a list of my faves (which is more of a gut feel "ooooh, I wish I could watch that one right now!").

I've about 2/3 of the final list, so I hope to squeeze a few more viewings in before the deadline.
Darren has a point there. Can't wait for that mint edition of _Mirror_, whenever that happens. It _should_ happen. But I guess that one's not popular enough right now...
For myself, since everything is subjective, I always think of my own lists as my favorites AND my opinion as to my all-time best. I think any criteria you choose is fine, but I lean toward going with your heart rather than trying to think what should be considered the best. Vote for the ones you love and admire the most.
I'm glad that two of my favorites, The Great Silence and Le Samourai, made it, but I'm saddened by the lack of love for any of Inagaki's Samurai trilogy, The Twilight Samurai, The City of Lost Children, Fitzcarraldo... but I look forward to seeing the final results still!
I am glad to hear you call this a favorites list, since my own nominations would have looked a great deal different had I been trying to use some sort of criteria for what is "objectively great."

Darren, I can only think that the lack of DVD representation is why Naruse didn't make it either, despite the recent release of When a Woman Ascends the Stairs. Criterion has great power, let us hope they use it wisely ...
I was thinking the same thing, Darren. Without Criterion (and companies like Rialto Pictures), I know my own list would look a hell of a lot different. (I think 16 of 25 of my picks made it.)

This whole project is exciting because not only does it give me infinite inspiration to front-load the Netflix queue with "warhorses" :) I haven't seen in 25 years, but also to finally get to some (a lot) I've never seen-- speaking of which, it also gives me a chance to focus on all the glaring deficiencies in my own viewing history and parade those deficiencies in front of the whole world! (Coming soon: the Masochism Tango!) I can't wait to see the ones on the main list I've not yet seen (I've heard a lot about Come and See in the last six months), and coming up with another 25 that didn't make the list that I'm still ignorant of, and picking out the ones that made it which I wouldn't have picked. I figure this can be a fun exercise in tilling the cinema soil for me too!

And by the way, I'm really annoyed with myself that I failed to remember Repulsion or Sans Soleil. Both would have made my initial 25 if I hadn't been asleep all weekend (there I go blaming the cobwebs again). And I would have voted for Suspiria too, but I'd only seen it dubbed in English and wasn't sure if it would qualify.

Oh, well! Ed, thanks for doing this. I'm already having a great time!
I'm amazed that Spirit of the Beehive didn't make the list. Did it get any votes? A couple other quibbles: I think Ju Dou and Red Sorghum are better than the Zhang Yimou films that made the list. And Farewell My Concubine isn't even a good film. But overall, an excellent list!
Just a single vote for Spirit of the Beehive and the two Zhang Yimou titles that made it were the only two to get any votes. BTW, I agree with you about Farewell My Concubine, which I didn't care much for outside of Gong Li's performance
Yes, it's a good list, but, as always, it overlooks most of the great comedies.

How many comedies can be found in this list?
Here are at least 5 FANTASTIC comedies:
- Monicelli's "All my friends"
- Almodovar's "Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown"
- Veber's "The dinner game"
- Tati's "My uncle"
- Campanella's "The bride's son"
I think it's a pity, if not a shame.
Aw, I'm gonna stick up for Farewell, My Concubine! But I do have a particular interest in Chinese opera, so that may have colored my opinion.

Regarding favs vs. best, I definitely went with favorites. Just the thought of someone thinking of my list as a measure of "the best" makes me turn purple. Forman's Black Peter is nowhere near the top of what I would consider the bestest of the foreign best, but I'm totally in love with it.

Did anyone vote for Chytilova's Daisies besides me? That's a film I would put on a "Best Of" list.
You were the sole vote for both Black Peter and Daisies
Thanks for clarifying the favourites vs. best question Ed. I pretty much expected that.

I'm glad to see Yimou's "To Live" on the list, but must admit I'm surprised it beat out the others.

Since we're playing "which favourites were left off", I'd add:

Casque D'Or
Le Trou
Harakiri, Samurai Rebellion, Kwaidan (the Kobayashi hat trick)

and for more recent fare, maybe:

After Life
Battle Royale

But I can't complain about the list as is. Actually, as it stands right now, it's a great representation of a canon of foreign film.
I enjoyed participating because I learned things about myself. I discovered that I deeply love Japanese crime films (sadly most didn't make the list) and films with a Frankenstein/medical horror theme such as Eyes Without a Face (which did make the list).

I almost casted votes for Spirit of the Beehive, Daises and Cure. After reading this I wish I wouldn't have removed them at the last minute. I sort of just assumed that directors like Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Takashi Miike would make this list. Obviously I was wrong.
Where the hell is Fitzcaraldo? That would easily get my #2 vote. Shenanigans! No Red Sorghum or Hero either? Was the latter DQ'ed because it was released in the US in '04 although produced more than 2 years earlier or was there just no love for it? I'm sure I'll be back to gripe more once I've re-read this list more thoroughly.
I'm sad too about the lack of Fitzcarraldo and Satyajit Ray on this list, but I guess it's my own fault since I missed the chance to help assemble the ballot.

Maybe finally this will be impetus for me to finish watching Yi Yi ... every time I try I it I'm struck by its brilliance, get about halfway through, and decide I'd rather be doing something else. I have much the same reaction listening to Django Reinhardt, though I couldn't say why ... maybe too much of a fondness for things which are almost perfect.
I'm glad to see some of the movies I had to leave off my list make it on this one, like Eyes Without a Face, Rififi and Shoot the Piano Player. I'm also glad Umbrellas of Cherbourg made it. I thought I'd get some flak for having that on my list.

I meant to vote for Fitzcarraldo. I forgot. (Actually, I would probably have used my Herzog vote on Aguirre.) But it only needed ONE more vote to get on, and more than one person is bitching about it...

Re: the Three Colors series, I watched them in order in the theater. Hated Blue, liked White, loved Red. As for G'bye, Ho, I have to agree with those who said that Gong Li was the best thing about it.
Brian, I voted for Woman in the Dunes too.
Bummed my favorite Buñuel film, That Obscure Object of Desire, isn't on here either.

These lists really are no-win situations.
Fitzcaraldo was one vote short of making it. Hero didn't get any votes, so the issue of its release didn't come up, though I had said that the year it was originally released in its country of origin was the deciding factor, not when it opened in the U.S.
I'm also surprised that "To Live" was the Zhang Yimou selection. And I'm with Odienator in thinking "Red" is altogether the best of the "Three Colors" features -- though admittedly one's preference tends to be dictated by whether you prefer movies a bit on the cool side or the warm side.

I would have gone with "Aguirre" for my Herzog, but I ended up not citing Herzog on my list because I decided to do a list of the 20 foreign language films I've seen the most times -- which resulted in a weird mishmash of high and low, and a few titles that Ed deemed ineligible.
All day I have been thinking that "Raise the Red Lantern" made the list, not To Live. I'm shocked, honestly.

And, as always, we couldn't scrounge a single woman, me included, unless we want to accord Margaret Duras a co-author credit for Hiroshima Mon Amour. It would be deserved.
The problem with voting on such a list is that the votes may as much indicate which films have been seen the most as which films are the most favoured.

Nevertheless thanks for the list. I see a lot of my future movie viewing time spent getting caught up on these masterworks. Not a bad thing.
I agree with others in my temptation to say "No Garrel? No Ruiz? One Rivette? No Daisies? No Straub-Huillet? No Kluge? No color Bresson films? etc ad infitum", and I do welcome this project, but one thing it does make quite clear is the persistence and rigidness of the canon as it has been defined in these current times. Is anyone truly surprised by the films both present and absent? One could have probably guessed at the list and had a high percentage correct. Perhaps some think that a side issue, but is one worth discussing I would say. Don't get me wrong there are many films on this list I love, and many I dislike, but I do think it brings up the issue of how present and prevelant the accepted idea of the international film canon is in not only the formation of a list like this but in, not neccesarily what one praises as great, but what one has access to to even view and ponder in thinking about and declaring what a great film is.
First, after I started typing this, Greg added a comment that says much of what I wanted to. Here we go anyway, and I apologize for the redundancy:

Annie, there were in fact two women, Varda and Wertmüller, but you're still right. Duras should have probably been on there, and certainly Akerman, and perhaps Denis, Muratova, and others. Am I the only one who had trouble coming up with 25? Well, not that much trouble, but I don't see why there were so many duplicate filmmakers on the list, especially when the likes of Oliveira, Kiarostami, Hou, Tsai, Paradjanov, Sokurov, Erice, Eisenstein, Angelopoulos, Jansco, Straub-Huillet (another woman!), and others were omitted in favor of some very second tier names. Sorry to sound pretentious, but the list of nominees reminds me why individual, personal lists are usually much more interesting than the consensus; thanks to David Hudson for posting links to a few of those.
That's quite a list, most I have no problems with, but I still fail to see what the draw is to "All About My Mother". I watched it only just recently and was hardly in awe of it's flimsy character's that seemed to take on more problems then necessary just to create drama, which I felt the film sorely lacked. Okay, I lie. I liked the first 15 minutes of it. The only film of ALMADOVAR'S that has blown me away is "Talk to Her", thankfully that was on the list.
Just a brief note to share something I find interesting. In the first day of balloting, I've already received 25 votes and all but 10 films on the list of nominees have already received at least one mention.
>but the list of nominees reminds me why individual, personal lists are usually much more interesting than the consensus...

True, but that's not the point of this or any other consolidated list is it? It's to put together or try to create a canon of sorts to help give people a basic set of films that will, hopefully, lead to many others...

I know that any list of Top "whatever" films has typically (especially in my earlier film going days) given me some ideas of what I should and would like to see. I haven't seen all of them, but certainly have followed down several paths jumpstarted by the lists.

Those individual lists can be great as well, but unless you have good knowledge of the person providing that list or already agree with a big portion of it, you don't have a lot to go on...
Wait a second here... Dennis Cozzalio and Odienator are both claiming to have voted for WOMAN IN THE DUNES, and I know for sure that I did. That should total up to three... I'm confused. (and is it mere coincidence that Dennis and Odie are two of the five fellow contributors I've had the delightful fortune to meet in person?)
Let me double check, but I'm pretty sure it only got two votes.
You all are correct. I'm guessing since Dennis' ballot was the very last one I tabulated, I must have forgot to mark his vote for that one somehow. It should be there and will be added to the list.
Brian said:
True, but that's not the point of this or any other consolidated list is it? It's to put together or try to create a canon of sorts to help give people a basic set of films that will, hopefully, lead to many others...

Now the point I was making earlier, albeit rushed (and this while not as rushed is a bit drunker), is that in the putting together of a list such as this one must acknowledge that the "creation of the canon" you refer to is already shaped and structured by an existing canon of sorts.
Look at this list, I count 5 Fellini films, 8 Kurosawa, 5 Truffaut, 3 Antonioni (none after Red Desert), 5 Godard (none after, what, '66? To put together an essential viewing with 5 Godard films and only Godard films of that era...etc.etc.) etc. You catch my drift. On a personal level I think there are at least 5 if not 10 or more Rivette films I find preferable to any of the Truffaut films on this list (not to mention Garrel) but that isn't the point.
The point is that the films which make it here are a) "Accepted" (with a capital "A") "masterpieces of cinema" that god forbid no one question (that is sarcasm, some may be great some may be not but there is a reputation that precedes, envelopes, and follows many of these movies. They may be deserved, maybe not, but these ideas about the films enter into the discourse often independent of the movies themselves. Believe me L'Atalante deserves it's reputation but it's rep shouldn't be its reasons for praise) b) Good, or great, or awful (depends on your own opinion) films that people have had easy access to see. c)Recent movies in a foreign language that have had success and thus been seen, see Run Lola Run, etc. d)Damn, I had a d a second ago...
The above classifications are not meant as derision of the films or meant to be snooty. I wrote what I wrote without a quality of judgement, merely to point out how or why the films mentioned and singled out are done as such. The point this ramble is trying to make is that a list such as this, and the "canon" refered to is formed more so by the outside conditions of availability, prevalence, reputation, discourse about, etc. And more importantly when said that this list can constitute a canon of films to be seen it should be recognized that the promotion to the upper echelon (sp) of these films is not out of the blue from a blank slate but that this list is dependent upon the previous stated, or at least hinted at, qualifications for why certain films are promoted or maintain certain standings. (again, not that said films are being dismissed as bad but that one must look at how and why critical and popular reputations and statures are formed)
My apologies for any grammatical, spelling, or logical mistakes in this rambling post.
p.s. it isn't my intent to rain on anybody's parade. I find these lists and polls and excercises as entertaining and illuminating as the next guy.
Good list but I'm disappointed that Tarkovsky wasn't better represented, but I doubt he would be on people's top 25 list.

Has anyone else heard of the Russian movie "Irony of Fate"? They watch every New Year's in Russia.
The list is great. Some of my favorites, which didn't make it to the list: AU REVOIR LES ENFANTES, BABETTE'S FEAST and De Sica's SHOESHINE and UMBERTO D.
Kevin, look again more closely. Umberto D did indeed make the final list. Unfortunately, the others only got one or two votes each.
This list does salvage the image of cinephile bloggers (I cringe at the results of the other list).

However, it's still quite problematic.

Firstly, it's very European-dominated (aside from the usual Kurosawas, Ozus, and a few more contemporary films), there's really not much representation from Asian nations.

But that's really the problem with lists anyway, one could not expect to see an obscure title appearing since most wouldn't have viewed it anyway. Most of the films in the list have been released on DVD; which brings me to the conclusion that commercialism has a mighty big effect on these kinds of lists.
I'm surprised that 'El Topo' did not make the cut for nominees. Am I correct in assuming that 'El Topo' would have been eligible for voting and 'The Holy Mountain' would have been ineligible?
Lots of works by the filmmakers I'd have on my list, but not the films I'd have there, for the most part. Well, that's the way it's always going to be with something like this, right?

Just feels weird sending in a ballot for the finals (which are, as opposed to the nominations, open to the public, right?) on this that includes Shoot the Piano Player and Eyes Without a Face (both of which I have great affection for, but wouldn't be finalists for me) and doesn't include Solaris, Stalker, Hour of the Wolf, Shame, WR: Mysteries of the Organism, Battle Royale, Peking Opera Blues, That Obscure Object of Desire, Weekend, Two or Three Things I Know About Her, Tout Va Bien, Singing on the Treadmill, etc. etc. okay I'll let it go . . .

At least, now that I'm numbering my list, it DOES appear that my top eight or so would have been the same had all my favorites been included. Well, I guess we all wind up settling on some things together anyway . . .
Oggs, I would not say "commercialism," but rather availability. I do not believe for an instant that my 50 fellow voters don't or can't appreciate Naruse, for example, but his films are damned hard to see at the moment. That's what I meant by my joke about Criterion--its releases attain wide availability with ease and have a big effect on what serious film lovers watch.

I do admit, however, that the lack of diverse Asian names on my own list reflects my viewing inclinations--I love European cinema, I love older films, I tend to be wimpy about the strong violence in some Asian movies. I write my blog out of love alone, so it is hard to discipline myself to see something outside my comfort zone. I do think this list is going to help a lot with that, even if Mr. Campaspe is chuckling and saying "You're going to HATE Sonatine."

And now that I look at the list, I regret not indulging in some more strategic voting. I just listed my true favorites, ones I would happily watch again. Now I am wistful at seeing that a few I cut from my list might have made the ballot if I had thought about things like, "well, everybody is going to vote for Rules of the Game, it doesn't need me." That way, Pather Pachali, Lacombe, Lucien, I Am Cuba, Weekend and some others I cut might have made it.
I honestly have to say that I was surprised and delighted by some of the films that made the list. Maybe that's just me thinking I'm all into "offbeat" choices (that really aren't so offbeat and I just think I'm cooler than I really am), but when I saw Day of Wrath and the Gospel Acc. to St. Matthew on the list I was pretty stoked. Yeah, I guess those are from two big, famous directors but I still didn't expect them to make it over Pather Pachali or Weekend.

And when one of my personal favorites -- Daisies -- didn't make the list, I was bummed for a second, but now I find it interesting that not a lot of Czech New Wave made the list and that's made me curious to hear what others think of that movement, whether they despise it or aren't very familiar with it, or whatever. So the list for me is fascinating because it reflects the real tastes of cinema fans that I respect. I'm not too worried that it's too Euro-centric, or something (who are we trying to impress, besides ourselves, right?), I'd rather talk about why we all love these films so much. I know I didn't include popular Truffaut and Godard films on my list just because I learned about them in film school; I included them because I love them.

Okay, sorry, rant off.
Mi: El Topo didn't receive a single vote, though it would have been eligible. Santa Sangre did get one vote.

Ian: Almost all the titles you mentioned got one or two votes, but not the crucial three.

I do think access does have a lot to do with what one voted on. Many titles I admit I had never heard of, let alone seen, and trying to find them, many don't seem to be available on DVD.
...which is a real pity. Access is mostly dictated by what's commercially viable (unless you count out self-sacrificing labels). I believe these lists are good precursors for viewing lists of a number of cinephiles (titles which haven't been seen but are listed are sure to be bought or rented at least), which is why lists are great tools for educating people of cinema that have been marginalized (either because they're left out by labels or because they have been enveloped by stereotypes (Asian cinema being violent, Filipino cinema being melodramatic or mostly about homosexuality, etc., and thus can't be regarded with the canon of the world)).

But yeah, I'm just nitpicking. Maybe we can start a list of best marginalizaed films or something? Something Sight and Sound did before.
>Maybe we can start a list of best marginalizaed films or something?

I'd love to see each of the submitters wax eloquently about one of their choices that did NOT make the finals...

>"You're going to HATE Sonatine."

I don't know Campaspe...There are lots of quiet moments in Sonatine that really endear some of the characters to you. The violence in Kitano movies usually comes quickly and suddenly, but it leaves time for some other great moments with the characters as well as some beautiful visual touches.

I might have listed "I Am Cuba" if I had submitted. It has its drawbacks - pure propaganda, too long, and when characters speak English you can barely hear them under the Russian overdub (and there isn't any subtitles during those sections!) - but for pure cinematic beauty, I'm hard pressed to think of much that can compare.
I agree, oggs, it's a pity, but I don't see how Edward can do much about it either; most of the films we're thinking of (if we're thinking of the same films) are difficult to see and are mostly unavailable on dvd.

Not just Lino Brocka or Ishmael Bernal or Gerardo de Leon, but Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, Bimal Roy, Raj Kapoor, Johnnie To, Fruit Chan, King Hu, Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, Taiji Yabushita (I think the Japanese animation industry is a huge elment of their cinema), Seijun Suzuki, Paul Grimault. I'm listing some of the names here, I guess, for the record. I do think it's an excellent list of art films.
I feel exactly the same way as Ian Hill - with a few exceptions (IKIRU, PLAYTIME, PERSONA), my favorite films by certain filmmakers didn't make the nominations (2 OR THREE THINGS I KNOW ABOUT HER, THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY, OUT 1 [yes, I sat through all twelve-plus hours and loved it], HANA-BI).

Canons are useful in determining certain sure-fire classics, but the most interesting lists are the more personal ones. That in mind, I picked my favorites from the nominess.
Bob: Waxing eloquently about ones that didn't make it is what I'd hope would happen in the comments section of the post about what didn't make the cut and what films I hadn't seen.

David Robson: Each of those films you mentioned received exactly one vote, so they did get notice, just not enough to make the list.
Festen received one vote, but I don't remember any other Dogma films getting votes.
Also, I posted a short notice about the survey that you should check out if you don't see it.
i'd actually be more interested to see people start making cases for films that people should check out before they vote. kind of a "for your consideration" thing

i know i'm gonna try and watch the films i haven't seen, but i won't get to them all
Where are the films of Satyajit Ray? Pather Panchali? Aparajito? The World of Apu?
I discussed Ray's surprising omission in the other post. Pather Panchali got two votes, but none of the other films in the trilogy received a single vote, though two or three of his non-Apu titles got single votes. I also was surprised that Polanski didn't make it for Knife in the Water or Repulsion.
Has anyone else heard of the Russian movie "Irony of Fate"? They watch every New Year's in Russia.

I've seen it, believe it or not.

Also, I've actually written about some old Soviet cinema movies like Operation bL and The Diamond Arm (the latter would have been on my list if I had done more than 25). I hate Tarkovsky, but I expected to see him on this list.

Oggs: Filipino cinema being melodramatic or mostly about homosexuality, etc.

Don't forget the zombies! Soap operas, exploding gay people, space aliens and zombies! My Filipino pal's Mom used to joke to him whenever horror movies came on Channel 9 Fright Night when we were kids. She'd say "you want to see the motherland? Watch this!" I don't think that affected people's choices. I've seen some Filipino movies about the above, and some that were not. I just couldn't think of any that would make the list. I've gone to a few of the Filipino movie fests they have in NYC too.

I picked my favorite movies for my list, some of which didn't make it (and I haven't bitched about squat), and some I didn't have room to list. I'm sure the folks who took the time to do their lists (myself included) chose movies that meant something to them or that they enjoyed. It's not like some of us haven't heard of or seen some of the movies people have complained about here.

Campaspe, Sonatine is Disney compared to something like Ichi the Killer.

Brian, meeting you was a great pleasure. It's too bad you and the evil Criterion Collection brainwashed Dennis and me into voting for Woman in the Dunes. :)

Ed, I'll do more than wax eloquently under this post about a movie on my list that didn't make it. Stay tooned. satyajit hoo... i wld have included jean renoir's river, satyajit ray's pather panchali and chabrol's le boucher. all my favorite werner herzogs made it though
Floating Weeds did receive two votes, one short of the requisite three to make the list. Kwaidan failed to get mentioned on anyone's ballot.
A general question - will you be posting the list of everything that got a nominating vote some time? I think that would be interesting to see... maybe with the vote totals, so I can kick myself for not voting for some film or other....

I imagine it would be a bitch to do, but it would be really cool for someone to comb through all these comments and collect the films people wished had made it as well...
How can Rififi be on the list? It was directed by an American and when it was released in the UK and other English speaking countries, it was dubbed in English. It's still available in the dubbed English form.

I also find the list too Western Euro-centric. Are you telling me the only director from the Americas that is not a US citizen is Alejandro González Iñárritu? Get real! Emilio Fernández, Glauber Rocha, Alejandro Jodorowsky are a few that I can name right off. Also there is nothing from India, including the absence of the Apu trilogy. Only two Russian movies and neither one is directed by Sergei Eisenstein. Granted Andrei Tarkovsky is listed, but Eisenstein's work is as important and inflential as DW Griffith, Orson Welles or Fritz Lang.

I have other complaints, but I think I've said enough for now.
Though I didn't vote for it, when I saw Rififi, it was in its original non-English soundtrack. Just because there is a dubbed version doesn't mean that it wasn't originally in another language. We've discussed a lot how sad it is that Ray didn't garner enough votes to make the cut. The same is true for Eisenstein, who had a couple of titles that received votes, but none that got the requisite three to make the final cut. Metropolis wasn't eligible because it was a silent film. Hidden Fortress did get two votes and Nowhere in Africa received one.
Since so many people have asked about it, I am going to list the eligible films that received votes but not enough to make the list. I'm going to refrain from listing the vote totals of the ones that did make it, just to avoid influencing the final vote in some way. The ones that didn't garner enough to make the cut were:

Alexander Nevsky
Alice (Jan Svankmajer)
The American Friend
The American Soldier
An Actor's Revenge
Angry Harvest
A Nouse La Liberte
Antonia's Line
Au Revoir Les Enfants
Babette's Feast
Ballad of a Soldier
Beau Travail
The Best Intentions
A Better Tomorrow
Betty Blue
Beware of a Holy Whore
Black Girl
Black Lizard
Black Peter
Black Pit of Dr. M
Black Sunday (Mario Bava)
Blissfully Yours
Blood and Black Lace
Blood of a Poet
The Blue Kite
Boxers Omen
Boyfriends and Girlfriends
Branded to Kill
The Bride With White Hair
A Brighter Summer Day
Bullet in the Head
Burnt By the Sun
Carmen (Carlos Saura)
Cat and Mouse
The Celebration
Central Station

Chere Inconnue
The Chinese Feast
A Chinese Ghost Story
The Circle
The City of Lost Children
City of Sadness
Claire's Knee
Closely Watched Trains
The Cloud-Capped Star
Come Drink With Me
Coup de Torchon
Cria Cuervos
The Crime of Father Amaro
The Crime of Monsieur Lange
Curious Dr. Humpp
Cyrano De Bergerac
Dark Water
The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well
Days and Nights in the Forest
Death in Venice
Deep Red
The Devil's Backbone
The Diabolical Doctor Z
Diary of a Country Priest
Distant Thunder
Doomed Love
Early Summer
Eat Drink Man Woman
Eight-Diagram Pole Fighter
Elevator to the Gallows
The Emigrants
Europa Europa
Europa 51
Even Dwarfs Start Small
The Face of Another
The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat)
Fellini's Roma
Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable
Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41
Female Prisoner Scorpion #701
Fires on the Plain
Fireworks (Hana-Bi)
Floating Clouds
Floating Weeds
Flowers of Shanghai
The Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle
Four Days in September
French Can-Can
Funny Games
The Garden of the Finzi Continis
A Geisha
Germany Year Zero
Giants and Toys
The Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay
Going Places
Grave of the Fireflies
The Green Room
Happy Together
The Hidden Fortress
The Home and the World
Hour of the Wolf
How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman
I Am Cuba
I Fidanzati
Il Posto
Insect Woman
International Gorillay
In the Realm of the Senses
Ivan (1932)
Ivan the Terrible Part I
Ivan the Terrible Part II
I Was Born But
J'ai Pas Sommeil
Jean de Florette/Manon of the Spring
Jeanne Dielman
Jesus of Montreal
Job's Revolt
Juliet of the Spirits
Just Before Nightfall
Kiki's Delivery Service
The Killer
The Kingdom
Kings of the Road
Knife in the Water
La Cage Aux Folles II
La Ceremonie
Ladies of the Bois de Bologne
La Femme Nikita
L'age D'Or
La Grande Guerra
La Jetee
L'amour Fou
Land of Silence and Darkness
La Notte
La Nuit Des Traquees
La Promesse
La Terra Trema
Law of Desire
Le Bal
Le Bonheur
(Agnes Varda)
Le Boucher
Le Doulous
Le Feu Follet
Les Experiences Erotiques de Frankenstein
Les Possedees Du Diable
Les Yeux Sans Visage
Life Is Beautiful
Los Olvidados
Love and Anarchy
Loves of a Blonde
Mamma Roma
A Man and a Woman
A Man Escaped
Man Is Not a Bird
Master of the Flying Guillotine
The Merchant of Four Seasons
Millennium Mambo
Miracle in Milan
Mon Oncle
Monsoon Wedding
The Mother and the Whore
My Life As a Dog
My Mother's Castle
Mystics in Bali
The New Land
Night of the Shooting Stars
No Fear No Die
No Man's Land
Non Si Sevizia Un Paperino
Nowhere in Africa
The Official Story
Olum Savascisi
One on Top of the Other
Only Yesterday
Osaka Elegy
Out 1
Pale Flower
Pather Panchali
Perfumed Nightmare
The Phantom of Liberty
Port of Shadows
The Postman (Il Postino)
Princess Mononoke
Project A Part 2
The Puppet Master
Purana Mandir
Purple Noon
Quai des Orfèvres
Red Beard
The Red Circle
The Red Violin
Rise to Power of Louis XIV
Russian Ark
Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom
Samurai I: Miyamoto Musashi
Samurai III: Duel on Ganryu Island
Santa Sangre
Seduced and Abandoned
Sex and Fury
Shall We Dance?
A Short Film About Killing
The Silence
Slave of Love
The Soft Skin
The Son
Songs From the Second Floor
The Son's Room
The Spirit of the Beehive
Spring in a Small City
The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh
Stray Dog
The Story of Adele H
Street of Shame
Street Law
A Summer's Tale
Summer With Monika
A Sunday in the Country
Sun's Burial
Swept Away
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Tarkan and the Golden Medallion
Taste of Cherry
The 10th Victim
Tent of Miracles
That Obscure Object of Desire
This Man Must Die
Three Dev Adam
Three Fantastic Superman
Through a Glass, Darkly
Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down
Time of the Gypsies
Time Out
Tokyo Drifter
Tout Va Bien
Twilight Samurai
Two English Girls
Two or Three Things I Know About Her
Vivre Sa Vie (My Life to Live)
War and Peace
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs
Where Is the Friend's House?
The Whip and the Body
The White Balloon
The White Rose
The White Sheik
The Wind Will Carry Us
With a Friend Like Harry
A Woman Is a Woman
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Werckmeister Harmonies
A Year of the Quiet Sun
The Young Girls of Rochefort
Youth of the Beast
Zero for Conduct
Zhantai (Platform)
Zur Sache, Schatzchen
Zu Warriors From the Magic Mountain

I know Kurosawa is well-represented here, but my favorite, Kagemusha, missed both the accepted and the rejected list.
Why did you narrow the choice to only these films? Why not just leave it completely open and let the list be decided that way?
This is a great idea! I'm so tired of various best of lists with American films dominating. I enjoy Hollywood films with the best of them but foriegn films touch my heat and mind the most. Since I own 104 of the 122 selections I'm quite pleased with the list, but I did notice a few of my faves that didn't make it.

Bob Le Flambeur-(56) Jean Pierre Melville
The Shop on Main St.- (65)Jan Kadar
Winter Light- (62) Ingmar Bergman
La Bete Humaine- (38) Jean Renoir
Le Trou- (60) Jaques Becker

Narrowing down the selections list to just 25 titles won't be easy, but I'll try.
There were more than 400 films nominated and I took the ones that got three votes are better. To leave it opened would have been way too time consuming for someone who doesn't have an accounting firm at his disposal. 51 people voted, so they really did the picking, not me. Not all of my choices made the final list either.
An intriguing list, at the very least useful in adding some titles to my Neflix queue! Am I reading it right that the invitation to pick the favorite 25 is extended to anyryone, not only to the original contributors to the list? This might be a dangerous idea: who would keep riff-raff out, you know... :) But if that's the case, I would be happy to send my picks.

The list composition is, of course, somewhat baffling, leaving one to ponder (sadly) the quirks of exposure. Wajda's "Without Anesthesia" wasn't even in the rejects list; and Aleksei German is, I guess, just totally unknown. (He is an Ozu to Tarkovsky's more flashy Kurosawa. German's "Lapshin", and Tarkovsky's "Mirror" could well be the two best movies ever made in Russia).
Among my personal faves missing in action:

Jean Renoir's "La Grande illusion"/"The Grand Illusion" (1937)

Marcel Carné's "Les Enfants du paradis"/"Children of Paradise" (1945)

Yasujiro Ozu's "Tôkyô monogatari"/"Tokyo Story" (1953)

Max Ophuls' "Lola Montez" (1955)

Claude Berri's "Le Vieil homme et l'enfant"/"The Two of Us" (1967)

Jacques Demy and Agnes Varda's "Les Demoiselles de Rochefort"/"The Young Girls of Rochefort" (1967)

Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Teorema" (1968)

Luis Bunuel's "Tristana" (1970)

Eric Rohmer's "Le Genou de Claire"/"Claire's Knee" (1970)

Claude Lelouch's "Le Voyou"/"The Crook" (1970)

Zhang Yimou's "Da hong deng long gao gao gua"/"Raise the Red Lantern" (1991)

Also Zhang's "Qiu Ju da guan si"/"The Story of Qiu Ju" (1992)

I could go on until tomorrow but won't.
The first three of those are listed, as is Raise the Red Lantern. The others are fair enough. I contemplated voting for Teorema but didn't remember how much English and how much Italian was spoken, and decided to omit it.
Absolutely Alexander. In the final round, everyone can make their voices heard. Send in a ballot and add some quotes about your choices if you see fit.
Joe, I think you misread the list I posted in the comment thread. Those are the ones that didn't make the final list. Grand Illusion, Children of Paradise, Tokyo Story, Lola Montes and Raise the Red Lantern all made the final ballot.
Not to start the "the director is/is not the 'author' of the film" argument here — or maybe I am — I found it disturbing that the only other identifying information provided with the nominated films was the director. The list didn't note either the original language or the screenwriter(s), both of which should have been listed.

If you do a follow-up of some kind (e.g., when/if you do one for documentaries, and when you list the "winners"), please consider providing this additional information. For some of us — especially those for whom English is a second language — so-called "auteur theory" is even more ridiculous for documentaries than it is for "fictional" film, and the silent approval of "director as author" in the original list hurts its credibility.
You make a good point and when I announce how the films end up ranking, I will try to include the writers as well. Listing the films by director does have some advantages though in that it distinguishes the films from ones with the same and similar titles and it's easier to put in a post whereas films with multiple writers could make it more difficult for cutting, pasting and voting purposes. As for the documentaries, if and when I do get to that survey, I had planned to conduct that one very differently from the way I did this one, but those details will come when (and if) I end up taking on that task after this one.
Please tell me you voted for Alucarda as one of the greatest foreign language films so I can ignore their opinion in the future. Are you seriously listening to the opinion of someone believes that Alucarda is on par with Citizen Kane, Rules of the Game, Metropolis, Veritgo or Battleship Potemkin?

The number of turkeys on these list are high when it comes to essential cinema. Salo, Nosferatu the Vampyre, Audition, Cria Cuervos, Even Dwarfs Start Small, Godzilla, Incubus, and Amelie...(I had to stop listing but I could go on)... I'd lose total respect for any reviewer or critic that put any of those movies on the top of an essential of great movies. Are they great movies in a particular genre, such as Horror (since it appears I picked out a bunch of them)? Yes, some are. But seriously they aren't life altering, deep thought movies of technical achievement.

And who votes for Master of the Flying Guillotine but doesn't include Fists of Fury or The Chinese Connection?

It must be said again... The Apu trilogy did not get votes. No it didn't. But guess what great trilogy did? The original Female Prisoner Scorpion series did! I like my pinku movies as much as the next guy, but they ain't great art. Whoever included these movies on the list, please show some more spine with the pinku by including either the Rapeman series or Assault! Jack the Ripper next time. Female Prisoner Scorpion series was just weak and predictable as a pinku choice.

Someone should have done a better job vetting the nominating committee.

The more one looks at the list of movies, the less steady it appears.
Oops. Please tell me who not you... hopefully there are no more errors in my previous post...
That list of films that got only one vote I actually like better than the official list.

Naruse's usual suspects are great of course, but I wish someone had voted for The Echo aka Sound From the Mountains, and Ozu's Late Spring (with its devastating ending).

Glad to see the Koreans represented in that secondary list.
Not a big fan of the Dogme films, and I may have missed this, but what about the Dardennes? La Promesse is a great film.

Did I miss Moshen Makhmalbaf, and Behram Beyzai?

And what, still no King Hu?
The one vote for Alucard came from a voter who made clear that they knew their list didn't represent the greatest, but a list of their personal favorites, which is really what this survey is aiming for. In no way is it expected (nor should it be taken as) claiming to be authoritative or definitive. It's a sampling of film fans of all stripes from academics, journalists, critics and just plain fans.

Noel: Late Spring DID make the final, eligible list. La Promesse alas only got one vote and didn't make the cut.
So this is the list of "favorite" non-English films and not the "best" non-English films. Because when I hear a list is about the best works of art in general, I assume it is the great masterworks that deal with the human condition. So this is just a list of favorites by an elite group (and let's face it, the committee wasn't open to the general public so it is an elite group). As I pointed out, the inclusion of several of these selections I think proves the point that the elite group has some illerate members in it and that several movies that did not receive the three votes deserves to be on it.
The nominating committe might have been larger, but not everyone who got an invitation chose to contribute. As I said before, opening up the first round to an unlimited amount of people would have been unwieldy for one person (me) to tabulate since I don't have an accounting firm at my disposal. Sure, some great films didn't make the list and it's really the same problem you find with things like Oscar nominations each year, but some times pruning processes are necessary, even if imperfect. On the whole, I think it ended up being a pretty damn good list even with the slights. As for calling people illiterate for liking some films you disdain, everything is subjective. Remembering, opinions are like assholes: Everybody has one.
I think proves the point that the elite group has some illerate members

I think this proves that posters who have the unmitigated gall to call people illiterate should at least know how to spell the word, not to mention the proper use of grammar.

I don't see you complainers creating your own alternate lists on your blogs and/or websites. Was it Truffaut or Godard who said that the best criticism of a movie was to make another movie? So where are these alternate lists and voting procedures? All I'm seeing from people--and some of you I KNOW were invited to participate but did not--is bitching instead of action. Those who can, do. Those who can't, bitch.

Get over it. This is the list. If you don't like it, make your own, stick it on your blog and get people to vote for it. I'd be more than happy to vote on your list too. Otherwise, you is all as "illerate" as myself.
Okay, so I made a typo when I wrote "illerate". But I am not going to apologize for using the word illiterate. I believe that is the proper word.

I could have used some other word like "ignorant", but that would be wrong. I can see by the choices of movies (even the ones I disagree with) that the people are not ignorant of movies. Some choices are obscure to the point that only avid movie watchers would know the movies. Many people ignorant of films would not know a pinku or giallo film. So "ignorant" is the wrong term.

I say illiterate is the correct term. I do not think that some of your committee members understand how to interrupted cinema properly. If I gave you a list of the great works of literature and it included a couple of Doc Savage and Nancy Drew books in the list along with Shakespeare and Tolstoy, you wouldn't take me seriously. Would you say I was ignorant or stupid? No, because if I had read both Shakespeare and Tolstoy that would show intelligence. But the inclusion of Doc Savage and Nancy Drew as the best literature would show that I did not understand how to read books properly. What do I mean by properly? By the themes, imagery, symbolism, depth, motif, structure, etc. All these things are needed for critical literacy.

And the cinema is no different. Would you take the time to critically dissect the Cannonball Run movies or Dude, Where's My Car? I hope not. But if a person gives the same weight to those movies as they would to a Bergman, Amenábar, Kaurismaki, Welles or Kubrick film, then I can question why I should value the opinion of such a person.

Since your committee had more than one person vote for the Female Prisoner Scorpion movies, I can question the foundation of the final 121 movies. As you said more vulgarly, we all have opinions; however some don't need to be considered as heavily as others.
I do not think that some of your committee members understand how to interrupted cinema properly.

Yes, you are right. I don't know how to interrupted cinema properly. Damn me to Hell! I is illerate and can't interrupted either. Lawd, why am I still on dis Earth?

I can question the foundation of the final 121 movies. As you said more vulgarly, we all have opinions; however some don't need to be considered as heavily as others.

But yours certainly needs to be considered, and heavily too, n'est-ce pas? And you can question our choices, but we can't say anything about yours because somebody died and left you the Grand Duke Wizard of Artistic Interpretation.

I can question why I should value the opinion of such a person.

I could question why I value your opinion, but I don't. If you had a point outside of promoting your own perceived superiority, I would be glad to argue it or, hell, I might even agree with something. My continued interaction with you is due to some warped desire to play footsie with people who consistently hang themselves with their responses, especially those who call us illiterate yet can't spell or use proper grammar. Some of the people who have chosen movies for this list have 20-30 years of published film criticism under their belts, and, unlike you, know how to use a semi-colon and verbs.

I shall break this habit of amusing myself and leave you in the hands of others. But before I go, here's a properly spelled word for you to chew on: HYPOCRITE. If you don't know what that is, look it up in a mirror.
Perhaps the reason Polanski's Repulsion didn't make the cut is that, if I am not mistaken, it is in fact in English.
The fact that No Man's Land and Life is Beautiful did not make the top cut either means there are a lot of really high quality films here (no doubt), or something is very wrong with the process (which I suspect, since I find these films amazing.)

This is more of a "most popular" than "best" list. Sigh.
Right, seeker, the fact that one extremely popular recent film (Crouching Tiger) beat out another extremely popular recent film (Life Is Beautiful, one of the top-grossing foreign language films of all time) and another moderately popular recent film (No Man's Land, Academy award winner for Best Foreign Language Film) means that this list is just a popularity contest. And all those other films, like Satantango, Come and See, The Earrings of Madame De..., The Great Silence, Rocco and His Brothers, and Ugetsu monogatari, just to name some examples--choosing them for the final ballot is the cinematic equivalent of electing the high school quarterback as homecoming king. We're all slaves to fashion for naming a seven-hour Hungarian film, a harrowing 1980s Soviet war film, and a spaghetti western that has nothing to do with Sergio Leone--again, just to cite some examples. Or is it possible that I'm misunderstanding your argument?
Sigh, there are still so many movies I need to see.
Been away from a computer for a but but, well, a 1) and a 2). 1) This concept of illiterate, and most of the comments here, seem to be entirely overlooking what I tried to say earlier about canon formation and how lists like this, which I value, come about and take the shape they do. Seems like most people care more about parading their own opinion then thinking about the circumstances that shape that opinion. Oh well.

And 2) I, who in moments of that same instinct stated above pined for some more Rivette, Garrel, Raul Ruiz, Straub-Huillet, etc etc., actually does prefer Cannonball Run and other Hal Needham movies, especially Hooper, my personal favorite of his, to Bergman so I appreciate your choice of comparison. That's where your "illitert" tag is such a load of shit. One actually can like Ozu and John Landis.
Obviously I actually "do" not "does" prefer.
If I've sent in a post, is it too late to resend it, but with quotes? >_>
It's not too late. In fact, instead of re-sending the list, just label your e-mail SURVEY QUOTES and send the quotes alone. Thanks.
First of all, I'd like to thank Edward for initiating this whole discussion. I added to the list of "FILMS I WANT TO SEE" from the official list, the unofficial list, from comments, complaints and rants posted by others who appreciate celluloid magic. No doubt, it is a great source for future cinematic discoveries.

My problem with the list was mainly this. With truly great directors who created more than one masterpieces during their careers (Bergman, Tarkovsky), how do you choose one film?

I guess I'm slightly biased myself as I am from Eastern Europe, but I was upset to find out that Czech New Wave is not appreciated (or not available?), as well as Hungarian, Polish and Russian directors (I know there are a few films by Tarkovsky and Kieslowski in the official list and "Werckmeister Harmonies" in the unofficial). I would definitely choose other Tarkovsky's movies for the list ("Mirror" and "Stalker" and "Solaris"), I would include "Daisies," "Valerie and Her Week of Wonders," "Fruit of Paradise" and "Spirit of the Beehive." But again, I'm pleased with the existing list and with the ongoing discussion. Thanks!

P.S. I also wanted to mention the Phila Film Fest that is a great source for finding interesting foreign directors. It is a pity though that American films seem to dominate the festival's program in the recent years, while the number of foreign films decreases. This year I discovered Hungarian Gyorgy Palfi, who made "Taxidermia" and "Hukkle."
Nice project. I’ve seen every movie on the nominees list except for Eyes Without a Face and The Great Silence, but that will soon be remedied via Netflix. I was pleasantly surprised to find Satantango, Come and See, Y Tu Mama Tambien, and Talk to Her on the list, all great movies. I was disappointed that a number of (mostly) recent mediocre or just downright bad movies like Amelie, Amores Perros, Cinema Paradiso, City of God, Farewell My Concubine, and Run Lola Run (Tykwer’s Perfume is infinitely better, albeit it's in English) made the list.

Here is a list of movies I wish were included: Ching Siu-Tung's Swordsman II, Vittorio De Sica's Miracle in Milan, Arnaud Desplechin's My Sex Life...or How I Got Into an Argument, Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend and Hail Mary, Werner Herzog's Signs of Life, Hou Hsaio-hsien's The Time To Live and the Time To Die, Dust in the Wind, and A Summer at Grandpa's, Miklos Jancso's The Red and the White, Mikhail Kalatozov's I Am Cuba, Kenji Misumi's Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx, Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service, Yasujiro Ozu's Floating Weeds (and if silents were allowed, most definitely I Was Born, But... and Dragnet Girl), Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali, Jacques Rivette's La belle noiseuse, Le Pont du Nord, and Out 1, Roberto Rossellini's Voyage in Italy, Ettore Scola's We All Loved Each Other So Much, Ramesh Sippy's Sholay, Alain Tanner's Messidor, Tsai Ming-liang's Rebels of the Neon God, Jaco van Dormael's Toto le Heros, John Woo's The Killer, Edward Yang's Tapei Story, Zhang Yimou's Red Sorghum, and most of all, Andrei Tarkovsky's visual poem, Mirror.
I've just posted my ballot on my blog, along with a list of 25 films I think should have made the cut that didn't. here is that list, in rough order of my preference, and excluding La Jetée for being too short:
An Actor's Revenge (Kon Ichikawa, 1963)
Veronika Voss (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1982)
Tesis (Alejandro Amenábar, 1996)
The Mother and the Whore (Jean Eustache, 1973)
The Hunt (Carlos Saura, 1966)
In Vanda's Room (Pedro Costa, 2000)
Pepi Luci Bom y otras chicas del montón (Pedro Almodóvar, 1980)
L'Âge D'Or (Luis Buñuel, 1930)
Queimada (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1969)
Elevator to the Gallows (Louis Malle, 1958)
A Woman is a Woman (Jean-Luc Godard, 1961)
Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Elio Petri, 1970)
When A Woman Ascends the Stairs (Mikio Naruse, 1960)
Sauvage Innocence (Philippe Garrel, 2001)
Last Year at Marienbad (Alain Resnais, 1961)
Werckmeister Harmonies (Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky, 2000)
The Closet (Francis Veber, 2001)
Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahl, 1935)
The Spirit of the Beehive (Victor Erice, 1973)
I Am Cuba (Mikheil Kalatozishvili, 1964)
Two Women (Vittorio de Sica, 1960)
Even Dwarves Started Small (Werner Herzog, 1970)
Sicilia! (Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, 1999)
Lovers of the Arctic Circle (Julio Medem, 1998)
Tuvalu (Veit Helmer, 1999)

To say nothing of Mouchette, Pather Panchali, Flowers of Shanghai, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Viridiana, Vacas, Charulata, Sholay, The Kingdom, and LOADS of films I've forgotten or haven't yet seen.
Marienbad did make the list. And I nominated A Woman Is A Woman, but I fear I was alone in that.
sean, thanks for the correction... not sure how I missed that! I'll have to send in an updated top 25, then.
Hey Dave. Viridiana also made the list, and I can't agree more about Mouchette. At least Balthazar made it.
This is fun. Wasted my whole day so far on it.

- Glad to see COME AND SEE getting it's due had it played in the U.S. in the 80s it woulda made all those best of the decade lists

- Glad to see the horrible Life Is Beautiful NOT on the list. Yeah! Hate that overrated flick.

- Call me crazy isn't M a silent film (been a while)

- My number one? BATTLE OF ALGIERS

Here are some that would probably make my... at least top 40

DIABOLIQUES (Clouzot 1955) 

BEFORE THE RAIN  (Manchevski 1994)

HARD BOILED (Woo 2002)


KNIFE IN THE WATER (Polanski 1963)

PURPLE NOON (Clément 1960)

WEST BEIRUT (Doueiri 1998) 


]EL NORTE (Nava1983) 


LA CERCLE ROUGE (Melville 1970) 

- Okay and some others that would maybe... make my top 50
Elevator to the gallows
State Of Siege
Battle Royal
A Tale Of Two Sisters
That Obscure Object of Desire
Jean De Florette
The Kingdom
sweeneyrules - It obviously has been a while. M is most definitely not a silent film. Poor Fritz would roll over in his grave.

wug - Nice lists of mediocre films that made the list and good ones that didn't. One point though: the definitive version of Voyage in Italy is the English-language version which features the voice of Ingrid Bergman in one of her greatest performance. The same goes for Europa '51.

Edward - Thanks for posting the runner-up list. I'm glad to see that Muriel, which has long been one of my favorites, made that list and is finally getting some recognition thanks to its recent DVD release.
Good "favorites" list, this one. I fgiure I have 80 pluss in my collection. Not all of them. Yet.

Some of the greatest directors are over-represented, a few are altogether missing.

I think when one apllies maths on arts, well, miracles occur. Some titels get overrated, others underrated. And some just survive any ordeal, not unlike the film topping this list.

However, I strongly object on conversion of all-time-favorites into all-time-greats. The process is so seductive, there must be a conspiracy!

"Amelie" may gladly be one of my all-time faves, but boy, do I have an uphill task edging it into my own private all-time-greatest 25 non-english films. Of course you know what I mean. The same film will however find its place in a 100 list with same parameters. Therefore, I am glad to see it there. Be happy, wherever you are.
Strawberry and Chocolate
Interesting movies i check some of the trailers. I usually do not watch non English language movies but i will try to watch few of them and give you feedback.
Great list.
Nice list of movies you shared here. Rarely I watch non-English movies. The list you shared here, I would like to watch. top movies to watch
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