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Top 100 Foreign Films

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Top film lists, though inevitably subjective, have at least one positive property: they bunch together in one place many of the mostly highly regarded films, some which you might never have heard of, others which you might have been aware of but haven't gotten around to seeing, and others which you are surprised to see on the list of all ("what is THAT doing here?"). In fact, their very subjectivity may be their most valuable quality - it is only by encountering opinions and tastes unlike our own that we can stretch ourselves, make new discoveries, find unsuspected possibilities and riches in the world. If testimony is the medium which brings us to new worlds, then we should prize most the testimony which tells of unfamiliar and untrodden grounds. And foreign movies, more than those from our native land, can take us to new and interesting worlds, vistas unlike our own, with thoughts and insights we had not before considered or conceived. So we at Multilingual Books are happy to offer our own Top 100 Foreign Films list, inevitably subjective but not without its merits, to help you in your travels through the world.

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Rules of the Game
Jean Renoir
One of the great films of all time, a satirical anatomy of polite society, with a mixture of farce and bitterness. Set at a weekend party at the chateau of the rich Marquis de la Chayniest, the story concerns the complicated love intrigues among the aristocrats and the servants. But one guest's refusal to play by society's rules sets off a tragic chain of events. "A single scene gives us more for our senses, emotions, and intellect than most whole movies do" (The New Yorker). In French with English subtitles. The DVD is a Criterion Collection edition - a two-DVD set with an introduction by Jean Renoir; a commentary by film scholar Alexander Sesonske, read by Peter Bogdanovich; select scene commentaries by Renoir historian Christopher Faulkner; the French television program, Jean Renoir le Patron: La Regle et l'Exception (1966), featuring interviews with Renoir and actor Marcel Dalio; a video essay on the production; an interviews with Alain Renoir, Max Douhy; written tributes by Truffaut, Tavernier, Scrader, Wenders, and more; footage of Jean Gaborit and Jacques Durand discussing the film; and more. France, 1939, 106 mins.
DVD | $59.95  


8 1/2
Federico Fellini
Fellini's great autobiographical masterpiece is an audacious account of a film director during the course of making a film, finding himself trapped by his fears and insecurities. Continually inventive, with the performance of a lifetime from Marcello Mastroianni as Guido, the director. Also starring Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee, Sandra Milo, and Barbara Steele. "8 1/2 somehow coalesces for me, in many ways, the essence of cinema" (Terry Gilliam). The Criterion Collection edition is letterboxed, 16x9 widescreen; 2-disc set includes 1969 television documentary, Fellini: A Director's Notebook (52 mins.); Nino Rota: Between Cinema and Concert; interviews with Sandra Milo, Lina Wertmuller, and Vittorio Storaro; commentary by critics and scholars; introduction by Terry Gilliam; and much more. In Italian with English subtitles. Italy, 1963, 138 mins.
DVD - movie-only edition
$37.95  
DVD - Criterion Collection edition
$59.95  


French


Amelie
Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Jean-Pierre Jeunet creates a world of color, movement, romance and whimsy in a film that became a sensation in France and charmed audiences around the world. Audrey Tautou is delightful as a spirited waitress determined to help those around her find love and happiness, although her own romantic adventure proves to be a challenging one. Light as a feather, Amelie presents an idealized Paris that was shot on location, but which, through visual effects and eye-catching art direction, has the fantasized look of a Hollywood soundstage. Actor-director Mathieu Kassovitz co-stars as Amelie's love interest. A Cesar Award-winner for Best Film, Director, Music and Production Design. Letterboxed, 16x9 widescreen, closed-captioned; the 2-disc set includes several behind-the-scenes segments, interviews with director and cast, audition footage, trailers and TV spots, storyboard comparisons, music video, and much more. DVD in French with English subtitles; France/Germany, 2001, 122 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

The Dreamlife of Angels
Erick Zonca
This near-perfect feature film debut from Erick Zonca is an utterly convincing portrait of the bond between two women and its eventual destruction. Elodie Bouchez and Natasha Regnier deservedly shared Best Actress honors at Cannes for their fearless performances as two strangers who meet at work and quickly become close friends and roommates. The seemingly more secure of the pair reveals her devastating insecurities when she gives herself over to an unhealthy relationship with a cruelly insensitive man, bewildering her roommate and leading to tragic results. "...an exceptional rendition of a friendship that holds us by the grace and skill with which it re-creates the very shape and texture of reality" (Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times). French with English subtitles. France, 1998, 113 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Read My Lips
Jacques Audiard
A gripping and compelling thriller from director Jacques Audiard. Emmanuelle Devos (Esther Kahn) stars as a lonely, near-deaf, hard-working employee of a property development company. Needing an assistant, she hires a thief (Vincent Cassel, Brotherhood of the Wolf) just out of prison with no business experience. Frustrated and resentful, the two use each other's talents in order to launch a scheme of their own. "A brilliant Hitchcockian thriller" (Stephen Holden, New York Times). In French with English subtitles. France, 2001, 115 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

With a Friend Like Harry
Dominik Moll
This terrifically clever and subtle thriller shows the influence of Hitchcock and Chabrol but achieves its own darkly entertaining tone. A long-forgotten high school acquaintance quickly worms his way into the lives of an old classmate and his wife, admiring the former's amateurish teenaged writings a little too much. His presence at first seems entirely beneficial, but dark deeds will soon be revealed. "deftly ironic... This is a strange and funny film, smart, complex and difficult to shake" (Dave Kehr, New York Times). A.k.a. Harry, He's Here to Help. In French with English subtitles. France, 2000, 116 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

  

Bertrand Blier

Get Out Your Handkerchiefs
Bertrand Blier
Raoul is a doting husband who thinks the best way to pick up his wife's spirits is for her to have an affair. But a menage-a-trois with a bewildered stranger doesn't work, and finally hope arrives with precocious 13-year-old Christian, who achieves the seemingly impossible. An Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Film, this feature was also named Best Film by the National Society of Film Critics. Starring Gerard Depardieu, Patrick Dewaere, Carole Laure and Michel Serrault. French with English subtitles. DVD is letterboxed, and includes optional French audio and theatrical trailer. France, 1978, 109 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

  

Robert Bresson

Diary of a Country Priest
Robert Bresson
The story of an ailing priest who believes he has failed. Pauline Kael said: "Diary of a Country Priest is one of the most profound emotional experiences in the history of the cinema." A young priest arrives in the French country village of Ambricourt to attend to his first parish, but the apathetic and hostile rural congregation rejects him immediately. Through his diary entries, the suffering young man relays a crisis of faith that threatens to drive him away from the village and from God. The fourth film by Robert Bresson (Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne) finds the director beginning to implement his stylistic philosophy as a filmmaker, stripping away all inessential elements from his compositions, the dialogue and the music, and exacting a purity of image and sound. The DVD is a Criterion Collection edition, and features an audio commentary by film historian Peter Cowie, deleted scenes and the trailer. In French with English subtitles. France, 1951, 116 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

  

Claude Chabrol

Le Boucher
Claude Chabrol
A first rate psychological thriller from Claude Chabrol about the evolving relationship of a beautiful schoolteacher and a serial murderer. "In Chabrol's films, the relationships are plotted with a mathematical precision that does not rule out surprising developments" (Roy Armes). With Stephane Audran, Antonio Passallia, Mario Beccaria and Pasquale Ferone. French with English subtitles. France/Italy, 1969, 90 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

  

Rene Clement

Forbidden Games
Rene Clement
Rene Clement's beautiful allegory is the story of two children orphaned by the war who build a secret cemetery for animals and steal crosses from the church yard to mark the graves. Wonderfully natural performances from Georges Pojouly, whom Clement discovered in a camp, and Brigitte Fossey create a moving film about the effects of war on children. Winner at the Venice Film Festival and Best Foreign Film Oscar. French with English subtitles. France, 1952, 90 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

  

Henri-Georges Clouzot

The Wages of Fear
Henri-Georges Clouzot
An exercise in terror and suspense, this uncut version stars Yves Montand and Charles Vanel as uncertain comrades trapped in a South American village who identify because they are both French and both penniless. Desperate for a job, they agree to drive two trucks filled with nitroglycerine 300 miles over treacherous roads. Basil Wright called this film "the greatest suspense thriller of all time; it is the suspense not of mystery but of Damocles' sword." French with English subtitles. France, 1953, 148 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

  

Jean Cocteau

Beauty and the Beast
Jean Cocteau
Jean Cocteau's superb adaptation of Marie Leprince de Beaumont's dark fairy tale is a ferociously inventive and stylized depiction of erotic obsession, about a young woman's discovery of a ravaged soul beneath a monstrous beast. With Jean Marais, Josette Day and Marcel Andre. Cinematography by Henri Alekan. "A sensuously fascinating film, the visual progression of the fable into a dream-world casts its unpredictable spell" (Bosley Crowther, New York Times). French with English subtitles. The DVD is a Criterion Collection edition; includes an original opera written for the film by Philip Glass, commentaries by film historian Arthur Knight and cultural historian Christopher Frayling, an interview with Henri Alekan, original trailer narrated by Cocteau, photos and much more. France, 1946, 93 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

  

Jacques Demy

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Jacques Demy
Catherine Deneuve stars in this sumptuously photographed romantic musical of two lovers who are split up by the Algerian war. The girl marries another when she discovers she is pregnant. He also marries; yet they meet again. All dialog is sung; with haunting music by Michel LeGrand and lyrics by Demy, including the song, "I Will Wait for You." "A masterpiece! More beautiful and more startling than ever!" (New York Daily News). "The kind of movie that audiences will remember all their lives" (Chicago Tribune). French with English subtitles. France/Germany, 1964, 92 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

  

Jean-Luc Godard

Breathless
Jean-Luc Godard
The landmark film by Godard that helped to usher in the French New Wave. Jean-Paul Belmondo stars as a small-time hood on the run from the law, having an affair with an American girl in Paris (Jean Seberg). A film that owes much to American film noir and even B movies (it is dedicated to Monogram Pictures), yet its innovative visual style revolutionized the world of film. Based on a story by Francois Truffaut. "Godard's great innovation lies in the identification of the title to the camerawork and aesthetics of the film. With fast editing and unresolved camera movements, Godard disseminated the very essence of his hero's lifestyle..." (Spiros Gangas, Edinburgh University Film Society). In French with English subtitles. France, 1960, 89 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Contempt
Jean-Luc Godard
One of the best "movie movies" ever made, Contempt stars Michel Piccoli as a screenwriter called in to doctor the script of a film version of The Odyssey as his marriage to his stunningly sexy wife (Brigitte Bardot) falls apart. The legendary Fritz Lang plays himself as the movie's director and Jack Palance is hilariously arrogant as the American producer. References to the Homer tale and contemporary movie culture abound in this endlessly fascinating movie shot in Cinemascope and Technicolor. Colin MacCabe went so far as to call it "the greatest work of art produced in post-war Europe," in Sight and Sound. French with English subtitles. The DVD is a Criterion Collection edition. This letterboxed, 2-disc set includes audio commentary by film scholar Robert Stam; The Dinosaur and the Baby, an hour-long conversation between Godard and Fritz Lang from 1967; theatrical trailer; interview with cinematographer Raoul Coutard; and two short 1964 documentaries by Jacques Rozier: Contempt: Bardot et Godard and Paparazzi. France/Italy, 1963, 103 mins.
DVD | $54.95  

  

Jean-Pierre Melville

Le Samourai
Jean-Pierre Melville
Melville's classic film noir masterpiece stars Alain Delon as a cool and mysterious contract killer who lives by a personal code of bushido, moving in and out of shadows in the Parisian rain wearing a trenchcoat and a fedora hiding his eyes. A mythical revenge story with Cathy Rosier as a jazz piano player who witnesses one of his hits but doesn't tell the police. With Nathalie Delon. "The closest thing to a perfect movie that I have ever seen" (John Woo). Criterion Collection Edition. Letterboxed. Includes video interviews with film historians Rui Nogueira and Ginette Vincendeau, excerpts from archival interviews with Alain Delon, Cathy Rosier, Nathalie Delon, and Francois Perier, trailer, essays by David Thompson and John Woo, and more. In French with English subtitles. France, 1967, 95 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

  

Claude Miller

Alias Betty
Claude Miller
From the underrated Claude Miller comes this intricately plotted film (based on a novel by Ruth Rendell) in which the tragic death of a single woman's son leads her unstable mother to kidnap another child to take his place. Several unexpected twists and turns lead the film into thriller territory, but Miller never sacrifices the emotional reality of his characters to the plot. Great performances from Sandrine Kiberlain and Nicole Garcia, who shared Best Actress honors at the Chicago International Film Festival. A.k.a. Betty Fisher and Other Stories. French with English subtitles. DVD is letterboxed; includes a behind-the-scenes segment and theatrical trailer. France, 2001, 101 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

  

Jean Renoir

Grand Illusion
Jean Renoir
A beautiful, pristine version of Jean Renoir's great masterpiece, a classic comment on war's fading glory. The print used for this release was remastered from an original camera negative discovered in the late 1990s, allowing this sublime classic to be seen, for the first time in decades, exactly as Renoir intended. Set in WW I, the film tells of two French officers captured by German forces. Interred in a prison camp, the two officers encounter Von Rauffenstein, an aristocratic career officer played by Erich von Stroheim. With Jean Gabin and Pierre Fresnay. French with English subtitles. France, 1937, 117 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

Rules of the Game
Jean Renoir
One of the great films of all time, a satirical anatomy of polite society, with a mixture of farce and bitterness. Set at a weekend party at the chateau of the rich Marquis de la Chayniest, the story concerns the complicated love intrigues among the aristocrats and the servants. But one guest's refusal to play by society's rules sets off a tragic chain of events. "A single scene gives us more for our senses, emotions, and intellect than most whole movies do" (The New Yorker). In French with English subtitles. The DVD is a Criterion Collection edition - a two-DVD set with an introduction by Jean Renoir; a commentary by film scholar Alexander Sesonske, read by Peter Bogdanovich; select scene commentaries by Renoir historian Christopher Faulkner; the French television program, Jean Renoir le Patron: La Regle et l'Exception (1966), featuring interviews with Renoir and actor Marcel Dalio; a video essay on the production; an interviews with Alain Renoir, Max Douhy; written tributes by Truffaut, Tavernier, Scrader, Wenders, and more; footage of Jean Gaborit and Jacques Durand discussing the film; and more. France, 1939, 106 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

  

Eric Rohmer

Boyfriends and Girlfriends
Eric Rohmer
Eric Rohmer is in top form in this saucy French bedroom comedy about two women, two men, and one deliciously happy ending. A continuation of Rohmer's Comedies et proverbes cycle, the magic of Boyfriends and Girlfriends is not only the power of observation, the breeziness of its humorous style, but its incredible irony and charm. Rohmer has transposed the action to a Paris suburb, where Blanche, an attractive young woman, restlessly moves between two men who come into her life. French with yellow English subtitles. France, 1987, 101 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

  

Jacques Tati

Mon Oncle
Jacques Tati
A masterpiece by the great French comic Jacques Tati, with Monsieur Hulot (Tati) set loose in a house where gadgets overpower everything. Inventive sound effects and minimal dialogue contribute to Tati's wry humor and sensational slapstick. "...a series of brilliant and original sight and sound gags. Monsieur Hulot's second screen appearance was enough to put him among the immortals" (Faber Companion to Foreign Film). The DVD is a Criterion Collection Edition, with restored image and sound, and includes Tati's 1947 short, L'Ecole des Facteurs, and an introduction by Monty Python's Terry Jones. In French with English subtitles. France, 1958, 116 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Playtime
Jacques Tati
Called one of the funniest men in the world by the New York Times, Jacques Tati shows his genius in Playtime, an hilarious comedy and satire on coping with the modern world. For Tati's now-legendary character, M. Hulot, everything seems to be against him--a glass-fronted airport, a new restaurant, even a supermarket. Full of visual gags and inventive use of sound, Playtime is one of the most imaginative films ever made. The DVD is a 2 disc Criterion Collection Edition, and includes video introduction by Terry Jones, selected scene commentary by film historian Philip Kemp, Au-dela de "Playtime" short documentary featuring archival behind-the-scenes footage, Tati Story featurette, "Jacques Tati in Monsieur Hulot's Work" 1976 BBC Omnibus program, audio interview with Tati from the U.S. debut of Playtime, video interview with script supervisor Sylvette Baudrot, Cours du soir 1967 short film written by and starring Tati, alternate soundtrack, and a new essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum. In French with English subtitles. France, 1967, 124 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

  

Andre Techine

My Favorite Season (Ma Saison Preferee)
Andre Techine
Techine's fascinating, dark and somber story of a middle-aged brother and sister (Catherine Deneuve and Daniel Auteuil), a provincial lawyer and a skilled surgeon, respectively, who begin to come to terms with what they have become professionally and personally when their aging mother (Marthe Villalonge) begins to disintegrate after a stroke. Techine himself describes Ma Saison Preferee as a film "about individuality and the frigity of the modern world." French with English subtitles. France, 1993, 124 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Francois Truffaut

The 400 Blows
Francois Truffaut
One of the landmarks of cinema, which introduced the character of Antoine Doinel, played by Jean-Pierre Leaud, to the world, as the 12-year-old boy left to his own devices in an indifferent adult world. An uncompromising film, winner of innumerable awards. Criterion Collection Edition, includes Antoine and Colette (1962), audio commentaries by film historian Brian Stonehill and Truffaut friend Robert Lachenay, audition footage of Jean-Pierre Leaud, Patrick Auffay, and Richard Kanayan, newsreel footage of Leaud in Cannes, excerpt from a TV program with Truffaut, TV interview with Truffaut, and trailer. French with English subtitles. France, 1959, 97 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Shoot the Piano Player
Francois Truffaut
Charles Aznavour is the skilled concert pianist whose role in his wife's suicide has made him hide from life by playing in a bistro. But life and love refuse to pass him by, and inevitably he is drawn back into feeling once again. The film includes many touches of light humor, including Truffaut's homage to American gangster films. French with English subtitles. The DVD is a 2 disc Criterion Collection Edition, and includes audio commentary by film scholars Annette Insdorf and Peter Brunette, video interviews with actors Charles Aznavour and Marie Dubois, video interview with Raoul Coutard (2003), interview with Truffaut collaborator Suzanne Schiffman (1986), excerpts from a 1965 episode of Cineastes de notre temps, excerpt from Etoiles et toiles featuring Truffaut, The Music of Georges Delerue featurette, trailer, essay by film critic Kent Jones, and more. France, 1960, 80 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

Agnes Varda

Vagabond
Agnes Varda
Agnes Varda's extraordinarily bleak account of a young woman's death and life. In a breathtaking performance, Sandrine Bonnaire (La Ceremonie) is Mona, a waif who drops out of Parisian society to wander the southwest French countryside, exploring the open spaces and implicit freedom absent in her life. In the opening scene, her body is discovered frozen. Varda expertly recounts her life, carefully dissecting French society. Winner, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actress, L.A. Film Critics Association. In French with English subtitles. France, 1985, 105 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

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German


Rainer W. Fassbinder

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
Rainer W. Fassbinder
Fassbinder's Ali is the outrageous, touching story of the bumpy love affair between a sixtyish German floor washer and an inarticulate Arab mechanic barely half her age. A moving romance, a perverse social comedy, a biting drama of racial prejudice, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is all these things, although in Fassbinder's freewheeling vision it is not always easy to tell where one leaves off and another begins. Based on Douglas Sirk's classic melodrama, All That Heaven Allows. Winner of the International Critics Prize, Cannes Film Festival. The DVD is a Criterion Collection edition and includes an introduction by director Todd Haynes, interviews, the original theatrical trailer, the short film, Fear is the Soul (2002), the 35-minute BBC documentary, Signs of a Vigorous Life: New German Cinema and more. In German with English subtitles. West Germany, 1974, 94 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

Werner Herzog

Aguirre: The Wrath of God
Werner Herzog
"One of the great, mad, passionate, foolhardy masterpieces - as reckless and as brilliant as Greed or Apocalypse Now" (Roger Ebert). Shot on location in the Amazon, Klaus Kinski is Aguirre, searching for El Dorado - the mythical City of Gold. "...a cumulative power and genuinely hypnotic force that is hard to deny" (Derek Malcolm, The Guardian). German with English subtitles. The DVD includes audio commentary by Werner Herzog, theatrical trailers, German and English soundtrack options. West Germany, 1972, 94 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Fritz Lang

M
Fritz Lang
Behind every great suspense thriller lurks the shadow of M. In this, Fritz Lang's first sound film, Peter Lorre delivers a haunting performance as the cinema's first serial killer, a whistling pedophile who terrorizes a large city when he murders a series of schoolgirls, and is hunted by the police and brought to trial by the forces of the Berlin underworld through a network of beggars. Inspired by the real-life "vampire of Dusseldorf," Fritz Lang's film is one of the key achievements of German Expressionism, and became one of the main influences on the aesthetics of film noir. Peter Lorre's performance as the murderer is one of the great screen performances of all time, in one of the greatest films of the century. Grieg's "Peer Gynt Suite" will never sound the same! German with English subtitles. Germany, 1931, 111 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Friedrich W. Murnau

Nosferatu
Friedrich W. Murnau
The definitive vampire movie, and one of the most famous silent films of all time. One of Murnau's best known films, Nosferatu's eerie telling of the Dracula story was filmed on location in the mountains, towns, and castles of Bavaria. This German Expressionist "symphony of horror" is brilliantly infused with the subtle tones of nature: both pure and fresh, as well as twisted and sinister. Restored and color tinted, this version was remastered from a 35mm negative and includes inter-titles freshly translated from the original German script. Speed corrected. The DVD comes in two editions: 1) the Image DVD edition includes a new music score by The Silent Orchestra in 5.1 Dolby Digital audio with commentary by German silent film connoisseur Lokke Heiss; 2) the Kino DVD edition includes lengthy excerpts from six other Murnau films, a choice of two musical scores, scene comparison (novel, screenplay and film), and a photo gallery. Germany, 1922, 93 mins.
DVD - Image DVD edition
$44.95  
DVD - Kino DVD edition
$37.95  

Volker Schlondorff

The Tin Drum
Volker Schlondorff
The 1979 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Film. The Tin Drum is a masterpiece of dazzling exuberance and originality adapted from the novel by Gunter Grass. The film is a stunning parable of modern society in violent transition narrated by a unique hero for our times - Oskar, a boy who decides at three not to grow any older. The DVD is a two disc Criterion Collection Edition set, and includes commentary by director and cowriter Volker Schlondorff; an isolated music track; deleted scenes; Volker Schlondorff Remembers The Tin Drum, a 21-minute montage featuring Schlondorff's thoughts and recollections about the film; a collection of video interviews with Schlondorff, actor David Bennent, cowriter Jean-Claude Carriere, actor Mario Adorf, and author Gunter Grass; a 1987 recording of Grass reading an excerpt from the novel, accompanied by percussionist Gunter "Baby" Sommer; an excerpt of the screenplay's original, unfilmed ending; Banned in Oklahoma, a documentary by Gary D. Rhodes following the lawsuit revolving around the film; production sketches, designs and promotional art; the original theatrical trailer; optional English subtitles; and more. German with English subtitles. West Germany, 1979, 142 min.
DVD | $59.95  

Tom Tykwer

Run Lola Run
Tom Tykwer
This stylish cinematic exercise and art house box-office smash is an exciting, non-stop affair in which the flaming-red-haired Lola is given twenty minutes to get $100,000 to her boyfriend before the mob kills him. The film plays out this scenario three different ways, each building in visceral suspense to a different outcome. A thrill ride with an abundance of visual flair. Audience Award winner, Sundance Film Festival. The DVD is letterboxed and closed-captioned, with audio commentary, music video, trailers. In German with English subtitles. Germany, 1998, 81 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Wim Wenders

The American Friend
Wim Wenders
Using Patricia Highsmith's novel Ripley's Game, Wim Wenders made this spellbinding existential thriller, which moves from the docks of Hamburg to the streets of New York. Dennis Hopper plays Ripley, an art forger and sociopath who lures desperate family man Bruno Ganz deeper and deeper into international intrigue and murder. With appearances by Sam Fuller, Nicholas Ray, Jean Eustache, Gerard Blain and Daniel Schmid. The DVD is letterboxed, 16x9 widescreen., and includes commentary by Wim Wenders and Dennis Hopper, deleted scenes, and talent bios. In German and English with English subtitles. West Germany, 1977, 127 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

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Italian


Big Deal on Madonna Street
Mario Monicelli
A hilarious satire on all burglary capers, Mario Monicelli's stylish film is now a classic account of the misadventures of a group of amateurish crooks (Vittorio Gassman, Marcello Mastroianni, Renato Salvatori, Rossana Rory) as they attempt a robbery. "One of the funniest Italian comedies ever made...Monicelli's sense of character is priceless" (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader). In Italian with English subtitles. The DVD is a Criterion Collection edition, and includes original theatrical trailer. Italy, 1958, 106 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Michelangelo Antonioni

L'Avventura
Michelangelo Antonioni
A film about the fragility of human relationships which established Antonioni as one of the giants of world cinema. A young woman disappears mysteriously on a yachting trip. Her lover and best friend search for her, but they become involved in an affair along the way. "Our drama is non-communication," said Antonioni, "and it is this feeling that dominates the characters in my film." With Monica Vitti and Gabriele Ferzetti. Winner of the Special Jury Award at the Cannes Film Festival. The DVD is a Letterboxed Criterion Collection edition, and includes Gianfranco Mingozzi's documentary, Antonioni: Documents and Testimonials; writings by Antonioni read by Jack Nicholson; Nicholson's recollections of the director; reprint of Antonioni's statements about L'Avventura, following its Cannes premiere; original theatrical trailer. In Italian with English subtitles. Italy, 1960, 143 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

Blow-Up
Michelangelo Antonioni
The classic film questioning the relationship between image and reality; David Hemmings plays a fashion photographer who photographs a woman (Vanessa Redgrave) in a park and later comes to believe that he has actually photographed a murder. Through the photograph, Hemmings is lured out of his life to search for the truth. The DVD is letterboxed and closed-captioned, and includes French and Spanish subtitles and a French language track. Great Britain, 1966, 111 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Bernardo Bertolucci

Last Tango in Paris
Bernardo Bertolucci
Powerful, explosive, erotic, political film that took the world by storm; Maria Schneider and Marlon Brando co-star in this film of love, sex and will. "The most powerfully erotic film ever made," wrote Pauline Kael. "Last Tango is a genuine masterpiece of staggering proportions," said Newsweek. English dialog. Uncut, X-rated version. Italy, 1974, 129 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Vittorio De Sica

The Bicycle Thief
Vittorio De Sica
Perhaps the single most important and moving film of Italian neo-realism, Bicycle Thief tells the deceptively simple story of an unemployed man finding work to paste up signs, work requiring a bicycle, which is then stolen. 2-DVD Criterion Collection edition. New restored, high-definiton transfer. Includes a new collection of interviews, a new program on Italian neorealism, a documentary on screenwriter Cesare Zavattini, optional English-dubbed soundtrack, improved English subtitles, and a booklet with new essays and classic writings. A landmark of cinema. Italian with English subtitles. Italy, 1948, 90 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

Umberto D
Vittorio De Sica
One of the masterpieces of Italian Neo-Realist cinema - the Italian postwar Renaissance. The story centers on a retired civil servant, living only on his pension, whose best friend is his dog. Unable to survive on his meager income, he sacrifices a part of his pension for his dog, and is evicted by his landlady for non-payment of rent. "Infused with so much awareness that the screen seems luminous" (Pauline Kael, The New Yorker). In Italian with English subtitles. The DVD is a Criterion Collection edition, and includes a new high-definition digital transfer, an interview with actress, Maria Pia Casilio, an essay by Stuart Klawans, the made-for-Italian television documentary, This Is Life: Vittorio De Sica. Italy, 1952, 89 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Federico Fellini

8 1/2
Federico Fellini
Fellini's great autobiographical masterpiece is an audacious account of a film director during the course of making a film, finding himself trapped by his fears and insecurities. Continually inventive, with the performance of a lifetime from Marcello Mastroianni as Guido, the director. Also starring Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee, Sandra Milo, and Barbara Steele. "8 1/2 somehow coalesces for me, in many ways, the essence of cinema" (Terry Gilliam). The Criterion Collection edition is letterboxed, 16x9 widescreen; 2-disc set includes 1969 television documentary, Fellini: A Director's Notebook (52 mins.); Nino Rota: Between Cinema and Concert; interviews with Sandra Milo, Lina Wertmuller, and Vittorio Storaro; commentary by critics and scholars; introduction by Terry Gilliam; and much more. In Italian with English subtitles. Italy, 1963, 138 mins.
DVD - movie-only edition
$37.95  
DVD - Criterion Collection edition
$59.95  

Nights of Cabiria
Federico Fellini
The third of Fellini's "trilogy of solitude" (after La Strada and Il Bidone), Nights of Cabiria features Giulietta Masina as an impoverished prostitute living on the outskirts of Rome, who is betrayed by her faith in human nature. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, Masina's performance is widely considered one of the great performances in film history. This restored edition includes a seven-minute sequence involving a mysterious charitable donator that was originally censored by the Catholic Church. "To see Giulietta Masina in Nights of Cabiria is to witness the indomitability of life itself" (Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times). The DVD is a Criterion Collection edition, and is uncut, restored,and has an interview with Dominique Delouche, restoration demonstration, with English subtitles. Italian with English subtitles. Italy, 1957, 117 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

Sergio Leone

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Sergio Leone
The third and best Sergio Leone "Dollars" Western. Set during the Civil War, three men out on the skids search for a treasure chest of the Confederates, each knowing a little about its whereabouts. A great musical score by Ennio Morricone. With Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef. A brilliant spaghetti Western and Leone at his best. The 1st DVD is widescreen, with 14 minutes of extra footage, trailer, and English, French & Spanish subtitles. The 2nd DVD is an extended 3-hour widescreen version, digitally remastered with 5.1 audio, with English, Spanish, French subtitles, and includes a commentary by film historian Richard Schickel; behind-the-scenes, Sergio Leone, and Civil War documentaries; featurettes on Ennio Morricone and audio recording; deleted scenes; a poster gallery; postcards; and more. Italy/Spain, 1967, 161 mins.
DVD | $37.95  
DVD (extended 3-hour version)
$44.95  

Once Upon a Time in the West
Sergio Leone
One of the greatest films of all time by the great Sergio Leone, uncut. Henry Fonda is the ruthless psychopath, Jason Robards the half-breed falsely accused of a terrible slaughter, and Charles Bronson "The Man" who remembers how his brother was savagely tortured. Brilliant direction by Leone achieves a film of epic significance, shot in dazzling Monument Valley locations. The DVD is a Special Collector's Edition two-DVD set, and is letterboxed, closed-captioned; includes a commentary track with director John Carpenter, John Milius, Alex Cox and more; three bonus documentaries; a featurette; a location gallery; and a French language track. USA, 1968, 165 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Accattone!
Pier Paolo Pasolini
This is simply one of the most important films of the last 40 years, and a milestone in Italian filmmaking. A parable of redemption set in the slums of Rome, Accattone "The Scrounger" (Franco Citti) lives as a thief, beggar and pimp. He's in love with Stella, tries to reform her, but fails. Accattone!, the debut film of Pier Paolo Pasolini, is notable for its rough-edged style, its cool, unhysterical portrait of corruption, cruelty, and violence, and its quiet lyricism marked one of the most significant directorial debuts of the sixties." (Georges Sadoul). In Italian with English subtitles. Italy, 1961, 120 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

The Decameron
Pier Paolo Pasolini
The first part of Pasolini's "trilogy of life" (followed by The Canterbury Tales and Arabian Nights) is based on the ribald tales of Boccaccio, which deal with human sensuality and artistic creation. Pasolini has refashioned the 100 tales into a collection of 11 sketches that are at the same time erotic, political, humorous and autobiographical. Pasolini himself appears in the role of the painter Giotto. The DVD is letterboxed, 16x9 widescreen, and ncludes optional French and Spanish subtitles, original theatrical trailer. In Italian with English subtitles. Italy, 1971, 111 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Paolo Taviani/Vittorio Taviani

Night of the Shooting Stars
Paolo Taviani/Vittorio Taviani
This magical film by the Taviani Brothers is set on the night of the Feast of St. Lawrence during the last days of World War II. A woman recalls her beloved and a night years ago when, on another such night, a group of peasants fled through the Tuscan countryside amid exploding shells lighting up the sky instead of stars. The film is a beautiful tapestry of fact, myth and wartime memory, romantic and intense. Italian with English subtitles. Italy, 1982, 106 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Padre Padrone
Paolo Taviani/Vittorio Taviani
A shepherd boy from the backwaters of Sardinia molds himself into a linguistic scholar. This simple tale forms the foundation of one of the most important recent Italian films - a major statement on the third world cycle of poverty. Using non-actors for its cast, the film won universal acclaim and the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Italian with English subtitles. Italy, 1977, 117 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Giuseppe Tornatore

Cinema Paradiso (Extended version)
Giuseppe Tornatore
This crowd-pleasing, Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner is an affectionate salute to the magic of the movies and the individuals who spend their lives in the projection booth. Philippe Noiret stars as Alfredo, the projectionist for a small Sicilian village movie palace, who opens up new worlds for one very inquisitive child. With Jacques Perrin, Salvatore Cascio, Pupella Maggio and Marco Leonardi. This is the extended version of the film released in 2002, with 51 minutes of footage cut from the original 1989 U.S. release. The DVD also includes the original, 123-minute 1989 release version. Italian with English subtitles. Italy, 1989, 173 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Luchino Visconti

The Leopard
Luchino Visconti
Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale star in what many consider Luchino Visconti's greatest film. Based on the novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, the epic story follows Prince Fabrizio Salina (Lancaster) and his family as their prominent place in the aristocracy is threatened during the unification of Italy. This visually opulent masterpiece was first widely released in a poorly dubbed and edited, 165-minute version, printed in an inferior color process. This is a restored, Italian version, with its magnificent color intact, although it is still 25 minutes shorter than the version that won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. "...one of the grandest widescreen historical epics...Visconti ends his film with a stunning ball scene, in which all his visual powers, his philosophical doubts and ruminations are in evidence" (Derek Malcolm, The Guardian). This is a three-DVD set Criterion Collection edition, and includes the 187-min. Italian-language version and a new transfer of the 161-min. American release, with English-language dialogue (including Burt Lancaster's actual voice); a commentary by film scholar Peter Cowie; a new 60-min. documentary featuring interviews with Claudia Cardinale, screenwriter Suso Ceccho D'Amico, cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno, Sydney Pollack, and more; an interview with professor Millicent Marcus of the University of Pennsylvania; the original theatrical trailers; a stills gallery; optional English subtitles; and more. Italian with English subtitles. Italy/France, 1963, 180 mins.
DVD | $69.95  

Rocco and His Brothers
Luchino Visconti
Luchino Visconti's brilliant work concentrates on the dramatic clash between two differing value systems - an intellectual belief in the cause of progress and emotional nostalgia for a decaying past. The struggle is played out by two sons, Rocco (Alain Delon), a gentle boy, who is in conflict with Simone (Renato Salvatori), a loutish boxer. Both are in love with Nadia (Annie Girardot), a prostitute, and are bound by old traditions that neither can escape. Considered by many critics to be Visconti's greatest film. Italian with English subtitles. Italy, 1960, 170 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Lina Wertmuller

Seven Beauties
Lina Wertmuller
Giancarlo Giannini plays Pasqualino Frafuso, an aspiring small-time gangster whose moral conscience is constantly overcome by his driving instincts for survival. His efforts lead him from jail to mental hospital to concentration camp, and with each departure he thinks he has left the worst behind. A huge success in the U.S., Seven Beauties features first-rate performances from Giannini and Fernando Rey. 2-DVD Collector's Set. Includes interview with Lina Wertmuller by Italian film critic Carlo Lizzani, and 5.1 sound. In Italian with English subtitles. Italy, 1976, 111 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

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Portuguese


Black Orpheus
Marcel Camus
Marcel Camus' quintessential love story based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is set against the vivid backdrop of carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Orpheus, the streetcar conductor, falls hopelessly in love with Eurydice. Winner of the Grand Prize at Cannes as well as an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. DVD in Portuguese with English subtitles; Brazil, 1958, 103 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

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Spanish


Amores Perros
Alejandro Gonzalez
This explosive, whirlwind of a debut feature from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has been compared to Pulp Fiction thanks to its intertwining multiple narratives and bold, kinetic style. But where Tarantino's film was inseparable from its movie-obsessed elements and genre-based influences, Amores Perros has more gravity - combining morality tales with realistic, visceral portrayals of desperate living and broken dreams. Three separate stories, all somehow involving dogs, connect through a car crash in Mexico City. Despite some scenes of extreme violence, the film is as thoughtful as it is intense. Named Best Film at the Chicago, Tokyo and Moscow International Film Festivals, among many other honors. The DVD is letterboxed and closed-captioned, and includes optional English and French dubbed soundtracks, with optional French and Spanish subtitles; audio commentary; "making of" segment; music videos; and theatrical trailer. In Spanish with English subtitles. Inarritu Mexico, 2000, 153 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Y Tu Mama Tambien
Alfonso Cuaron
This funny, highly sexual road film was a great critical and popular success. Alfonso Cuaron fully indulges the bawdy, youthful humor and frank sex scenes while subtly commenting on modern Mexico's economic and social barriers. Gael Garcia Bernal (Amores Perros) and Diego Luna (Before Night Falls) play two sex-obsessed teenagers who convince the beautiful wife (Maribel Verdu of Goya in Bordeaux) of Luna's cousin to join them on a getaway to the beach. The older, heartbroken woman teaches the boys about emotional and physical honesty as they pass through a rather desolate roadside world. "...raunchy, smart, ebullient, melancholy, insightful, surprising, funny, frank and sexy as all get-out" (Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune). Original unrated theatrical version. In Spanish with English subtitles. Mexico, 2001, 105 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Luis Bunuel

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
Luis Bunuel
Six characters are forever trying to sit down for a meal, but bizarre events - dreams, fantasies, guests, terrorists - interfere. Bunuel's brilliant satire lampoons the church, diplomats, wealthy socialites and radical terrorists and is a pure joy to watch. With Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Stephane Audran, Bulle Ogier, Jean-Pierre Cassel and Michel Piccoli. Academy Award winner, Best Foreign Film. Winner, Best Film, National Society of Film Critics. The DVD is a letterboxed, 2-disc Criterion special edition, and includes The Survivor on the Street of Providence (Arturo Ripstein/Rafael Castanedo, Mexico, 1970), a documentary short on Bunuel; A Proposito de Bunuel (Jose Luis Lopez Linares/Javier Rioyo, Mexico, 2000), a feature-length documentary portrait; theatrical trailer; Bunuel's perfect martini recipe and more. French with English subtitles. France, 1972, 100 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

Belle de Jour
Luis Bunuel
A masterpiece from Luis Bunuel in which the cool Catherine Deneuve sparkles as a respectable middle-class wife with a very contented husband, who finds a day job in a brothel that gives her an outlet for deeper, darker passions. "Bunuel constructs both a clear portrait of the bourgeoisie as degenerate, dishonest and directionless, and an unhysterical depiction of Deneuve's inner fantasy life where she entertains dreams of humiliations galore" (Geoff Andrew). The DVD is letterboxed, and includes audio commentary by Bunuel scholar Julie Jones, original and re-release trailers, and optional English-dubbed track. French with English subtitles. France, 1967, 100 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

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Czech


Closely Watched Trains
Jiri Menzel
An ironic, funny film about a young man on his first job in a small town railroad station, trying to get sexually initiated (in hilarious scenes), who, unwittingly, becomes a tragic hero. Offbeat but tender, Closely Watched Trains is a comedy about frustration, eroticism and adventure. Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Picture. With Vaclav Neckar and Jitka Bendova. In Czech with English subtitles. Czechoslovakia, 1966, 93 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

The Shop on Main Street
Jan Kadar/Elmar Klos
A haunting work about the intersecting of the political and personal, developed through the strange yet touching relationship of an elderly Jewish shop owner and a passive carpenter whom the Nazis appoint as her "Aryan controller." Winner of the 1966 Best Foreign Film Oscar. With Ida Kaminska and Josef Kroner. "It manages to translate the apocalyptic tragedy of our century into human terms and to do so with laughter and tears, with scorn and passion" (Judith Crist). In Slovak with English subtitles. Czechoslovakia, 1965, 128 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Milos Forman

The Firemen's Ball
Milos Forman
One of the hallmarks of the Czech New Wave, Milos Forman's anarchic and freewheeling black comedy is a wry and devastating parable about Stalinist authoritarianism. The inventive story concerns the rituals surrounding a small town's celebration of a retiring fire chief and a bizarre beauty pageant. A trenchant commentary about the social and political order. Screenplay by Ivan Passer and Jaroslav Papousek. Cinematography by Miroslav Ondricek. The DVD is a Criterion Collection edition, and includes interview with Milos Forman, a behind-the-scenes look at the transfer process, and new and improved subtitle translation. Forman's last Czech film. Czech with English subtitles. Czechoslovakia, 1967, 73 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Loves of a Blonde
Milos Forman
Milos Forman's great comedy is an acute satire of Czech daily life. The film focuses on the relationship of a factory girl and a touring piano player. After spending a night together in a provincial town, she suddenly appears at the doorstep of his parents' house with devastating results. With Hana Brejchova, Josef Sebanek and Vladimir Pucholt. "Compassionate, painfully true and continually beguiling" (Time Magazine). The DVD is a Criterion Collection edition, and includes interview with Milos Forman, deleted scene, and new and improved subtitle translation. Czech with English subtitles. Czechoslovakia, 1965, 88 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

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Danish


Babette's Feast
Gabriel Axel
"Subtle, funny and deeply felt...an instant masterpiece" (Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide). Stephane Audran is Babette, an exiled French cook-housekeeper for a pair of devoutly religious, elderly Danish sisters. When she wins a lottery she asks to prepare a Gallic feast for the women and their friends to show her appreciation. Based on the short story by Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen). Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. DVD in Danish with English subtitles; Denmark, 1987, 102 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

The Celebration
Thomas Vinterberg
Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, this riveting feature, filmed in a deliberately raw fashion, veers between being the bleakest of tragedies and the most astonishing of black comedies. A well-to-do family gathers for a weekend reunion, where rivalries and insecurities pale next to the dark secret shared by the father and his favorite son. Made as part of the Dogme 95 collective (which includes Lars Von Trier), a group devoted to making movies with as little technical polish as possible - no artificial lighting, sets or props, with an emphasis on hand-held camerawork and gritty realism. This film was shot on digital video before being transferred to film. "Imagine Eugene O'Neill and Woody Allen collaborating on a screenplay about a family reunion. Now let Luis Bunuel direct it" (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times). The DVD includes Spanish and French subtitles and the theatrical trailer. In German and Danish with English subtitles; Denmark, 1998, 106 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

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Norwegian


Insomnia
Erik Skjoldbjaerg
Stellan Skarsgard (Breaking the Waves, Good Will Hunting) stars in this atmospheric and potent feature about a detective who accidentally kills his own partner and tries to cover it up while continuing the investigation he is assigned to. "Formidable. Insomnia is virtually flawless as it builds inexorably to a finish as impossible to predict as it is satisfying" (Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times). Norwegian with English subtitles; Norway, 1997, 97 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

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Polish


The Saragossa Manuscript
Wojciech J. Has
A movie that deserves its cult classic status. Based on the novel The Manuscript Found in Saragossa, by Jan Potocki, this mind-bending and witty tale chronicles the adventures of a Walloon guard under the King of Spain. Something of a Don Juan, this colorful 19th-century character must pass numerous tests to prove his courage, honesty and honor in order to become a member of the powerful Mauretanian family. Polish screen idol Zbigniew Cybulski stars. "Those who like a challenge and can handle a dizzyingly dense structure that's more puzzle than plot will be well rewarded" (Gary Morris, Bright Lights Film Journal). Restored to its full-length running time. Polish with English subtitles. Poland, 1965, 180 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Agnieszka Holland

Europa Europa
Agnieszka Holland
The film that took America by storm: Agnieszka Holland's powerful, moving story of a courageous German-Jewish teenager who survived World War II by concealing his identity and living as a Nazi during seven harrowing years through three countries. Based on a true story, this is a film that changes almost everyone who sees it. Starring Marco Hofschneider and Julie Delpy. Named Best Foreign Language Film of the year by the New York Film Critics Circle. The DVD is letterboxed, and includes optional French audio, optional French and Spanish subtitles, and the original theatrical trailer. In German and Russian with English subtitles. Poland/Germany/France, 1990, 113 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Krzysztof Kieslowski

The Decalogue (Complete Collection - Parts 1-10)
Krzysztof Kieslowski
"One of the great movie achievements of our time" (Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune), Krzysztof Kieslowski's Decalogue explores the timeless moral issues of human existence through ten contemporary tales, each based on one of the Ten Commandments. Originally produced for Polish television, this brilliant series of ten separate but subtly intertwining films transcended the boundaries of film and TV, winning honors in both arenas as it played around the world. The Decalogue won the FIPRESCI Award at the 1989 Venice Film Festival, was honored as Best Foreign Television Program by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and was named Best Foreign Language Film by the Chicago Film Critics Association in 1997. Each episode was co-written by Kieslowski's longtime collaborator Krzysztof Piesiewicz and features music by Zbigniew Preisner. DVD set includes an introduction by film critic Roger Ebert, three short documentaries about director Krzysztof Kieslowski: "On the Set of The Decalogue," "Kieslowski Meets the Press," and "Kieslowski Known and Unknown," and a printed booklet with an introduction by Kieslowski, an interview with scriptwriter Krzysztof Piesiewicz and more. In Polish with English subtitles; Poland, 1988-89.
DVD | $99.95  

Three Colors Trilogy (Blue/White/Red)
Krzysztof Kieslowski
Director Krzysztof Kieslowski's superb cinematic representations of the three colors of the French flag, Blue (1993, 98 mins.), White (1994, 92 mins.) and Red (1994, 99 mins.), are collected in an impressive 3-DVD box set. These equally beautiful, somber, sexy and humorous explorations of liberty, equality and fraternity have garnered numerous honors, including 3 Oscar and 4 Golden Globe nominations and a Best Actress Award from the Venice Film Festival for Blue star Juliette Binoche. France, 1993/1994, 289 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

Roman Polanski

Knife in the Water
Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski's debut feature film is an incisive study of three people spending a casual weekend on their yacht. A young man, who joined the couple as a hitchhiker, gradually interferes uncomfortably into the couple's lives, and in a brilliant depiction of inter-personal tensions, tests their marriage. Winner of Best Film at the 1963 British Academy Awards and an International Film Critic Award at the 1962 Venice Film Festival. The DVD is a two-DVD Criterion Collection Edition, and includes early shorts by Roman Polanski; a video interview with Polanski and co-screenwriter Jerzy Skolimowski; a collection of rare publicity and production stills; and an English subtitle translation by Polanski. In Polish with English subtitles. Poland, 1960, 90 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

Andrzej Wajda

Man of Marble
Andrzej Wajda
Thirteen years in the making, Wajda's film caused packed houses to rise and sing the Polish national anthem when it finally premiered in Poland in 1977. Denied entrance at Cannes by Polish authorities, it played nonetheless at a commercial theatre there and won the International Critics' Prize. Hailed as "a milestone in Polish cinema" by Variety, Man of Marble is the story of a young filmmaker trying to reconstruct a truthful picture of the Stalinist past, a past obscured by 20 years of shifting propaganda. Includes a tribute and an interview with director Andrzej Wajda. Polish with English subtitles. Poland, 1977, 160 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

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Russian


Sergei Eisenstein

The Battleship Potemkin
Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Eisenstein's depiction of the mutiny of the crew of the Potemkin during the insurrection of 1905 is one of the essential works in film history. The bold imagery, stylized composition and powerful rhythmic editing combine to make it a film consistently voted one of the top ten movies of all time. Silent, with a brilliant music score by Dmitri Shostakovich. Digitally remastered. The DVD runs 74 minutes. USSR, 1925
DVD | $44.95  

Elem Klimov

Come and See
Elem Klimov
This towering, cathartic experience won the Grand Prize at the Moscow Film Festival. The story is based on writer Ales Adamovich's WWII memoirs of SS reprisals against partisans. Set in occupied Byelorussia in 1943, the film follows a raw teenager into the swamps and forests of the border provinces, where he undergoes a hell of atrocities, becoming a middle-aged wreck as he tries to survive the carnage. Remarkable acting, camera work, crowd scenes and direction raise the film far beyond anything comparable, as director Elem Klimov manages both a savage beauty and an impassioned elegy in this anti-war film. "It's a masterpiece not only of filmmaking, but of humanity itself" (Sean Penn). Two DVD-set includes subtitle options in 13 different languages, interviews with cast and crew, production stills gallery, and two archival segments: "Partisans in Belarus" and "Nazi Brutalities." In Russian with English subtitles; USSR, 1985, 142 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Sergei Paradjanov

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
Sergei Paradjanov
Sergei Paradjanov's masterpiece, a brilliant, epic story of starcrossed lovers set against the ethnographic panorama of the Carpathian Mountains. The film is a visual tour-de-force of symbols, metaphor, lyrical photography and active camera as it interweaves myth and narrative into an elliptical, seamless work of art. Its images "become superimposed on the mind, and will emerge later with a new and more profound meaning, a meaning that escapes logical analysis, that cannot be grasped intellectually, but which calls upon us to respond with feeling" (Robert Walke). With Ivan Nikolaichuk and Larisa Kadochnikova. Ukrainian with English subtitles. USSR, 1964, 99 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Andrei Tarkovsky

The Mirror
Andrei Tarkovsky
Tarkovsky's looking glass is not merely cracked but shattered, and we see the jagged, jumbled reflections of its shards, images of the director's childhood mixed with fragments of his adult life - a child's wartime exile, a mother's experience with political terror, the breakup of a marriage, life in a country home - all intermingled with slow motion dream sequences and stark newsreel. An essential film whose puzzles provide the key to this intense filmmaker's other works. In Russian with English subtitles; USSR, 1974, 106 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Stalker
Andrei Tarkovsky
In this eerie, hypnotic and highly symbolic work, shot in painterly images that seamlessly move from black and white to color, a fallen meteorite produces the Zone, a blistered wasteland that's only penetrated by special guides called "Stalkers." Tarkovsky's film concerns a three-man expedition into this surreal, frightening region. A powerful, extraordinary cinematic experience that anticipates the dread of Chernobyl. With Alexander Kaidanovsky, Nikolai Grinko, and Anatoli Solonitsin. In Russian with English subtitles. The two-DVD set includes interviews with cinematographer Aleksandr Knyazhinsky and production designer Rashit Safiullin, excerpts from The Steamroller and the Violin (also available in its entirety from Facets Video), the documentary short Memory, theatrical trailers, a stills gallery, and filmographies, and multilingual subtitle options. USSR, 1979, 163 mins.
DVD | $69.95  

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Serbo-Croatian


No Man's Land
Danis Tanovic
The bleak absurdity of the Bosnian-Serbian conflict and the outside world's impotent response to it is unforgettably portrayed in this dark satire. Three soldiers - two Bosnians and one Serb - end up trapped in the trenches that serve as a dividing line between armies. One soldier, originally left for dead, is used as a booby trap on a landmine, leading to an unexpected dilemma without an apparent resolution. An Academy Award-winner for Best Foreign Language Film. "...often harrowing to watch, but it can also be shockingly entertaining as it deftly mixes macabre humor, pathos, and horror" (Stephen Farber, Movieline). In Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian, French, and English, with English subtitles; Bosnia/Belgium/France/Italy/Slovenia/Great Britain, 2001, 98 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Emir Kusturica

Underground
Emir Kusturica
Widely considered to be his masterpiece, this one-of-a-kind epic from Emir Kusturica portrays the downfall of Yugoslavia in a unique blend of satire and heartfelt sentiment, shifting from moments of great humor to reflective sadness and emerging as a celebration of sorts. The story follows two friends who reinvent their personal and political existences to the point of absurdity as they witness the massive changes their country goes through from World War II to its violent division and civil war. "Delirious in its excess, but never less than ferociously intelligent and operatically emotional, Underground represents one of those rare, exhilarating moments when an outsize artistic vision is fueled by an apparently unlimited budget. Not to be missed" (Dave Kehr, New York Daily News). Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. Serbian and German with English subtitles; France/Germany/Hungary, 1995, 167 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

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Swedish


Ingmar Bergman

The Seventh Seal
Ingmar Bergman
A knight, upon return from the Crusades, plays chess with Death while the Plague ravages medieval Europe. More than forty years after its initial release, Ingmar Bergman's stunning allegory of man's apocalyptic search for meaning remains a textbook on the art of filmmaking and an essential building block in any collection. With Max von Sydow, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Bibi Andersson. Swedish with English subtitles; Sweden, 1956, 96 min.
DVD | $59.95  

Wild Strawberries
Ingmar Bergman
One of the great films by Bergman, with Victor Sjostrom as the aged Stockholm professor who recollects his past experiences and becomes aware, for the first time, of his failings and shortcomings. With Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Bjornstrand. "Few movies give us such memorable, emotion-charged images" (Pauline Kael). A Golden Bear winner at the Berlin Film Festival and winner of the Critics' Prize at the Venice Film Festival. The DVD is a Criterion Collection edition, and includes commentary by film scholar Peter Cowie, photo stills gallery, new and improved subtitle translation, and the feature-length documentary, Ingmar Bergman on Life and Work (Jorn Donner, Finland, 1975, 90 mins.). Swedish with English subtitles; Sweden, 1957, 91 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

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Chinese


Shower
Zhang Yang
The old and new worlds collide in this charming tale of a family divided, then brought together by a traditional bathhouse. The successful, career-minded son of the bathhouse's owner first sees the establishment as outdated, but as he spends more time with his family and friends, and as the threat of its destruction draws near, he begins to see its worth. "...a delicate, lyrical case for the importance of holding on to small traditions" (Desson Howe, Washington Post). DVD in Mandarin with English subtitles; China, 1999, 94 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Ang Lee

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Ang Lee
An Oscar-winner for Best Foreign Language Film and the highest-grossing foreign language film in U.S. history, Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is both an homage to Hong Kong martial arts fantasies and a major reworking of the genre. Like Wong Kar-wai's Ashes of Time, it combines exciting fight sequences with a philosophical, character-driven story that is unusually somber for a martial arts film. Hong Kong superstars Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh play veteran warriors out to recover a magical sword from a mysterious newcomer (Zhang Zi Yi), while also fighting off old foe Jade Fox. With the aid of renowned director and action choreographer Yuen Woo-ping, Lee presents wall-climbing and flying sequences in a truly elegant fashion. For all its action movie conventions, it is ultimately a work of visual beauty and intimate emotions. Tan Dun's Oscar-winning musical score features lovely cello solos by Yo-Yo Ma. DVD in Mandarin with English subtitles; Taiwan/Hong Kong/USA, 2000, 120 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Wong Kar-wai

In the Mood for Love
Wong Kar-wai
"...one of the year's most sensuous films" (Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune). Wong Kar-wai's somber tale of unrequited love takes place mainly in Hong Kong of the '60s, where two married neighbors (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Maggie Cheung) discover that their spouses have been having an affair. They find they are drawn together, not so much out of shared betrayal as the shared longing for the authentic love they could not find in their marriages. But their sharp awareness of society's view of them--and perhaps their own fears of future heartache--keep them apart. While the color schemes are less dazzling than in some of the director's earlier films, this is a visually distinctive work with two fine performances and a muted yet resonant emotional tone. Cantonese with English subtitles; Hong Kong, 2000, 98 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

Zhang Yimou

Hero
Zhang Yimou
Beautiful imagery, fine storytelling and impressive martial arts sequences set Zhang Yimou's epic in class of its own. Action, romance and history are deftly mixed to examine the nature of the hero and its relation to Chinese nationalism. Set deep in China's past, when the country was divided into seven warring states, Hero follows in flashback the shifting accounts made to an emperor by a nameless warrior (Jet Li) who claims to have killed three indestructible assassins (Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung and Donnie Yen). Yimou's use of color is extraordinary and the many action sequences, including one in which Cheung and Li deflect thousands of arrows in a whirlwind of hands and motions, set a new standard. Also stars actress Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2002, 93 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

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Japanese


Shall We Dance?
Masayuki Suo
Masayuki Suo's charming comedy about Shohei Sugiyama (Koji Yakusyo), a married, middle-aged, workaholic accountant who becomes obsessed with a sad and beautiful dance instructor (Tamiyo Kusakari) he spies through the window of a dance studio. His dull life takes a funny turn when he signs up for ballroom dancing lessons to try to meet the mysterious woman and instead is assigned a plump, middle-aged instructor. But is the mystery woman, as his instructor warns, "all the sweeter when viewed from afar"? In Japanese with English subtitles; Japan, 1996, 119 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Kon Ichikawa

The Burmese Harp
Kon Ichikawa
A Japanese army private in Burma is so revolted by the carnage of war that he refuses to return home. Dressed as a Buddhist monk, he remains to bury the dead. The first Japanese film to stress pacifism, Burmese Harp is remarkable for its pulsating black and white images and its humanist fervor. Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1956, 116 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Shohei Imamura

The Eel
Shohei Imamura
Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, this masterpiece from Shohei Imamura is a bold, frequently offbeat exploration of crime and punishment, guilt and redemption, and the elusive possibility of salvation through love. Koji Yakusho stars as an ex-con, paroled after eight years in prison for killing his adulterous wife. Isolated from those around him, his only bond is with the eel he adopted as a pet while behind bars. A new woman in his life presents a chance for renewal, but the past won't leave the couple alone. "...there is an invisible mastery in The Eel, a technique beyond technique" (Dave Kehr, Film Comment). In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1997, 117 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Takeshi Kitano (Beat Takeshi)

Fireworks (Hana-Bi)
Takeshi Kitano
A mesmerizing, poetic drama punctuated by chaotic bursts of violence, this is arguably actor-director Takeshi Kitano's masterpiece. It is a visually elegant tale of an embittered cop who plans a robbery to obtain painting supplies for his crippled partner, and to secure a final journey for his terminally ill wife and himself. Kitano's own distinctive artwork figures prominently in his visual tapestry. "Takeshi is an alchemist, combining wildly varied ingredients--deadpan humor, melodramatic reversals, sudden violence, lyrical imagery of haunting innocence--and making pure gold of them" (Dave Kehr, New York Daily News). Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1997, 103 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Masaki Kobayashi

Kwaidan
Masaki Kobayashi
Four terrifying tales of the supernatural filmed with exquisitely creative visual sensitivity. This is no Japanese monster movie; rather, it creeps up on you by appealing to human emotions and fears - ghost stories as only the Japanese can tell them. An Academy Award nominee, this distinctive work is filled with graceful camera movement, unusual colors, haunting sound effects and music - "A horror picture with an extraordinarily delicate and sensuous quality" (Bosley Crowther, The New York Times). Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1964, 164 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Akira Kurosawa

The Seven Samurai
Akira Kurosawa
Set in medieval Japan, Kurosawa's epic centers on a group of impoverished peasants who enlist the protection of seven unemployed samurai to defend their property and harvest from the brutal bandits who terrorize their village. The film is groundbreaking for its visual intensity, stylistic command of movement, space and action, and its expressive emotional range and social criticism. The battle sequences are frightening, devastating and eerie. Cinematography by Asaichi Nakai. With Takashi Shimura, Yoshio Inaba and Toshiro Mifune. Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1954, 208 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

Throne of Blood
Akira Kurosawa
Kurosawa's brilliant interpretation of Shakespeare's Macbeth shifts the action to 16th century feudal Japan, where a samurai is motivated by his ambitious wife and a spirit to kill his friend. The movie balances stylized action and movement of the Noh theater with the intensity of the American western. Kurosawa and cinematographer Asaichi Nakai create a foreboding atmosphere in the castles and landscape. With Toshiro Mifune, Isuzu Yamada and Minoru Chiaki. In Japanese with English subtitles. DVD is a Criterion Collection edition and includes audio commentary by Japanese-film expert Michael Jack, the original theatrical trailer, optional English subtitles, two alternative subtitle translations & notes on subtitling, an essay by Stephen Prince, and more. Japan, 1957, 110 mins.
DVD | $59  

Kenji Mizoguchi

Ugetsu
Kenji Mizoguchi
Kenji Mizoguchi's poetic film is set in feudal, war-ravaged, 16th-century Japan and focuses on the opposite fortunes of two peasants who abandon their families to accumulate wealth and prestige and find emptiness and despair. The film is remarkable for its expressive photography, diagonal compositions and uninterrupted takes. With Machiko Kyo and Masayuki Mori. "Scenes of everyday life alternate with those of a dreamlike, erotic intensity. At the end it is difficult to remember where reality stops and hallucination begins" (Newsweek). Japanese with English subtitles. Newly remastered, translated and subtitled print. Presented in original aspect ratio. Japan, 1953, 96 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Yasujiro Ozu

Stories of Floating Weeds: Two Films by Yasujiro Ozu
Yasujiro Ozu
Yasujiro Ozu was so touched by one story in particular that he filmed it twice, producing two studied, subtle masterpieces of Japanese cinema. The silent A Story of Floating Weeds (1934, 89 mins.) and its remake, Floating Weeds (1959, 128 mins.), tell the story of a group of traveling actors who visits a town where the leading actor's ex-mistress lives with their son. His present lover is understandably jealous of his hidden past and chooses to sabotage the reunion. The latter version features brilliant color cinematography by Kazuo Miyagawa. This is a Criterion Collection Special Edition two-DVD set; A Story of Floating Weeds includes a commentary by Ozu authority Donald Ritchie, who also provided new subtitle translations for both films, and a new score by composer Donald Sosin; Floating Weeds includes a commentary by Roger Ebert, and an essay by Donald Ritchie about the differences between the two versions. In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1934/1959, 128 mins.
DVD | $59  

Tokyo Story
Yasujiro Ozu
One of the legendary classics of humanist cinema, Tokyo Story tells the simple, sad story of an elderly couple who travel to Tokyo to visit their two married children, only to find themselves politely ushered off to a hot springs resort. "Ozu's technique, as spare and concentrated as a haiku master's verse, transforms the very banalities of the subject into moments of intimacy and beauty seldom captured on film. As always, the themes go beyond the obvious and are conveyed so gently that only afterwards are many apparent." In Japanese with optional English subtitles. The DVD is a Criterion Collection edition, with an all-new, restored digital transfer that includes an audio commentary by film scholar David Desser; the documentary, I Lived, But... (Kazuo Inoue, 1983, 120 mins.), about director Yasujiro Ozu; a tribute to Ozu featuring reflections by directors Stanley Kwan, Aki Kaurismaki, Claire Denis, Lindsay Anderson, Paul Schrader, Wim Wenders, and Hou Hsiao-Hsien; the original theatrical trailer; an essay by David Bordwell; and more. Japan, 1953, 139 mins.
DVD | $59.95  

Seijun Suzuki

Branded to Kill
Seijun Suzuki
The film that led Seijun Suzuki's studio to fire him. Mocking everything from censorship to gangster films, this twisted vision of Japan's underworld follows Hanada Goro, the mob's "No. 3 Killer," as he loses his grip on his career, women and reality and the "No. 1 Killer" makes Goro the target of a cruel cat-and-mouse game. Through it all, Suzuki thwarts logic and convention with stunning visual tricks and disorienting narrative leaps. With its blues score, brilliant black-and-white cinematography and dark humor, Branded to Kill is a triumph of style and purpose. "Suzuki's masterwork. Terse, deadpan, and terrific" (Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times). Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1967, 91 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

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Vietnamese


The Scent of Green Papaya
Tran Anh Hung
A moving and undeniably brilliant film by the talented Vietnamese-exile filmmaker Tran Anh Hung, set in 1951 and centered on a young woman who becomes a servant for a turbulent family. The film follows in exquisitely lyrical detail the quiet beauty and stoically accepted hardships of her life as, ten years later, she starts a love affair with her next employer. Shot entirely on a Paris soundstage, this, says critic Roger Ebert, "is a film to cherish." DVD in Vietnamese with English subtitles; Vietnam/France, 1993, 104 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

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Persian


Jafar Panahi

The Circle
Jafar Panahi
Banned by the Iranian government, this masterfully crafted and deeply affecting film found an international audience after winning top honors at the Venice Film Festival. This is an honest, disturbing look at the plight of ordinary Iranian women dealing with institutionalized political and sexual repression. "The most talented disciple of Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami, Panahi actually tops him at leaving things out of a story to tantalize the viewer...You can't afford to miss this" (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader). DVD in Persian with English subtitles; Iran, 2000, 91 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Majid Majidi

Children of Heaven
Majid Majidi
A delightful, heartwarming tale from Iran, beautiful in its simplicity and deeply in touch with the feelings and insecurities of childhood. When a young boy loses his sister's only pair of shoes, they hatch a plan to share his shoes and keep his negligence a secret from their parents. "Children of Heaven is fraught with delicious irony, and the unaffected performances from its sad-eyed pair of non-actors in lead roles lend the film its understated poetry" (Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post). DVD in Persian with English subtitles; Iran, 1997, 83 mins.
DVD | $37.95