Seduction By Subtitle
I've always believed, dreamily perhaps, that audiences for art are made, not born. When I'm asked by a curious neophyte to recommend, for example, a handful of albums of jazz singing, I might offer: John Coltrane And Johnny Hartman, Frank Sinatra's Songs For Swinging Lovers, Peggy Lee's Beauty And The Beat, June Christy's Something Cool. Not only are these among the greatest jazz vocal records ever made, more important, they are seductive, emotionally involving, utterly charismatic music. If none of these records work for you, frankly, I'm not sure any other jazz vocal music will. Put the genre aside for a year or two and return to it, and you may be pleasantly surprised.
So it is with foreign films. Most of my friends are not cinephiles like me but they are smart, curious, often aesthetically open people. I frequently get asked to recommend "good foreign movies". Rather than recommending all-time super faves, I try to choose, to start with, a few films on DVD that are (1) indisputably great, (2) accessible, (3) riveting, narratively or visually, and (4) emotionally compelling. In other words, films that will "hook" the uninitiated and begin the process of converting them to foreign film watchers. It's one way to slowly start building an audience for foreign movies, one friend or acquaintance at a time.
- Truffaut's The 400 Blows
- Chabrol's La Femme Infidele
- The Triplets of Belleville
- Bergman's Smiles Of A Summer Night
- Wong's In The Mood For Love