Request for Suggestions

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We just signed up with NetFlix. One of the problems with Netflix is that you need to know what it is you want to see. Now I've seen a great many modern films, most of which are not worth the time invested in seeing them. So I'm asking people to suggest lesser know favorites that might be worth the time to watch. From M'Lynn's site I've already garnered one called something like "Graveyard of the Fireflies" or "Funeral of the Fireflies" which is Anime. I know almost nothing about anime and would be interested in hearing from people who have a more extensive knowledge and better appreciation of it.

From a friend here at work a recommendation for a bizarre-sounding little ditty "The Happiness of the Katakuris." I'm also not tremendously well-versed in foreign film. Yes, I've seen the entire Bergman canon and "Babette's Feast," "Run, Lola, Run" and "Red," "White," and "Blue." But any other suggestions?

I'm just looking for titles of things you really liked that weren't out in the public's face. A short summary might also be nice and anything pro-religion/pro-catholic would be delightful.

Thanks for any help you can give.

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I'm a huge fan of Netflix, it's amazingly cheap and convienent. In terms of movies, take a look at the USCCB's recommendations for this year. They usually do a great job of selecting films. Several of them are documentaries, but it's a great place to check out movies you are considering as well.

God bless,


I will try to post something on my blog later in the day.

Dear Steven,

One could do much worse than to look at the Vatican's list of recommended films, summarized and very nicely supplemented at:

Some omissions on the list can be cleared away by reading:

I very much like Scorsese/Schrader, but, since nobody has been persuaded by my Girardian reading of Gangs of New York, I probably should desist.

Thank you.


"Grave of the Fireflies" is supposed to be very good, and very depressing. I've recently begun investigating anime -- I'm fed up with Occidental cinema, and I want to see if the Orient does any better. So far, my only recommnedation is Miyazaki. "Spirited Away" is as good as any movie I've seen in recent years, and "Princess Mononoke" (the English screenplay is by Neil Gaiman, but I am told that the subtitled version is better) is nearly as good. Some other out-of-the-way favorites: "Bread and Chocolate," Juzu Itami's movies ("Tampopo" (essential for any foodie), "The Funeral," "A Taxing Woman"), "Hope and Glory." And there are always the Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy.

I'll second the recommendation for Spirited Away. Castle in the Sky, by the same director, is also good.

I made the mistake of getting Princess Mononoke to watch with my children, since we all liked the other two Miyazaki movies. But of course, even cartoons can have PG-13 ratings....

You'd like Andrei Rublev, subtitles or no subtitles.

Oboy. You want recommendations. I can give `em.
Most of these can be found at Netflix.

(By the way, Franklin says hi).


Miyazake: Totoro! Kiki's Delivery Service!

Mamoru Oshii: Ghost in the Shell, Patlabor, Avalon.
Skip "The Red Spectacles"

Otomo's Akira

Millennium Actress

The Lain series.
The Cowboy Bebop series is fun. Not great, mind you, but fun.

Other Japanese films:

Kurosawa Akira, Ozu, Mizoguchi are all famous Japanese film directors.
Don't ignore Kurosawa Kiyoshi's Cure - a great horror film.
Anything by Miike Takashi, and Nakate Hideo.

Anything by Imamura Shohei, Suzuki Seijun.


Speaking of Andrei Rublev, check out any film by
Tarkovsky. Especially Solaris & Stalker.

Kieslowski's The Double life of Veronique. Decalogue.

Amelie is actually very charming.

Anything by Jean-Luc Godard from the 60s - try Alphaville & Contempt.

Anything by Alain Resnais.

The Wages of Fear.

Les Enfants du Paradis

Anything by Jean Renoir: try The Rules of the Game.

The Devil's Backbone [Spanish]

Any Hong Kong film by John Woo.

I'll leave off a complete Hong Kong list when you've digested this
one. Happy viewing!

Hi All,

Thanks to everyone who contributed there are some interesting things on the list. Some I know, some I've seen, some are completely new. Nice way to add to the list. Thanks.



BTW, you may recall that Dylan also enjoyed Amelie.

One thing that might be interesting for fans of Miyazaki and his company Ghibli: a good number of his films and the other Ghibli films exist, subtly, in the same "universe". These movies, viewed together, form a series which comments on the whole history of postwar Japanese society.

My Neighbor Totoro introduces us to a small farm community waaay out in the country. There's a huge camphor tree visible from the main characters' new home. Later films show that the whole village and the region around it have been demolished to make way for huge new suburbs. (This demolition, seen from the point of view of the magical shapeshifting animals living in the forest, is the subject of Pompoko War, although the camphor tree itself doesn't appear, IIRC.)

However, the suburbs themselves and the people who live there are not seen as evil. It's not their fault. The later films' stories of the people in the suburb are treated with just as much love and care as the country people's and the animals'.

Princess Mononoke is of course the ultimate expression of this collision of different good people, as the well-meaning industrialists and the good forest creatures inadvertently wreak havoc on each other. (It's Miyazaki's Kurosawa flick, so expect battles.)

Only Yesterday and Pompoko War both speak a lot about the need in the Japanese soul for hometown villages. The heroine of Only Yesterday doesn't have one, so she finds one. The animals of Pompoko War ultimately have their hometown destroyed by development, just as many Japanese humans did, and find it again in reminiscence and spending time with each other.

But...don't let me make these things sound too serious. Miyazaki and the Ghibli crew believe strongly in making their movies _entertaining_ first and deep after. Kids love 'em. Adults love 'em. The message seeps in afterward.



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