Best Foreign Film: 1961

Actual Nominations: Through A Glass Darkly. Harry And The Butler. Immortal Love. Placido. The Important Man.

Bergman’s allegory is packed with subtext but just isn’t as entertaining or thought provoking as some of his other work- it isn’t one of my favourites but shows a mastery that nothing else could compete with this year. Scandanavia had a good year with Bert Christensen’s Harry And The Butler gaining a nomination, while Spain provided the darker laughs with Placido. Japan was not to be undone with Toshiro Mifune appearing as an Amerindian (obviously) who in a terrific performance strives to be boss of his town in An Important Man. Keisuke Kinoshite’s Immortal Love proved there was more to Japan than Kurosawa and Ozu.

My Winner: Through A Glass Darkly

Through A Glass Darkly

My Nominations: Yojimbo. Through A Glass Darkly. The End Of Summer. La Notte. Viridiana. The Human Condition. The Long Absence. La Dolce Vita.

Well my winner really has to Yojimbo– Kurosawa, Mifune, Samurai, Dogs eating arms, what more do you want? This classic shows a samurai playing two rival towns off against each other for his own gain/entertainment. It’s not an epic like many of his other films but rather shows the devious side of man’s nature on a small scale. Also noteworthy is Antonioni’s La Notte, a classic about nothing, where a middle aged couple experience loss and flirt with other people over the course of a day. Bunuel’s sexually charged Viridiana was snubbed by The Oscars due to it’s controversial nature but remains one of his most accessible works. The End Of Summer is a fitting near final film by Ozu, a family drama dealing with many variations on life and death, while The Long Absence covers better than most that good old ‘my husband/wife/friend went missing years ago but now they are back with amnesia’ story. Special mention to The Human Condition by Masaki Kobayashi which is more typically known as a trilogy but taken as a whole is one of Asia’s greatest ever films.

My Winner: Yojimbo

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