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Through the Looking Glass – The Top 50 Foreign Films of 2019: #5 to #1

Annual Top Films Lists

Through the Looking Glass – The Top 50 Foreign Films of 2019: #5 to #1

#5. Nicolas Roeg’s The 7th Magpie

This past autumn, famed British auteur Nicolas Roeg began collecting financing for his first feature since 2007’s Puffball: The Devil’s Eyeball. After attempting to finance an adaptation of the Martin Amis novel Night Train in 2008 (which was set to star Sigourney Weaver and has since migrated to the hands of Carol Morley for the upcoming Out of Blue), Roeg, who will celebrate his 90th birthday next year, will potentially have The 7th Magpie ready for 2019. Roeg reunites with Miranda Richardson and Kelly Reilly, both who starred in his last feature, to tell the tale of a woman played by Reilly who becomes pregnant after she movies to a mysterious valley to build a home. Famed British star Rita Tushingham is also part of the cast. The feature will be a welcome return from Roeg, whose iconic masterpieces like The Man Who Fell to Earth and Don’t Look Now, among others, continue to inspire and fascinate.

#4. Ulrike Ottinger’s The Beautiful Woman Sleeping

We have been waiting over a decade now for German auteur Ulrike Ottinger to commence her project on Countess Bathory (at one point, both Tilda Swinton and Isabelle Huppert were attached). In 2015, Amour Fou Films announced plans for Ottinger (the Freak Orlando helmer has been consistently unveiling documentary features, but hasn’t unveiled a narrative since 2004’s Twelve Chairs) to film The Beautiful Woman Sleeping, which may finally go into production sometime in 2018 (with a script by Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek, author of the seminal The Piano Teacher).

#3. Kleber Mendonca Filho & Juliano DornellesBacurau

Brazil’s Kleber Mendonca Filho, who was responsible for one of 2016’s best films with his sophomore title Aquarius, (read review) which featured a formidable Sonia Braga, teams with his production designer Juliano Dornelles (who worked in such a capacity on Filho’s Neighboring Sounds and Aquarius) to next direct horror film Bacurau, once again produced by Said Ben Said. A filmmaker, who travels to rural Brazil to make a documentary, discovers the locals harbor dark secrets. There is

#2. Abel Ferrara’s Siberia

Another project which has struggled for years to find funding is Abel Ferrara’s adaptation of an obscure Carl Jung, known as Siberia. After a failed crowdfunding campaign, Ferrara has been searching for alternative methods of finance and funding has at last been secured. Lead Willem Dafoe will be joined by Nicolas Cage (both recently headlined Paul Schrader’s Dog Eat Dog) and Isabelle Huppert.

#1. Untitled Jonathan Glazer Project

With only three titles to his name after two decades of filmmaking, Britain’s Jonathan Glazer remains a mysterious anomaly. Following his 2000 debut Sexy Beast with the exquisitely provocative Birth (2004), which starred an unforgettable Nicole Kidman, Glazer took nearly a decade to unveil Under the Skin (2013), which starred Scarlett Johansson as an existential alien. Over the past year, Glazer has revealed he has been working on a new project—while no details have been released about narrative or a potential cast, it will be Glazer’s first project penned by himself.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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