Over at the blog Edward Copeland on Film, Mr. Copeland has compiled the results of a project he started a few months ago, with film writers -- bloggers, critics, professors, and so on -- voting on the 100 best movies ever made in a language other than English. He had a nominating committee of 51 people (including Cinematical's Kim Voynar) determine the list of nominees, and then the voting was open. There were a few stipulations: Documentaries, shorts, silent films, and movies newer than 2002 weren't eligible.

A total of 174 ballots were entered. The top 10 is as follows. (See the entire top 100 here.)

1. The Rules of the Game, Jean Renoir, French
2. The Seven Samurai, Akira Kurosawa, Japanese
3. M, Fritz Lang, German
4. 8 1/2, Federico Fellini, Italian
5. Bicycle Thieves (more commonly -- and erroneously -- known as The Bicycle Thief), Vittorio de Sica, Italian
6. Persona, Ingmar Bergman, Swedish
7. Grand Illusion, Jean Renoir, French
8. Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Werner Herzog, German
9. The Battle of Algiers, Gillo Pontecorvo, French & Arabic
10. The 400 Blows, Francois Truffaut, French

No huge surprises there, except maybe that I'd have thought Bergman's Seventh Seal (#15) would be higher than his Persona. In the top 100 list, the names are the ones you'd expect: Kurosawa (7 times), Bergman (7), Fellini (5), Truffaut (4), Godard (5), etc. Renoir makes it just twice -- but they're both in the top 10!

As far as languages go, French is by far the most heavily represented, with 35 films (by my count) on the list. Italian is next (15), followed by Japanese (13). Russian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Polish, and Swedish are all represented a few times each, the latter two thanks entirely to Krzysztof Kieslowski and Ingmar Bergman, respectively. Danish shows up twice in the works of Carl Dreyer. Hungarian and Portuguese appear just once each, in Satantango (#97) and City of God (#26).

Any languages you're surprised not to see represented? (What, no Korean? No Middle Eastern languages except for the Arabic parts of The Battle of Algiers?) Which specific films do you think got left off? (I'm a sucker for Life Is Beautiful.) Discuss, discuss!
categories Cinematical