With Park Chan-wook's 'Stoker' on the way, 10 great English-language debuts by foreign directors
From F.W. Murnau to Alfonso Cuarón, these directors didn't get lost in translation
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"The American Friend" (1977, directed by Wim Wenders)
A list of émigré filmmakers wouldn't feel complete to me without Wenders, the itinerant German auteur whose hit-and-miss filmography includes some of cinema's most haunting visions of America from the fringes. "The American Friend," despite its title, isn't one of those -- not directly, at least -- but it's steeped in Wenders' abiding love for American pop culture and storytelling tradition, beginning with Patricia Highsmith, of whose classic literary thriller "Ripley's Game" this is an inspired adaptation. Played with creased wiliness (many miles away from Matt Damon) by Dennis Hopper, Tom Ripley himself is chameleonic Yank wearing Europe like a snugly fitted jacket he can remove without a moment's thought; the negative, to some degree, of Wenders at this confident turning point in his career.