Foreign films are becoming more and more popular as cinema-goers everywhere look for a higher quality of the film. It is well known that foreign films tend to be more ‘arty’ and sophisticated than Hollywood films which are often nice for a change. Here is a list of what I see as the top 10 films that any film lover should watch.
La Haine is a black and white film about a local teenager who is beaten unconscious by police, a riot occurs on the estate after this during which a policeman’s gun gets stolen. The gun is found by ‘Vinz’ who later threatens to kill a policeman should Abdul die.
The film is based on a novel of the same name and is about a 12-year-old boy who is bullied at school, he becomes friends with a beautiful girl who turns out to be a vampire, she encourages him to stand up for himself and fight the bullies at school. Lots of gory horrors ensue. The subtitling company used for this film did an excellent job and really made the plot easy to follow.
At the time of its release, Spirited Away actually became the highest-grossing film in Japanese history taking around $229m at the box office and won an Oscar for the best-animated film. It is an unusual film about a 10-year-old girl who enters an alternate reality after moving into a new neighborhood in which spirits and monsters exist. Her parents get turned into pigs by a witch and the girl is forced to take a job at her bathhouse to try and free her and her parents to the real world again.
Amelie is a romantic comedy that was nominated for 5 Oscars. It tells the story of a shy waitress who moves to Paris in which she tries to change the lives of people she meets for the better. The film humorously depicts contemporary Parisian life. Amelie eventually discovers love.
Directed by Ang Lee and the winner of 4 Oscars Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is perhaps one of the more famous foreign films, it is the highest-grossing foreign film in US history and was made on a small budget of only $17m. It tells the story of two warriors who are looking for a stolen sword, they come across a girl who is both physically skilled and clever and happens to be at a crossroads in her life.
The Motorcycle Diaries is a biopic of the young Che Guevara’s life (at the time Ernesto Guevara) the Marxist guerrilla commander. It documents his travels across South America with his friend and how he sees the poverty-stricken people along the way; it transforms his outlook on life completely and leads to his future calling.
The film was such a hit that it was remade only 2 years later in English starring Daniel Craig as the lead character. The film was based on a novel by Stieg Larsson about a journalist who is searching for a woman who has been missing or dead for over 40 years. He meets up and is aided by a female hacker along the way.
The City Of Men is seen as the unofficial sequel to the City Of God, there was even a Brazilian spin-off TV series from it because of its popularity. Acerola and Laranjiha are best friends and about to turn 18, they find out that their fathers were actually from rival drug gangs in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro and it looks to shatter their friendship.
Pan’s Labyrinth was the winner of 3 Oscars and directed by the hugely talented Guillermo Del Toro. It is about the stepdaughter of an evil army officer who manages to escape into a scary but captivating fantasy world.
This is the story of two children who grow up in the same rough, terrorizing neighborhood in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro who took completely different paths in their life. One went on to a life in drugs and the other becomes a photographer. It follows their lives and how they turn out and is a film that people all over the world can relate to, it shows that it doesn’t matter where you are from, you choose your own destiny.