Don’t fear the subtitles, because there are some fairly specialforeign films out there that you wouldn’t want to miss.
We’ve chosen six such films, all with high “audience scores” (meaning that the good people of Rotten Tomatoesenjoyed them as much as we did).
Check them out here:
The Broken Circle Breakdown (85%)
When we say, “a Belgian film about Bluegrass music”, you might not immediately think, “I need to watch it”. But you should. There’s so much more to The Broken Circle Breakdown (or for American audiences – Alabama Monroe) than a man playing a banjo.
You see, Didier (said man with said banjo) falls in love with Elise, a tattoo artist. Although the two are very different (theyhavevery different views when it comes to religion, spirituality etc.), they’re largely happy together. They have a daughter – Maybelle – and they live an idyllic life in a farmhouse.
Didier and Eliseare able to put their differences aside, however, onlyuntil their daughter becomes ill. Then, as this tragedy tests their relationship, Didier’s atheism and Elise’s spirituality becomehard to reconcile…
This moving film is both thought-provoking and entertaining, (and there’s a good chance that it’ll inspire in you a love of Bluegrass). Like Blue Valentine,Blue is the Warmest Colour or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, it charts a relationship from beginning to end – from love at first sight, to heartbreak and from bitterness back to love.
You can check out a trailer here:
Worlds collide in this French comedy/drama, as a paralysed millionaire hires a street-wise ex-con to be his new carer.At first reluctant, this unlikely choice (Driss) proves to be pretty adept in his new role, and he and Philippe (the millionaire) become fast friends.
Based on a true story, Les Intouchables isa life-affirming feel-good film. It deals with a fairlydifficult subject masterfully, and without getting depressing. (Seriously, it’s refreshing to see a film about someone with a handicap that doesn’t end in tears).
In France, it became the thirdhighest grossing film of all time (behind Titanic and Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis), and it’s equally as beloved on this side of the Channel. Check out a trailer here:
The Lives of Others (96%)
Set in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall, The Lives of Others sees a member of the Stasi (secret police) perform surveillance on an artist and his girlfriend. He bugs their home, but the more he listens to – and the more he learns – the more he finds himself getting involved in their lives.
The officer – Gerd – has devoted his careerto ferreting out and punishing those who threaten East Germany’s socialism, but listening in on this couple forces him to re-evaluate.
If you’re in the mood to watch people shouting and shooting,then this might not be the “thriller” for you. The Lives of Others is a tense look at paranoia and secrecy that will force you to consider what you might have done, had you lived in a similar climate.
It’s got the highest “audience score” on our list, and an ending that we’ve never quite been able to forget. Seriously. Watch it.
LetThe Right One In (90%)
This Swedish horrorsees a young boy get involved with the girl next door (Eli) – who just so happens to be a vampire.. But Twilight it is not.
Eli isdangerous. Oskar – our protagonist – quickly realises that she’s responsible for the murders occurring in their town, but his fear of her doesn’t quite overcome his curiosity..
If this plot sounds familiar, it’s probably because the film was remade in Hollywood just a few years later. And while Let Me In (starring Chloe Grace Moretz) is truly terrifying in its own right, this original isn’t to be underestimated.
Both twisted and touching, rarely can a horror film move you as much as it does scare you..
Like Father, Like Son (88%)
As their son turns six,Ryota and Midori discover that there was a mistake at the hospital, and he was switched at birth. While they have been raising another couple’s child, their own biological son lives with a large family in the nearby countryside.
They have to decide what to do. Do they switch the children back, or do they continue raising the boy they have loved for the past six years? The answer isn’t easy, and this film is testament to that.
Check out the trailer here:
Pan’s Labyrinth (91%)
Setafter the Spanish Civil War, during the dark years of Franco’s regime, this fantasy/ parable-style “fairytale for adults” sees a young girl escape into a labyrinth, filled with magical creatures.
A faun she finds there convinces her that she is the lost, legendary Princess Moanna, and he tells Ofelia that in order to return to her kingdom, she must complete a series of tasks.
While this might sound too “fantasy” to be fun, Pan’s Labyrinth isactually pretty much universally loved. Critics went wild for it, and audiences were no less enthusiastic. Even if the supernatural isn’t your thing, this film is worth at least one watch:
Any foreign films that you love? Let us know in the comments!