For anyone who visits this blog on a regular basis – hopefully there’s a few people now – or for anyone who knows me in the “real” world, my addiction to movies is fairly obvious. It’s hard to explain, my addiction, but watching movies is never boring and it allows me to explore not only the filmmaker’s imagination and experiences but my own as well. I just dig movies.
And over the years I’ve discovered that foreign movies are largely overlooked by American audiences. Why? From what people have told me, what I’ve overheard people say, and what I’ve read in reviews the main reason is people don’t like to read subtitles. My film-loving heart breaks when I hear or read that: those people have no idea what they’re missing out on.
Therefore, I felt compelled to share a small sampling of my favorite foreign movies. I’ve included their English title, their original title and their original language as well as the genre and a very brief recap so you know why I love these films and why you should definitely get over the whole “I don’t want to read; I just want to watch a movie” thing.
Written and directed by Christian Alvart, Antikörper is listed first for a very good reason: It’s awesome! I thoroughly enjoyed this film and rank it up there right after The Silence of the Lambs and Se7en. The acting was excellent and the last 15 minutes or so I was in complete nail-biting agony, nearly in tears, hoping for…well I don’t want to give anything away. Simply put, this is one of the best thrillers – American or Foreign – that I’ve seen in a long time.
NOTE: There is animal and child violence, a couple scenes are pretty graphic, too. However it is not gratuitous – it’s not violence for shock’s sake – and it keeps the tension and suspense at an almost unbearable level.
[Netflix Watch Instantly on 8/9/2008]
VOICE is an uber creepy film written by Ik-hwan Choe and Joon-Seok Sol, and directed by Ik-hwan Choe. I had such bad heebies jeebies after watching this one that I left my bedroom light on all night. My one piece of advice to you is to just enjoy the ride; don’t try to take pit stops along the way to figure out what this means or why that’s there and so on. It’s really not that hard of a movie to get if you’re patient and wait for everything to reveal itself. There’s a lot of jumping around in time, but again, just be patient.
NOTE: There is actually very little gore or onscreen violence. However, the one slightly gory scene did make me cringe but not for the reason you might expect.
[Netflix DVD rental on 7/25/2008]
Written by Feng Li, Bin Wang, and Yimou Zhang, and directed by Yimou Zhang this film may be a little out there for some moviegoers but I thought it was amazing. Visually stunning, imaginative plot, terrific acting — just a great story. There’s action (martial arts), adventure, fantasy, romance and mystery so I cannot really label it for you.
[Netflix DVD rental on 1/19/2006]
Based on the novel by Jan Guillou – screenplay written by Hans Gunnarsson Mikael Håfström and Klas Östergren – and directed by Mikael Håfström, this film will grip you from its opening scenes. Erik (Andreas Wilson) is a great character and he represents so many people, so many underdogs, fighting to survive in the world today that it’s nearly impossible not to empathize with him and hope for his future. Powerful themes are addressed and the violence really hammered home the story’s points. I loved this movie!
NOTE: The violence mentioned is not gory or gratuitous. It’s just realistic, brutal fighting.
[Netflix Watch Instantly on 1/31/2010]
This is a superb film, written by Guillermo del Toro, Antonio Trashorras and David Muñoz, and directed by Guillermo del Toro, who – in my opinion – is one of the best directors in the world. His films, including this one, never feel like only one genre. There’s horror, fantasy, and mystery elements that work seamlessly together to create a film that will scare the bejeezus outta you but also touch you deeply. I’m embarrassed it took me seven years to finally watch this movie.
[Netflix DVD rental on 7/30/2008]
What’s your favorite foreign film? (any genre)