Anyone who knows me knows I am more a music fanatic than a film fanatic. If I like a song I will replay it over and over, however with films, the fascination does not run so deep. I can admit that a film is insightful but not to the degree I will watch it twice or thrice. Bar, absolute classics like The Lion King or the odd Christmas film, English-speaking films rarely intrigue me to the point I will watch them again. However this analogy does not apply to the foreign film.
I find that the candid honesty demonstrated in foreign films makes them makes them increasingly poignant and thus replayable. I can’t say when I got into foreign films but I know when I did I know I became enamoured. Quickly. And not to one particular genre either. I dabbled in many – not letting the barrier of continent or dialect hold me back. And as a result, I have compiled a list of my 12 favourite foreign films below.
A tale of a young girl navigating a fantastical world that evokes the most human of emotions. Chihiro is trying to return her parents to her original form and along on the journey finds out more about herself.
A hilarious comedy about an unikely duo – a paraplegic and his cheeky helper go about life, butting heads to the amusement of the viewer. Light-hearted and a classic.
I call this movie the French version of the American film “Freedom Writers” featuring Hillary Swank. It’s a tongue-in-cheek, thoroughy entertaining feature film about a teacher dealing with somewhat, dynamic, unruly kids in his class. Funny from beginning to end.
A sombre feature film that chronicles the true story of a woman who suffered abuse at the hands of her husband and kills him as a response. An intriguing watch that is true to form.
A coming-of-age film that I thoroughly enjoyed from beginning to end. Both whimsical and simple – a city girl moves to a rural area and reminisces about her childhood and adolescence.
This introspective tale of time travel is a movie really encapsulates the phrase “Carpe Diem.” Mamoru Hosoda turns the trivial incident of a schoolgirl waking up late for school one morning into an episode of philosophical thoughtfulness. Who controls time? Can the past truly be corrected? Selfishness is a character flaw we all battle. Many of us operate on this emotion to the detriment of others. Combined with an ordinary’s girls struggle through day-to-day life, you can see clearly where the conflict and ultimate resolution of one’s disposition comes to light in this movie.
This war film is distinct from the other films due to its very graphic, brutal nature. It follows the story of a young boy displaced from war and the militia he ends up in a result. With its first person narration, it speaks to the innermost thoughts of our psyche without being overbearingly conscious.
A really entertaining film about a video game that has transfixed the minds of those who play it. It is fantastical and mythical yet like most Japanese dramas, dabbles in the most human of emotions – particularly love and endurance.
A stark story about the origin of the diamond jewel and its journey to the jeweller. Powerful. Unique. Unprecendented.
Flat-affected film about an Iranian girl who navigates dual identity as a French Muslim. Her adolescent tone and experiences are thoroughly humorous.
Amazing film about day-to-day life of Brazilians who battle with crime to get by. The balance between chasing life and luxury is what is particularly poignant in the film.
One of the first foreign films I ever watched and the only Spanish feature is this gem. A futuristic, horror about a young girl who navigates a labyrinth and comes across many interesting creatures in her quest.