May 28, 2020 4 min read
After months of following the stay at home orders, businesses are slowly but surely reopening and life seems to finally somewhat resemble what it once was. But many people are playing it safe and opting to still spend most of their time at home in quarantine away from the crowds. By now, you’ve probably watched every hit motion picture there is and you’re dying for some new content and entertainment. There are dozens of foreign films you may not have heard of that have shaped the trajectory of cinema and deserve a spot on your watch list (high or not). Expand your horizons with a few of these international picks.
If you’re in the mood for a mind-blowing thriller that will leave you thinking about it for hours, give the Academy Award winning film, Parasite a watch. What starts out as a movie about a South Korean family living in poverty, slowly builds until viewers are unexpectedly hit with multiple unexpected twists that are even more jaw-dropping when blazed. An uneasy feeling emerges from the opening scene, which hangs around throughout the entirety of the feature film, something that only a talented director can accomplish.Parasitemade history when it was the first foreign-language film to win an Academy Award for best picture. It will definitely go down in history as one of the best foreign films of the decade and is by far the best movie of 2019.
Released back in 2002, City of God made waves in movie theaters around the world and is still one of the top 100 foreign films today. The movie explores what life is like for children and young adults growing up in a favela on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro during the 1960s to 1980s. Narrated by Rocket, an aspiring photographer, the story showcases the gun violence, drug cartels, corruption, and small time criminals that call the favela home.City of God went on to be nominated for four Academy Awards, including best cinematography and best director. A documentary was later made for the 10 year anniversary of the cult classic, which included interviews with some of the actors from the film. For most of them, it was their first step into the entertainment world as the majority of the cast were actual residents of the favelas found by casting directors.
Originally titledOcho Apellidos Catalanes, The Spanish Affair 2 was produced after the box office success of its predecessor,The Spanish Affair (Ocho Apellidos Vascos). You’ll get the most laughs out of these films if you understand a little bit about Spanish culture and regional differences, but even if you don’t know much about Spain, you’ll still enjoy these silly romantic comedies. Overprotective fathers seem to be a nuisance that spans international borders and Amaia’s father Koldo is hilariously protective in both films. If you haven’t yet watched the first movie, do so before embarking on the second since it is a continuation with the same four main characters.
A group of French teenagers who live and breathe hip hop music navigate the craziness of high school and bullying by their peers–sounds like any 16-year-old right? But these kids are from a small town in the northwest of France and imitate the style and swag of famous west coast rappers like Tupac and Snoop Dogg, which makes the “gang” stand out like a sore thumb. Plus they believe that they’re actual hard core gangsters which is funny in itself. As the story unfolds, one of the boys discovers that his family will be leaving the small-town life behind at the end of the school year and the group decides to finally get some revenge on their classmates who have been heckling them all year long for living their “gangsta” ways. West Coast will have you giggling at their antics from start to finish.
The Oscar-winning director, Guillermo del Toro is the mastermind behind The Shape of Water and the Hellboy franchise as well as the renowned 2006 fantasy film Pan’s Labyrinth. Set in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, a young girl named Ofelia discovers a magical labyrinth in the backyard where she encounters mysterious creatures. A faun explains that if she is able to complete the labyrinth’s three tasks, she will achieve immortality. Scenes depicting the harsh reality and cruelty of the war are intertwined and paralleled with the imaginary land that only Ofelia can see. The Spanish-language picture is full of allusion and foreshadowing that will leave you glued to the screen and no, it’s not just because of the weed you smoked. Pan’s Labyrinth won many international accolades including three Academy Awards and three BAFTA awards.
Sometimes subtitles can become too much to handle when you’re absolutely baked. Though these movies are in English and aren’t technically considered foreign films, they’re great options if you want to venture beyond Hollywood. Each of these motion pictures were filmed by foreign directors and are perfect for zoning out on the couch with your bong.
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