4 Great Foreign Films You Haven’t Seen (But Definitely Should)

Foreign films are a great way to come off cultured and intelligent, like other grandiose opinions on artwork or using the word ‘society’ at a house party. Luckily, that’s exactly what I’m going to for you; however, I’ll pepper in the ethos of RottenTomatos.com and their crowd-sourced ranking system.

4: The Hunt

You might remember Mads Mikkelson from his portrayal of the lazy-eyed Bond villain in Casino Royal, and here he is winning the 2012 Cannes Film Festival’s ‘Best Actor’ award like a boss. He plays a lovable schoolteacher in this Dutch drama or psychological thriller that illustrates the pangs of persecution and ostracization. Apart from the well-crafted story, you get a glimpse of a part of the world you may not know, and realize — once again — that we’re not all that different. Writer/director Thomas Vinterberg starts the story in the orange and red-soaked fall, takes it to a bitter and cold winter, and leaves it in the spring as I found myself wishing it would never end. It’s one of those films that sticks with you. Dive in, you’ll like it.

Tomatometer: 93%
Audience: 93%

3. A Separation

If you’re like me, you’re really into domestic dramas because they’re so hard to pull off and so easy to make terrible. Somehow writer/director Asghar Farhadi knows more about humans than anyone else on the planet because this domestic drama, set in modern-day Tehran, never feels the slightest bit false. Every conversation, reaction, and lie is so conflictingly reasonable and tension-building that you’d swear you’ve met these people before. This one won him the 2012 Academy Award for ‘Best Foreign Film’, and better yet, he made another critically-acclaimed domestic drama two years later called The Past…in French! Somebody stop this guy before he tells us all what happens after we die!

Tomatometer: 99%
Audience: 92%

2. Blue is the Warmest Color

This was easily the best film of 2013; sorry, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and Her. It’s a three-hour coming-of-age story about a girl discovering she’s gay in Lille, France. Writer/director Abdel Kechiche creates some of the most beautiful shots I’ve ever seen in my life, and that’s not hyperbolizing; I cannot think of another film that made me literally pause and marvel at a landscape while giving me that tingly feeling you sometimes get when something good happens.

Adele Exarchopoulos gives a monumental performance, and I find it offensive and egregious she didn’t get nominated and win the Academy Award for ‘Best Actress’, although I do understand the Academy has to pick movies that’ll sell in America. Of course nothing could make me more egalitarian than picking a foreign film about homosexuality, but the context becomes irrelevant when you submit that this is a film about love, and it’s done so well you feel like you were a part of it.

Tomatometer: 91%
Audience: 85%

1. Let the Right One In

I think this is my favorite film of all time, and that’s before the hindsight-bias of realizing this is the #9 Horror Film of all time on Rotten Tomatoes. This Swedish adaptation relies on sparse dialogue and universally sympathetic themes to bring you a vampire story unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

It’s a story about bullied, introverted child finding friendship in a vampire, and as a scene of blood-sucking violence precedes one of heartless bullying, you have to ask yourself which is more evil.

It’s a slow-moving cinematic masterpiece. One of those films I could describe as ‘great’ with a thousand words, and even then it wouldn’t diminish your experience.

Tomatometer: 98%
Audience: 90% TC mark

featured image – Blue is the Warmest Color

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