I love foreign movies. These are 16 of my very favourites in no particular order. They are all amazing in their unique, different ways. They are all from different genres, Most are French, but there are also others from other countries. I repost this old post because I add 10 more movies. Please share with me your favourite foreign movies. x
1. Downfall (German)
This movie tells the story of the final days and downfall of Hitler. The duration is quite long but it is so intense from beginning to finish. This movie (to me) is the best made movie ever. and the most perfect. I'm not into war movies but this is just have to be seen to be believed.
Awards = 15 wins and 13 nominations (including nominated for best foreign movie 2005 academy awards)
2. Les Choristes (France)
This movie tells a story of a school teacher (and musician) and his modest ambition of having the school choir to sing his song and his modest ambition to teach music. It is the most touching and endearing movie and the music is just the most haunting and beautiful.
There are also some very funny and charming moments. But everyone who watch this movie will cry at the end. One word to sum up this movie 'magical'.
Awards = 11 wins and 21 nominations (including nominated for best foreign movie & best music 2005 academy awards)
3. Head on (Turkey)
This movie tells a love story between two very different people, 40 year old man and a 20 year old girl who are from different cultural background and met in a psychiatric facility after both trying to kill themselves. Watching this movie is like a rollercoster emotional journey, there are very real romantic moments, and there are the most tragic bitter moments. The characters are very complex and emotional and the actings from both lead actor/actress are just the most amazing. The ending is sad :( but the love is beautiful. This is my personal fav movie :)
Awards = 23 wins and 11 nominations (including won best film in 2004 European Film Awards)
I've probably watched this movie way more than I should. A real feel-good movie. The most charming movie. Probably not everyone would agree because this is not the typical hollywood romantic comedy. Girl meet boy. Get married. No. The girl here is a gold digger. Played by my fav actress Audrey Tatou. First of all, i dont think anyone speaks charm more than Audrey Tatou. And the most amazing thing about her is she is not the sexiest or the most beautiful star (like Penelope Cruz or Marilyn Monroe). But she has a very unique face, combined with a very extraordinary acting. She is just so special and she made very good choices with movies. I love all her movies.
Awards - 1 win and 1 nomination
5. Amelie (France)
Every minute of this movie is pure genius. We see the ordinary world through the eyes of Amelie and she makes everything much more extraordinary. Amelie, with her own sense of justice decided to help those around her. And punish those who are bad. For 20 years the director Jean-Pierre Jeunet collected small astonishing and intriguing moments in his life, taking notes in his diary. The things in this movie are quite an everyday thing, but watching it, the way it is made, directed and acted are so magical and such a total escapism. Its like entering another world. A lot of people say that this movie is a masterpiece. I can't be more agree.
Awards = 51 wins and 46 nominations ( including 5 oscar nominations)
6. The diving bell and the butterfly (France/USA)
This is a true story of Elle France editor, Jean-Dominique Bauby, who in 1995 ( age 43) suffered a stroke that paralysed his entire body except his left eye. He then made his memoir using that left eye by blinking to communicate every single alphabet for every words in his books. Yes every single word! This is a very remarkable story told and shot from Jean-Dominique's body (you see the world as he views) making watching it just even more real and heartfelt (especially the sealing of his eye part). The way this movie is made really can't be any more beautiful and the audiences also experience some truly funny moment in alot of scenes. Also feeling Jean-Do's sorrow trapped like the diving bell while his imagination and the gorgeous cinematography make you feel like a butterfly. An amazing inspiring movie.
Awards = 41 wins and 33 nominations (nominated for 4 oscars)
7. He loves me He loves me not (France)
Another brilliant movie starring Audrey Tatou. I love French thriller. It is so tastefully done. This movie is about a crazy love. And who does love film better than the French? This film has a surprise for you. You just got to watch it. I won't spoil it for you!
Awards = 2 nominations
8. Caramel (Arabic)
This movie is a story of the friendship of 6 women in Beirut, whom 4 of them work in a beauty salon. What happens when they get together, gossip and talk about life and love happiness and problems. This movie is beautiful in its simple, modest way. It is enchanting and charming. You can't help but falling in love with all the women and their characters. The movie has this warm, watchable enjoyable feeling and yet it touch you and move you deeply. The fact that 2 of the main characters never acted before and this is the director's debut film, just amazed me even more. I can't help but fell in love with this film.
Awards : 4 wins and 5 nominations
9. Maria full of Grace (Colombia)
This movie is about a young pregnant 17 y o Colombian who becomes a drug mule to make some desperately needed money for her family. She comes to America by swallowing 62 pellets of cocaine in her stomach. In America, problems happen but in the end she decided to stay in America to be able to give a better life for her child.
Maria has such a high human spirit which is so touching. You can feel her nerve, fear, lost and hope. What is also amazing is the fact that this is a Colombian movie which is written/directed by an American and it is low budget. That simplicity makes it so believable and real. It touches such a sensitive subject, and it succeeds.
Catalina Sandino Moreno who played Maria is brilliant and was nominated for best actress at the Academy Awards.
Awards = 30 wins & 22 nominations (nominated for 4 Oscars, win Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival)
10. In the mood for love & 2046
Wong Kar Wai is my most favourite movie director. I've seen all his movies that I can get access to. His movies are the types of movies that I feel strongly connect to & that I can so feel and relate to. It's funny because his movies are a bit of 'in its own world', even fantasy-like. It's very hard to describe my feeling, I feel like those things in his movies are the stuff that are in my dreams & imagination & fantasy the whole time. I get this dejavu whenever I watch his films, its like it's tailored-made for me. Strange.
In a whole, maybe also because his movies are lush and visually gorgeous. He can always capture the romance and passion beautifully (or sad at times, or both at the same time), the storyline is simple, yet made rich, it often doesn't have a proper ending (which I can make my own ending the way I imagine it). Not all movies can get away with that, but his movies are so special and intimate, you kind of know how it is going to continue. Always beautifully sounded, the tracks are softly played but the melody is gorgeous. His movies are the sorts of movies that you remember long after you see it.
Awards : In the mood for love (31 wins and 23 nominations), 2046 (22 wins and 30 nominations)
In the mood for love was awarded 'Best Foreign Film' in the 2001 France Cesar Awards & 2001 German Film Awards and 'Screen International Award' in the 2000 European Film Awards, and 2046 was awarded 'Screen International Award' in the 2004 European Film Awards. Wong Kar Wai was awarded 'Best Director' for his other movie 'Happy Together' at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.
Wong Kar Wai's first full English feature film "My blueberry nights" opened the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, starring Norah Jones, Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman and Jude Law.
11. L'appartement (France)
L'appartement is an elegant romantic thriller with its brilliant plot. It will absorb you from the start, and keep you guessing and feeling suprised and amazed until the very end. This movie starred the beautiful Monica Belluci and the French superstar Vincent Cassel. This is the first French movie that I've ever seen (long time ago) and I've forgotten the plot now but I still remember how brilliant it is, at the same time beautiful and sophisticated (How does the French does it?). I was in awe for a few days. The movie was out in 1996 and until now, people hasn't forgotten about it. It is that 'classic'. The American remade this movie (Wicker Park, starring Josh Hartnett and Rose Byrne) and of course this original version is the one you should watch first.
Awards = 2 wins & 1 nomination (win BAFTA Awards for best foreign movie)
12. Spanish Apartment (France)
I've lived in foreign countries away from my parents since I was 12. And since then, I've shared apartments/houses/rooms with so many different types of individuals. That is why I love this movie so much. It's about a few people from different countries and characters who live in one apartment. Not often you get to see a movie with a few different languages in it. This movie is also a very delightful comedy which you will remember for a long time. It shows friendship, some happy or crazy moments when you are young. And it is so funny! (My favourite actress Audrey Tatou was in it too).
Awards = 8 wins and 8 nominations. (It also won Audience Award in 2003 Sydney Film Festival and 2003 Brisbane Film Festival)
13. The class (France)
Some movies evoke my emotion. Alot of movies of course make me sad or happy. But only a rare few can make me angry. This movie does it. This is the story of Francois Begaudeau (whom he played himself), who also wrote the book upon which this movie is based on. He is a junior school teacher in France, where the students are multi-cultural and come from middle working family. It gives us insights on how frustrating and hard it is to teach children. And we cant really hate the children because they are children. It shows what happen beneath that classroom wall. Back when I was in junior school, we listened to whatever the teachers said, but in this movie, it is more of a two-way communication classroom. Students listen to teachers and vice versa. Some of what the students said are quite interesting!!
This movie doesn't really feel like a movie, it's like half a movie half a documentary. It feels really real. It's outstanding.
Awards = 9 wins and 14 nominations (including the coveted Cannes Palme D'or 2008 and Academy Award nominations for best foreign movie 2009)
(This video doesn't really show how outsatanding this movie is)
14. The white haired bride 1 & 2
Visually gorgeous, beautifully acted. Brigitte Lin is one of the most beautiful and one of the most gifted Chinese actress. She plays the betrayed lover and you can feel her love and betrayed emotion. This is truly one of the most visually breathtaking movie I've ever seen. And I was so happy that the sequel is as good as the original.
15. City of God (Brazil)
Whenever I see people/ movie critics's top 10 best/ favourite foreign films, this movie is always included. This is a very powerful and heart wrenching movie that shows a true story of crime and horrifying violence in Rio de Janeiro. The editing is probably one of the best editing I've ever seen in a movie. You are always in the edge of your seat, and this is not some horror fiction, this is real. Real people whose life are so wasted in fights and gangs and die too easy. This movie is such an eye opener.
Awards = 55 wins and 25 nominations (nominated for 4 oscars)
16. La Vie en Rose (France)
"Her voice is the soul of Paris". This is the true story of Edith Piaf, a French singer who has one of the most beautiful voice EVER! Beautiful is almost an understatement, her voice is one of a kind, special, unique, it is overloaded with heart and soul. It has so much depth and feeling that you can feel her passion, even though you don't see her sing. Marion Cotillard performance in this movie is magnificent, I dont think anyone can play Edith Piaf better than her. Her acting is stunning and the makeup is unreal too(Oscar win for make-up) Marion transformed from this beautiful actress to this very believable old woman. The love story is very touching. I haven't feel moved by a love story like this one for a very long time. And I love the French setting in that older era. It is so french :)
The Oscar winning performance of Marion, combined with the colourful passionate true story of Edith Piaf (and combined with the most beautiful soundtrack) make this movie one of its kind. It is just special.
Awards : 29 wins and 33 nominations (win 2 Oscars including best actress to the very deserving Marion Cotillard)