As much as I love movies in English, there are just some foreign films to watch that I cannot pass up. Some people are opposed to foreign films because they feel you have to read the movie instead of watching it, but I personally love immersing myself in the culture of another country. Even though you can’t understand what the actors are saying, they can speak to you through the drama, humor, and action of these movies. So pop some popcorn and get ready to enjoy these top acclaimed foreign films to watch.
This adorable French romantic comedy is definitely one of the top foreign films to watch because of its imaginative look into the life of the shy waitress Amelie. After being alienated as a child, Amelie develops a vivid imagination, which she carries into adulthood as she attempts to bring happiness to the lives of others. This movie has won numerous awards, including Best Film at the European Movie awards, and was nominated for five Academy Awards.
2. Pan’s Labyrinth
This movie is already well known in the United States, but it still makes the list for its incredible creativity and dark spin on classical fairytale themes. The Spanish film Pan’s Labyrinth follows young Ophelia as she escapes to a fantasy world to avoid torment from her cruel stepfather. There she meets a magical faun who gives her three tasks to prove she is actually a Princess from a fairytale. This magical and mystical film premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival and has won three Academy Awards as well as three BAFTA awards.
3. Life is Beautiful
This is one of my all-time foreign films to watch for its pure sentiment and inspiring message. Life is Beautiful is about how far a father will go to protect the innocence of his son in very troubling times. Guido is a Jewish man in Italy who gets sent to a concentration camp along with his wife and son, Giusoe. To protect his son from the horror of a concentration camp, Guido convinces his son that they are playing a game where he must complete tasks to win a tank and that the soldiers are competing against them. I will not spoil the movie but this maybe is one of the most inspiring, uplifting movies I have ever watched and I would definitely recommend it to others.
4. Seven Samurai
This Japanese adventure film tells the story of seven samurai that are hired by a village for protection. Although it may seem like nothing special, Seven Samurai has been called one of the most influential films ever made and set the standard for movies in Japan. It has won an exceptional amount of awards and has been ranked as the #2 “Foreign Film of All Time” by Rotten Tomatoes.
5. 8 ½
Directed by famous Italian director Fellini, 8 ½ is a highly imaginative and avant-garde story of a director dealing with personal struggles and having director's block while working on his next big film. His dreams, fantasies, and flashbacks weave themselves into his reality as he deals with all of the pressures in his life. 8 ½ has received recognition from the Academy Awards, Moscow International Film Festival, and even the Vatican. It also inspired the recent musical 9, starring Daniel Day Lewis and Kate Hudson.
6. The Triplets of Belleville
Being one of two animated movies on this list of foreign films to watch, The Triplets of Belleville is a comedy about three singing sisters and their quest to help an elderly woman find her grandson, who has been kidnapped during the Tour de France. It sounds like a ridiculous plot line…and it is. But that is what makes this movie one of the top foreign films to watch. It has been praised for its unique animation style and was nominated for two Academy Awards.
The other animated film on this list, Persepolis, is a French movie about a young girl growing up during the Iranian Revolution. It depicts the struggles of life during this time through comic-like animation. Although the multiple governments have had some complaints about this movie, it was nominated for Best Animated Film at the Academy Awards and has received wide audience praise.
8. The Intouchables
Another one of my favorite foreign films to watch, The Intouchables is a French film that tells the true story of the relationship between a lower class black man, named Driss, and a wealthy quadriplegic named Phillipe. Their relationship begins with the employment of Driss as a caretaker for Phillipe. Their relationship grows as they spend time together and becomes a friendship. Although it was not nominated for an Academy Award like the other films on this list, it was named Best Film at the Tokyo International Film Festival and received eight nominations at the 2012 Cesar Awards.
What are your favorite foreign films to watch? Have you seen any of these foreign films? What did you think of these foreign films to watch?