Beyond Hollywood: 15 Foreign Films You Can’t Afford To Miss

With a history spanning over a century, films have provided audiences with an escape from their everyday lives. The audio-visual experience transports the moviegoer to a completely different universe. However, it does happen occasionally for movie fans to seek a change of pace from their regularly seen films. We need look no further than this online community suggestion.

1- City of God (2002)

City of God (2002)
Image Credit: Miramax Films.

This epic crime film chronicles the story of a favela (the Brazilian equivalent of a slum) in Rio de Janeiro for three decades. If you think the movie only represents how miserable the slum is, you'd be very wrong. Prepare for a frenzy of violence as the slum children use firearms to climb the social ladder. However, in terms of showing graphic violence, it is not Tarantino-esque.

2- The Artist (2011)

The Artist (2011)
Image Credit: The Weinstein Company/Warner Bros. France.

Black and white has only ever been a rare artistic option for filmmakers since Hollywood acquired technicolor, and when “the talkies” first appeared in the late 1920s, directors further distanced themselves from silent cinema.

To portray the love tale between a rising young actress (Bérénice Bejo) looking forward to the modernization of cinema and a veteran of silent films (Jean Dujardin), this French film blends the forgone stylistic choice. The Best Picture winner is whimsical in its selections, so anyone who like movies would adore it.

3- Arabian Nights (2015)

Arabian Nights: Volume 1 - The Restless One, Crista Alfaiate
Image Credit: Shellac Distribution.

The story of Scheherazade, the sultan's wife who must tell her husband tales as though her life depended on them, is the intellectual underpinning of Gomes's argument. The sight gags and non-sequiturs are relentless, but what unifies Gomes's tales—most of which are set in the present day despite some period stagecraft—is the importance of storytelling itself: We invent stories for ourselves to survive.

4- Russian Ark (2002)

Russian Ark, Sergey Dreyden
Image Credit: Wellspring Media.

It's merely possible to marvel at Alexander Sokurov's historically significant technological achievement. This Steadicam shot lasts the entire image while swooping in and out of the halls of St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum and Imperial Winter Palace. However, this seeming prank conceals a beautiful ghost narrative about Russia's disassociation from its own past.

5- Flowers of Shanghai (1998)

Flowers of Shanghai, (1998)
Image Credit: Janus Films.

Some people find this languid account of life in a brothel fascinating and evocative, but others might feel like they've taken too much opium, like the characters on the show. In any scenario, Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien's overarching vision is evident. With films like these and others, he rose to prominence among moviegoers who supported “difficult cinema”—a term that means rewarding those with patience.

6- Cemetery of Splendor (2015)

Cemetery of Splendor (2015)
Image Credit: Pyramide Distribution, Noucinemart.

The story of an epidemic of sleeping sickness in the Cemetery of Splendor is a sophisticated allegory for a nation gradually lulled into political inaction. A nurse searches for ways to speak with the dead men while working in a remote clinic where the victims' hallucinations are recorded using color-coded tubes.

In the director’s low-key, alluring manner, the Thai wunderkind, one of the decade's true aesthetic heroes, opened up the potential for a serene, poetic, popular art cinema more than any other international filmmaker.

7- Brahman Naman (2016)

Brahman Naman (2016)
Image Credit: Netflix.

One of the best movies ever made, Brahman Naman features some of cinema's smartest conversations thanks to its unconventional approach to broaching topics like caste and societal complexity, entitlement, and more.

A trio of young men from Bangalore are sent to Calcutta in this Netflix original movie from the 1980s set in India, hoping to lose their virginity. As a result, an endearing, vibrant, and shockingly indecent image of the typical teenage experience is created.

8- Life is Beautiful (1997)

Life is Beautiful Nicoletta Braschi
Image Credit: Cecchi Gori Group.

Roberto Benigni's film, set in 1939, is inspired by the two years his father endured in a German concentration camp during World War II. He portrays a bookshop owner who develops feelings for a schoolteacher. The two get married after a series of amusing events. They wound up being imprisoned in a concentration camp during the war together with their son.

To convince his son that they are playing a game, Benigni, the father, conceals the awful details from his son by deft imagination. The film's use of humor and emotion to highlight crimes against humanity has been praised by critics.

9- The Handmaiden (2016)

The Handmaiden Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo
Image Credit: CJ Entertainment.

With this movie, Chan-wook maintains his distinctive psychological thriller aesthetic. The colonial novel Fingersmith by Sarah Waters inspired this Palme d'Or nominee. The story focuses on a con artist who hires a handmaiden for a wealthy heiress to steal her inheritance.

Chan-wook leads the viewer through several unexpected turns in the film's three segments. The film's pace keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, laced with equal amounts of emotion and intrigue.

10- The Call (2020)

The Call 2020
Image Credit: Netflix.

The Call modifies one of its temporal communicators, a psychotic serial killer utilizing the opportunity for terrible things, taking a slice of the “people communicating across different timelines” idea. This surprising foreign filmmaking from Korea by Chung-Hyun Lee juggles many subtexts and tones.

11- Eega (2012)

Eega, Samantha Ruth Prabhu
Image Credit: Reliance Entertainment.

In Rajamouli's Telugu-language blockbuster, an innocent man killed by his romantic rival is reincarnated as a housefly and exacts his humorous retribution. It's a knowingly absurd, endlessly inventive action-comedy. It combines the fairy-tale-like nature of The Princess Bride and the relentless, kinetic wit of a classic Warner Bros. animation.

Nevertheless, one can't help but be moved when our tiny hero uses his wings to utilize his sad lover's tears as ink to pen a note. Practically impossible to dislike and almost impossible to take seriously.

12- The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu Movie (2005)
Image Credit: Tartan USA.

Romania's healthcare system is dragged through the mud in this morbid melodrama about a man essentially killed by an uncaring hospital's bureaucracy. The film by Cristi Puiu heralded a New Wave in his nation's slow-and-low cinema, characterized by harshly critical politics, leisurely pacing, and a humanitarian focus on Ceausescu's oppressed.

13- Parasite (2019)

Image Credit: CJ Entertainment.

This is a maestro at the height of his skills, taking a scalpel to the wealthy and the poor in a harsh story where no one escapes responsibility for their wrongdoings. It is a work of exceptional brilliance and tremendous bite that discloses a fresh secret with each watch. It is shot like a heist movie with Hitchcockian overtones. 

14- Happy as Lazarro (2018)

Happy as Lazzaro, Alba Rohrwacher, Carlo Massimino
Image Credit: Ad Vitam Distribution.

The movie is about a young man who enjoys helping people and is based on the unusual actual story of a small Italian village whose residents were tricked into living as tithe-paying peasants well into the early 1980s. His savant-like kindness turns him into their tool rather than a counterweight to the forces of exploitation.

Rohrwacher's ( the director) perspective may have been the most precise and unsettling of all during a decade in which filmmakers worldwide attempted to grapple with the spiritual ravages of late capitalism.

15- The Nightingale (2018)

The Nightingale 2018
Image Credit: Transmission.

A work of art that is unflinching in how it portrays the anguish that Irish convict Clare (Aisling Franciosi), who lives in Australia in 1825, endures. Following Hawkins through the uninhabited Tasmanian land with Billy (Baykali Ganambarr), an Aboriginal guide, who she treats cruelly until they begin to understand the cycles of abuse they have both experienced at the hands of their British colonizers. Claire embarks on a path of retribution after her experience.

Source: (Reddit).

Amaka Chukwuma is a freelance content writer with a BA in linguistics. As a result of her insatiable curiosity, she writes in various B2C and B2B niches. Her favorite subject matter, however, is in the financial, health, and technological niches. She has contributed to publications like Buttonwood Tree and FinanceBuzz in the past and currently writes for Wealth of Geeks.