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International movies

15 amazing international films everyone must watch

Movies are awesome. Unfortunately, everyone doesn’t get to watch international* films as much as we do American blockbusters.

But fret not. Below is a list of 15 gems everyone should get acquainted with.

Let’s get to it !

The Intouchables

Intouchables

Release date : 2011

It’s hard to comment on a masterpiece because words can’t and won’t do it justice.

Everything there is to say about this movie has already been said before. It’s moving, heartwarming and surprisingly funny.

There’s a real mystique around it, a real chemistry between the actors and an incredible story.

The movie is artistically so elaborate, with as much contrast as you’ll ever discern : from the huge differences in cultural backgrounds, status and wealth to the opposition of skin tones and physical ability and attributes, it left nothing to chance.

Everything was black and white (pun intended) till the two worlds collided and came together to deliver one of the most heartwarming dramas we’ve seen in years.

Country : France

Hotel Mumbai

Release date : 2018

Hotel Mumbai is a powerful biographical thriller directed by Anthony Maras.

The film was inspired by the 2009 documentary Surviving Mumbai after the horrendous attacks of 2008. It is thus based on true events.

The film stars Dev Patel, arguably India’s best actor, and is visually and emotionally breathtaking.

Country : India/Australia

Relatos Salvajes – Wild Tales

Relatos salvajes

Release date : 2014

Pedro Almodovar is one of the best filmmakers and directors in the world.

From Volver with Penelope Cruz to the Skin I Live In with Antonio Banderas, Almodovar is used to making brilliant movies and working with extremely talented and world-known actors and producers.

Relatos Salvajes, aka Wild Tales is no exception.

Written and directed by Damian Szifron and co-produced by Pedro and Agustin Almodovar, Wild Tales was destined for international success.

Having won so many awards and having been broadcasted worldwide, Relatos Salvajes is one of the most exceptional Argentine movies the world has seen so far.

Quality, plot, acting, it has it all. 6 amazing tales that will keep you on the horns of a dilemma.

Brilliant is an understatement.

Country : Argentina

Die Welle – The Wave

die welle

Release date : 2009

Die Welle is a very compelling movie. Not just because of the insanely well-written plot but because of what it represents.

Die Welle follows a teacher whose instructions were to introduce his high school students to the autocratic state during a week-long session dedicated to longer-term lessons.

To take things further, Rainer – the teacher – decides to bring autocracy back to life and lets his students construct their own.

Things take an interesting turn, which tells us more about fascism and nazism as an idea than books ever would.

Eyeopening to say the least.

Country : Germany

Cidade de Deus – City Of God

cidade de deus

Release date : 2003

This one will keep you on the edge of your seat.

In the poverty-stricken favelas of Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s, two young men choose different paths.

One picks art to escape his reality, becoming a photographer who documents the increasing drug-related violence of his neighborhood. The other chooses the path well-travelled to become an ambitious drug dealer who uses his friend’s photos as a way to increase his fame.

The film is raw. Shot in Rio’s roughest neighborhoods, it gives spectators a pretty close idea to what really goes down in the favelas.

Want to know what the most epic part is ? The movie was based on a true story !

A beautiful story and a window into a beautiful and yet dark world.

Country : Brazil

Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog millionaire

Release date : 2008

Slumdog millionaire is an Indian drama that took the world by storm when it was released.

Racking up accolades and awards, it is deservedly one the most heartwarming movies one could come across.

However, despite being labeled as a feel-good movie, get ready to have your gut wretched several times throughout.

It is borderline cruel and utterly shocking to realize the things in the movie do happen in real life as well.

It’s nothing short of brilliant, and that’s not an overemphasis.

Country : English / Indian

Parasite

parasite korean movie

Release date : 2019

Greed takes centerstage in this brilliant film as two families, the Parks and the Kims clash figuratively to establish some sort of balance.

The movie sheds light on a widely familiar problem of discrimination, wealth gaps and poverty.

The film takes several turns and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The ending won’t disappoint either.

Country : South Korean

La Haine

la haine movie

Release date : 1995

La Haine tells a story that still applies today.

A young son of emigrants gets arrested and beaten unconscious by the police, thus causing a riot to erupt in the notoriously violent suburbs outside of Paris, sound familiar ?

Three of the victim’s peers then go on a hunt when they end up finding a police officer’s discarded weapon. Their night seems poised to take a bleak turn.

An outrageously great film that stood the test of time and paints a reality that is sadly very current.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Country : France

Elite Squad

elite squad

Release date : 2007

With Wagner Moura (Pablo Escobar in Narcos) as the lead actor, this could only be good.

Acting as the captain of a special Brazilian police force, this Brazilian saga makes even the toughest US cop dramas look like romcoms.

Hyper-aggressive and with a steely ring of well-researched realism, the first fiction venture by Jose Padilha (Director of Narcos) is pitched somewhere like the full-on flash of Brazilian hit City Of God.

Action-packed and worthwhile.

Country : Brazil

Banlieue 13District 13

district 13

Release date : 2009

An amazing film about a parallel world in the suburbs of Paris, District 13 is quite the action flick.

Compelling and action-packed, with a touch of parkour and multiculturalism, the two heroes will keep you agog all throughout.

A Canadian production tried a remake starring the late Paul Walker, however it was a total miss.

Country : France

Cell 211 – Celda 211

celda 211

Release date : 2010

Focusing on the fight for survival of a trainee prison officer caught up in a riot before he has even properly started his job, Celda 211’s script is so fond of twists and chicanes that it stretches credibility more than once, especially towards the end.

The anti-hero is so absorbing, he takes a chunk of our sympathy away from the film’s role model.

One of Spain’s all-time best.

Country : Spain

The Battle of Algiers

la bataille d'Alger

Release date : 1971

Barely 10 years after the end of the Algerian liberation war, it was time to set the record straight.

The Battle of Algiers reconstructs the events that occurred in the capital city of French Algeria between November 1954 and December 1957, during the Algerian War of Independence.

The movie may not tell the whole story but it’s definitely worth the history class.

Country : Algeria

Demain Tout Commence – Two Is A Family

demain tout commence

Release date : 2016

A French comedy-drama about a party animal whose life is about to be turned upside down when an old flame leaves a child on his doorstep, claiming it’s his.

In a rather quick turn of events, he finds himself in London and having to raise his daughter by himself.

Omar Sy (The Intouchables) and Clemence Poesy (Harry Potter) had so much onscreen chemistry and delivered one of the best feel-good dramatic comedies you’ll watch.

A must-watch, and don’t forget the box of tissues.

Country : France

The Message

the message

Release date : 1976

Directed by the genius himself, Moustapha Akkad, a Syrian American director and starring Anthony Quinn, The Message is  a historical drama chronicling the life and times of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

The Message serves as an introduction to early Islamic history and is a must-watch for history lovers and curious cats.

Country : Middle Easter region

Yamakasi

Yamakasi

Release date : 2001

Unknown actors, not a blockbuster but definitely a culture-altering flick.

Yamakasi introduced the world to Parkour, a discipline now known to many but that wasn’t back in 2001.

An entertaining flick around 7 Parisian youngsters who put their skills for the common good.

Old but gold.

Country : France

I hope you enjoyed these. Feel free to drop me a line with your favorite foreign flicks and I may add them to the list.

International* = non-U.S.

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