Watch These Foreign Films on Netflix If You're Looking For Something New
If you think foreign films are boring, we’re here to tell you that you just need to watch more of them. You might think reading subtitles is a lot of work, or you might assume you’ll have a hard time relating to a culture or experience that is so different than your own. But if you don’t give foreign movies a chance, you’re missing out on some of the best films Netflix has to offer. (Roma, anyone?) The streaming service has truly upped its international movie selection over the last few years, and we’ve rounded up some of the very best. Spoiler alert: they’re totally worth the subtitles.
– Additional reporting by Lauren Harano
This dark thriller follows the stepmother of a young woman who was sexually assaulted at a party, and shows how she gets her revenge on each person involved.
Us and Them
This film follows the love story between two strangers who meet on a train in China (and who happen to be from the same rural hometown) and the bond that forms and evolves over several decades after. Jianqing and Xiaoxiao’s life in Beijing is far from a fairy tale, but their tumultuous story is what makes this movie so powerful.
This Hindi comedy-drama follows a meek yet gifted young woman who recruits the help of a mysterious conman to help her reclaim her car, which was stolen by a Mumbai gangster. If Nirma doesn’t remind you even a little bit of Bridget Jones, then you’re nuts.
Y Tu Mamá También
When two teens go on a road trip across Mexico with a woman in her late 20s and both begin a sexual relationship with her (as well as with each other), things are bound to get complicated. As well as being nominated for best original screenplay at the Academy Awards and best foreign language film at the Golden Globe Awards, this movie might just be one of the sexiest flicks of all time.
Blue Is the Warmest Color
This movie is a coming-of-age romance about a 15-year-old French teen who begins to explore her sexuality with an older art student whom she meets at a lesbian bar. Is it melodramatic? Yes. Is it incredibly intoxicating and very sexy? Absolutely.
Taking place in the early 1970s in Mexico City, Netflix’s Roma is a semibiographical take on the life of Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón (who also produced, coedited, and shot the film), following a formative year in the life of a middle-class family and their live-in housekeeper. Oh, and did we mention that this movie scored Netflix its first-ever Oscar nomination for best picture (along with nine other nominations, including best director, best original screenplay, and best cinematography)?
Happy as Lazzaro
This Italian magic-realism fable tells the story of an unexpected bond that forms between a naive and optimistic young farmer and an imaginative nobleman when the nobleman asks the farmer to help him stage his own kidnapping. If the Brothers Grimm rewrote Forrest Gump to take place in Italy, this would probably be the result.
A Fortunate Man
This Danish 19th-century drama (based on the heartbreaking epic by Henrik Pontoppidan) tells the story of a pastor’s son who decides to break free from his devoutly religious family in Western Denmark to pursue a career in engineering, never expecting to fall in love with a progressive, intellectual Jewish woman who will never be accepted by his family. The movie is one of the most expensive Danish film productions in history, and when you see the incredible costuming and period detail, you’ll be glad the producers made the investment.
This Taiwanese dark comedy follows a recently bereaved widow who drags her teenage son into a complicated financial dispute when she learns that her late husband left his inheritance to someone else: his free-spirited gay lover, creating the most complicated love triangle ever. The movie manages to be both heartwarming and heartbreaking, and the characters are so nuanced and believable that you’ll feel as though you know them personally by the end.
A Land Imagined
This Chinese mystery thriller revolves around Lok, a tireless police officer attempting to track down a Chinese migrant worker who disappeared from a land reclamation site in Singapore, only to discover that another Bengali worker – a friend of the first worker – has also gone missing. Though it’s difficult to feel any empathy for the characters, the whole movie feels like a dark dream that you can’t help but be drawn into.
Centered on real-life Russian-Jewish journalist Sergei Donatovich Dovlatov-Mechik, this film follows the events in Dovlatov’s last few days before his death in 1971 Leningrad. Though Sergei aspires to stay in Russia with his family and write about what he has witnessed during the Brezhnev regime, his manuscripts are continually rejected, but he continues trying, despite the fact that other writers have been forced into exile for their views.
Svaha: The Sixth Finger
In this South Korean mystery thriller, a Buddhist monk is hired to look into a cult group known as Deer Mount, while at the same time, a police captain investigates a murder case that he suspects is tied to a member of the Deer Mount cult. It may start out a little slow, but this one definitely pays off in the end.
In this Hindi drama set in the Chandni Chowk area of Delhi, India, a father attempts to reconnect with his estranged son through social media, though the world is totally foreign to him. We guarantee that you’ve never seen a catfishing movie quite like this one.
Illang: The Wolf Brigade
Set in 2029, this South Korean sci-fi flick (which is a live-action adaptation of the Japanese animated film Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade) imagines South and North Korea preparing for a unified government, as well as the special South Korean police unit that must keep the terrorists trying to prevent the unification at bay. The film cost 19 billion won to produce, but we think it was worth the investment.