From your sofa to the world, here’s the 10 best foreign language movies to stream today.
Looking to expand your Netflix, Stan, Amazon or any other platform binge, outside the constrictions of the living room, and across the globe? Look no further than our countdown of the best foreign language films out there. From Japan to Germany, these are stories that will make you laugh and make you cry. Join these masterful directors to hilarious actors and incredible cinematographers across the world, all from the comfort of your sofa.
Source: Miramax and O2 Filmes, via IMDB
10. City of God (2002, Portuguese)
This Brazilian film was released in 2002 adapted from the 1990’s novel of the same name by Paulo Lins. But the movie is also loosely based on real events as it tells the story of growing organised crime in the Cidade de Deus suburb of Rio De Janeiro between the 60s and 80s. We’re talking a combination of gritty plot, gripping characters, all within a vintage 1970s aesthetic. Nominated for four Academy Awards, it’s a dark and captivating tale which will leave you reeling.
CJ Entertainment and Barunson E&A via IMDB
9. Parasite (2019, Korean)
If you’re a movie fan, it’s unlikely that Parasite will have passed you by. 2019’s multi-Oscar-winner, Parasite is a black comedy and thriller. When members of an unemployed family deceive a wealthier family in order to become their servants, it begins a tragicomic life of paranoia, jealousy and intimacy. This isn’t a movie which has been overestimated. It’s artfully told and filled with the intricate details and skill, enchanting for both movie buffs and casual watchers.
Source: Dendy Films and Claude Ossard and UGC via IMDB
8. Amelie (2001, French)
This is an unmissable film for any rom-com fan. Nominated for five Academy Awards, it’s full of Parisian whimsy, with French actress Audrey Tatou taking centre stage. It tells the story of a shy and lonely waitress who, with a strong sense of justice, decides to make it her mission to help those around her, and on her way, encounters love. Plus, Amelie’s innocence and naivete call for some amusing and touching events along the way. It’s as French as they come, and as characterful and quirky as you could like it.
Source: Roadshow Entertainment and Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion via IMDB
7. The Lives of Others (2006, German)
One of IMDB’s top-rated movies of all times, this German offering is set in 1984 East Berlin and tells the story of a secret police agent. As he conducts surveillance on a writer and his lover, he starts to become more and more absorbed in their lives. A gloomy but entrancing drama, it explores the tension between the severity of the communist state and the reality of being human. It’s tense, emotional and poignant, and the perfect watch for anyone who loves spy movies or human dramas.
Source: Toho & Studio Ghibli via IMDB.
6. Spirited Away (2001, Japanese)
Spirited Away is an animated Japanese fantasy film, now hailed as a cult offering from Studio Ghibli. It explores the tale of 10-year-old girl, Chihiro Ogino, who moves to a new neighbourhood and gets engulfed into the world of Kami (spirits) which is part of Japanese Shinto folklore. Beautifully drawn and dazzlingly told, it’s as enchanting for adults as it is for children. Awaken your inner wonder with this movie which will make you view the world with fascination and curiosity.
Source: Autopilot Entertainment via IMDB
5. I Am Not An Easy Man (2018, French)
As funny as it is feminist, this thought-provoking Netflix original imagines a parallel universe in which gender stereotypes are reversed. When a male chauvinist awakens in this new world, he learns to understand the everyday sexims in the world around him, only now as the victim. The serious messaging of the film is balanced beautifully with high comic effect, as the dissonance is used to highlight the absurdity in some practices we take for granted. Although there is an underlying romance to keep the plot turning, this is a perfect watch for both men and women alike.
Source: Riama Film and Umbrella Entertainment
4. La Dolce Vita (1960, Italian)
Translated as ‘The Sweet Life’, this classic movie released in 1960 has more of an impact on your day-to-day life that you might ever have imagined. Directed and co-written by Federico Fellini, it follows the story of magazine gossip writer Marcello Rubini over seven days in Rome. A hit across the world in the 60s, La Dolce Vita explores the contrast between immorality and luxury, all with the plush and sigh-worthy indulgence of Hollywood glamour and cinema. Plus, it claims the coining of the term paparazzi, after the character Paparazzo, a magazine photographer.
Source: Quad Productions and Sony Pictures Entertainment via IMDB.
3. The Intouchables (2012, French)
This comedy-drama is one of the best feel-good films of all time. Based on a true story, it depicts the unlikely friendship between a paralysed multi-millionaire and his reluctant carer. On paper it might look like a story based on stereotypes, but the personability and care of this story-telling ensures the film is as touching as it is amusing. It’s easy to imagine that the real figures who inspired the story are still friends to this day. If you’re looking for a film to gather the family around and genuinely laugh out loud, this is it!
Source: Netflix Media Center
2. Roma (2018, Spanish)
Another multi Oscar winner, Roma is the tale of a year in the life of a maid to a middle class family in Mexico City in the 1970s. Director Alfonso Cuaron perfectly hits the distance between insignificant and monumental, combining the theatrics of everyday life with monumental political upheaval. Don’t be put off by the black and white imagery; It’s a gorgeous human drama which subtly yet vividly transports you into the time and place of Mexico City. We recommend it as a perfect watch for a rainy Sunday afternoon (or any other day for that matter!).
Source: Block 2 Pictures and GEM Entertainment via IMDB
1. In the Mood for Love (2000, Cantonese)
Set in Hong Kong, this romantic drama film tells the story of two strangers, who, on moving into the same apartment building, realise their spouses are both having extramarital affairs. From there begins their halting friendship. It’s a film about universal concepts: love, betrayal, memory and loneliness. It’s frequently called on by film critics as one of the most masterful productions out there, so it’s a must-see for any movie fan. Poignant, touching and enthralling, you’ll find it the perfect companion to a glass of wine of an evening.