Last week we attended the opening night of the Raindance 2018 Film Festival and watched the UK premier of Chilean film ‘Princesita.’ It got us thinking about foreign language films and the office favourites. Foreign language films rarely see large scale releases in UK cinemas but with directors such as Pedro Almodovar and Yorgos Lanthimos making English language films as well as films in their native language, hopefully more people will explore such film maker’s back catalogue of work and enjoy more foreign language films. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites below:
Reportedly the most successful French language film of all time, ‘Les Intouchables’ has had an Indian and Spanish remake with a Hollywood adaptation on the way. The 2011 film is a heart-warming comedy about a paraplegic aristocrat and his ex-convict carer and is based on the real lives of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and Abdel Sellou. We’re dubious about the Hollywood remake starring Kevin Heart and Bryan Cranston so recommend watching the original first to enjoy this story. Nigel Farndale of The Telegraph credits the film’s success to the fact “…it gives the audience permission to laugh with, not at, people with disabilities, and see their lives as they have never seen them before.”
Rust and Bone
Based on the short stories “Rust and Bone” and “Rocket Ride” by Canadian author Craig Davidson, this heart-breaking French film is as complex as it is beautiful. The depth of character and absorbing love story soon make the subtitles melt away and if the author of the original stories saying that the film is better than his own book isn’t enough to make you want to watch it, then we don’t know what is…
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The original Swedish version, which saw the first 3 of the book series released (not just stopping at book one as the other versions seem to have), was dubbed in to English, so it is perfect for those put off foreign language films by subtitles. The films were well received by critics and it won a BAFTA for Best Film not in the English Language in 2010. It is not an easy watch but Noomi Rapace’s stellar performance alone is a great reason to put this on your watchlist.
Perhaps one of the most well-known foreign language films (GCSE French anyone?) and a defining role for Audrey Tautou – the role was actually written for another actress but she has to decline on the basis of not speaking French… the film often features on ‘must watch’ lists so we recommend you add it to yours as it is quite an easy watch and a good introduction to foreign language films if you don’t usually watch them.
If you like a horror movie, give this german one a go, tinged with dark humour, its American remake isn’t bad either for a comparison. Apparently, the Director had never intended for the film to be a horror…but it reportedly shocked audiences at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival to the point of viewers walking out of the screening.