With five weeks until the next step in Britain’s roadmap out of lockdown, now is the perfect time to get to watch those foreign language films that everyone tells you are great but you could never concentrate for long enough to watch. Foreign films are great for if you want to practice your language skills, seem edgy or in the rare event that you actually have an interest in foreign cinema. So Here is a list of five of my favourites to help you survive the next few weeks.
- Todo Sobre Mi Madre – Pedro Almodóvar (1999)
For those unacquainted with Pedro Almodóvar this film might come as a bit of a shock to the system. Set in the cultural boom following the death of Franco and his dictatorship, this film revolves around the brutal lives of Spanish sex workers, the AIDS crisis as well as the lives of trans women. As with all Almodóvar’s films the director dazzles with bright colours and striking cinematography. This film is incredibly entertaining but that never comes at the cost of the deeply moving subject matter.
2. Roma – Alfonso cuarón (2018)
Although unlikely to improve your Spanish skills, this critically acclaimed drama is one of the best foreign language films of recent years. Set in Mexico, Cuarón sheds light on the treatment of indigenous women in Mexico. If you’re looking for an action packed blockbuster this might not be the film for you but it is the type of film that once watched will stay with you for a long time after.
Portrait de la jeune fille en feu – Céline Sciamma (2019)
For fans of period drama this is the one to watch. A painter Marianne is appointed to create a portrait of the aristocratic Heloïse who has, up to this point refused to have a portrait made. The film was shortlisted for the palm d’or at Cannes and won the queer palm while Sciamma picked up the award for best screenplay. The story takes place on an isolated island in Brittany and the enclosed setting makes for a deeply tense and atmospheric piece of drama.
L’ascension – Ludovic Bernard (2017)
On a slightly lighter note and with the added benefit of being on Netflix, L’ascension (The Climb) is based on the true story of Nadir Dendoune the first French-Algerian man to climb Mount Everest. The film is light hearted and most of the comic scenes come from Denoune’s complete lack of climbing knowledge or experience. Nevertheless, the film manages to be inspiring and enjoyable while not making you think too hard.
Mar adentro – Alejandro Amenábar (2004)
Another film based on a true story, Mar adentro Chronicles the life of Ramón Sampredo a quadriplegic who spent 28 years campaigning to be allowed to end his own life after a diving accident left him with the inability to move below the neck. The film won the Oscar for best foreign language film and Javier Bardem gives a powerful performance as usual. While not for the faint hearted, the film is touching, thought provoking and thoroughly watchable.