I do accept that subtitled films are not a good choice if you are:
a. a poor reader
c. a xenophobe
e. any combination of or all of the above
To everyone else I say, come on really? Deciding that you will not watch subtitled films is like saying that you are not interested in interpretations of the human experience unless they are expressed in english, and I find that kind of thinking pretty narrow minded.
Foreign films come in every genre and they offer a fresh perspective that cannot be matched by english speaking films. How do I know this? Well, I know this because more often than not, when a foreign film is snapped up and reproduced in english, it is usually absolute shit, or at best just a whitewashed version of something that has already been done really well and should have been left alone. I do make an exception to that rule for The Departed, 12 Monkeys, and Brothers, everything else though...absolutely unnecessary, just see the original foreign film for goodness sake!
I think that by now I have clearly established my love of foreign cinema, and if you are one of those people who is hesitant to embark on a culturally enlightening and magical foreign film journey, then here is a list of my top 20 favorite foreign movies to kick start your subtitled adventures. I absolutely guarantee that these movies are all gems!
- Pan's Labyrinth (Spanish) - fantasy (5 Chilli Peppers)
- The Great Beauty (Italian) - drama (5 Chilli Peppers)
- Roma (Mexican) - drama (4.5 Chilli Peppers)
- The Bicycle Thief (Italian) - drama (4.5 Chilli Peppers)
- Jean de Florette and Manon des Source - (French) period drama (4.5 Chilli Peppers)
- Blancanieves (Spanish) - fantasy (4.5 Chilli Peppers)
- The Wages of Fear - (French) drama (4 Chilli Peppers)
- The Tunnel (South Korean) - suspense (4 Chilli Peppers)
- Run Lola Run (German) - action/ sci-fi (4 Chilli Peppers)
- La Femme Nikita (French) - action (4 Chilli Peppers)
- In the Mood for Love (Chinese) - romance (4 Chilli Peppers)
- Downfall (German) - war (4 Chilli Peppers)
- Amelie (French) - romance/ fantasy (4 Chilli Peppers)
- Kung Fu Hustle (Chinese) - action/ comedy (4 Chilli Peppers)
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Chinese/ Taiwanese) - action/fantasy (4 Chilli Peppers)
- Cinema Paradiso (Italian) - drama (4 Chilli Peppers)
- Amores Perros (Mexican) - gritty (4 Chilli Peppers)
- Dogtooth (Greek) - gritty (4 Chilli Peppers)
- Oldboy (South Korean) - gritty (4 Chilli Peppers)
- Life is Beautiful (Italian) - war (4 Chilli Peppers)
Release Date: 2016
Rating: MA 15+
Running Time: 156 mins
This South Korean horror, directed by Na Hong-jin, has the most interesting mixture of intrigue, quirk and rising doom that I have ever experienced in a horror movie. Think Lynch with screaming Koreans and you will be in the vicinity of this oddly affecting horror tale.
When a Japanese stranger arrives in a remote rural town, there is a sudden outbreak of unusual illness and murderous behaviours. When a local police officer's daughter becomes sick, things start to get personal.
One minute I was laughing my head off at the behaviours of the incompetent law enforcement and the next moment I was being horrified by graphic and bloody scenes of murder and mutilation. This is a mixed bag for sure; comedy, thriller, horror and suspense all play a part in the storytelling and I think that it works on so many levels. With its unfailing ability to rapidly cross so many genres it constantly keeps you guessing about possible outcomes and it left me on my toes right to the very end credits.
The little girl (Kim Hwan-hee) that plays the lead role of Hyo-jin is bringing an Oscar worthy and utterly convincing performance here, and although at times it is all a tad melodramatic, the cast is actually consistently strong. Don't expect a clear resolution, you will most certainly have unanswered questions at the end of this film, but some movies don't need to be presented in a perfect package to be truly great, and this is one of those kinds of movies.
FINAL SAY: He is just fishing. Not even he knows what he'll catch.
3.5 Chilli Peppers