Back in my day, when internet speed was measured in kilobytes and the closest thing to Netflix was a Blockbuster store down the road, finding international films were no where near as easy to find compared to our modern day lives. Growing up in Australia with a Polish household, bootleg TV series were passed around on DVDs between family friends like a bag of chips – essentially it was the physical version of Netflix with far more users sharing the account. Now with all these streaming sites available, my love for international film is much easier to satisfy although I still have to be patient with some releases and their infuriating selective country availability. But, in spite of all that, here’s a few captivating movies I’ve come across over the years:
The first French film I had ever watched, Amélie stuck with me years after my initial screening and the whimsical nature of every character really leaves you with that feel-good sentiment once the credits roll. Watching this film made me appreciate the quirks of the everyday people I meet and created a strange desire to help any stranger that crosses my path. Amélie also contains one of my favourite soundtracks to date which I spent many hours attempting to learn on the piano (Comptine D’un Autre Eté: L’après-Midi was my go-to, show-off, “I can play the piano” song once I had mastered the piece).
Train To Busan
One of the most thrilling zombie movies I’ve seen, Train To Busan manages to build up tension throughout its entire two hour run time. Rather than the stereotypical slow-moving zombie, you’ll have the pleasure of screaming “run” at the screen as they chase down any human they notice with great speed and an unquenchable taste for flesh. While you’re enjoying the stress of an oncoming apocalypse, Train To Busan also manages to tug at your heartstrings as the characters get caught up in an endless stream of life-threatening situations.
Kung Fu Hustle
Are you in need of couple of laughs and some high-action fighting scenes? Well, Kung Fu Hustle brings the best of both these worlds with OTT martial arts sequences and a ridiculous story line that will keep you in stitches. With a variety of unique characters including a badass Landlady, a wannabe gang member and a few kung fu masters, prepare to be thoroughly amused. Stephen Chow not only plays the lead role in this film, but is also the director, co-writer and co-producer of Kung Fu Hustle, and if you’ve watched any of his other movies, you know you’re in good hands.
Following the lives of city boy Taki and high-school student Mitsuha, the pair attempt to get through the everyday happenings of each other’s lives as they wake up one morning having swapped bodies. Including it’s fair share of comedic moments that you’d expect when two very different people are forced to swap lifestyles, Your Name will keep you hooked right up until the final scenes. Bring your tissues and prepare to cry, because when I saw this film in a packed cinema, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
A Monster In Paris
Although Disney and Pixar seem to rule the animated movie scene in the West, it’s worth stepping out to the international world to find some equally captivating film experiences. Featuring one of my favourite tracks from an animated film, A Monster In Paris is a French picture loosely based off The Phantom of the Opera and follows a musically gifted flea who is now human-sized due to a mishap with a “super fertilizer”. If you’re leaning towards a feel-good movie with a head-bopping soundtrack for your next Netflix binge, then this should be right up your alley.