I, along with every other Netflix subscriber, have become increasingly dissatisfied with Netflix’s shenanigans. First it was the rate hikes and then the creation of DVD-mailing spin-off Qwikster. SNL even did a skit on it. I’ve come close to pressing that “cancel my membership” button (if such button exists). However, I held off on calling it quits because Netflix offers a wide array of awesome foreign films. In the mood for a German flick? Possibly something of the Eastern European variety? Netflix has it covered. Show the foreign tab some love. These few have been some of my favorites so far.
2 Days in Paris
I make no apologies for my adoration, no, obsession with the City of Lights. It is a magical place. So naturally I am attracted to anything with Paris in the title. 2 Days in Paris did not disappoint. Directed, written, and acted by French actress Julie Delpy, the film is smart, witty and totally lovable. Julie plays Marion, a Parisian living in New York City with her American boyfriend Jack, played by the hilarious Adam Goldberg. On their way back from a trip to Venice they stop in Paris to pick up their cat, but end up staying for two days to see her
nutty family. Marion and Jack bicker like they have been married for years—she takes too many pictures, she’s neurotic, he is a hypochondriac…the list goes on. 2 Days in Paris explores love, jealousy and culture clash with so much humor.
The Kite Runner
This one’s a tearjerker. Based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted story of a privileged Afghani boy Amir and his best friend Hassan, the son of his father’s servant. Set against the backdrop of Afghanistan’s turbulent history, from the Russian invasion to the beginning of the Taliban regime, the film is anything but a history lesson. It’s about a relationship broken and then mended, and even if you have not read the fantastic book, you will come away with a very special feeling from this movie.
Y Tu Mama Tambien
Future road trip movies take note; this is how you do it. Y Tu Mama Tambien, made by Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron in 2001, comes as a shock if you’re expecting a typical road movie. Dosed with a heavy hand of sharp dialogue and sex scenes, the film explores the relationship between two best friends, Julio and Tenoch (Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna), as they embark on a short trip with recently cheated on Luisa (Maribel Verdu). The director does not sugar-coat the reality of Mexico’s strife; dialogue is interspersed with narratives about politics, characters or events relevant to the main characters. For Tenoch and Julio, nothing would ever be the same after that one summer.
This is likely the most well known foreign film on the list, and with good reason. Made in 1996 by Danny Boyle (of Slumdog fame), Trainspotting has become a cult classic. Set in Scotland, the film details the lives of heroin addicts who want to escape a “normal” life of working, having kids and having material things. The main characters, Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor), Spud (Ewen Bremner) and Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) are all addicts except Tommy (Kevin McKidd). This is not a comfortable, light-hearted film—it is raw and at times completely unnerving. The characters battle with their addiction, withdrawal and life itself. While you want to hate them, you can’t help but fall in love with the misfits. A perfect movie that is so un-perfect in its content.