Parasite director Bong Joon-ho said it best at the Golden Globes: "Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films." Amen. Last night, Parasite became the first non-English language film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. The South Korean movie also won Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. So people are tracking down Parasite to stream -- and you can do so on YouTube, Amazon, etc., for a few bucks.
However, I'm hoping Parasite just opens the door for fans to stream more international films. Subtitles should never stop you from experiencing the best of the world!
I tend to recommend stuff to stream on Mondays and today I'm focusing on six international movies you can stream right now on Netflix. I'm going for some tried-and-true Oscar nominees/winners, in the hopes that they can be like gateway films -- if you like these ones, please keep going and check out Netflix's full sampling of non-English movies and the even better international TV series.
This is one of my favorite films of the 21st Century so far. The 2011 drama won the Oscar for what was then called Best Foreign Language Film. It was written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian filmmaker who would go on to win the same award for The Salesman (which is not currently available on Netflix). A Separation follows Leila Hatami as Simin and Peyman Moaadi as Nader, a wife and husband separating after 14 years. As these things tend to be, it's complicated. In this case, one complication is his father's Alzheimer's disease. Things unravel in such a surprising and tense way it's gripping but tough to watch. If you liked Netflix's Marriage Story, this isn't the same at all but it's even more worth your time. Stream A Separation here on Netflix (opens in new tab).
Mexican writer/director Alfonso Cuarón's semi-autobiographical drama was one of the frontrunners to win Best Picture last year, but that honor went to Green Book. Instead, Netflix's Roma had to "settle" for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Cinematography, and Best Director. The film is 135 minutes long, which is a lot -- but also a lot less than Netflix's The Irishman at 209 minutes. I wasn't sure if I'd like Roma but I very much did. I found it deeply moving, especially in the hospital scene. It was also just beautiful to watch. But yes it's a black-and-white movie with subtitles and it's not exactly action-packed. Still, if you haven't seen Roma yet, it got raves for a reason. Stream it here (opens in new tab) on Netflix.
The Lives of Others
This quietly suspenseful German film won the 2006 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The story is set in the 1980s, following Germany's secret police -- the Stasi -- monitoring residents in East Berlin. Actor Ulrich Mühe stars as Stasi Captain Gerd Wiesler; tragically, Mühe died in 2007 at age 54, reportedly from stomach cancer. The very highly acclaimed movie is technically a spy film, so it might be more accessible to anyone you know who's usually averse to foreign films -- especially long black-and-white ones like Roma. So stream The Lives of Others here (opens in new tab) on Netflix or recommend it to someone you know.
Y Tu Mama Tambien
Look, it's Alfonso Cuarón again! This 2001 Mexican drama is veerrrry different from Roma, though. About as different as his Gravity is from his Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Y Tu Mamá También (aka And Your Mother Too) is a very sexy, rebellious, and bittersweet road trip movie. It was the first time a lot of U.S. fans got a taste of actors Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna. Both stars have since broken wide in Hollywood and Luna has his own Cassian Andor series coming to Disney+ after Star Wars' Rogue One. Y Tu Mama Tambien did not win the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, but it was nominated for that award and Best Original Screenplay. Stream the movie here (opens in new tab) on Netflix.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
I am old enough to remember when this movie first came out in 2000, and how breathtaking it was. I'd never seen anything like it -- including action stars like Zhang Ziyi, who I adored, or Michelle Yeoh, who is just timeless. I left the theater amazed and inspired by Ang Lee's film, which was a massive box office hit. The Chinese film was nominated for Best Picture and won Best Foreign Lanuage Film and several other Oscars. It had the most ever nominations for a non-English movie until Roma tied its 10 nods in 2018. To be honest, I haven't checked in with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon since that theatrical experience and I'm wondering if it aged well or would still be as impressive on my smaller-than-a-cinema TV screen. Guess I could easily find out, since it's streaming here on Netflix (opens in new tab).
On Body And Soul
This 2017 Hungarian drama was nominated for Oscars' Best Foreign Language Film. It follows two socially awkward co-workers who discover they share the same recurring dream of being a pair of deer in a forest. Yes, it's dreamy, quirky, romantic, and beautiful. Treat your soul to this one by streaming it here on Netflix (opens in new tab).
BONUS: International TV Shows
I wrote about international movies on Netflix because the Oscars just aired last night with Parasite's multiple wins. But what I really want to do is get more people to watch Netflix's amazing non-English TV series. There are so many! I have gotten hooked on multiple shows and all I can do right now is ask you to give these ones a shot:
• Call My Agent! (opens in new tab) -- This French series is a comedy set in the movie industry following the agents of French stars, who show up and play exaggerated versions of themselves. It's hilarious and addictive and I'm almost certain you'd love it if you tried it. Stream it at the title link.
• Occupied (opens in new tab) -- This Norwegian political thriller series is my favorite show on Netflix at the moment. It just finished Season 3 and is worth the time investment. If you like smart, timely, global, political shows, this is it.
• Dark (opens in new tab) -- This German sci-fi thriller is a mind-bender you might need some timeline charts to follow. But it has earned a passionate fan base, and once you get sucked into the mystery you'll understand why.
• 3% (opens in new tab) -- I didn't think I'd be interested in a Brazilian Hunger Games-like series, but this dystopian series sucked me right in. This one and Call My Agent are pretty mainstream-friendly, and this series is so clever in the ways it tests the audience as well as the 3% of 20-year-olds trying to get into the Offshore.
• Erased (opens in new tab) -- I'm a sucker for time travel storylines and this Japanese series follows a struggling manga artist who has the ability to travel back in time to try and prevent imminent tragedies. I was fully hooked.
If you're looking for more streaming recommendations, I share suggestions every Monday and there are A LOT of past features you can check out:
What international films would you recommend streaming on Netflix?
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
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