My 10 Most Favorite Foreign Films

Do you watch foreign movies? Film stranieri, Mi Piace! Ako ay nanonood ng mga dayuhang pelikula. I love me some foreign movies.

Y Tu Mama Tambien is “technically” the very first foreign movie I’ve seen. Trusting my poor memory, I remember the narrations being creatively vague; it still conveys the story but it gives those additional information whether about the situation in the story or the events happening in the place they travelled to. I remember where one of the main character was asking the other every inch of  details about a certain incident I dare not reveal. It said in the narration something about “answering with the less painful truth.” I really love that [narration] part. Luckily,this movie is very memorable. Just as fine, it just sets very well for the rest of foreign movies I see. 4

Persepolis is another movie about a journey filled with history. Those histories I was not privy to when I was watching each of both movies. I was just enjoying following the rides. Persepolis about a girl, curious, and very involved who set out to the chaotic world she lives in. Given the situations that she’s in and witnesses, she either adopt, accept and still have an environment of her own. The great part is that it’s an animated movie. You can instantly vouch for some good belly laughs from the illustrations, amidst the daring and weighty subjects. 4

La Vita E Bella. This movie had me laughing out loud and had my tear glands activated in an instant. This movie is indeed pure love. If you seen or heard from Roberto Benigni, he’d tell just the same. Half comical and half sad. Bitter and sweet, rough and tender, warm and cold. It’s in the title. The movie displays just how Life is Beautiful no matter how good or bad it may get. 5

You cannot compile a foreign film list without this movie. You just can’t snob it.

I air-quoted “technically” because English is actually my second language. According to my realible friend wiki, World cinema is a term used primarily in English language speaking countries to refer to the films and film industries of non-English speaking countries. I’m originally from Philippines and arrived in the U.S. about 8 years ago.

Magnifico is THE ONE. It sits just very well as to not be deemed overdramatic like the most scenes we use to have in the Philippines. It isn’t one of those “indiesized” gay-themed films. No offense but they really are just overkilled. Magnifico is that pinoy movie that catches that very grain, spot on characteristics of an obscure Philippine cinema piece that can reach, deservingly and be proud of being internationally recognized. The movie is set in an impoverished major city in the Philippines in the very wake of a boy who sees the harsh environment and the unforgiving situations in an amenable, positive light and spreads it with acts of generosity and kindness. The name bares it all. Magnifico is truly magnificent. 5

That brings me to Amelie. Amelie is another great good-deed movie about listening to other people’s problem and trying to satisfy their needs and feed their longing to whatever barrier or how absurd the execution was, or that the solution turned out to be a false hope or phony deviation from the reality of a painful situation. Amelie is two hours of quirky, odd, cutesy, funny, dewy-eyed, gooey and eccentric scenes. Those two hours wasn’t enough, I wanted more. I just couldn’t get enough of Amelie. 5

Speaking of imaginations, there is another movie that brought again the fullest, most impressive use of imagination into storytelling. Pan’s Labyrinth is not my most favorite foreign film. It IS the best foreign film for me. It’s gotta be one of my top 3 all-time best movies.

  I think that’s enough description. You just gotta see it to “believe” it.

City of God. The movie follows the life of Rocket, an aspiring news photographer. Appropriately so, he is a misfit resident of a dangerous gangster corner of Rio de Janeiro, where racketeer is the big wheel in the street and violent crimes is a common habit. 4

Can one scene ruin a good movie? I don’t think so. Can the quality of a movie be based on one scene? Watch Cache

Frankly, I don’t like it as a whole but this slow-moving film earns my most memorable deepest gasp moment ever. It was the car falling from a tree scene from Jurassic Park for a while, but Cache replaced the throne for that particular jaw-dropping scene where that guy [no spoiler].  The slow pace of the movie was totally invalidated to build the intensity to that one shocking scene. 3

After praising “Let Me In“, I just couldn’t make a note of this original movie. I’m not a big fan of horror movies, much less with vampires. Seeing both and having read the book, I have become a fan of the story. Like so, Let Right One In does give vampire movies a good name. 3

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has it all. It flies. It soars. It dances. It fights. It is action. It is art. It has heart. It has blood. It’s visually gorgeous. It’s beautifully scripted. Masterful. Spectacular. Superb.


All images are taken from Yahoo! Movies.

  • Paris, Je T’aime
  • A Prophet 4
  • In A Better World 4
  • The Secret is in Their Eyes 2.5
  • Of Gods And Men 3
  • Gomorrah 3
  • Red 4
  • 4 Months,3 Weeks and 2 Days 3
  • Amorres Perros 3
  • Incendies 4
  • Chronicas 2.5
  • The Diving Bell and The Butterfly 4
  • MicMacs 4
  • La Vie En Rose 4

Those are my top favorites. Tell me yours so we can compare. Also, can you tell me what I’m missing?

Categories: movie, video

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15 replies »

  1. I’ve got 5 out of those. 🙂 I’m glad you included Crouching Tiger ’cause that’s probably the movie that was so quintessentially Asian that it became sooo cool and changed how action movies are done. Tom Cruise in MI2 had nothing on Chow Yun Fat! Haha.

  2. Cool!
    I miss Amelie. My copy got carried away with the rest of my music CD collection that got stolen from my car.
    Amelie, Life is Beautiful, Magnifico and Pan’s Labyrinth are my big 4. I give Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon a 5 rating. The big 4 just have something in common – hearts and imagination.
    You gotta see Pan’s Labyrinth, any chance you get.

  3. I can still remember the day when our family watched Life is Beautiful. I was still in high school then. I was hiding my tears from my parents because of the embarrassment. It really is one of the best movies. 😀

  4. ^ I’m guilty of it too. The execution of the ending is nicely done. They didn’t made it extensive. The ending scenes are already emotional enough not to make it more dramatic. It works just well to the real message the movie is trying send. It is actually my most favorite foreign movie. Overall standards, I consider Pan’s Labyrinth the best.

    Ow MI2, pfffttt! I watched that darn thing in the theater and regretted it. Such waste. I consider it one of the worst movie of all time. I just find those face-changing charade too convenient.

    Heard that “Babae sa Septic Tank” (starred Eugene Domingo) is vying for a spot in the Oscar category for Best Foreign Film next year. I’ll keep my comments for now…

  5. ^ Hey! Thanks for the visit. I was going to comment to your blog, but I’m guessing you’re busy being freshly pressed.

    Make sure to check out my reviewS of The Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan is ….. bow.

  6. Oh No, abbyrae33. The ones I listed are movies not spoken in English language.

    But hey to the yeah! Trainspotting is one of the best British film ever made. Also love the hilarious “Death at a Funeral” which now has an American version. Pfft! I haven’t seen it but …pffft!

  7. Ohmygoodness, and I can’t believe I forgot to mention Children Of Heaven….that movie is so touching.
    There are a couple others i have at home that i cannot, for the life of me, remember the names of. I’ll get back to you on that….

  8. Yay I’m glad to see many of my favorites on your list, too! I almost nearly listed Amelie on my “favorites” list. It is a wonderful, sweet, and enchanting movie. The only one I didn’t appreciate was City of God, and now I suspect that if I watch it again, I will really enjoy it! Sometimes you just have to wait a bit until you have aged enough in order to enjoy a film.

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