Death is a weird and scary concept. Ironically, however, the only way movies have been successful in covering it was through humor (Sunshine Cleaning and Beginners are other great examples). Departures gives this trend a new home, Japan. By doing so it almost never saw the light of day, since at first many distributors refused to release it given the taboos against people who deal with death. Eventually however it received so many accolades, including an Academy Award, that well-deserved attention was directed towards it. It’s one of those rare movies that will take you through all emotions: it will move from making you laugh, to making you cry, then happy, and finally highly interested in its subject matter. It’s a beautiful, funny, and compelling movie.

I saw this movie about a month ago, and I can’t stop seeing it again every weekend. It’s so heartbreaking. Wiesler, an officer of the Stasi, is designated to spy on a playwright and his girlfriend because the State Security has doubts about their loyalty. However after a while Wiesler becomes absorbed in Dreyman and his girlfriend’s lives and that’s when the empathy and the human component surge to be confronted with orders, and the realities of the time.

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s film is a melodrama , quietly affecting, quietly chilling, quietly quiet. It captures the drab architecture of totalitarianism, the soul-dead buildings of a soul-dead state and the haunted freedom in that time.

There is a unique emotional approach to Danish films rarely matched by anything else, that has to be seen to be understood. Oscar-nominated After The Wedding perfectly embodies that. Jacob Peterson (played by Mads Mikkelsen) is an idealist who runs a financially struggling orphanage in India. He returns to Copenhagen to seek a large donation when he discovers that in order to get the money he will be unveiling dark secrets about his own personal past. Scenes are stretched, and feel incredibly realistic. But because of the great plot and premise as well as the fantastic cast, they’re never boring — on the contrary, After the Wedding is thrilling and at all times interesting. You will also feel that it is capturing every emotion you’ve ever encountered, or will ever encounter in the short two hours it spans.

The impossibly true story of a mysterious Frenchman that claims to be the 16 year old son of a family from Texas that went missing three years prior. This movie is shot so well with a story so unbelievable that I had to look it up to believe that it was a real documentary instead of a fiction film played as true. Expect twists and turns at every corner, with brilliant storytelling from the real life people that lived through the whole thing. If Christopher Nolan created a 48 hour story, it would pale in comparison to this film.

Put your helmet on, get your mother’s pregnancy clothes and wrap them around you because City of God will punch, kick and slap the sh*t out of you. And get this: it is based on a true story.

City of god is filled with great performances (from mostly non-professionals), it is brutal, adrenaline emptying and disturbing.

One thing though, if your mother is Muslim, don’t watch this with her (yes there is a personal story behind this).

Having only made its way to the U.S. 6 long years after its initial release, this is the long-awaited film from the Oscar-winning director of A Separation– and it is in every way extraordinary. It’s a movie stripped down of almost everything to keep only its humans in focus, it is honest and realistic beyond belief and quite simply a must-watch. A group of old friends and relatives reunite for vacation in northern Iran with one of them bringing a new person to the group, Elly, in hopes of her marrying one of the friends, Ahmad. When Elly vanishes without notice, the questions that follow expose the group to unexpected levels, and eventually pose subtle yet sincere questions about gender, politics, and the delicate balance modern-day Iranians live in.

Thanks to the perfect performances and the director’s unparalleled talent, About Elly will feel interesting at times, thrilling and devastating at others, but above all, and because of it being so… human, it will feel familiar to you no matter where you are from.

You will not come out of this movie the same person you were going into it. Get ready to cry your eyes out, scream in anger, and rejoice that such a powerful love can exist in our world. DO NOT READ ANY SPOILERS OR SUMMARIES BEFORE VIEWING! This loving documentary about the father of a young boy is one of the best movies of this decade! We can’t recommend this film enough!

Richard Linklater’s critically acclaimed film trilogy starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Each film is spaced nine years apart and chronicles the developing love story of two people who meet on a train in Europe one fateful summer. Critically and commercially successful, Linklater’s trilogy may have flown under your radar but the superb writing and authentic performances make this romance trilogy the one to beat.

Before Sunrise (1995): IMDB | RT | Wikipedia | Trailer
Thought-provoking and beautifully filmed, Before Sunrise is an intelligent, unabashedly romantic look at modern love, led by marvelously natural performances from Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.

Before Sunset (2004): IMDB | RT | Wikipedia | Trailer
Filled with engaging dialogue, Before Sunset is a witty, poignant romance, with natural chemistry between Hawke and Delpy. Nine years ago, two strangers met by chance, spent a night together in Vienna, and parted before sunrise. Now, they’re about to cross paths again–in Paris–where they will get the chance we all wish we had: to find out what might have been. The only problem is they have just a few hours to figure out if they belong together.

Before Midnight (2013): IMDB | RT | Wikipedia | Trailer
Building on the first two installments in Richard Linklater’s well-crafted Before trilogy, Before Midnight offers intelligent, powerfully acted perspectives on love, marriage, and long-term commitment.

Winner of an Oscar and a Golden Globe among endless accolades, A Separation is the much celebrated movie about an Iranian couple faced with the decision of leaving the country for better opportunities or staying to take care of a sick parent. If you’ve ever been curious about the humans of Iran beyond the politics, and by cultural extension, humans of Middle-Eastern countries, watch A Separation. [...] A Separation is my movie, not yours. And so I am asking you to watch this film the same way I’d want you to come visit and get to know my home country.