30 Best Foreign Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now

30 Best Foreign Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now

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The pandemic has taken away our ability to physically travel internationally and interact with other cultures, but movies offer an incredible escape to anyone willing to turn on the subtitles.

Below are the best foreign-language movies on Amazon Prime right now.

22. Monsieur Lazhar (2012)

6.9

Country

Canada

Director

Philippe Falardeau

Actors

André Robitaille, Brigitte Poupart, Daniel Gadouas, Danielle Proulx

Moods

Depressing, Dramatic

After the sudden death of a teacher, 55-year-old Algerian immigrant Bachir Lazhar is hired at an elementary school in Montreal. Struggling with a cultural gap between himself and his students at first, he helps them to deal with the situation, revealing his own tragic past. A strong portrait without any weird sentimentality. 11-year-old actress Sophie Nélisse makes her brilliant debut.

21. Tel Aviv on Fire (2019)

7.0

Country

Belgium, France, Israel

Director

Sameh Zoabi

Actors

Amer Hlehel, Ashraf Farah, Kais Nashif, Laëtitia Eïdo

Moods

Funny

This funny and charming movie is about a Palestinian slacker named Salam who works on a famous Israeli soap opera. Each day, he has to pass a tough Israeli checkpoint to get to work and in an attempt to make things easier for himself, he agrees to change the ending of the soap opera to please the officer in charge of the checkpoint. At the same time, a temperamental French actress and his Palestinian love interest wish for opposite endings to the show. Stuck between love and politics, Salam has to navigate a complex situation to please all sides. There are a lot of hummus jokes.

20. Ash Is Purest White (2019)

7.3

Country

China, China France Japan, France

Director

Jia Zhangke, Zhangke Jia

Actors

Casper Liang, Diao Yi'nan, Ding Jiali, Dong Zijian

Moods

Original, Smart

Jia Zhangke (who NPR critic John Powers once called “perhaps the most important filmmaker working in the world today”), directed this movie based on the story of a gangster he knew while growing up.

And he is far from being the only noticeable talent here. Actress Tao Zhao shines as a character called Qiao, a dancer who infiltrates the crime scene in Northern China by way of her boyfriend (the gangster). When a boss leader is assassinated, Qiao finds herself in jail after she refuses to incriminate her boyfriend. 

This is a gangster movie but it’s also about how Qiao processes her time in jail and what she does once she gets out. It serves more as a character study and a picture of modern-day China.

19. The Wailing (2016)

7.5

Country

Korea, South Korea, United States of America

Director

Hong-jin Na, Na Hong-jin

Actors

Bae Yong-geun, Cho Han-cheul, Chun Woo-hee, Do-won Kwak

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Dramatic, Mind-blowing

In rural Korea a policeman starts to investigate peculiar and violent events that most of the people in his village attribute to the arrival of a new Japanese resident. As the occurrences keep multiplying, and different perspectives in the film are shown, you start to lose touch with reality in the face of what can only be described as genius film-making. As critic Jada Yuan puts it, the film operates on a level “that makes most American cinema seem clunky and unimaginative”. For this reason, and while The Wailing is a true horror flick with a great premise, it’s also more than just that: it boosts a mind-boggling, interesting plot that will have you thinking about it long after the credits roll. Protip: grab the person next to you and make them watch this movie with you so you can have someone to discuss it with after!

18. Let the Right One In (2008)

7.5

Country

Sweden

Director

Tomas Alfredson

Actors

Anders T. Peedu, Henrik Dahl, Ika Nord, Johan Sömnes

Moods

Raw, Slow

Somehow an art house film, horror, and romance all in one, Let the Right One In explores the boundaries of its genres with unprecedented finesse, and offers a stunning alternative for those disappointed with recent vampire love stories. From its haunting minimalist imagery to its incredible score, it is persistently beautiful. The film follows twelve-year-old Oskar and Eli, drawing on numerous aspects of traditional undead lore, and still manages an impressive feat in feeling entirely fresh and devoid of cliche. Those in search of a terrifying movie might need to look elsewhere, but if what you’re looking for is simply a great watch, don’t pass this one up.

17. Biutiful (2010)

7.7

Country

Mexico, Spain

Director

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Alejandro González Iñárritu

Actors

Adelfa Calvo, Alain Hernández, Ana Wagener, Cheikh Ndiaye

Moods

Character-driven, Dark, Depressing

Ever wondered how much your life will change when faced with the reality that death is about to come? That’s normal, and not nearly as life-altering as being told you only have a few more moments to live. Because of a terminal illness, Uxbal (Javier Bardem) is driven to this situation and tries to right his wrongs in the wake of modern Barcelona. This melodrama is supercharged by Bardem’s unearthly performance as the story’s only hero, demonstrating the selfless love of a destroyed and dying father to his children – paired with cinematography unlike any other, this film is exceptionally beautiful. Directed by González Iñárritu’ (Babel, Birdman, The Revenant).

16. By the Grace of God (2018)

7.8

Country

Belgium, France

Director

François Ozon, François Ozon

Actors

Éric Caravaca, Alexandre Steiger, Amélie Daure, Amélie Prevot

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Instructive, Thought-provoking

In Lyon, the second biggest city in France after Paris, a man confronts the church about a prominent priest who sexually assaulted him and his friends when they were young.

The man, being religious, wanted to keep the issue within the church. He only asked that the pedophile’s priesthood be revoked so that he doesn’t assault more children.

When it becomes clear that the church will not act, he considers legal action, even though the statute of limitations has expired. But, as is usual in these cases, he was far from being the only victim.

15. Argentina, 1985 (2022)

7.9

Country

Argentina, United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Santiago Mitre

Actors

Alejandra Flechner, Alejo Garcia Pintos, Antonia Bengoechea, Brian Sichel

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Dramatic, Smart

Argentina, 1985 is a legal drama about how a prosecutor and his young team were able to mount evidence—despite all threats and odds—against the officials behind a brutal military dictatorship. The public trial is supposedly the first of its kind in Latin America, a marker of true democracy that made a hero out of Julio Strassera and Moreno Ocampo, who both led the case.

Despite the presence of very serious themes, there are moments of lighthearted humor here that work to stress the film’s underlying message of goodwill and perseverance. Argentina, 1985 competed at major festivals this 2022, and it’s Argentina’s official entry at the upcoming Academy Awards.

14. Zana (2019)

7.9

Country

Albania, Georgia, Kosovo

Director

Antoneta Kastrati, Female director

Actors

Adriana Matoshi, Alketa Sylaj, Astrit Kabashi, Bislim Muçaj

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Intense

Antoneta Kastrati’s debut feature film Zana follows Lume, who appears guarded and subdued as she goes about her daily routine: milking the cows, harvesting crops and flowers, hanging laundry out to dry. Part of Lume’s routine also includes visits to the doctor, accompanied by her mother-in-law and husband, who pressure her to conceive.

When conventional medical advice does not yield a viable pregnancy, Lume is brought to a witch doctor, and later a televangelist. The former suggests Lume may be cursed, while the latter insists she is possessed by a supernatural creature called a jinn. Lume appears largely apathetic, at least outwardly. But slowly, she starts to unravel—and with her undoing comes the reveal of the war that traumatized her. 

Kastrati’s family drama has elements of horror, but the real terror here is psychological. It makes for an important exploration of a deeply patriarchal society that is only beginning to heal the collective traumas of a complicated war, and how its violence continues to ripple through time and into domestic life. 

 

13. Frantz (2016)

8.0

Country

France, Germany

Director

François Ozon

Actors

Alice de Lencquesaing, Anton von Lucke, Axel Wandtke, Camille Grandville

Moods

Character-driven, Dark, Dramatic

It’s always fun to watch something that makes you second guess each move, that shifts seamlessly from one thing to another. Frantz is that kind of film, and as the deceptively simple premise unfolds—a widow befriends her late husband’s friend—you’re never really sure if what you’re watching is a romance, a mystery, or a sly combination of both. 

It helps that Frantz is also more than just a period piece, packed as it is with tiny but thoughtful details. When it is filled with color, for example, it does so in the muted palette of 1900s portraits, making each shot look like a picture come to life. When it talks about love, it goes beyond heterosexual norms and hints at something more potent and, at times, political. And when it takes a swing at melodrama, its actors ground the moment with enough restraint and reserve so that it never teeters on excess. All this results in a well-executed, gripping, and overall lovely film to watch.

 

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