30 Best Foreign Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now

Updated January 2, 2022 • Staff
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.
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30.

Monsieur Lazhar (2012)

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.

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: André Robitaille, Brigitte Poupart, Danielle Proulx, Émilien Néron, Gabriel Verdier, Judith Baribeau, Jules Philip, Marie-Ève Beauregard, Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nélisse
Director: Philippe Falardeau
Rating: PG-13
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29.

Tel Aviv on Fire (2019)

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.

Genre: Comedy
Actor: Kais Nashif, Laëtitia Eïdo, Lubna Azabal, Maisa Abd Elhadi, Nadim Sawalha, Salim Dau, Yaniv Biton
Director: Sameh Zoabi
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28.

Ash Is Purest White (2019)

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.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Romance
Actor: Casper Liang, Diao Yi'nan, Ding Jiali, Dong Zijian, Fan Liao, Feng Xiaogang, Liao Fan, Tao Zhao, Xu Zheng, Yi'nan Diao, Zhang Yi, Zhang Yibai, Zhao Tao
Director: Jia Zhangke, Zhangke Jia
Rating: Not Rated
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27.

Let the Right One In (2008)

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.

Genre: Drama, Horror
Actor: Anders T. Peedu, Henrik Dahl, Ika Nord, Johan Sömnes, Kåre Hedebrant, Karin Bergquist, Karl-Robert Lindgren, Lina Leandersson, Mikael Rahm, Patrik Rydmark, Per Ragnar, Peter Carlberg, Tom Ljungman
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Rating: R
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26.

The Wailing (2016)

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!

Genre: Horror, Mystery
Actor: Cho Han-cheul, Chun Woo-hee, Do-won Kwak, Han-Cheol Jo, Heo Jin, Hwang Jung-min, Hwang Suk-jung, Jang So-yeon, Jeon Bae-soo, Jeong-min Hwang, Jo Han-chul, Jun Kunimura, Jung-min Hwang, Kim Do-yoon, Kim Hwan-hee, Kim Ki-chun, Kwak Do-won, Lee Jung-eun, Lee Yong-nyeo, Moon Chang-gil, Park Sung-yeon, So-yeon Jang, Son Kang-gook, Sung-yeon Park, Woo-hee Chun
Director: Hong-jin Na, Na Hong-jin
Rating: Not Rated, TV-MA
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25.

Les Misérables (2020)

This Oscar-nominated French movie is set in Montfermeil, the Paris suburb where Victor Hugo wrote Les Misérables but which today is a rough neighborhood.

Inspired by instances of police violence that happened in 2008, the movie follows a squad of police officers who try to keep the neighborhood under control. Their methods, or lack thereof, inevitably cause things to explode. This is a thriller with a message, one which sometimes feels forced; but the payoff at the end will make you forget all of that.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Actor: Alexis Manenti, Damien Bonnard, Djebril Zonga, Djibril Zonga, Issa Perica, Jeanne Balibar, Steve Tientcheu
Director: Ladj Ly
Rating: R
24.

Zana (2019)

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. 

 

Genre: Drama
Actor: Adriana Matoshi, Astrit Kabashi, Irena Cahani, Mensur Safqiu
Director: Antoneta Kastrati
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23.

Train to Busan (2016)

A zombie virus breaks out and catches up with a father as he is taking his daughter from Seoul to Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city. Watch them trying to survive to reach their destination, a purported safe zone.

The acting is spot-on; the set pieces are particularly well choreographed. You’ll care about the characters. You’ll feel for the father as he struggles to keep his humanity in the bleakest of scenarios.

It’s a refreshingly thrilling disaster movie, a perfect specimen of the genre.

Genre: Action, Drama, Horror, Thriller
Actor: Ahn So-hee, An So-hee, Cha Chung-hwa, Chang-hwan Kim, Choi Gwi-hwa, Choi Woo-shik, Dong-seok Ma, Eui-sung Kim, Gong Yoo, Han Ji-eun, Jang Hyuk-jin, Jeong Seok-yong, Jung Seok-yong, Jung Yu-mi, Kim Eui-sung, Kim Jae-rok, Kim Ju-hun, Kim Soo-ahn, Kim Soo-an, Kim Su-an, Lee Joo-sil, Lee Joong-ok, Ma Dong-seok, Park Myung-shin, Shim Eun-kyung, Sohee, Soo-an Kim, Woo Do-im, Woo-sik Choi, Ye Soo-jung, Yeon Sang-ho, Yoo Gong, Yu-mi Jeong, Yu-mi Jung
Director: Sang-ho Yeon, Yeon Sang-ho
Rating: Not Rated
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22.

Invisible Life (2019)

This 140-minute Brazilian drama is an epic and touching tale of two sisters torn apart. In 1950s Rio de Janeiro, Eurídice, 18, and Guida, 20, are inseparable, but their dreams soon take them away from each other, from their conservative family, and from Brazil.

After they are separated, each one of them believes the other is achieving her dreams when often the opposite was happening. Family betrayal, silence, and a suffocating social climate shatter the aspiration of the sisters but also highlight their strength.

Genre: Drama
Actor: António Fonseca, Carol Duarte, Fernanda Montenegro, Flávia Gusmão, Gillray Coutinho, Julia Stockler, Maria Manoella, Nikolas Antunes
Director: Karim Aïnouz
Rating: R
21.

House of Hummingbird (2018)

It’s 1994, and Seoul is facing massive, rapid changes. The unrest is reflected by a lot of its residents, including Eun-hee, a disaffected teen with a less-than-stellar home and school life. She manages to get by with the help of friends and lovers, that is until they change too, and Eun-hee is forced to grapple with the volatility of it all. 

Sensitively told and genuinely captivating, House of Hummingbird is a stellar debut by writer-director Kim Bo-ra. Her command shines in how young actress Park Ji-hoo dynamically portrays Eun-hee, in how the story meanders but never loses footing, and in how each frame displays a quiet gorgeousness as the primary colors of her youth pop against the faded backdrop of urbanized Seoul. The delicate balance of all these elements is sure to evoke a sincere, profound feeling in every viewer. 

Genre: Drama
Actor: Jung In-gi, Kil Hae-yeon, Kim Sae-byuk, Lee Seung-yeon, Park Ji-hu, Son Sang-yeon
Director: Kim Bora
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