30 Best Foreign Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now

30 Best Foreign Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now

June 8, 2024

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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.

21. Lost Illusions (2021)

7.8

Country

Belgium, France

Director

Xavier Giannoli

Actors

Alexis Barbosa, André Marcon, Benjamin Voisin, Candice Bouchet

Moods

Gripping, Smart, Thrilling

Despite being based on a 19th-century serial novel, Lost Illusions feels remarkably close to contemporary concerns about fake news and the devaluing of art for profit. But as the story is also, obviously, set in the 19th century, all this bribery and these backdoor dealings are done entirely through the written word and by sending runners from one Parisian theater to the next—and the result is uniquely thrilling. Nearly every character is a terrible person (like in an old-timey Goodfellas way) and it can get tiring seeing the film glorify their hustle, but the energy it brings is rare to find in any other period drama.

22. Biutiful (2010)

7.7

Country

Mexico, Spain, United States of America

Director

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Alejandro González Iñárritu

Actors

Adelfa Calvo, Ailie Ye, Alain Hernández, Ana Wagener

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).

23. Cairo Conspiracy (2022)

7.7

Country

Denmark, Finland, France

Director

Tarik Saleh

Actors

Fares Fares, Jalal Altawil, Makram J. Khoury, Mehdi Dehbi

Moods

Dramatic, Intense, Original

When he’s accepted into the prestigious Islamic university Al-Azhar, fisherman’s son Adam (Tawfeek Barhom) gets an eye-opening education — but not the kind he expected. A place associated with notions of purity is imagined as a hotbed of hypocrisy and corruption here, as naive young Adam finds himself unwittingly embroiled in a state plot to seize control of Al-Azhar (because, as one government official puts it, “We can’t accept having two pharaohs in the land”). Cairo Conspiracy’s intricate plot confronts monsters in government and strips away religious leaders’ veneer of divinity as a reminder that they’re merely fallible men. What’s more, the film grapples with the knotty mess of politics raging inside the institution’s walls in such a way that even its palatial courtyard feels claustrophobic. Rife with paranoia and subterfuge, Cairo Conspiracy feels utterly unique thanks to this skillful transposing of the shadowy machinations of courtly intrigue dramas and ’70s paranoid thrillers into a very contemporary Egyptian setting.

24. Viva (2015)

7.7

Country

Cuba, Ireland

Director

Paddy Breathnach

Actors

Héctor Medina, Jorge Perugorría, Laura Aleman, Luis Alberto García

Moods

Character-driven, Discussion-sparking, Dramatic

Shrooms director Paddy Breathnach has als dipped his toes in romcoms and thrillers, but this queer Bogota-set drama has a lot of tenderness in its heart. Micro-budget and full of life as the name suggests, Viva is an inspiring story that centers around Jesus (Héctor Medina) and his own individuation. A hairdresser with the talent of a drag performer, he assumes the role of Viva in the weekend cabaret. As warm and open as his father is detached and somber, Jesus is a likeable protagonist with the vulnerability and dedication to follow his dream, that no wonder the film made the Oscar shortlist in 2016.

25. Leona (2018)

7.6

Country

Mexico

Director

Isaac Cherem

Actors

Adriana Llabrés, Carlos Aragón, Carolina Politi, Christian Vazquez

Moods

Character-driven, Discussion-sparking, Dramatic

Present-day Mexico City—Ariela comes from a Jewish family that insists on getting married only to people of the same religion. This rule is complicated when Ariela falls in love with the non-Jewish Iván. She is then faced with the dilemma of choosing herself or her family, who for all their severity, she still loves deeply.

Leona’s modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet recalls the likes of Crazy Rich Asians and The Big Sick, but unlike those big-budgeted movies, this intimate Spanish-language film exchanges melodrama for restraint, and it’s all the better for it. Leona is a quietly moving story that’s easy to relate to, despite the specificity of its premise.

26. Dogman (2019)

7.5

Country

Italy

Director

Matteo Garrone

Actors

Adamo Dionisi, Alida Baldari Calabria, Aniello Arena, Edoardo Pesce

Moods

Thrilling, Well-acted

In a small Italian town, a dog cleaner’s wholesome days dealing with elderly owners and eager children are balanced with a series of messy nights. The small and frail man finds himself targetted by the town’s black-sheep, a strong and fearless ex-convict. Dogman is about the line between being bullied and wanting to be part of something, it’s a beautiful and often thrilling character study from Italian genius filmmaker Matte Garone. Won the Best Actor award at Cannes.

27. Long Way North (2015)

7.5

Country

Denmark, France

Director

Rémi Chayé

Actors

Audrey Sablé, Boris Rehlinger, Bruno Magne, Christa Théret

Moods

Lovely, Sunday, Warm

There isn’t a single moment of unnecessarily exaggerated emotion or comedy in this French-Danish animated film, which may keep its world very small compared to its peers, but it portrays everything with arguably more depth and beauty. Long Way North moves with a stately pace, giving it more dramatic heft and allowing us to take in all of the film’s painterly surfaces and soft silhouettes. But it’s not just the art style that sets the film apart; it also avoids what we expect from a traditional adventure, keeping the most important character beats private and internal. This may make the movie feel a little more distant than it should be, but the feeling that it leaves you with is undeniable—a sense that everything is connected, and those who are lost will always find a way home.

28. In My Mother’s Skin (2023)

7.4

Country

Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan

Director

Kenneth Lim Dagatan

Actors

Angeli Bayani, Arnold Reyes, Beauty Gonzalez, Brian Sy

Moods

Dark, Depressing, Slow

There’s a cruelty to In My Mother’s Skin that may seem off-putting at first, but one must reckon with the sheer scale of the violence already occurring before these characters are even introduced to us. The Japanese occupation of the Philippines was a particularly vicious period in the country’s history; if Filipinos weren’t fighting or hiding from their invaders, many of them were trying to maintain a precariously submissive, neutral existence, or they were being turned against each other due to the conflict of war trickling down between the social classes. All these things are implicit throughout Kenneth Dagatan’s film, which doesn’t try to reenact World War II but capture the total absence of hope during this period.

Dagatan’s style of horror insists on a very slow pace, emphasizing every footstep leading to a horrifying reveal, and not just the main scare itself. This choice doesn’t always work, especially as certain beats begin to repeat themselves, but the film’s incredibly confident visual style fills every moment with an eerie paranoia. Gothic, shadowy interiors, nasty gore, and one opulently costumed fairy make everything perpetually unsettling—gradually forcing us to accept that these contradictions are just the reality of life under war.

29. Gomorra (2008)

7.3

Country

Belgium, France, Italy

Director

Matteo Garrone, Maurizio Braucci

Actors

Alfonso Santagata, Carmine Paternoster, Ciro Petrone, Fortunato Cerlino

Moods

Dramatic, Raw, Suspenseful

In the crowded genre of Mafia movies, Gomorrah finds its originality in not romanticizing anything. It’s authentically gripping, violent without being excessively violent, and something that can only be described as a masterpiece of Italian cinema.  It follows different protagonists’ entry into organised crime in Naples, with the two main ones taking their inspiration from American gangster characters.  Just to give you a sense of how well-rooted this movie is, after it was done shooting, many of the characters (including the guy who plays the clan boss in the movie), were arrested. In his case, he was caught trying to collect  “pizzo”, otherwise known as mafia tax.

30. Captain Miller (2024)

7.2

Country

India

Director

Arun Matheswaran

Actors

Abdool Lee, Aditi Balan, Alexx O'Nell, Ashwin Kumar

Moods

Action-packed, Character-driven, Discussion-sparking

Set in the British colonial era, Captain Miller is more unapologetically violent than its counterparts, but it’s not mindlessly so. Sure, the film has plenty of spectacle with numerous battles between townsfolk versus British colonialists, some scenes having gruesome, gory deaths. But in between these battles is Dhanush as the central character, contemplating the oppression from his fellow countrymen, the dignity denied to him from both the colony and more privileged locals, and the choices he chooses to make in spite of this. It’s not a straightforward bad versus good anti-colonial film like RRR, and it may not be as emotionally compelling, but Captain Miller is certainly a unique take on British colonialism with all of director Arun Matheswaran’s signature style.

Comments

A
Anonymous

Glad to get this list …I did see Barbara and liked it. I don’t find it at all easy to weed out a good foreign fiim anymore via Amazon somehow it’s changed and not better.
Drives me crazy also is that it’s crazy making, trying to turn OFF the subtitles when watching a movie
that is made in English. It doesn’t work, how they/say to do it.

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