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Added by johanlefourbe on 29 Nov 2011 08:00
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My favorite movies from the rest of the world

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Argentina

Original Title: 'El secreto de sus ojos'

Directed by: Juan José Campanella

Plot: A retired legal counselor writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love with his superior - both of which still haunt him decades later.

Note: After hearing here and there some pretty good things about this flick, I was really eager to check it out. And I wasn't disappointed. Indeed, it is a rather fascinating thriller which takes its time to develop some very interesting characters, even the smaller ones, instead of throwing at us some typical boring gimmicks.


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Australia

People who added this item 512 Average listal rating (322 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.4
Original Title: 'The Proposition'

Directed by: John Hillcoat

With: Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Emily Watson, John Hurt, David Wenham

Plot: A lawman apprehends a notorious outlaw and gives him 9 days to kill his older brother, or else they'll execute his younger brother.

Note: It is a really gorgeous "Western"(this term actually doesn't fit since it takes place in Australia but whatever...) and all the actors involved gave some amazing perfomances. I must say it is a really raw and bleak movie filled with hopelessness but it didn't bother me, in the contrary.


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Austria

People who added this item 1361 Average listal rating (741 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6
Original Title: 'Funny Games'

Directed by: Michael Haneke

Plot: Two psychotic young men take a mother, father, and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic "games" with one another for their own amusement.

Note: There is actually not much actual violence but it must be one of the most violent movie on a psychological level I have seen. So, I must say it is a rather heavy and depressing movie to watch and many people won't enjoy it for a bit. Personally, I think it is an amazing picture and it is simply one of my favorite movies ever made.


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Belgium

People who added this item 187 Average listal rating (90 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.7
Original Title: 'Le Fils'

Directed by: Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne

Plot: A joinery instructor at a rehab center refuses to take a new teen as his apprentice, but then begins to follow the boy through the hallways and streets.

Note: Olivier Gourmet who appears very often in the movies directed by the Dardennes brothers, has this time the lead part and gives an amazing performance. Like the directing, his performance is subtle and understated and just a marvel to watch. The Dardennes brothers managed here to combine a social drama with a thriller and the end-result is just spellbinding.


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Brazil

People who added this item 3121 Average listal rating (1925 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.6
Original Title: 'Cidade de Deus'

Directed by: Fernando Meirelles

With: Alice Braga

Plot: Two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer.

Note: This movie is really stylised and realistic at the same time which is something rather unique. It has some complex shots and nice visuals but it remains rauw. Furthermore, the story keeps you on the edge and is quite fascinating. How they managed to make such an entertaining and insightful movie in one of the most dangerous place on earth is quite a marvel and a mystery to me.


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Canada (Québec)

People who added this item 179 Average listal rating (102 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.6
Original Title: 'Laurence Anyways'

Directed by: Xavier Dolan

Plot: A drama that charts ten years in the relationship of a male-to-female transsexual's relationship with her lover.

Note: Xavier Dolan took a step back and Melvil Poupaud, in my opinion, one of the most underrated French actors, played the lead and he gave here a great performance. What was also interesting about this movie is that it was not only focusing on this guy/girl’s journey but it was also focusing on the impact on his relationship with the love of his life. This part was quite fascinating as well, Suzanne Clément was also very strong and, with Poupaud, they had some great chemistry together.

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Columbia

Original Title: 'El abrazo de la serpiente'

Directed by: Ciro Guerra

Plot: The story of the relationship between Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his people, and two scientists who work together over the course of 40 years to search the Amazon for a sacred healing plant.

Note: The thing I probably loved the most was this character, Karamakate. Basically, you get to see 2 versions of this guy and, both times, this man was just so complex. Indeed, instead of going for the all wise and mighty native, the makers showed a rather flawed character and that made him even more interesting to behold. Indeed, at some point, you get to see one of the explorers, Theo von Martius, telling him that he is actually crazy, living on his own like this in the jungle and even full of sh*t with his weird rules and those moments were just priceless.

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Egypt

People who added this item 33 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.3
Destiny (1997)
Original Title: 'Al-massir'

Directed by: Youssef Chahine

Plot: The story is set in the 12th century in Arab-ruled Spanish province Andalusia, where famed philosopher Averroes is appointed grand judge by the caliph and his liberal court judgements are not liked by everyone. The caliph's political rivals, centered around the leader of a fanatical Islamic sect, force the caliph to send Averroes into exile, but his ideas keep on living thanks through his students.

Note: Back then, I remember that Youssef Chahine was a highly regarded movie director in France and since this movie was nominated for the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film festival, I thought I should check this one out. I guess I was too young to get all the symbolism but I still thought it was pretty good.


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Estonia

People who added this item 19 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 7.6
Original Title: 'Risttuules'

Directed by: Martti Helde

Plot: It is a very emotional and tragic movie about mass deportation to Siberia based on memories of Erna. It all started 14th of June 1941 when trucks came for the innocent families with their children where they headed to train station and later by animal wagons to Siberia.

Note: In France and Netherlands, there has always been some kind of obsession about what the Nazis did during WWII, which is understandable but, as a result, many atrocities that happened elsewhere in the world never seemed to get the attention they deserved. In this case, they focused instead on what the Soviets did in Estonia and some other Eastern European countries and since I didn't know much about these events, it was a really interesting watch.

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Greece

People who added this item 142 Average listal rating (67 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.9
Original Title: 'Mia aioniotita kai mia mera'

Directed by: Theodoros Angelopoulos

With: Bruno Ganz

Plot: Alexander, a famous writer, is very ill and has only a few days to live. He meets a little boy on the street, who is an illegal immigrant from Albania. Alexander then takes the boy home.

Note: I guess I was too young (I was 18 years old when I watched it) to get all the symbolism but, honestly, I thought it was rather disappointing. There was not much going on and I thought the whole thing was rather boring to watch. Still, Angelopoulos knows a how to direct a movie and Bruno Ganz is always a fascinating actor to watch.


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Hungary

People who added this item 195 Average listal rating (106 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
Original Title: 'Saul fia'

Directed by: László Nemes

Plot: In the horror of 1944 Auschwitz, a prisoner forced to burn the corpses of his own people finds moral survival upon trying to salvage from the flames the body of a boy he takes for his son.

Note: With this movie, right from the beginning, you are immersed in some kind of chaotic and irrational mayhem, it's so relentless that the makers don't give you one single wide shot in order to breath, to take a few seconds to understand what just happened, to actually see and try to understand this whole situation. Instead, you stay close, very close, to some random man who also seems to act really irationally but, in such a doomed time and place, after spending your days helping to exterminate men, women and children, just so you could survive another day, was it in anyway possible to keep your sanity and act like a sensible human-being?

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Iran

People who added this item 692 Average listal rating (411 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.3
Original Title: 'Jodaeiye Nader az Simin'

Directed by: Asghar Farhadi

Plot: A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.

Note: To be honest, I thought the whole thing was at first misleading. Indeed, I thought the movie was above all about this couple who were divorcing and I thought, somehow, that the movie would deal above all with the woman because she was the one who wanted this separation. In fact, the separation wasn’t the most dramatic event that took place, but an accident involving a pregnant woman who worked for the husband who might have been responsible for her miscarriage. In fact, this turn of event was actually quite compelling to watch and it was quite a masterstroke from the director that even though I, and many viewers I guess, have very little knowledge of the Iranian culture and, still, I could really identify with most of the characters and I was able to understand most of the struggles they were facing.


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Mexico

People who added this item 1600 Average listal rating (950 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.1
Original Title: 'Amores perros'

Directed by: Alejandro González Iñárritu

With: Gael García Bernal

Plot: A horrific car accident connects three stories, each involving characters dealing with loss, regret, and life's harsh realities, all in the name of love.

Note: I didn't expect it to be that good. The story was spellbinding, the acting was pretty good (Gael Garcia Bernal in one of his first parts) and of course, the directing was amazing. I mean, for a directing début, there is some amazing confidence shown by Inarritu.


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New Zealand

People who added this item 459 Average listal rating (267 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.6
Original Title: 'Whale Rider'

Directed by: Niki Caro

With: Keisha Castle-Hughes

Plot: A contemporary story of love, rejection and triumph as a young Maori girl fights to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize.

Note: I think it is important to point that, in my opinion, most movies evolving around kids are usually really so uninspired and sugercoated, there are honestly a waste of time, even for children. This movie is really one of the (few) exceptions. The story is riveting, the perfomances (above all, by Keisha Castle-Hughes which I hope to see more in the future) are all very good.


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Poland

Original Title: 'Nóz w wodzie'

Directed by: Roman Polanski

Plot: On their way to a sailing trip, an aging husband and wife invite along an emphatic young hitchhiker out of sheer patronization.

Note: The story may be rather generic, the tone is dark, unsettling and filled with sexual tension. As usual with Polanski, it gives a rather pessimistic view of men in general, displaying our darkest corners, something recurring in his work. Even though it is a directing début, Polanski was back then already a cinematic master and the whole thing is quite spellbinding to watch.


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Romania

Original Title: '4 luni, 3 saptamâni si 2 zile'

Directed by: Cristian Mungiu

Plot: A woman assists her friend in arranging an illegal abortion in 1980s Romania.

Note: Obviously, if you're looking for a feel-good entertaining movie, you should look somewhere else though. Indeed, there is no doubt that that this story was quite heartbreaking. Of course, it was a drama but, as a matter of fact, I thought it actually felt almost like a thriller sometimes as I was really wondering most of the time what was going to happen next. The directing was not flashy at all, it was in fact very sober but it was probably the best way to handle this subject. After this movie, Cristian Mungiu went to direct some other movies which were also very well received but I haven’t seen to be honest.

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Russia

People who added this item 645 Average listal rating (382 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.5
Original Title: 'Nochnoy dozor'

Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov

Plot: A fantasy-thriller set in present-day Moscow where the respective forces that control daytime and nighttime do battle.

Note: Honestly, I thought it was one of the most messy and chaotic movies I have seen for a long time. As a result, the whole thing was rather confusing and I'm not sure I understood the whole story but I guess it was also the charm of this feature. Still, it remains a visually fascinating flick with some pretty impressive special effects.


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Saudi Arabia

People who added this item 126 Average listal rating (78 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.6
Original Title: 'Wadjda'

Directed by: Haifaa Al-Mansour

Plot: An enterprising Saudi girl signs on for her school's Koran recitation competition as a way to raise the remaining funds she needs in order to buy the green bicycle that has captured her interest.

Note: Even though it was interesting, while watching the damned thing, I couldn't help thinking that, even though it was directed by a Saudi women, it still felt that it was giving a Western point of view on this strict Muslim culture. Basically, it gave a very bleak and sad view on the Saudi life, especially for the women and, even though it is probably true, it would have been nice to see something slightly more balanced. For example, towards the end, you get to see the main character reciting the Koran which seemed at first rather pointless and redundant but, eventually, it turned to be actually quite gorgeous and I think it would have worked better to show also such intriguing and positive aspects about this culture.

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South Africa

People who added this item 15 Average listal rating (9 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.7
Original Title: 'U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha'

Directed by: Mark Dornford-May

Plot: It is based on Georges Bizet's 19th-century opera that was filmed on location in a modern South African township setting. The energy, compassion, and heat of township life in all its elements create a constantly visually interesting and dynamic background for the unfolding of the story, which owes part of its huge popularity to the thrilling combination of a violent gangster tale with a passionate, almost supernatural love story.

Note: Even though I think the concept was interesting (adapting an opera with a modern African settings) and I enjoyed a few songs, the whole thing was not really spellbinding to watch. Indeed, the story was rather boring and, honestly, the actors were not really convincing whatsoever. Still, even though it is rather flawed, there are some interesting elements and I think it is definitely worh a look.


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Turkey

People who added this item 81 Average listal rating (36 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 8.2
Original Title: 'Yol'

Directed by: Yilmaz Güney and Serif Gören

Plot: A harsh portrait of Turkey, its people and its authorities, shown through the stories of five prisoners given a week's home leave, and the problems they encounter in adjusting to the world outside.

Note: First of all, I think it was the first Turkish movie I have ever seen and only therefore it was a really interesting watch. Concerning the movie itself, it was actually quite strong and I don't think it has lost much of its impact after all these years. In my opinion, this movie was about the fact that the Turkish people was and maybe still are too much focused on punishment and vengeance when they should try to be more compassionate and forgiving towards other people and it's an universal message that is still topical nowadays for everyone.


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(Ex-)Yugoslavia

People who added this item 435 Average listal rating (260 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.1
Original Title: 'Crna macka, beli macor'

Directed by: Emir Kusturica

Plot: Matko is a small time hustler, living by the Danube with his 17 year old son Zare. After a failed business deal he owes money to the much more successful gangster Dadan. Dadan has a sister, Afrodita, that he desperately wants to see get married so they strike a deal: Zare is to marry her. But none of the two care much for an arranged marriage: Zare is in love with Ida, Afrodita is waiting for the man of her dreams.

Note: In my opinion, it is the last great picture directed by Emir Kusturica and even the best one he has directed so far. Anyway, this movie is a big chaos with some great directing and a story which goes actually really nowhere but that's not a bad thing, in the contrary. I loved it and I think it is a totally awesome movie.


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I have created a few movie lists country related (my favorite French movies, my favorite German movies, my favorite Spanish movies,...). This list is about (some of) my favourite movies from the rest of the world.

If you want to check another country, please check this list :
- My favorite movies from all over the world -

Added to

37 votes
World Cinema - Vol 1- General Lists (36 lists)
list by jaytoast
Published 6 years, 10 months ago 4 comments



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