Foreign films have big potential in America

Person watches movie in open cinema in green nature.

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Person watches movie in open cinema in green nature.

By Parker Otto

With streaming services, it’s a lot easier to become immersed in foreign cinema than it used to be, and more people need to make an effort to find films that may be unknown to them but have the potential to become something fantastic. While most Americans watch productions either made in the U.S. or the United Kingdom, the rest of the world offers so many great films that can be enjoyed. 

While it’s an undeniable fact that the U.S. has a great hold on the film industry, most nations have their own studios and filmmakers who have had great influence on filmmakers all over the world. 

Watching foreign films can be fun because you can find similar stories and characters that you love in American cinema. In fact, some great English language films have been remakes of foreign films. “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Departed” and “Let Me In” are remakes of “Seven Samurai,” “Infernal Affairs” and “Let The Right One In,” respectively. 

People may be put off by the fact that in order to watch most foreign films, you have to read subtitles, but it’s not an especially big hurdle to leap. Some incredibly popular American films like “Inglorious Basterds” make extensive use of subtitles and American films like “The Farewell” and “Minari” are mainly told in a different language than English, yet have received praise and awards. 

Here’s a quick list of recommendations along with the streaming services they’re currently on:

The Seven Samurai (HBO Max): This 1954 epic sees seven warriors band together to protect a village of farmers from an army of bandits in this masterpiece by director Akira Kurosawa. 

Parasite (Hulu): Set in Seoul, South Korea, a poor family becomes servants to a rich family and infiltrates their house to scam them. With clever commentary and a bold sense of humor, “Parasite” is one of those films that is unforgettable.

Cinema Paradiso (Paramount+): This is a perfect film about childhood and has some of the most beautiful moments ever seen in cinema. The ending, in particular, makes this film a must watch.

Pan’s Labyrinth (Netflix): Directed by Guillermo del Toro, this film is a clever mix of fantasy and horror, resulting in a charming film that is really great to watch in the fall. The creatures and monsters the film’s young protagonist encounters as she tries to block out the Spanish Civil War make this one of the most imaginative films of the 21st Century.