10 foreign language films of the last decade that you need to watch

  • 10 foreign language films of the last decade that you need to watch

Believe it or not, it isn't just Hollywood that churns out brilliant films, the rest of the world does a pretty good job too.

If you don't mind reading subtitles, you're in for a real treat from some of the world's finest cinematic masterpieces.

So here is a rundown of the greatest films from across the non-English speaking world: Iran, Germany, Brazil - they're all getting in on the act.

10. Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) - Sweden, 2008

In this Swedish comedy horror film, a 12-year-old boy who is bullied at school falls in love with Eli, his unusual neighbour, who gives him the strength to confront his bullies.

Thing is, it turns out is a vampire and her father kills people so she can drink their blood. 

While it sounds like a cheesy Twilight prequel, Let the Right One In has been universally acclaimed, and is regarded as one of the finest horror films of the past 20 years and the greatest contemporary vampire movie (take that Twilight).

9. Waltz With Bashir (Vals Im Bashir) - Israel, 2008

An animated war documentary film, that's right - written and directed by Ari Forman, it's based around him trying to remember his experiences as a 19-year-old soldier fighting in the 1982 Lebanon War, of which he has no recollection.

It won many awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for an Oscar in the same category. 

It's use of animation was widely praised as an innovative and revolutionary new cinematic storytelling tool.

8. Hidden (Caché) - France 2005

A married couple are terrorised by packages left on their porch containing video tapes of them and their family, filmed outside their house by an unknown camera-wielding stalker.

Despite the nature of the tapes, there is no threat, so police refuse to get involved.

Upon its release, it bagged three prizes at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, including best director, as well as a host of other awards.

It was voted onto many 'best films of the decade' lists, and one reviewer labelled it "one of the great films of this decade".

7. The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) - Germany, 2006

A drama set in early '80s East Berlin, where secret police agent begins to monitor a writer and his actress lover, only to become engrossed in their lives.

The once-rigid Stasi officer begins to positively intervene in their lives, protecting and saving them from danger.

The Lives of Others was a runaway success, picking up an Academy Award and a BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film and many German film awards to boot.

Critics lavished it with praise, and one American commentator dubbed it: "one of the greatest movies ever made, and certainly the best film of this decade."

6. A Prophet (Un prophète) - France, 2009

The story of an illiterate Frenchman of Algerian descent who goes to jail, and works his way up the ladder of the Corsican mob and Muslim criminals to become a mafia kingpin.

Praised upon it's release and, perhaps in an over-exaggerated comment, was dubbed "as epic as The Godfather".

At 2009's Cannes Film Festival is was voted the best of the festival by judges and it picked up a BAFTA for Best Film Not in the English Language, as well as an Oscar nomination for the Best Foreign Language Film.

5. A Separation (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin) - Iran, 2011

A middle-class Iranian couple argue about whether to move abroad to provide better opportunities for their daughter, or stay in Iran and take care of his father, who suffers from Alzheimer's.

The decisions and arguements cause the couple to split, and the situation isn't helped when the husband hires a lower-class carer for his father.

Grossing over $22m worldwide, the film was unnanimously revered, with many influential movie critics putting it at number one in their top tep lists for 2011.

Among the truckload of awards that it picked it, it won an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.

4. Neighboring Sounds (O Som ao Redor) - Brazil

The best film to come out of Brazil since City of GodNeighbouring Sounds revolves around the residents of a middle-class neighbour in Recifie whose lives take an unexpected turn when a private security firm turns up to guard the streets.

Many critics it regarded it as one of the top films of 2012 and it has been dubbed: "remarkable" and "breathtaking".

3. The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) - Italy, 2013

On his 65th birthday socialite and author Jep Gambardella recounts and reflects upon his life of partying among Rome's social elite, all the character he met, his first love and his sense of fulfillment.

Reviewers hit it with universal acclaim, regarding it as an ambitious, beautiful and entralling movie as it hit the top 10 of the best films of 2013.

Awards soon followed as it picked up an Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA to add to it's many critics choices and film festival titles.

2. In a Better World (Hævnen) - Denmark, 2010

Anton is a Danish doctor in an African refugee camp, back at home in Denmark his family crosses over with an other and extraordinary relationships are formed and broken.

Winning both Best Foreign Film awards at the Oscars and Golden Globes, In A Better World has been regarded by critics and fans alike as a capitvating drama

1. The Secret in Their Eyes (El secreto de sus ojos) - Argentina, 2009

A retired justice officer writes a novel hoping to find closure for an unresolved case and for his love for his superior, and unearths a lot more than he bargained for.

With a stunning long single-cut scene in a football stadium, as well as masterful performances from the cast, director Juan José Campanella was praised for the film.

It receieved a Best Foreign Language Oscar for its troubles, as well as Spain's equivalent - Goya Award - for Best Spanish Language Foreign film and is the the second-highest grossing film of all time in Argetina.

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