From Germany to Argentina, Musement shares ten Oscar-winning foreign films from the aughts.
Whether via books, Netflix, virtual art or coloring books, we’re all trying to make the best of our downtime these days. Foreign films are no doubt intriguing. Many who aren’t already into them tend to have changing that on their to-do list, but struggle when it comes to finding the time. So, what better time than now to perhaps expand your horizons?
The Oscars, are a good place to start. Here’s a look at ten foreign films from the aughts that took home the trophy for Best International Feature Film.
1. Parasite, South Korea, 2020
Considering that Bong Joon-ho’s dark comedy thriller took home not only the prize for Best International Feature Film but Best Picture as well (the only film to ever do so), Parasite is a fitting place to start—if you haven’t already seen it, that is. The film follows the schemes of a lower-class family who deceptively infiltrate their way into the home of a wealthy one.
2. Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others), Germany, 2006
The feature film debut of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, the Lives of Others takes place in East Berlin during the 1980s and follows a prominent couple (a playwright and an actress) under surveillance by the Stasi. The unforgettable film offers a raw look at life east of the Berlin Wall during this time.
3. La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty), Italy, 2014
Paolo Sorrentino’s gorgeous Felliniesque art film follows the life of Jep Gambardella a wealthy 65-year-old writer who loves women and partying. He starts to reflect on his life, both his past and what awaits him in the future, and the city of Rome is just as much of a character as Gambardella.
4. Amour, Austria, 2012
Michael Haneke’s French-language Austrian film depicts a retired elderly couple, offering a heartwrenching, poignant glimpse at old age. The wife suffers a stroke, which paralyzes one side of her body, and tests the strength of their marriage bond.
5. Roma, Mexico, 2019
Alfonso Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical take on his life growing up in Mexico City tells the story of Cleo, a live-in maid for a wealthy family. The magnificent film begets an emotion overload, so have tissues on hand.
6. A Separation, Iran, 2011
Asghar Farhadi’s film looks at a couple who separate and the effects their separation has on their young daughter, who remains with her father. His father is afflicted with Alzheimer’s and he hires a lower-class careworker to tend to him.
7. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, China, 2000
Ang Lee’s martial arts Wuxia film is an epic one. From the graceful roof chase scene to intricate fights sequences choreographed by Yuen Wo Ping, who orchestrated those of The Matrix, the film was groundbreaking on several fronts.
8. El secreto de sus ojos (The Secrets in Their Eyes), Argentina, 2009
Juan José Campanella’s crime thriller, produced in collaboration with Spain, depicts a judiciary employee and law clerk, looking at a rape and case murder they investigated together in 1974 and reminiscing about it 25 years later, jumping back and forth between time.
9. Tsotsi, South Africa, 2005
This film by Gavin Hood, adapted from a novel of the same name, is set in a Johannesburg slub, tells the story of its titular character, a street rascal who steals a car then discovers a baby in the backseat.
10. Ida, Poland, 2015
Paweł Pawlikowski’s drama set in 1962 portrays a young woman who was orphaned during World War II. Just before she’s about to enter the convent, she meets her aunt and learns her family was Jewish, so they embark on a journey together to discover what happened to her parents.