A look at some of international cinema’s best recent works

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It’s nice when a quality movie doesn’t come from the Hollywood powerhouses. The beauty of non-Hollywood foreign films is not necessarily the CGI or special effects so characteristic of Hollywood blockbuster movies. Usually prioritizing artistic as opposed to commercial concerns, many internationally produced films have less uniform storylines and more diverse cinematographic style, often resulting in even more creative and original content. International films are important to many whose varied appetites might prefer some foreign-language fare, so we at The Daily Californian have got you covered. Here are some recent international films you should check out now:

“Land of Mine”

Released in 2015, “Land Of Mine” is a Danish-German movie about World War II. Set as the Second Great War is about to come to a close, young German prisoners of war are held captive by the Danish army. The captured German boys are forced to “defuse and clear landmines from the Danish coastline with little or no training.” The film ends up being a somber tale of a fascinating subject.

“A Man Called Ove”

“A Man Called Ove,” released in 2015, is a Swedish film that tells a tale about a curmudgeonly old man. Throughout the movie we watch how he transforms from perennially grumpy to a happier man (very much a credit to his neighbors and family).  The transformation of Ove is entertaining, funny and profound, the combination of which making this foreign film one of our favorites.

“The Salesman”

The 2016 Iranian drama “The Salesman” contains a compelling plot. After moving into a new apartment, a couple Emad and Rana get robbed while Rana is in the apartment. Rana’s struck in the heat of the robbery. Emad ends up finding the perpetrator, but deep down he’s upset about something else and so hesitates to take revenge. This tantalizing tale, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film earlier this year, is definitely worth a watch.


The 2015 Australia-Ni-Vanuatu film “Tanna” is unquestionably unique. Set in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu, the film casts members of the Yakel tribe, an indigenous community from the island of Tanna, for a number of its roles. The movie is a wonderfully done story of loyalty and star-crossed lovers while intimately exploring the conflict between community traditions and Westernized values. 

“Son of Saul”

A Hungarian film that was also awarded the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2016, “Son of Saul” deals with the moral complexities of the Holocaust. Set in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, the movie follows a day and a half in the life of a Hungarian-Jewish prisoner as he searches for a rabbi to bury a child. The movie is an emotional story that will cause you to question humanity and morality.

“Between Sea and Land”

The 2016 film, whose original title is “La ciénaga entre el mar y la tierra” is look at life on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Directed by Carlos del Castillo, the film centers on Alberto, who is confined to his bed as a result of muscular dystrophy and is unable to experience the beauty of the environment that surrounds him.

“The Red Turtle”

This 2016 French-Japanese film shows rather than tells, using no dialogue throughout the movie to convey its narrative. Directed by Dutch-British animator Michaël Dudok de Wit, “The Red Turtle” is the silent story of a shipwrecked man on a desert island who finds solace in a large red turtle. It’s an animated feature that is oddly captivating and works to transcend language, culture and geography.

Whether you prefer “Land of Mine” or “Tanna,” foreign films allow you to extend your perspective beyond borders and capture the novel art the world can offer.

Contact Melany Dillon at [email protected].

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