Many people aren't sure about foreign films, the subtitles sometimes can be daunting to read while watching a foreign film. However, these top 10 foreign films should be on anyone's list, as they are definite must sees which will leave you smiling, (or crying even) for days.
1. Andrei Tarkovsky - "Stalker"
2. Andrei Tarkovsky - "Andrei Rubilev"
3. Yasujiro Ozu - "Floating Weeds"
4. Nobuhiku Obayashi - "House"
5. Jean-Luc Godard - "Breathless"
6. Jean-Luc Godard - "Contempt"
7. Bela Tarr - "Werckmeister Harmonies"
8. Bela Tarr - "Satantango"
9. Francoise Truffaut - "400 Blows"
10. Rainer Werner Fassbinder - "The Marriage of Maria Braun"
Foreign films can be a glimpse into another country, a window into another culture. The best foreign films I find have a lot to do with meaningful characters, sometimes with minimal plot, and almost always with no special effects. The atmosphere of the film is very important as is the mise-en-cine. That is why the director's job is so important.
These top 10 foreign films represent the best of the best of what is out there, and is a good place to start for any newbie. I find that watching foreign films is very addictive. Once you get started on watching them, it's hard to stop or to watch anything else, because they are just so different from mainstream and even independent domestic movies. Godard's "Breathless" is a good place to start for anyone who is interested in new wave French cinema. It is about a gangster who gets in trouble with the law and who sees an American girl in Paris, and their adventures around the city. This 1959 classic is very engaging with two of the most quirkiest characters to appear on screen.
If you are looking for something of an epic, look no further than Bela Tarr's "Satantango." The movie is roughly 9 hours long and the plot meanders through a small rural town in Hungary. It is very bleak but has some spiritually fulfilling elements to it like the lengthy dance scene at the local bar. Tarr is a well known international director with films that include "Werckmeister Harmonies", essentially about a whale that is on exhibit in the middle of a Hungarian town, as well as "Damnation" an insider look into one man's desperate life. Tarr's black and white movies represent the Hungarian country side and is filled with memorable melodramas.
For those who are looking for a classic Japanese cult horror film, you might want to check out Obayashi's "House." This movie is an incredible production of kaleidescope colors, a wacky soundtrack, and the best lo fi special effects for a horror movie you'll ever see. The story is about a group of school girls who go to one girl's aunt's house in the country side for the summer. The house is of course haunted and much of the action takes place in the house. There is a piano that eats people, and lots and lots of blood. Completely campy and hysterical to watch, this movie will sure to be one of your favorites.