Foreign movies, for me at least, are movies that feature non-English languages for most of the movie and are typically directed by non-Americans. I struggled to think of what movies I’ve seen that qualify with both criteria, so I hoped on Letterboxd to take a look at my lifetime stats to see what I could find.
- English – 524 films
- Japanese – 18 films
- French – 3 films
- Korean – 3 Films
- German – 1 Film
- Spanish – 1 Film
- Russian – 1 Film
That’s a lotta English movies. But I’m proud of my foreign movies. I’m going to combine all of them and rank them so if you’re interested in the total list, here it is.
Incendies – Denis Villenueve
This is my number one foreign movie of all time. Villeneuve crafts an absolute masterpiece of pain and suffering that is hauntingly beautiful. The struggles of the family in this movie really highlight how lucky some of us are to have been born into less volatile situations. It is an unapologetic look at violence, hate, and love all mixed together into a Molotov cocktail of a movie. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend going on the journey that is Incendies. 100/100
Parasite – Bong Joon-ho
It’s been a long while since I’ve actually seen Parasite, but if you remember the early days of the pandemic, you’ll remember the fiasco that was the award season that year. Many fits were thrown because it won Best Picture, even though it’s a foreign movie. It’s an asinine argument because the Best Picture should always be the Best Picture. What Bong Joon-ho is able to accomplish with a simple concept is one of the most amazing movies I’ve ever seen. It is dark, funny, and scary all at the same time and oftentimes even in the same scene. 100/100
Seven Samurai – Akira Kurasawa
I’ve got a full write-up, conveniently available here. Give it a look. 100/100
Spirited Away – Hayo Miyazaki
This is my favorite Miyazaki movie of all time. The master of animation puts on an absolute clinic during the 125-minute run time. Same deal, another write-up here.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion – Hideaki Anno
Neon Genesis might be one of my favorite anime of all time. It is a visceral and gruesome cyberpunk apocalypse story. Fans were horrendously upset with the creator during the end of the initial run of the show. So what does he do? He goes and makes this. This movie is an alternate ending to the acclaimed series and twists the knife in the audience’s back, giving them exactly what they wanted. I highly recommend you watch the mainline series first and then watch the alternate series ending which is End of Evangelion. If you end up liking Anno’s work (and I hope you do), you should also check out his work on Shin Godzilla.
Stalker – Andrei Tarkovsky
Think of this as 2001: A Space Odyssey but if it was made in the Soviet Union. Andre Tarkovsky is a legendary director from the Cold War era. Stalker is a highly twisted version of his Russian reality, albeit even more dystopian, if that can be believed. It is a highly subjective movie and there isn’t a lot I can tell you about it to convince you to watch it. This is one you have to judge a book by its cover. While the subject matter captured on film stock is interesting and thought-provoking, the behind-the-scenes action is just as interesting. The entire production was plagued with issues from poor shooting conditions to lab fires that destroyed the footage. Tarkovsky died of cancer at the young age of 54. While some individuals blame cancer, some blame Stalker. 91/100