2015 has been a great year for film junkies, specially for foreign films. Hollywood kept on churning sequels, super-hero films, and midst of commercial films they made a few sensible films too. Though Indie films are saving grace for Hollywood, it is Foreign films that I dig the most. They seldom disappoint you. They have variety of films dealing with social, cultural, and political aspects of their native countries. It is tad difficult to pick only 20 best Non-English Films from around 100 + Non English films I have seen in 2015. Time has come to buy DVDs and update your watch-list if you are fan of cinema in general. Here is the list of “The 20 Best Non-English Films of 2015“.
Highly Recommended: Top 50 English Language Films Of 2015
Honorable mention : Victoria, Welcome to Newyork, Xenia, Felix and Meira,The Assassin, Tag.
PS : Have not seen Son Of Saul, Embrace of the Serpent, and a few more films as they have not released yet.
20. 100 Yen Love | Genre : Sports Drama
100 Yen Love is not your regular boxing film that portrays female character rising from patriarchal society to prove her self fueling feminism. Supported by terrific central performance by Sakura Ando, and even more strongly developed subversive character of her, 100 Yen Love asks for patience on viewers’ behalf but bestows them with non cliche, subtle and almost staggering character study of a slothful & frivolous female protagonist that might resonate your own-self at some point of time in life. This is the well made women-empowering film without a hint of it, and that is an achievement in itself.
19. From Afar | Genre : Romantic Drama
Transfixed eyes of Armando (Alfredo Castro) yearning for sexual intimacy calls a guy to his place, softly demands to take his clothes off and turn back to him. He then masturbates while gazing and fantasizing him. He never touches the guy, but it is sexually charged , tensed long gaze that does wonder for him. The début film of Venezuelan filmmaker Lorenzo Castes , From Afar (Desde allá) is subtle, tensed, unpredictable, and intentionally slow paced & non sensationalized gay romance, devoid of any exposition, and letting characters take control of the film. Though the central character of middle aged loner man Armando is very unidimensional for the good of the film, it is young thug guy Elder from the streets whose encounter brings the spikes in the characterization rendered by changing dynamics of their relationship during the course of time, until brutally devastating climax. Though From Afar may not appeal you by the time end credits roll, but the intriguing characters will stay long in your mind, and introspect their action.
Also Read: Call Me By Your Name : ‘MAMI’ Review
18. Man From Reno | Genre : Mystery Thriller
Even before the last few minutes of 2 hour ride, you are not sure what you are looking for, and that is the surprising element of the film that is quite rare in mystery drama. “Man From Reno” is slow burning neo-noir thrilling drama where two different mystery unfolds in the life of two people , and then how they intertwine like creeping tales that get them deeper in mystery surrounding many puzzling questions. Better , you watch the film without any details of the plot for better experiencing.
Also Check Out: The 15 Best Indian Films of 2015
17. Breathe | Genre : Drama
If you have ever felt that you are at the end of a road, left to tether away in ruins of claustrophobic self-loathing. If you have ever felt broken, on the verge of becoming rotten and up for unquestionable decay, the relationship portrayed in Mélanie Laurent’s second directorial venture “Breathe” will echo your insides, probably shiver you to the bone & leave you tasteless.The film is both tender & horrific. From the hysteria of a new-friendship to the psychological insights of late teens, Mélanie Laurent doesn’t miss a note.
16. The Second Mother | Genre : Drama
Muylaert’s “The Second Mother” (“Que Horas Ela Volta?”) retains all the general ideas that come with a maid’s story: social realism, social stratification, drudgery, etc, but at the same time the narrative brims with a singular quality, which never becomes didactic.“The Second Mother” impeccably works both as a thoughtful character study and as a treatise on socioeconomic cold war. The terrific performances and restrained direction bestows a charmingly immersive movie experience.
15. The Brand New Testament | Genre : Fantasy, Black Comedy
In this divine satire, a sweet little angel hacks into system of her father, God himself, and descends upon earth to write the brand new testament with help of six newly appointed apostles. The surly God spins in the machine of his own misdeeds while his daughter walks on the water. This gospel according to Dormael says that God is just a jerk controlling the world with his computer, that each heart sings the symphony of its own, that bullet of fear cannot pierce through the character of silicon. Film’s poetic metaphors and infantile humour will make Holy Mother Mary chuckle like a fish fluttering in the aquarium of pleasant memories.
14. Mustang | Genre : Coming Of Age Drama
When driving off to the sunset doesn’t only takes learning and time but also losing a childhood and the various dreams that ever surrounded it. Mustang is a 5 girl account seen through the youngest eyes. Slipped under the rug of secularist, adult cruelty is an ode to liberation. It also peels off the various layers of devilish hypocrisy and in its couple of unrelated scenes it just overpowers the central theme and becomes a totally visceral experience.
13. Güeros | Genre :Drama
Gueros is a satirical, free-floating movie that’s more about rebel, deadbeat dreamers, who seem to have a lot in common with the mythical, carefree young guys of Godard, Truffaut, Jim Jarmusch or Alfonso Cuaron. The sensational social commentary in “Gueros” peacefully unveils in the background, while our attention is grabbed by the witty, expressionistic images. The movie is set in Mexico City, 1999, the year in which the students of UNAM – a humongous national university – involved in a lengthy strike over raised tuition fees. However, two of the students, Fede (Tenoch Huerta) aka Sombra (means ‘Shadow’ to indicate the dark-skin) and Santos (Leonardo Ortiz Gris) are on ‘strike from the strike’. The duo is living aimlessly, in their disheveled apartment, listening to students’ pirate radio (hosted by Sombra’s crush Ana), and stealing electricity from the flat below.
12. La Sapienza | Genre : Drama
Eugène Green’s film ‘La Sapienza’ feels like Sorrentino’s work which has lost touch of music n ‘shimmering’ beauty but very much profound in its philosophy, and strangely too beautiful to resist. The film perfectly blends the understated story telling with cerebral literary themes and human emotions. Straight faced, expressionless scholarly discussion about the architectural idols and architect leads to unearthing of concealed emotions that leads to self discovery of middle aged architect Alexandre (Fabrizio Rongione).Though it starts off quite slowly and may put you to sleep with its mundane story telling method where characters stare into camera, but by the end , it is a rewarding experience if you immerse yourself in the symmetrical beauty of the film.
Must-Read: The Great Beauty : Life and Lies
11. Risk Of Acid Rain | Genre : Drama
The latest debut Iranian film by Writer-Director Behtash Sanaeeha, Risk of Acid Rain is a riot of an impassive but gorgeous imagery painted with the distinctive colors of loneliness suffered by an elder man struggling to attain the emotional stability in the midst of an unusual friendship with two unlikely lost young souls. Behtash Sanaeeha sketches Tehran in a mystic way that is enthralling & restless in its own way. With his immense sense of direction, Behtash allows the camera to follow his characters in a very elegant manner that reminisces of Abbas Kiarostami’s work.
We Reviewed it at MAMI: Risk of Acid Rain