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The 20 Best Non-English Films of 2015

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10. Far from Men | Genre : War Drama

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Writer-director David Oelhoffen paints the beautiful but deserted landscape canvas with the colors of palpating human drama that will certainly move you. The film echoes the psyche of two men from different strata who are thrown into a “lose- lose” situation and they have to make a hard choice of choosing the best of the losing options. Far from men is an honest work of drama which shows two characters facing moral and social question, and strongly, but in a very subtle manner, flirts with existentialism.

Related: Far From Men [2014]: Caught Between Lose-Lose Situation

9. A War | Genre : War Drama

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“A War” takes an often told soldiers’ point-of-view tale and transcends it with admirable emotional ambiguity and thoughtfulness. It is a necessary watch for anyone interested in the sober analysis of war. Director Lindholm’s third directorial feature, of course reiterates the age old statement of ‘war dehumanizes a human being’, although the way he puts forwards his characters and their emotions is so compelling to behold. A War is the ‘A Separation’ of  war genre.


We Recommend: Arun Kumar’s Take on ‘A War’.

8. Loreak | Genre : Romantic Drama


It is a tricky thing to depict the love felt by a world-weary, middle-aged married woman towards a person other than her husband. But, ‘love’ isn’t just a stepping stone to reach the destination called ‘lust’. Rarely do we come across films that deal with love of a middle-aged married woman without introducing sexual affair in the second act. Jose Mari Goenaga and Jon Garano’s minimalist Basque language movie “Loreak” (“Flowers”, 2014) is the rare, mature work that deals with the slippery feeling love imbues on us. It shows how source of love could emanate from strange things and how love changes one’s perception of others. Loreak is  an intricate and engrossing exploration of alienation, love and loss. The absence of dramatization and the presence of obscure ideas, a bleak environment might equally irk and reward movie-buffs.

You Should Check Out: October [2018]: The Blooming Uncertainties of Selfless Love

7. A Pigeon sat on a branch reflecting on Existence | Genre : Drama

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The last part of Roy Andersson’s Living trilogy- A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence- unfolds as a painting, a series of surreal vignettes, filled with customary deadpan humor and wry absurdity. In this tragicomedy, a pair of depressed salesmen wants to help people have fun by selling their novelty items. Every single frame of movie is revelatory, and serves a distant peek into inexplicable oddity laced with human existence. From being obsessed with the opposite sex to rejections or being stuck into a memory, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is a strange, bizarre, melancholic & terribly beautiful portrayal of human condition.  It might not resonate to every one out there but if there is a place where people need to learn things through a masters’s eyes, the film is as important as a holy book in a monk’s hand.

Related: A Pigeon Sat on A Branch Reflecting On Existence [2015]: A Static Retrospect of Life

6. Mia Madre | Genre : Drama

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Italian auteur Nanni Moretti‘s latest film Mia Madre, focuses on the psyche  of a woman  on the impending loss of her mother, which is said to be heavily inspired from Nanni’s  personal experience where his mother died during the shooting of 2011’s Habemus Papam. Moretti has meticulously captured the staggering emotional turmoil of middle aged director Margherita (Margherita Buy) and its effect on her own personal and professional life. Mia Madre is a kind of a film where every time you think about it, you will have something new to discover; multi layered script has life, death, film-making, solitude,relationships, existential crisis at its crux, which surprisingly reflects Moretti‘s own life.

We Reviewed it at ‘MAMI’: Mia Madre (2015)

5. The Tribe | Genre : Coming of Age Drama

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The Tribe (Plemya) is an unflinching,visceral & bold story of culture of deaf teenagers, which is told entirely in non penetrable untranslated Ukrainian sign language. This unpleasantly dark tale of deaf teenage seems to set in the real world, supported by non-professional actors add to the grittiness and observational realistic tone to it , and it offers much more than usual teenage school drama.  Focal point of ‘The Tribe’ is a new student, ‘Serhiy’, who arrives on an opening day ceremony in courtyard of boarding school for deaf teenagers. Film takes a deep look into culture of deaf students who moonlight as hooligans and run prostitution business. Be warned, The Tribe is highly violent in expression and sexually charged!

Related: The Tribe [2015]: Love and Hatred Do Not Need Translation

4. Phoenix | Genre : War Drama,Romance

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Phoenix is adapted from Hubert Monteilhet’s detective novel Le Retour des cendres, which was set in France.Christian Petzold has set ‘Phoenix’ in Berlin shortly after the German surrender and has drastically changed the narrative of the story and diluted the subplots completely. Phoenix revolves around the Jazz singer Nelly Lenz, who is the sole survivor of impounding among her well-to-do family, and her confrontation with her husband who doesn’t recognize her. Phoenix is not a plot driven film but it is driven by the estranged emotions that are mired by deception and yearn for true love. It is very intriguing and has subtle sense of suspense on how both the lead characters unfold.

Related: Phoenix [2015]: Mired Love

3. Boy and The world | Animated, Adventure, Family

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While Inside out went inside the mind of a kid and showed complex functioning of brain breaking down each emotion, and their adventure that defines the psyche of that kid, Boy & the World does exactly opposite of it; Boy & the World takes a look at the ever changing  world & the dynamic mechanism of socio-political functioning that influence the boy emotionally and physically. It uses boy as lens to see the horror of the daily life. Boy and the World is tragic & starkly bleak allegory of how miserable the world has become , showcasing perpetual vicious cycle of changing world’s implications on human condition and human relationship that is governed by human needs against their own will.

Recommended: Boy and The World [2015]

2. Aferim | Genre : Comedy Drama

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Must-Read: I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians [2018]: TIFF Review

Radu Jude’s Aferim is more self-aware that chalks out the hypocrisy, religious  dogmatism and human folly in the society without getting too serious about the already critical subject. Still, Aferim! captures the slavery in such a striking manner which perfectly echoes the hardship and emotional turmoil they faced , like when a gypsy slave cries vehemently & says, “Buy us – save us from hunger!” Unflinching , strident , intelligent writing and tongue in cheek humor bordering on crass & obscenity  that can easily offend even the most passive & expressionless being, and Jews, women, slave , Russians. Aferim! that literally translates to Bravo is a very ironically titled film, but it can be rightly used for the director Radu Jude’s impeccable direction. Shot in shimmering monochromatic, 35mm black-and-white visuals are sharply attentive to a sense of mid 18th century era , kudos to cinematographer Marius Panduru for recreating the Wallachia.

We Recommend: Aferim [2015]: Monty Python-esque Humor

1. El Club | Genre : Drama

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Pablo Larrain’s seditiously critical & quintessentially scathing film “The Club” functions as a complex  psychological drama that vicariously creeps inside the psyche of Priests,and ultimately strip down the putridness of religious institution and authoritarian. The Club is an intelligent, bold,and raw film. Well aware about the existence of deeply flawed institution, and blunt enough to showcase,not to question, sacrilegious souls present in disguise of religious authority. Larrain, who co-wrote with Guillermo Calderon and Daniel Villalobos, showcases the collision of pseudo ideologies ruining several lives; importantly, it pitches what religion and institutional authorities does to an individual on either side of the fence.

Must-Read: El Club (2015): The Spiritual Punishment


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