“Without you, today’s emotions would be the scurf of yesterday’s.”
If you can name the iconic film from which this quote originates (hint: it’s a French classic), you know that foreign films can be powerful, poignant and thought-provoking journeys into new cultures and perspectives. Watching foreign films and movies can open up a brave new world of cinema and broaden your horizons in ways you never could have imagined.
But with so many different countries, cultures and languages out there, knowing where to start your international film excursion can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily, DIRECTV has curated a list of some of the best foreign films to get you started on your cinematic adventure.
From 2001’s Amelie (kudos if you recognized the quote) to the 2019 Oscar-winning Parasite, dive into a new a cultural experience from the comfort of home with DIRECTV.
Best Foreign Films to Check Out
Ready to take a trip around the world? International films can transport you to a fascinating new land in just minutes. Here’s a look at some of the best international movies to check out on DIRECTV:
- Parasite (South Korea, 2019)
- A Separation (Iran, 2011)
- Roma (Mexico, 2018)
- The Handmaiden (South Korea, 2016)
- Cold War (Poland, 2018)
- Mustang (Turkey, 2015)
- Ida (Poland, 2013)
- Wild Tales (Argentina, 2014)
Ready to dive into foreign films? Check out these modern classics and much more with DIRECTV:
‘Parasite’ (South Korea, 2019)
2019’s Academy Award-winning Parasite is a powerful and darkly comical portrait of South Korean culture that examines the modern disparity between classes with searing insight. Gripping and suspenseful, this South Korean film directed by Bong Joon-ho explores the complexities of class and social inequality in modern-day South Korea.
The film follows the impoverished Kim family as they scheme their way into the lives of the wealthy Park family, using their wits and cunning to secure positions as their new domestic workers. However, as tensions between the two families rise and secrets are revealed, the Kims find themselves embroiled in a dangerous web of lies and deceit.
Featuring top-billing cast members including Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-Kyun and Cho Yeo-Jeong, Parasite is a thrilling and thought-provoking masterpiece that leaves viewers on the edge of their seats until its unforgettable conclusion.
Watch Parasite online with DIRECTV now!
‘A Separation’ (Iran, 2011)
Directed by Asghar Farhadi, 2012’s Academy Award-winning A Separation delves into the complex and often painful dynamics of a family in crisis. A couple seeks a divorce and, in the process, must navigate the ever-increasing legal and moral challenges that come with it.
As the couple, played by Leila Hatami and Peyman Moaadi, struggle to come to terms with their own differences and the expectations of their families, they are forced to confront their own values and beliefs in the face of societal pressures and cultural norms.
With a strong supporting cast including Sareh Bayat and Shahab Hosseini, A Separation is a deeply humanistic and heart-wrenching film that explores themes of family, justice, and the complexities of life in modern Iran. Farhadi’s direction and the actors’ performances create an intimate and poignant experience that will resonate long after the credits roll.
Alfonso Cuarón’s 2018 film Roma is a deeply personal and intimate portrait of a family and their domestic worker, Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), who becomes a central figure in their lives as they navigate personal and societal struggles.
Set in the 1970s in Mexico City, Roma captures the rhythms and textures of everyday life while also exploring themes of class, race and gender. Through stunning black and white cinematography, Cuarón’s direction creates a sense of timelessness and universality that makes Roma a film that resonates across cultures and borders. Featuring an incredible ensemble cast including Marina de Tavira, Diego Cortina Autrey and Carlos Peralta, Roma is a poignant and unforgettable film that illuminates the humanity that connects us all.
Check out our Spanish cinema 101 primer for more Spanish-language films.
‘The Handmaiden’ (South Korea, 2016)
Directed by Park Chan-wook and starring Kim Min-hee and Kim Tae-ri, The Handmaiden is a thrilling and seductive tale of deception set in 1930s colonial Korea. A young pickpocket named Sook-Hee is hired to serve as the handmaiden of a wealthy and mysterious countess.
When Sook-Hee discovers the countess’ hidden secrets, she must navigate a web of lies and deceit as she conspires with a conman to steal the countess’ fortune. With its gorgeous cinematography and attention to detail, Park Chan-wook’s direction creates an entrancing visual world. The Handmaiden is a complex and captivating thriller that will keep you guessing until its stunning conclusion.
‘Cold War’ (Poland, 2018)
Pawel Pawlikoski’s 2018 epic Cold War is a hauntingly beautiful picture from Poland. The film tells the story of a passionate and tumultuous love affair between two musicians, Wiktor and Zula, played by Tomasz Kot and Joanna Kulig, during the post-World War II era in Poland.
Against the backdrop of a changing political landscape and the cultural tensions of the Cold War, their relationship is tested time and again, leading them on a journey across Europe as they grapple with their own desires and the forces that threaten to tear them apart.
With stunning visuals and a haunting score, Cold War is a visually arresting and emotionally resonant film that captures the essence of an era and the human spirit that endures in the face of adversity. Featuring a stellar supporting cast including Borys Szyc and Agata Kulesza, Cold War is a cinematic masterpiece that leaves a lasting impression.
Looking for more Eastern European films? Check out our Eastern European Cinema 101.
‘Mustang’ (Turkey, 2015)
Mustang is a powerful and evocative film from Turkey, directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven. Following five orphaned sisters living in a conservative and patriarchal society, the film explores themes of repression, freedom and sisterhood. When the sisters’ innocent games with a group of boys leads to scandalous rumors in their small village, their lives are upended when they are punished for their innocent play and forbidden from leaving their home.
As they fight to regain their freedom and their own identities in the face of mounting pressure from their community and their own family, the sisters find strength in each other and the bonds that unite them.
Featuring a talented cast of young actresses including Güneş Şensoy, Doğa Doğuşlu and Elit İşcan, Mustang is a powerful and poignant exploration of the challenges faced by young women in a society that seeks to control and oppress them. With outstanding cinematography and an iconic score, Mustang is a film that captures both the beauty and the pain of the human experience.
‘Ida’ (Poland, 2013)
From acclaimed Polish director Paweł Pawlikowski, Ida is another visually arresting and emotionally profound foreign movie. Set in the 1960s, the film follows Anna, a young novice nun played by Agata Trzebuchowska, as she discovers her Jewish roots and embarks on a journey of self-discovery with her previously unknown aunt, Wanda, played by Agata Kulesza. Together, they confront the painful realities of their family’s past and the legacy of the Holocaust, while grappling with their own identities and the challenges of living in a society still struggling to come to terms with its history.
Through stunning black-and-white cinematography, Pawlikowski captures the essence of post-World War II Poland, exploring themes of identity, guilt and redemption with depth and nuance. The performances of Trzebuchowska and Kulesza are captivating and raw, bringing to life the complex relationship between the two women as they confront the weight of their shared history.
Ida is a film that stays with you long after the credits roll, haunting and powerful in its exploration of the human experience. With a compelling story and stunning visuals, it is a masterpiece of contemporary European cinema and a must-watch for fans of international films.
‘Wild Tales’ (Argentina, 2014)
Wild Tales, from Argentine director Damián Szifron, is an uproarious dark comedy that follows six bizarre tales of revenge. Each story is more outrageous and eccentric than the last as it explores the limits of human behavior with wry wit and sardonic humor. Filled with unexpected twists and turns, the movie is an entertaining roller coaster ride of violence, vengeance and absurdity.
Ricardo Darín leads an all-star cast in this wild romp through the Argentine countryside that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with its dark humor and unpredictable plotlines. Featuring marvelous cinematography that captures the beauty and harshness of the Argentine landscape, Wild Tales is an unforgettable film that will have you laughing one minute and gasping in shock the next.
International Movies List
With so many foreign films available online, the world is at your fingertips. Literally.
Here are some more great international movies to watch:
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Taiwan/China, 2000)
- The Lives of Others (Germany, 2006)
- Pan’s Labyrinth (Spain, 2006)
- Amour (France/Austria/Germany, 2012)
- Citizenfour (Germany, 2014)
- Timbuktu (Mauritania/France, 2014)
- Call Me By Your Name (Italy, 2017)
- Burning (South Korea, 2018)
- Shoplifters (Japan, 2018)
- Atlantics (Senegal, 2019)
Get started on your watch list with our most accessible foreign language films.
More Movies You Love from DIRECTV
Whatever language or genre of international film you’re looking for, DIRECTV brings the wide world of cinema to your fingertips.
If you’re itching to watch more foreign films, the DIRECTV PREMIER™ package is a must-have for movie buffs. With access to over 150+ channels and exclusive programming, you can dive deep into world cinema — without ever having to leave your living room.
Ready to start watching? Learn how to choose the best package for your entertainment needs.
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