Foreign Films

Often people in the UK and US feel that foreign languagefilms just aren't for them. It's hard to tell whether it's the thought of reading subtitles that leads them to this conclusion, or perhaps a nagging feeling that foreign movies just aren't as good as english language ones. This relatively widely held attitude is a shame really, because, especially in recent years, there have been some genuinely great foreign films.

A movie that made a big splash in 2006 is the fantastic Pan's Labyrinth (El laberinto del fauno). This Spanish effort occupies a genre that is not at all familiar to western tastes but is common in Spain. It's a kind of adult fairytale, where there is horror and wonderment in equal measures. Set in wartime, it places the young lead in a situation where she is forced to retreat (or perhaps advance) into a world of fantasy. It's a tremendously powerful and moving feature.

Another foreign film that has made waves recently is the Swedish movie Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in). Again it doesn't fit easily into traditional western genres. It is perhaps best described as a coming of age vampire movie, as strange as that sounds. It's a gem of a film and not remotely like any vampire film you'll have seen before. There is an american remake in the works, but the it has its work cut out to compete with the original. The fact that it's being emulated in english goes to show how much the original in appreciated.

Powerful foreign films are not solely a modern phenomenon. Seven Samurai, The Seventh Seal, Das Boot, Life is Beautiful, City of God, Oldboy... the list goes on. France and especially Germany have started to be recognised for their film craft of late. Why not take the time to begin to appreciate this underrated genre. So will be bringing you a selection of foreign film offerings soon on the watch movies website.

pans labyrinth

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