Best Foreign films

The 15 greatest foreign films on Netflix

Cinema Paradiso

Sticking with Italy here, this is a slightly more saccharine offering but one that's still virtually impossible not to fall for. It's charming in its old-fashioned and unashamed traditionalism as it tells the tale of a director looking back on his life and it happily ticks all of the boxes you'd expect from such a familiar yet comfortably well-handled set-up. It won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and provided a major boost to the Italian film industry.

DID YOU KNOW? There are three versions of the film: the original Cannes-screened 155-minute version, the 123-minute international release and the 173-minute director's cut.


Battle Royale

If you've seen, and enjoyed, The Hunger Games, then you owe a hearty back slap to the creators of this Japanese thriller which, back in 2000, paved the way for Katniss and her cohorts. The gleefully gruesome story of a class of students taken to an island to kill each other until only one remains is an inspired bloodbath which manages to make some smart satirical jabs in amongst all the killing. It was deservedly a huge hit in Japan and spwaned a less well-received sequel Battle Royale II: Requiem.

DID YOU KNOW? The film was post-converted to 3D for a 10th anniversary theatrical release in Japan and there is a rumour of a US TV series in development.


City of God

A huge breakout hit back in 2002, this Brazilian crime drama arrived at Cannes out of nowhere and announced director Fernando Meirelles as a major talent. Its vibrant take on organised crime and how it is viewed through the eyes of a young narrator still remains as fresh and as shocking as it was the first time round. While Meirelles might have stumbled since, this remains a timeless classic which deservedly scooped him an Oscar nomination.

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