5 Non- English Movies that I would like to bring to the light

Language is not a barrier when true emotions are expressed and this is true of the medium of cinema.  In this article, I intend to review 5 non-English movies that I admire and would strongly recommend as ‘must watch’.




1. Miracle In Cell No. 7 (2013)

Park Shin-hye as Ye-sung

A South Korean movie that instantly grabbed the first place in the list of my favorite movies and has since preserved the position. The story is neatly woven around the loving relationship between Lee Yong-go (played by Ryu Seung-ryong) a mentally impaired father and his six year old daughter Ye-sung (played by Kal So-won). In the past, Yong-go is falsely accused of rape and murder of the Police Commissioner’s daughter for which he is given a death sentence and sent to the Cell No 7 in the strict security prison, leaving his daughter Ye-sung in the foster home. The rest of the story follows Yong-go’s life in the prison with the other cell mates who help him meet his daughter and the prison superintendent who tries to help him get acquitted. In the present setting, Ye- Sung (played by Park Shin-hye) is a law student and reopens her father’s case to prove him innocent in the moot court. This movie may not have the biggest of stars in it, but it definitely carries loads of emotions. This movie will make you smile, laugh, cry and it is this ability of the movie of touching the deepest emotions of the audience that makes it the best. The acting is just fabulous and leaves the audience empathizing with the character. It is one of the movies that will move your heart and I recommend it highly.

2. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

Roberto Benigni and Nicoletta Braschi as Guido and Dora

An Italian movie that won many awards in the 71st Academy Awards and was also presented in the Cannes Film Festival. This is movie that I would label as ‘classic’ in the sense that it deserves to remain forever as one of the best movies I have watched. This movie also has a German and an English version. The story is set around Guido Orefice (played by Roberto Benigni) ,a Jewish man in the backdrop of the changing political times of Italy. The story portrays the transition of Italy with the growth of Fascist power and anti-Semitic ideologies during World War II. The whole movie is a mixture of comedy and tragic elements. Though the movie is not a direct portrayal of the gruesome incidents of the holocaust, it indirectly connects the audience to the chaos of the times. Again the acting wins in the movie and there is great emotional portrayal which works better for the setting rather than just objectively describing the holocaust.

3. Song Of Sparrows (2008)

An Iranian movie which I enjoyed for the simple story, great acting and the way it was portrayed. The story revolves around Karim (played by Reza Naji)who works at an ostrich farm and the turn of events that take place when he is fired from his work after he is held responsible for an ostrich that runs away.  The story almost portrays a pastoral setting in which Karim and his family live a life of content until they are challenged to face of unemployment. Karim then accidentally finds a job in the city and eventually moves farther away from the values of happy life that he once held. Will he be able to hold on to his values again? The story is simple, but the deeper meaning is presented in a metaphoric way. This story is recommended for the brilliant setting, screenplay and acting.

4. Lucia (2013)

I did not intend to include any regional movies in my list, but this movie has compelled me to do it. A South Indian(Kannada) Movie that is unique and interesting.  Two things about this movie are commendable, firstly it was ‘crowd-funded’ movie and secondly it won the Audience Choice Award in the London Indian Film Festival. The story is a psychological thriller revolving around the concept of ‘Lucid Dreams’. The story follows two lives of the protagonist, Nikki/ Nikhil (played by Sathish Ninasam), one in reality and one in the dream under the influence of tablet ‘Lucia’. The movie uses the technique of fragmentation of reality and keeps the audience curious till the end which has the big twist. This is so far the best Kannada movie I have watched and I recommend it, especially if you’re a fan of psychological thrillers.

5. Les Choristes (2004)

Gerard Jugnot as Clement Mathieu

This is one of the recent French movies I have watched. This movie is simple in its plot but involves great acting and some great songs. The plot revolves around Pierre Morhange (played by Jacques Perrin)a famous music conductor . He narrates his days in Fond de l’Etang (a boarding school for boys) where he(played by Jean-Baptiste Maunier) learns important lessons of his life and discovers his potential in music through the help of Clement Mathieu (played by Gérard Jugnot) a newly appointed teacher. In a school where strict rules and punishments are regarded as the only way to discipline students, Mathieu introduces a choir and discovers that music can act as alternative method to correct and heal the boys. This movie has humor, sentiments, and some lovable characters. I recommend it especially to those who love music along with a good plot.

The above list is based on my own subjective choice and there might be many other non-English movies apart from these. However, as long as one has a lookout for great movies, language should not matter.

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Pooja Shenoy