Bests of the Decade - Foreign Language Films

Because we reckon you’ll not have had enough of voting for things yet, every day between now and Christmas Eve we’re giving you the chance to vote for The DreamCage Bests of the Decade. Today’s category is Foreign Language Films...

It’s nearly the end of 2019 and that means it’s also the end of the decade [according to some – Ed] so we asked our stalwart team of writers to give us some suggestions of what they considered to be the “Best of the Decade” in NINE different categories – English Language Film, Foreign Language Film, Documentary (Film or TV), TV Series, TV Mini-Series, Fiction Book, Non Fiction Book, Comic/Graphic Novel and Gaming.

Their nominations were collated, hard sums were done [there was even a spreadsheet! – Ed] and the list has been narrowed down. Now we want you, our readers, to decide which of the final four nominations will become The DreamCage Best of the Decade winners!

We know, here at The DreamCage, that we are really lucky to be able to attend festivals around the UK and to watch so many brilliant foreign language films (and by that I mean films not made in spoken English) which, often, don't get further than the festival circuit, because distributors have historically been reticent to take them on. Whether they believed that the general viewing public would not put up with subtitles on their films, or would get lost trying to follow the action in a film along with reading words on a screen. Maybe they thought that foreign films were "too arthouse" or "very niche" or that people "wouldn't get them" because the humour etc was so different; whatever the reason, the powers that were took the decision not to even give us, the mainstream cinema audience, the chance to see them outside of an industry festival.

However, during the last ten years, I've seen this form of cinema, the subtitled movie, become more and more popular with audiences, not least because of the rise of streaming services like Amazon Prime or Netflix who are willing to finance them and push them out to ever wider global audiences or to take a chance on something "different" that the bigger studios would leave.

Looking at the list of suggestions we had in from our writing team too, there's a broad cross section of genres and styles to choose from (not just "arty" or "niche"), from animation to horror to historical, and content from a diverse range of countries, from Argentina to Korea and Iran to Japan, showcasing the sheer amount of film making flair that there is around the world. This has allowed talented individuals both in front of, and behind, the cameras to become, if not household names, at least a lot better known now.

So where, if you haven't watched a film with subtitles (or even if you have and are looking for others) made in the last 10 years, would we suggest you begin? Our top four foreign language films that you can vote for are listed below but honorable mentions have to go in several directions with the other nominations from the team. For animated brilliance we would point you towards the French/Scottish tale of The Illusionist and the beauty and charm of a Japanese folktale in The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. If you prefer something with a little more action, our suggestions include Korean thrillers like Park Chan-Wook's The Handmaiden or Lee Byeong-heon's Extreme Job. There are human stories too, ranging from the psychological trauma of Wild Tales to the study of class and circumstance that is the recent festival hit Parasite. And for horror fans, you have, literally, a world of films at your fingertips, from the visceral gore in Raw to the highly atmospheric, cool and creepy vampire flick A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.

So you have little excuse, there really is something for everyone in our recommendations - pick something and give it a go, what (apart from a little well-invested time) have you got to lose? Many of these titles are available on streaming packages that you have already so they won't even cost you money to try.  It may take a little getting used to to begin with, but we guarantee that, soon, you'll be so caught up in the film that you'll forget you're reading as well as watching!

Here are our four nominations, in no particular order. Bear in mind that we couldn’t watch/read/play everything that came out in the last ten years, so your own personal favourites may not be here, but these are some of ours…

Train to Busan (Read Ren's Review)

"As an unidentified virus sweeps the country, the Korean government declares martial law. Those on an express train to Busan, a city that has successfully fended off the viral outbreak, must fight for their own survival..."

The Guilty
(Read Steve's Review)

"Alarm dispatcher and former police officer, Asger Holm, answers an emergency call from a kidnapped woman. When the call is suddenly disconnected, the search for the woman and her kidnapper begins. With the phone as his only tool, Asger enters a race against time to save the endangered woman. But soon he realizes that he is dealing with a crime that is far bigger than he first thought."

Roma (Read Kraig's Review)

"The most personal project to date from Academy Award®-winning director and writer Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien), ROMA follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a young domestic worker for a family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma in Mexico City. Delivering an artful love letter to the women who raised him, Cuarón draws on his own childhood to create a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil of the 1970s."

The Emperor of Paris (Read Susan's Review)

"This epic historical action thriller focuses on the dramatic Parisienne underworld battles during Napoleon's early 1800's reign. Having escaped the country's most terrifying penal colonies, François Vidocq (Vincent Cassel) has been falsely accused of murder. He is must now help the police in exchange for his life. Also starring Olga Kurylenko and August Diehl."

So, which will it be? There are polls running today on our Twitter page for you to vote for your favourite from the final four listed above (no prizes, it’s just for fun). Also, the polls will change every day so be quick if you want to vote in this one! The winners, as decided by you, of all nine categories will be listed on The DreamCage website in a special article on Christmas Eve when we announce The DreamCage Bests of the Decade!

Synopsis - Amazon

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