10 Foreign-Language Films You Didn't Know Were On Netflix

Because not every film worth watching was made in Hollywood

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Next time you settle down to watch Netflix, why not skip your usual bankers and seek out one of these well-hidden foreign films instead.

As well as broadening your cinematic horizons, it's bound to make you look a bit more cultured in front of your girlfriend. Which, let's face it, you're probably in need of.

We've picked out ten of the best slices of world cinema the streaming service has to offer.

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1 | Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)

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An air of controversy surrounded this French drama upon release largely due to director Abdellatif Kechiche's alleged treatment of the film's two leads – yet Blue is the Warmest Colour remains a candid must-see odyssey of sexual awakening, social class clashing and messy spaghetti-eating. From the moment teenager Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) catches sight of Léa Seydoux's blue-haired bohemian Emma, it's hard to recall two more compelling lead performances.   
 

2 | The Conformist (1970)

Arguably the film that shaped Bernardo Bertolucci's ensuing career, The Conformist is the Italian filmmaker's adaptation of Alberto Moravio's conspiratorial novel delving into the evolution of Marcello (Jean-Louis Trintignant) from upper-class bureaucrat to dehumanised fascist. Following his plot to assassinate an old professor in Paris, it remains as powerful as it is disturbingly prescient.
 

3 | Downfall (2004)

This claustophobic 155-minute depiction of Hitler's final ten days as ruler of Nazi Germany isn't the easiest watch. However, through German director Oliver Hirschbiegel's unmannered camerawork and Bruno Ganz's enthralling protrayal, what could have been an arduous undertaking is a mandatory education without ever feeling it. History textbooks, be damned.  


4 | The Great Beauty (2013)

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Paolo Sorrentino's Oscar-winner is an epic tale of reflection told through the eyes of Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), an aging socialite who – after his 65th birthday party – meanders through the streets of Rome to look back upon his lavish lifestyle, lost love and overarching sense of unfulfillment. If you're unable to afford a flight to Rome, revelling in The Great Beauty is the next best thing.
 

5 | Headhunters (2011)

Adapted from the Jo Nesbø novel, Headhunters proves early on it's a crime thriller that never takes itself too seriously. Telling the story of a corporate-recruiter-cum-art-thief who targets a valuable painting owned by a former mercenary (Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), this film, from director Morten Tyldum – whose English-language debut The Imitation Game saw him earn an Oscar nomination in 2014 – is the highest-grossing Norwegian film of all time. Which is surely the clincher.

 
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6 | Oldboy (2003)

South Korea has a hankering for revenge dramas (A Bittersweet Life, I Saw the Devil, etc.) but it's Oldboy that leads the pack. The second instalment in Park Chan-wook's Vengeance trilogy follows Oh Dae-Su (Choi Min-Sik) as he's released into civilization after being locked away by an unknown captor for 15 years. Embroiling yourself within his world of corruption as he tries to unearth the man responsible is inescapable – and you'll most likely never eat octopus again.
 

7 | Pusher (1996)

Before Bronson and Drive inducted director Nicolas Winding Refn into the Hollywood fold, the Danish auteur was busy carving himself out as a hot young talent back in his homeland. The film that launched it all was Pusher, a Copenhagen-set crime thriller following a drug dealer with just a few days to raise money after a deal goes wrong. It's a familiar premise but shot entirely on handheld cameras, Denmark's first gangster film is a genuine original. 


8 | The Secret in Their Eyes

Recounting a retired legal counsellor and judge's obsession with an unsolved murder that took place three decades earlier, Juan José Campanella's sprawling tale flits between 1974 and modern day Argentina to tell its story. The film's standout moment arrives in the form of a breathless five-minute tracking shot encompassing a football stadium during which the protagonist locates and chases a suspect; ranging from pre to post-production, this scene staggeringly took a year to complete.
 

9 | Troll Hunter (2010)

If there's a genre gap in your film-watching schedule, it's probably marked 'Norwegian Fantasy Horror'. This mockumenatry will change that. A post-Blair Witch found footage film that actually justifies the formula, the story follows a group of students who happen upon a mysterious hunter while investigating a number of suspect bear killings – turns out he's hunting trolls. André Øvredal's assured direction ensures you take the often-frightening end product far more seriously than you probably did that premise.
 

10 | Two Days, One Night (2014)

The Dardenne Brothers' acclaimed drama tracks a weekend in the life of a young mother (Marion Cotillard) who must convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so she can keep her job in a solar-panel factory. A simple story that packs one hell of a clout, Two Days, One Night is the result of a top-of-her-game Marion Cotillard being handed dynamite material. And if that doesn't constitute a must-watch, we don't know what does.

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MORE NETFLIX:

10 Classic Films You Didn't Know Were On Netflix
12 Documentaries You Didn't Know Were On Netflix
9 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do On Netflix
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