Around the World via Streaming
December 4, 2018 8:15 AM   Subscribe

The international catalogs of services like Netflix are getting increasingly deep and rich. Can you point me to interesting corners of world cinema I may not have seen?

HEY SLOW DOWN! Let's skip the basics. I'm familiar with the classics. I know the huge crossover hits. And respectfully, please do not even with the anime. And while I wouldn't rule out films from the UK, I have seen gone pretty far down that well and you'd have to be digging deep to surprise me. Non-English films greatly preferred.

I also only want recent films... within this century at the outside, but less than five years old would be ideal. While I do tend to favor genre stuff (horror/scifi/crime) and arthouse stuff, I'm voracious and omnivorous.

I am not looking for TV shows at this point though.

I'm not asking for simple one off recs.

The ideal format for an answer is "[Nation/Region] has made several interesting [genre or style] films in recent years. Here is [film name with optional capsule description] on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime/YouTube."

Sample answers, based on things I already like.

-Indonesian cinema is putting out soime visceral, intense action and horror movies. The Night Comes for Us is a gory gangster film on Netflix. May the Devil Take You and Sabrina are over-the-top horror movies worth seeing, also on Netflix.
-There are a lot of great minimalist/realist films coming out of Romania in the last few years. Graduation is on Netflix. The Way I Spent the End of the World is on Prime. Beyond the Hills is on Netflix. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days is on YouTube.

Tell me about Indian films, in Hindi, in Tamil, in Telugu. Tell me about Argentinian films, Indonesian films, Nigerian films, Turkish films. Tell me how I can see that Chinese movie that made umpteen million without ever playing in the US. Or about that Spanish comedy they haven't made a crappy English remake of yet.

I'm going around the world to watch movies and I've got Netflix, Hulu, Prime, and whatever has snuck onto YouTube to get me there. Your travel recommendations are appreciated!
posted by DirtyOldTown to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
There are a ton of good Turkish historical dramas on Netflix. Some are more... Battle/masculine oriented. Others are more plot driven. They have a GoT vibe but more historically accurate (ish). These are serials but more like films than like TV.
posted by k8t at 8:29 AM on December 4, 2018

Titles? Links?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:30 AM on December 4, 2018

Dark was a German serial on Netflix last year. It was really good! It was sort of Stranger Things but less explicitly 80s throwback. It also takes place in multiple time dimensions (with many of the same characters at different life stages). I did find it hard to keep track of some characters at times though.
I recall reading that a new season will come out soon.
posted by k8t at 8:32 AM on December 4, 2018

For Turkish, I'd go to Netflix and search Turkish and see what pops up. They add new ones weekly. I tend to dislike the more violent ones and go for historical accuracy but that's specific to me.
posted by k8t at 8:33 AM on December 4, 2018

As the post specified, I am not looking for TV shows at this time.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:33 AM on December 4, 2018

My absolutely favorite show of last year was Occupied. It is Norwegian, but because it is about a Russian occupation of Norway (set vaguely 5ish years in the future) and Russians and Norwegians speak to each other in English, there is a lot of English too. Season 1 is about 50/50 Norwegian and English, season 2 adds in more Russian.
But what is great about the show is that it considers interpersonal relationships and personal cost-benefit analyses in a time of crisis. We all think that we would be heroes in a crisis, but then you see how people rationalize staying silent or directly helping the bad guys because it benefits them.
posted by k8t at 8:36 AM on December 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

Start here and click into the various countries. You can sort by latest release date
posted by Clustercuss at 8:37 AM on December 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

I don't know if these are on Netflix, but I've been absolutely enchanted with Chinese film dealing with globalization and the effects of the resource-extractive economy. I'm sure A Touch of Sin by Jia Zhangke is already on your radar, but he has quite a few other films, too. By other directors, I also loved Behemoth (very slow and dreamy, not particularly narratively driven) and the absurdist noir of Free & Easy. Geographically adjacent-ly, I'd also add Khadak, set in Mongolia, to this list.

One approach I might take is seeing what art museums are showing as part of a film series or mini-festival, since that work tends to be more longform and narratively driven than films shown in the galleries (take a look at this YBCA Mainland Noir film festival from earlier this year, which is where I saw Free & Easy). Then look it up on Netflix, or see if your public library offers you films on Kanopy.
posted by tapir-whorf at 9:08 AM on December 4, 2018 [5 favorites]

American cinefiles are really into the Japanese writer/director Hirokazu Koreeda, lately. He's got one in theaters called Shoplifters, but recent ones should be streaming.

I definitely recommend exploring the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar submissions, as well as nominees and winners. Here's wikipedia's list of the current year's submissions, but previous years can be found as well.

Check film-festival websites for their own awards as well. My city, Seattle, has one of the biggest film festivals around, with a ton of foreign films, and festival winners (based on audience votes) receive the Golden Space Needle Award; you can see the winners here. This year's winners include "The Last Suit," which starts in South America and moves to France, Germany, and Poland; I enjoyed the heck out of it. the Best Director winner was "The Guilty," a really well made Danish suspense movie which is filmed in just two rooms, occupied by emergency services operators. Looking back at that movie, I'm amazed at the cinematography that went on inside my head as I visualized the callers.

Other festivals worth checking would include Cannes, Sundance, TIFF (T for Toronto), IFB (Berlin's film festival), Sydney (Australia makes a few gems every year, like 2016's "Goldstone"), Edinburgh, Rotterdam, etc.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:32 AM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

I am on my phone and maybe not filmy enough for this question, but Newton and Lipstick Under My Burqa are two Hindi films on Amazon Prime you might like if you haven't seen them.
posted by athirstforsalt at 5:03 PM on December 4, 2018

Your own Fanfare posting history (Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky) suggests at least a passing familiarity with '80's/'90's Hong Kong films (especially some of the . . . odder ones . . .), and a lot of the people making movies then are still working in China (and elsewhere besides the US) today.

Example: Director/producer/writer Tsui Hark has just released his third "Detective Dee" action/adventure/historical fantasy/martial arts film (Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings).

Wikipedia filmography pages of some of these folks (so you can find their more recent films):

Jet Li
Ringo Lam
Chow Yun-fat
Donnie Yen
Johnnie To
Sammo Hung
Shu Qi
Simon Yam
Andy Lau

(I would not want to try to nail down specific films or genres too much as many of these folks work in multiple genres, and Chinese films often merge or combine "genres" as we tend to view them here in the US.)

Personal favorite recent Chinese action films: Let The Bullets Fly (which unfortunately doesn't seem to be streaming anywhere at the moment, but it was on Netflix for a while), the aforementioned Detective Dee film series (at least a couple of which are available for $2.99 rental via Prime, according to IMDB), the Ip Man film series (all of which are on Netflix at the moment.)

Tell me how I can see that Chinese movie that made umpteen million without ever playing in the US

Sounds like you're talking about Wolf Warrior 2, which is also available for $2.99 via Prime.

Here is [film name with optional capsule description] on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime/YouTube."

I mean, this can change at the drop of a hat, as I'm sure you're aware. As far as Netflix (the only one I have at the moment) goes, once I've added a few [country/genre] films to my queue and watched & liked a few of them, the algorithm seems to pick up on that relatively quickly, so more [country and/or country + genre] films get added to my recommended films as they appear on the service. So you should be able to find more films via that method.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:12 PM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Came here to recommend a Singaporean documentary that absolutely blew me away. This is an incredible story with a fantastic soundtrack.

Shirkers (available on Netflix)
posted by beijingbrown at 12:21 AM on December 5, 2018 [4 favorites]

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