Watching movies in other languages requires more concentration than usual, especially if you are not familiar with the language. But it’s worth it, watching movies from different parts of the world can be an enriching experience. You’ll see things from a new perspective thanks to this window into a new culture, these movies tend to be more creative, and complex and touch on relatable themes compared to Hollywood movies.
It can be very beneficial for your language learning, you will listen to real conversations (more or less), you will listen to the pronunciation and you will expand your vocabulary, all this while you relax in front of the television.
Some of today’s best movies are not in English (ahem, Parasite, ahem), so here are a few you can start watching.
1. Happy Lazzaro (2018) – Italian
Set in the Italian countryside during the seventies, Lazzaro Feliz is a film full of totally unexpected twists. Lazzaro is a young Italian peasant whose family is exploited by a marquis. Lazzaro strikes up a friendship with the son of the marquis and together they will cause trouble. It’s a lovely portrait of rural Italian life, albeit a bit of an odd one.
3. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011) – Japanese
Jiro Ono is a national treasure in Japan and for good reason; he is a sushi master who owns a restaurant with three Michelin stars. He is a perfectionist, while his eldest son, Yoshikazu, has trouble living up to his father’s legacy. You will learn a lot about sushi with this documentary, also about Japanese culture and, of course, their language.
4. Aquarius (2016) – Portuguese
Also known as “Doña Clara”, if you only want to see one movie on this list, it has to be this multi-award-winning film. Clara is a retired music critic, determined to live the rest of her life in her apartment in Recife, Brazil. The tension increases when a company tries to pressure Clara to sell her apartment to build a new and modern building. Starring Brazilian superstar Sônia Braga, the story is easy to follow and the language is relatively easy to understand. Get ready for magnificent performances.
5. Burning (2018) – Korean
Burning, in Korean 버닝, is a thriller about a tangled love triangle and the mysterious secret hobby of one of them. Based on the short story by Haruki Murakami, the renowned Japanese writer, it will leave you thinking about it even after finishing it. It is full of interesting dialogues between complicated characters, ideal to improve and increase your vocabulary.
6. Divines (2016) – French
Expect a lot of slang and cursing (which you might find useful). Divines are about a teenager who lives on the outskirts of Paris and in her effort to become a respected woman by following in the footsteps of a famous drug dealer from her neighborhood she befriends a young dancer who changes her life for him. complete. The dialogues are fast but you will learn a lot of French slang.
7. The lives of others (2006) – German
Undoubtedly one of the best foreign language films, Das Leben der Anderen is set in East Berlin in 1984 and tells the story of a secret agent as he watches over a couple. Soon, he finds himself engrossed in his life. It is intense and you will learn a lot about life in Berlin in the eighties.
8. I lost my body (2019) – French
Another French movie, but I couldn’t leave it out. J’ai perdu mon corps is another award-winning movie that will captivate you. Its animation is magnificent and it follows the story of a hand that lost its body and its journey through Paris to return to it. It’s unique.
9. My Neighbor Totoro (1988) – Japanese
This list couldn’t be complete without My Neighbor Totoro, it’s a classic and it’s also my favorite movie. It has been dubbed in many languages so try to find the original. It’s charming, heartwarming, and weird, just like any Studio Ghibli movie. The main characters are two girls so the language is direct and easy to understand.
10. Rome (2018)
Winner of the Oscar for best foreign film, Roma is a moving film about the life of the nanny of a middle-class family set in the 70s in Mexico City. If you prefer to see another Cuarón film, we recommend Gravity and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.