March 12th
written by Alonna

I’ve recently discovered an excellent movie genre: Foreign Films.  They can be a refreshing change of pace from typical Hollywood movies, and I’ve especially enjoyed watching movies that teach me something about history or another part of the world.

For example, I recently watched a move called The Lives of Others, which is set in Berlin just before the fall of the Berlin wall.  Besides having a great story and characters, this movie inspired me to spend hours on wikipedia reading about Germany after WW2, the Iron Curtain, and the eventual fall of communism.  Sure, I learned about this in school, and I vaguely remember news of the Berlin Wall falling in 1989 when I was 8 years old.  But in my adult life I’ve found that a) I don’t remember most of what I learned in grade school, and b) history really sinks in when I have an individual story to relate to it.

Because I’m having so much fun searching Netflix for foreign films and watching as many as possible, I thought I’d share a list of my findings so far.  I’ve listed them in order of how much I liked them, with 3 descriptive words to give you a quick feel for each movie.

Movies I highly recommend:

Movies I recommend for most people:

Movies I’ve watched all the way though, but wouldn’t necessarily recommend:

Not a Foreign Film, but I recently watched it again and highly recommend it anyway:

I’d love to hear any suggestions you have, or what you thought of these movies.  Currently I’m mostly focused on WW2 and Europe, but I plan to expand my horizons soon!


  1. Mom Albertus

    How about a book? I just realized the book I’m reading has a connection to WWII and Germany. The title is “Out Stealing Horses” by Per Petterson (from Norway) and takes place in Norway. It is a novel, of course, would I read anything else? It has won some awards and I’m really enjoying it. I’ll have to check out some of those movies. If you were going to suggest I start with 1 of them ~ which would it be? (one that doesn’t invovle concentration camps)

  2. 03/14/2009

    Yes, I’ll take book suggestions too! Especially about WWII 🙂 Can you keep that one and I’ll borrow it from you when I come home for Easter?

    Have you seen Amelie? That’s one of my all-time favorite movies, so if I were going to suggest just one it would have to be that. It’s a little quirky and goofy, but give it a chance, I think you’ll like it. I bet you’d also like The Lives of Others. BTW, all of these have subtitles, but if the movie is good you get used to it and hardly notice.

  3. Aunt Robin

    Alonna, Saw your mom and dad last weekend in Cottage Grove.
    I love Amelie as well, and A beautiful Life.
    For books if you are interested in the times leading to WWII; Upon The Head Of The Goat and its sequel are fascinating. True stories about a family in Eastern Europe written by the daughters.
    Even though you don’t hear from me much I love to hear what you are doing and see your pictures.
    Love Robin

  4. Mom Albertus

    I just watched The Lives of Others and liked it! I’m having trouble finding Amelie, but have it requested at the library. Here’s a good one for you “Departures” I just saw it at the Landmark Theater this summer, so may not be out in DVD yet. It is a Japanese film, won a bunch of awards and has an excellent story. I’d recommend it.

  5. 08/10/2009

    Thanks Mom! I added Departures to my Netflix queue.