Searching through the depths of OTT platforms has now become almost second nature to all of us sitting at home. Netflix is the safe haven to get our mind off of things, to be someone else and take a journey away from our grim reality. If you’ve consumed all possible English language content and can’t bear to see another Avenger on your screens, it’s definitely time to broaden your horizons. The success of Academy Award winning Parasite (available on Prime Video) has further proved how language is no barrier when it comes to riveting narratives. We’ve curated a list of foreign language shows and movies to explore. It’s time to virtually teleport to the Nordic or take a trip down to Italia. Our picks offer a heady mix of earnest and gripping narratives:
Possibly the most personal film by the Academy Award winning Alfonso Cuarón, Roma follows the journey of the indigenous Cleo, a live-in maid for a family in the neighbourhood of Colonia Roma in Mexico City. Alfonso’s black and white storytelling capturing 1970/71 in Mexico may not have many secrets to uncover or riddles to solve, but is a picturesque and emotional tour de force.
Sandstorm (Sufat Chol)
Israeli debutant Elite Zexer’s narrative follows the strife of a Bedouin family in the Middle East. Elite’s tactful storytelling makes it relatable to the Indian viewers saddled by patriarchy and struggling with archaic traditions.
Earlier meant for a theatrical release, the movie has now been released digitally due to the pandemic. Chilean director Pablo Larraín’s latest is nothing you’re expecting it to be, in true Pablo fashion. It follows a volatile dancer Ema and her toxic marriage to a choreographer. The movie is a cocktail of emotions capable of deeply moving you.
Where: Mubi (Available for the month of May)
Train To Busan (Busanhaeng)
Yeon Sang-ho’s apocalyptic South Korean drama pits people against people and is a one of a kind horror. Graphic and surreal it’s definitely a journey worth taking.
A mini series, this show is a psychological thriller that explores the depravities of the mind of a serial killer. The nail biting plot essentially touches you as it explores the lengths to which a mother will go for her child.
Suburra: Blood on Rome
This crime drama, which is two seasons old, is actually supposed to be a prequel to the Italian movie titled Suburra and is inspired by a novel of the same name written by Giancarlo De Cataldo and Carlo Bonine. Drawing from real events, the show explores the Italian mafia and chronicles the corruption and conflict between the Church, the world of organised crime and the political machinery.
This Finnish series follows troubled detective Sofia Karppi as she deals with her tumultuous life after a tragic loss, while she simultaneously solves a murder. Touted as part of the Nordic Noir, the show is a slow burn that leaves you in awe of the absolutely breathtaking landscapes of Helsinki. Being true to its genre, it offers a gripping mystery.
With an absolutely brilliant performance by Sônia Braga and helmed by Kleber Mendonça Filho, this drama offers a scathing critique on Brazilian society. Their political tensions are explored through Clara who refuses to leave her apartment as a developer purchases all the houses around hers.
On My Skin (Sulla Mia Pelle)
Directed by Alessio Cremonini this Italian drama is based on true events. It follows the last seven days of Steffano Cucchi, a 31 year old small time drug dealer who died owing to police brutality in custody. A grim tale, the narrative views Steffano as a victim of break down of the legal system and his family’s fight for justice.
A geo-political thriller based on a story conceived by author Jo Nesbø, this series set in the near future follows Russia, with support of the European Union occupying Norway for oil and gas. It’s a gritty tale that is very relevant to our present scenario and explores the climate crisis as the environment inches nearer to it’s tipping point too.