Foreign Films (Part 2)

I've been watching so many random Foreign Films via Netflix for several years now or so as a lot of them were really, really good. I started posting Foreign Films part 1 (six years ago!) and it's been a while since I wrote more about this until now. I happen to have seen a lot in the past year and recently. So, I've compiled a list of the foreign movies I remember seeing. A lot of these films I saw, I didn't expect I would love and enjoy watching, and I like that. It's always the random movies that I didn't think I'd like, let alone enjoy watching, are the ones that I ended up loving and surprises me at the same time.

Here are 25 Foreign Films that I've seen most recently, which I've either liked (or didn't like at all) or loved least most of them...that I've compiled and listed below for you to check out and see that may be of interest to you (which you may or may not have seen yet)...

The Well Digger's Daughter (La fille du puisatier) (2011)
starring: Daniel Auteuil, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Nicolas Duvauchelle
Synopsis: In pre-World War France, a father is torn between his sense of honor and his deep love for his saintly daughter when she gets in trouble with the wealthy son of a shopkeeper.
Country: France
Language: French

My thoughts/Review: I loved and enjoyed watching this cute, little movie. I especially loved the opening scene when the young lead character Patricia (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, she's pretty and reminds me a bit of young Jennifer Garner in 13 Going On least her long, curly locks...) was about to take-off her shoes to cross the river (to bring her father his lunch on the other side where he works), when a random (handsome) stranger (named Jacques Mazel) who offered to carry her to cross the river (and did so even with her saying no and without her permission...I wouldn't mind if I were her!), so she wouldn't get wet, lol. I thought that was cute, haha! Aww, and loved they both smiled at each other after he carried her. This was a nice, little family movie (with a young love story in the mix) that I've stumbled upon on Netflix about a year ago or so that I'm glad I watched because I loved and enjoyed watching it. Great father-daughter scenes/moments (loved that as much as he was disappointed in her poor choices, he still loved and stood by his daughter and helped her a long the way...even though he sent her away, so as not to show a bad example to her younger siblings...), good story, and loved the gorgeous scenery in the countryside. An interesting fact, Daniel Auteuil, who played the father, also wrote and directed this movie. He did great in his involvement in this movie, not just as an actor, but as a writer, and director too. A very good movie, over-all.

A Royal Affair (En kongelig affære) (2012)
starring: Alicia Vikander, Mads Mikkelsen
Synopsis: A young queen, who is married to an insane king, falls secretly in love with her physician - and together they start a revolution that changes a nation forever.
Country: Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic
Language: Danish, English, German, French

My Thoughts/Review: This was a great movie. I love period dramas especially about royalties/monarchy and I loved and enjoyed watching this one (and learned about the Danish history and their backward society back in those late 18th century). The story was very interesting about a young British Princess Caroline (Alicia Vikander), who married a mad or rather disturbing King Christian VII of Denmark, who'd rather be in company of his dog and mistress than his own wife. It's not surprising that Caroline would fall in love and have an affair with her husband's physician. With her insane husband who barely paid attention to her, I would too, lol. Alicia Vikander was very good in this movie as she was in another royalty role, Princess Kitty in Anna Karenina (the first movie I saw her in with Keira Knightley & Matthew Macfadyen).

Russian Dolls (Les poupées russes) (2005)
starring: Romain Duris, Kelly Reilly, Audrey Tautou

Synopsis: Five years after their summer together in Barcelona, Xavier, William, Wendy, Martine and Isabelle reunite.
Country: France, UK
Language: English, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian

My Thoughts/Review: I've seen The Spanish Apartment trilogy now. While I enjoyed the first movie, L'Auberge Espagnole and the last one, Chinese Puzzle, I must say I loved and enjoyed watching this second movie more. I also love that Kelly Reilly's Wendy character was a lot more in this movie than she was in the first and last movie...I guess due to too many characters in the first one and not enough screen time or story involving her character in the last one. I must admit, I watch this trilogy mainly because of her and I'm glad she was on this one more. I shipped Wendy & Xavier in this movie. A very good second movie from the trilogy.

I Do (Prête-moi ta main)
starring: Alain Chabat, Charlotte Gainsbourg

Synopsis: At 41, Luis is a confirmed bachelor, happy with one night stands, a success as a creator of perfumes. He has one problem: his mother and five sisters, who form an intimidating family council, want him married. 
Country: France
Language: French 

My Thoughts/Review: This was a good romantic-comedy movie that I didn't expect I'd watch and let alone enjoy watching it. Interesting title too that caught my attention. Good movie.

The Grocer's Son (Le fils de l'épicier) (2007)
starring: Nicholas Cazale, Clotilde Hesme

Synopsis: Antoine Sforza, a thirty-year-old young man, left his village ten years before in order to start a new life in the big city, but now that his father, a traveling grocer, is in hospital after a stroke, he more or less reluctantly accepts to come back to replace him in his daily rounds. 
Country: France
Language: French

My Thoughts/Review: This started off as a good movie, but dragged on a bit. The actor who played the main character was easy on the eyes though. Other than that, I thought this movie was just okay and forgettable.
The Flower's War (Jin líng shí san chai) (2011)
starring: Christian Bale, NiNi

Synopsis: A Westerner finds refuge with a group of women in a church during Japan's rape of Nanking in 1937. Posing as a priest, he attempts to lead the women to safety.
Country: Hongkong, China
Language: Mandarin, English, Japanese, Shanghainese

My Thoughts/Review: This was an interesting movie especially with Christian Bale in the lead. Last time I saw him in an Asian related film was in Empire of the Sun (which was directed by Steven Spielberg) back in the late 80s. The story was good. It kept me interested. Christian Bale was good too, as usual. He's a versatile actor and can play any role. Just a good movie, overall.

The Boy In The Stripe Pyjamas  (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas) (2008)
starring: Asa Butterfield, Vera Farmiga, Rupert Friend
Synopsis: Set during World War II, a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.
Country: UK, USA
Language: English

My Thoughts/Review: This movie was a tearjerker that made me cry and so sad. I cried a lot while watching this movie. It made me very sad for young and innocent boy named Bruno (in which the story is seen through his eyes). His friendship with another young innocent Jewish boy named Shmuel and the powerful, tragic ending that left me even more sad. This was a great film. It was moving, touching, and yet utterly powerful and devastating especially for the main character(s) that you hoped for a happy ending, but not all movie has a happy ending especially set in World War II and Holocaust. This movie especially the ending (I didn't expect to see) left me gasping in horror, sad, in pain (for those innocent victims), and in tears. I couldn't stop thinking about this movie after seeing it. It sure was thought provoking and very sad at the same time. Great movie, fantastic acting (especially the two young boys), and powerful story and shocking ending. You have to see this movie to experienced what I've experienced in seeing this movie.

A Secret (Un secret)
Cécile De France, Patrick Bruel

Synopsis: A 15-year-old boy unearths a shocking family secret.
Country: France
Language: French, Yiddish, German, Hebrews

My Thoughts/Review: This was an interesting and intriguing film about a teen French boy who finds out a surprising family secret from his neighbor. This was a good movie. A little slow at the beginning, but once you get into the story and start discovering the family secret, it got really good. I enjoyed watching this movie especially towards the end. Good movie, overall.

starring: Saskia Rosendahl, Kai-Peter Malina

Synopsis: As the Allies sweep across Germany, Lore leads her siblings on a journey that exposes them to the truth of their parents' beliefs. An encounter with a mysterious refugee forces Lore to rely on a person she has always been taught to hate.
Country: Germany, Australia, UK
Language: German, English

My Thoughts/Review: I thought this was a great movie. It was moving and touching especially for the young siblings who had these terrible things happening to them and their parents deserting them at the same time. Also, it was sad that the children had to realized and deal with their parents who committed those atrocities. This was another thought-provoking and interesting little film.

Dancing Queen
starring: Jeong-hwa Eom, Jeong-min Hwang

Synopsis: A husband finds himself accidentally running for Mayor of Seoul and his wife decides to become a k-pop singer
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean

My Thoughts/Reviews: This was the first Korean movie I've ever seen. I'm not Korean nor do I speak the language, so glad and thankful for the English subtitles. It was romantic-comedy film that was nice, entertaining, and fun to watch. The main actors looked pretty good too and they were great here in the story focusing the husband and wife, with the husband who finds himself accidentally running for Mayor of Seoul and the wife who dreams and decides to be a K-Pop (short for Korean Pop) singer (or rather in a K-Pop girl group). I just noticed now that I'm writing my thoughts about this movie that the actors who play the husband and wife, their real-life names were exactly the same as their character names. Very interesting. This was a very good movie and I loved and enjoyed watching it.

 The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor)
starring: Noomi Rapace

Synopsis: A journalist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing -- or dead -- for forty years by a young female hacker.
Country: Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Norway
Language: Swedish, English

My Thoughts/Reviews: This was good and interesting film. I saw this in Netflix long before the American version (which I still haven't seen...) was made and I've never heard of nor didn't know anything about what this movie was really all about (or that it was adapted from a popular Swedish book of the same name). Noomi Rapace, who was still unknown in this movie (I later saw her in Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law), was great as the young headstrong, tattooed, talented, hacker Lisbeth Salander (the title character) with a traumatized past. This was a good thriller. Though I haven't seen the second film...yet.

The Road (2011)
 starring: Rian Ramos, Carmina Villaroel

Synopsis: A 12 year old cold case is reopened when three teens are missing in an old abandoned road where a gruesome murder is left undiscovered for three decades.
Country: Philippines
Language: Tagalog/Filipino, English

My Thoughts/Reviews: This movie was good, but not that good, rather more hyped and not scary enough. I didn't find it scary at all. It didn't get under my skin nor did it stay with me. This movie was just okay for me. I'm not much into Horror movies and a lot of times these kind of movies don't really scare me. Ghost genre movies, especially, well-written, well-made, and with great acting such as The Sixth Sense, The Others, and Stir of Echoes (to name a few) now, those kind of movies did really scare me and got me on the edge of my seat. This was okay...

Declaration of War (La guerre est déclarée)
starring: Valérie Donzelli, Jérémie Elkaïm
Synopsis: When their young son is diagnosed with a brain tumor, young parents Roméo and Juliette unite in the fight for his survival.
Country: France
Language: French

My Thoughts/Reviews: This was a very good movie, but very sad at the same time. Interesting that the main actress also wrote (along with the main I've learned that this was actually their real-life story and the hardship they've gone through in real-life dealing their child's life-threatening illness) and directed this little movie. At first, I didn't understand the title of this movie, but after seeing, I know it was meant as declaration of war: against illness, against death, and against despair. Great cast, great acting (especially by former real-life main couple), very good and relatable story, and just a very good movie, overall.

The Big Picture (2010)
starring: Romain Duris

Synopsis: Paul Exben is a success story - partner in one of Paris's most exclusive law firms, big salary, big house, glamorous wife and two sons straight out of a Gap catalog. But when he finds out that Sarah, his wife, is cheating on him with Greg Kremer, a local photographer, a rush of blood provokes Paul into a fatal error. Standing over the corpse of his wife's lover, Paul knows that his perfect life has gone for good. But by assuming the dead man's identity and fleeing for an isolated part of former Yugoslavia on the beautiful Adriatic coast, Paul gets another shot at being himself and, at last, seeing the big picture.
Country: France
Language: French

My Thoughts/Reviews: This was an interesting French thriller and what got me interested in watching this movie was Romain Duris (having seen him in the wonderful The Spanish Apartment trilogy and Populaire...scroll down for my review of it below this post!). He was very good here and his character was completely different from the previous characters I got used to seeing him. The synopsis alone got me interested in watching this. Very good movie, overall.

starring: Sihle Dlamini, Jayashree Basavaraj, James Ngcobo

Synopsis: A 10-year-old South African orphan leaves his Zulu village to make his own life in the city... only to find no one will help him, except a formidable Indian woman.
Country: South Africa
Language: Zulu, Hindi, English

My Thoughts/Reviews: This was a good, but another sad indie movie. The young actor who played the title role was very good though.

Battle Royale (Batoru rowaiaru) (2000)
starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Tarô Yamamoto

Synopsis: In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act.
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese

My Thoughts/Reviews: I kept hearing about this movie being similar to The Hunger Games movies and that THG was said to have rip-off from this movie, but while they have similarities in young high school kids taken and controlled by their government and forced to kill each other. Their few similarities end there. This was more bloody and too extreme in violence for my taste, which neither THG/CF films  were combine. I'm not too crazy about this movie nor do I care about the main characters, nor who gets killed and doesn't killed. It was just not like THG for me, which I cared for the main characters. This was still a good movie on its own though. Just not my cup of tea...

Paraiso Travel (2008)
starring John Leguizamo, Aldemar Correa, Ana de la Reguera

Synopsis: Love drives two young lovers from Medellin, Colombia to seek fortune in New York City, only to find a harsh reality that will put to test their true love for one another.
Country: Colombia, USA
Language: Spanish, English, French

My Thoughts/Review
: This was a good and interesting movie. It was relatable too especially if you came from a foreign country and immigrated to another (like the U.S.) and have experienced the same (or somewhat close to similar) struggles as these main characters had gone through upon arriving in America. The story was very good and and the main (very good looking) actor kept me interested in watching this movie. The ending was a bit disappointing though, but other than that, I still enjoyed watching this movie.

A Moment To Remember (Nae meorisokui jiwoogae) (2004)
starring Woo-Sung Jung, Ye-jin Son

Synopsis: A Korean love story about a young couple's enduring love, which is tested when 27 year old Sun-jin is diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer's disease.
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean

My Thoughts/Review: This was a very good movie. It made me laugh, cry, and sad all at the same time especially for the young female lead who forgetful (or she thought she was), but rather she was in the early stages of a rare form of an Alzheimer's disease when she was diagnosed at such a such a young age of 27. The main actress did a great job in playing her character. I was sad and devastated for her. The movie was a bit long though and dragged on a bit, but It was still very good. I enjoyed watching it and cried a lot too.

My Best Enemy (Mein bester Feind) (2011)
starring Moritz Bleibtreau, Georg Freidrich
Synopsis: A dark WWII comedy about two friends, stolen artwork and an unfortunate case of mistaken identities, as a Jewish man switches places with his Nazi best friend in order to survive
Country: Austria, Luxembourg
Language: German, Polish

My Thoughts/Review: This movie was great. It was a bit dark, but actually more funny (more so than dark)...about two best friends, the stolen artwork that the Nazis were desperately looking for, and the mistaken identities. It got me on the edge of my seat when the two friends (one Jewish and the other Nazi) switched places in order to survived. Great cast and interesting story. I loved and enjoyed watching it.

Twin Sisters (De tweeling) (2002)
starring Nadja Uhl, Reuten, Gudron Okras, Ellen Vogel

Synopsis: 1920s Germany. Two Sisters aged six years, no sooner see their remaining parent buried when they are torn apart. Lotte goes to live with her upper middle class Dutch aunt in Holland, Anna to work as a farm hand on her German uncle's rural farm. The story follows their lives as they try to reconcile their differences while World War II impacts each of them on their lives and finally in old age when they meet again, with the hope that the differences in their youth can finally be reconciled.
Country: Netherlands, Luxembourg
Language: Dutch, German, English, French

My Thoughts/Review: Interesting a lot of the Foreign films I've seen and listed here were World War II related. This was another interesting and very good movie that piqued my interesting and got me watching. I loved and enjoyed watching this movie too. Great story. Great casting and acting. And great movie.

 Populaire (2012)
starring Romain Duris, Déborah François
Synopsis: 1958. Rose is a terrible secretary but a demon typist. Her handsome boss resolves to turn her into the fastest girl in the world. 
Country: France, Belgium
Language: French, English, German

My Thoughts/Review: I love this romantic-comedy movie! The gorgeous poster alone got my attention and I know as soon as this movie was available on instant watch (and much earlier too than I expected especially that this movie just came out not long after it was released in limited run and in select theaters here in the US) on Netflix had to add it to my list of must-watch. I must say, it didn't disappoint. I loved and enjoyed watching this from beginning to end. Romain Duris was (once again) great here as Louis, the office boss alongside
Déborah François as the impressive, super-fast one finger typist named Rose (whose boss was Louis, of course). This movie was a lot of fun and entertaining to watch. Loved the period feel, great dialogue, gorgeous costumes and scenery, and the pairing of Romain and Déborah as Louis and Rose (love their banter and they were cute together too). Great movie, overall. It was uplifting, entertaining, funny, romantic, and just worth watching even more than once. I've seen this movie more than once and still loved it. It's still on my list (on Netflix) too. I might even watch this movie again soon.

Little Black Dress/My Black Mini Dress 
(Mai Beulraek Minideureseu) (2011) 
starring Yoon Eun Hye 
Synopsis: After graduating from university a group of four close friends have to define their own lives in ways that challenge their friendship.
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean

My Thoughts/Review: I kept seeing the poster of this movie on Netflix last year, and I thought I should try and watch it. The poster looked good and appealing enough, but I never get around to it until most recently when I've been into watching K-Dramas and discovered the gorgeous and versatile (and multi-talented) Korean actress, Yoon Eun Hye was one of the stars of this movie. I finally noticed and recognized her in the poster, so decided to finally watch this movie. It got me excited and looked forward to watching it all because of YEH, and since I've been in a super YEH mode after seeing at least a few (or more) TV Dramas starring her that got me so hooked in watching her this past summer (she was so good and impressed me with her natural acting) that I thought this would be another good one with her on it. Though this one is a movie, not a TV Drama. The posters and premise of the movie reminded me a bit of the fashionista ladies in Sex & The City and I've been hearing/reading about one of the alternative titles of this being shorten to LBD. I thought this sounds like a great movie with fashion added to the mix much like S&TC and The Devil Wears Prada except in Korean version. But there wasn't much fashion talk (for movie with LBD title) on this one nor it was about fashion, rather it was a story of 4 ladies who are close friends and after they graduated from university had to deal with life in the real world and along the way challenges their friendship. While I love that YEH was on this one, the main lead (of the 4 main ladies), and the central character to the story with more screen time than the other ladies (they could've all been given a fair amount of screen time, but I'm not complaining as I love watching YEH, I was disappointed that this movie wasn't really as great as it should've been. I didn't find her character interesting enough either, much as I love her. There were parts in the movie that dragged on especially when YEH is not on a scene, but it did get better towards the end. The revelation of one the minor characters and its interesting twist got me teary-eyed and made me sad about that character. The ending was interesting and good. It actually, for the first time, referred to its LBD title. Overall, this was still a good movie. Although can't say it's my favorite nor did I love, love it even with YEH on it. It's just good...not great. I might try to watch this again soon and see if my thoughts and opinion of this changes or remain the same. We shall see...

My Girlfriend Is An Agent (2009) 
starring Kim Ha-neul, Kang Ji Hwan
Synopsis: A Russian organized crime group takes possession of an advanced bio-chemical weapon from Korea with the help of a corrupt Korean scientist, and two special agents are the world's only hope to stop them. One is a veteran domestic secret agent named Ahn Soo-ji (Kim Ha-neul) who is a master martial arts and fencing. The other is a rookie international agent named Lee Jae-joon (Kang Ji-hwan) who's foundation in analytical work rather than field work, gets him into trouble when he consistently goofs up on the job. The two agents have an ill-fated relationship, when coincidentally they are dating and don’t know each others' secret identities. Ironically, the passion between them turns to madness, as the lies and secrets between them build until they nearly kill each other. They only thing they can trust is the fact they love and hate each other. The tension builds as they attempt to work out their relationship, while working behind each others' backs, unknowingly on the same mission to save the world.
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean

My Thoughts/Review: I saw this movie randomly on Netflix about a year a go or so. I didn't know and were not familiar with the main actors at the time as I wasn't into Korean movies that much (I've only started seeing a couple movies prior to this one). I just noticed and realized I've seen these two wonderful Korean actors after recently seeing them in their individual K-Dramas (Korean TV Dramas) Secret and Lie To Me (I'll post all about K-Dramas in a separate post soon and will talk about these two dramas), which I've been into watching a lot lately since I first stumbled watching them this past summer. This movie was good, but predictable and kind of boring and dragged on in some parts, and somewhat enjoyable even with two very good actors. I find the main female character kind of annoying too. Also, this movie reminded me a bit of Mr. & Mrs. Smith as far the characters who were in a romantic relationship (in this movie, former relationship) hiding their secret (as spy agents) jobs, but this one was alright.

Day of the Falcon (2011)
starring Tahar Rahim, Frieda Pinto, Antonio Banderas, Mark Strong
Synopsis: Set in the 1930s Arab states at the dawn of the oil boom, the story centers on a young Arab prince torn between allegiance to his conservative father and modern, liberal father-in-law.
Language: English

My Thoughts/Review:
This was good and interesting movie. Antonio Banderas as Frieda Pinto's father here was very good. The actor, Tahar Rahim, who played the young Arab prince was very good too and easy on the eyes. Tahar and Frieda were a good pairing in this movie. I enjoyed watching this movie. Though it was kind of long and dragged on a bit, but it was still a good movie, nonetheless.

A Beautiful Life (Mei li ren sheng) (2011)
 starring Qi Shu, Ye Liu
Synopsis: A beautiful real-estate agent (Peiru) gets drunk at a karaoke bar and throws up on a principled, lonely cop (Zhendong). Zhendong quickly falls for the flirtatious Peiru despite the fact that she's having a tortuous affair with a married man. As Peiru gradually abandons her materialistic values and falls in love with the good hearted Zhendong, it becomes apparent that he is suffering from a disease that is robbing him of his mental faculties. 
Country: China
Language: Mandarin, Chinese, Cantonese, English

My Thoughts/Review: This was a very good Chinese movie. I loved and enjoyed watching it. Though it tend to be long and dragged on, it was till a very good romantic movie. The main actors who played the main couple have a good chemistry.

(No se Aceptan Devoluciones) (2013)
starring Eugenio Derbez, Loreto Peralta, Karla Souza, Jessica Lindsey 
Synopsis: A man who has made a new life for himself and the daughter left on his doorstep 6 years ago finds his family threatened when the birth mother resurfaces.
Country: Mexico
Language: Spanish, English

My Thoughts/Review: Like the Korean LBD movie, I kept hearing really great things about this movie and I kept seeing the poster online and on Netflix, but I never paid attention nor did I have interest in watching it. I tend to skip this movie as I often find something else that quickly captured my attention and watch it instead of this one. The poster and title of the movie looks very good, bright, and very interesting enough. I just never really get around to watching this until recently. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved and enjoyed watching this movie. This was actually a great movie I'd never expected I'd love and enjoy watching. I can't believe I didn't see this movie sooner. Now, I know why I've been hearing great things and rave reviews of this little Mexican film that was also a surprise box office hit here in the U.S. Great title too! It definitely fits the story and the young girl was so cute and adorable. She was so great in this movie and very impressive that she speaks fluent in both English (or rather her American accent is flawless) and Spanish. This movie made me laugh out loud in some scenes and made me cry a lot on the next. It tugs your heartstring and the twist and turn at the young girl's character at the end both shocked and surprised me. I didn't see that coming nor was I prepared to see it happen. What I thought was going to happen to a certain character I had expected to happen, it didn't, but it it did to another, which really surprised and made me very sad for that character at the same time. Wow, this movie was just so good! No it was beyond good, it was Great! It was brilliant and amazing! It was funny, touching, moving, thought-provoking and heartbreaking all at the same time...especially the unpredictable and surprising ending. I had to see it again (after it just ended) to pay attention to little details I've missed leading up to the surprising ending. Great casting. Superb acting (especially, the wonderful little girl, Loreto Peralta, who played Maggie). Great story. Gorgeous cinematography. And great direction as well as acting by Eugenio Derbez as the main lead character Valentin. I love this movie! Definitely worth-watching!


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