Foreign Language Oscar Worthy Movies:
Parasite winning the first Foreign Language movie to win an Oscar surely opens some doors for Foreign Language entertainment to finally make inroads into some of the most prestigious stages in the movie-making industry. But Parasite did not have to be the first one to do so. There were tons of other Foreign Language movies that fared well but did not have enough of the clout to make it to the Oscar Podium. Here’s a list of awesome foreign language oscar worthy movies like parasite.
1. The Assassin
The Assassin is considered to be one of the greatest movies to have been ever made in the Taiwanese film industry. It tells the story of a young female assassin who was kidnapped and trained in the art of the kill. The girl is actually the daughter of a famous general. She is given an impossible target that she fails to execute. So the assassin is then given a second chance to redeem herself by killing a person who is actually her betrothed.
The Assassin is a very unique take on one woman juggling between her family, her duty, and her love for her betrothed. Wuxia Drama is very popular in Taiwan and the gerne has received much traction over the years. The author of the story Hou Hsia-Hsien is a very celebrated personality in Taiwan and his story works like a charm in the movie.
2. Grand Illusion
Fans and critics still argue over the effect this movie had on the coming generation. Grand Illusion was a French Language movie that told the story of two French Army Officers who are captured by a German Pilot and then sent to prison in a German Concentration Camp. The movie has had some of the finest hands in terms of direction and camera placement of that time.
It is a movie that was nominated for Oscars in 1938 but never made it to the podium. Grand Illusion has had several fans over the years including Franklin D Roosevelt who claimed that every democracy in the world should watch it at least once. The legendary Orson Welles once said that if he had an option of saving only one movie and burn the rest, it would be Grand Illusion.
Z is a Greek Political Thriller movie which garnered too many controversies when it was released. The Director of the movie was Costa Gravas, an ardent opponent of the ruling Military Junta of Greece in the 1970’s. Z was about a private investigator trying to find the culprit behind the murder of a far-left politician in Greece. His investigations lead him into uncovering vast and dark secrets that would rock the Greek Nation if unveiled to the masses. In 1974, the movie was banned in Greece because of political pressure from the ruling government at that time. Z would later lose to Midnight Cowboy starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman in the best picture category in the Academy Awards.
4. The Emigrants
The Emigrants is a Swedish story. It is about a group of people trying to make their way to the free world in search of new opportunities. The tale is all about a poor and down on their luck Swedish Family trying to get to Minnesota by any means possible. Director Jan Troell’s work became so famous that it even sprawled another sequel. A TV Series backed by the ABC network soon followed. It was nominated for the awards twice, once in 1972 and again in 1973. The possibility of a movie being nominated for multiple categories became a boon for The Emigrants. But it lost to The Godfather, another movie based on an immigrant family trying to rule America’s Criminal Underworld.
Life is Beautiful is an Italian production. It also holds the distinction of being one of the highest-grossing Non-English movies ever in the American Box office Industry. The movie is about an Italian Jewish Family who gets trapped in a concentration camp and convinces their son that whatever is happening is all part of a silly game. The movie is both tragic and comic at the time and strikes a chord with the viewer very early on. Italian Actor Robert Benigni gave his career-best in Life is Beautiful. The movie was nominated for a whopping seven Oscars. It lost to the romantic comedy movie – Shakespeare in Love. To date, Life is Beautiful is one of the highest on-demand movies that is rented out in America. It is literally that good!!
6. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Ang Lee is a very gifted director and storyteller. One of his earliest known works where he made a mark internationally was in the Chinese Martial Arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The movie is about two lovers trying to find a stolen sword that is so sharp it can cut a braid of hair in two while it was in mid-air! The movie raked in more than 128 Million US Dollars worldwide. It also has the honor of being nominated for 10 Oscars, the first foreign-language movie to have achieved this incredible feat. The movie has some true death-defying action choreography. It still managed to lose to Gladiator, another action drama period piece.
The court is basically a pot shot at the stupid and ridiculously complicated Indian Judicial System. The nooks and crannies of India’s Judiciary are thrown into the limelight this truly engaging court drama by Chaitanya Tamhane. The movie was widely well-received in India and received much acclaim in several international film festivals. The story is about Vira Sathidar, who has been accused of murder by the State. The reason is even more absurd – the Prosecution claims that Sathidar killed the person by singing. They state that Sathidar’s song incited a labor strike that led to a laborer committing suicide.
8. Port of Call
Port of Call is a movie that is the product of the Honk Kong movie industry. It is a very dark-toned police procedural and mystery thriller act that focuses on a person’s attempt to track down a murderer and stop him from killing more people. The movie has a lot of blood and violence. Saron Kwok plays the role of a gifted but aging detective who is tasked to track down a serial killer, whose modus operandi includes beheading his victims. The movie had all the ingredients necessary for winning the Oscars but it was dismissed because the Oscar committee felt that it had too much violence to become an Oscar-worthy movie. Yeah right!!
9. Norte, the End of History
This movie is literally four hours long!! Maybe this is why the Oscars Committee decided to let it go – they just do not have the patience to watch this in full. Norte, the End of History is a Filipino movie. It features a powerful Filipino Ensemble Cast. A very slow-paced movie, the Filipino production directed by Lav Diaz is considered to be one of the finest works in the Asian slow thriller cinema. The movie is about three different individuals whose lives are affected and permanently changed after the committal of very violent crime in the vicinity, and to which they are somehow related in some way.
10. A Taxi Driver
A Taxi Driver’s lead actor Kang Ho-Song, who plays Man-Seob in the movie, also acted in a lead role in Parasite. When a journalist hires a poor Taxi Driver to show him the sights and take him to the different localities in Seoul, things go wildly not according to plan. The entire city is found to be under siege as Student Protestors and the authorities clash in a grand battle royal. The Journalist and the Taxi Driver have to find a way out of all this chaos. The movie is loosely based on the 1980 Gwangju Uprising of South Korea, where a lot of students died at the hands of the cops. More than 600 casualties were reported after the Uprising, something the South Korean Government still considers to be their greatest moment of shame.