Thursday Movie Picks: Oscar Edition - Best Foreign Language Winners

Wanderer's final Oscar theme for the year is one of my favorite categories - Best International Film! I've used a lot of my favorite winners of the course of the year, so I decided I'm going to talk about a few underrated winners in my opinion. Here's what I came up with. 

1) Cinema Paradiso -
I didn't watch this movie until a few years ago, and it was so good I don't understand how it's not consistently raved about. It's a love letter to movie lovers and has one of the best final scenes ever. In fact, I should be watching this again right now.

2) Departures -
When I did the Best Picture round table on Fisti's old blog years ago, I think I was way more into Japan's winner than everyone else was. I just think it's such an interesting concept - A man returning to his home town to work in a traditional Japanese morgue.

3) In A Better World
- This Danish winner is ultimately about tolerance and that grey area when bad people do bad things to you. I picked this one because at the time, I was really annoyed Greece's Dogtooth didn't win, but after watching this, I couldn't really be *that* mad anymore. Dogtooth is better, but this is still very good.


  1. I still have to see Cinema Paradiso which I have heard nothing but raves about. I d9nt know the other 2 but worth seeing.

  2. I've heard of all three but have only seen the first so far.

    Cinema Paradiso is everything you say, a rapturous love letter to the movies. Like you I should give it a rewatch....but I should probably watch the other two first. :-)

    I went back and forth on a way to go with this. I had at first thought to do an Ingmar Bergman theme within the theme but two of his winners (The Virgin Spring and Through a Glass Darkly) are brilliantly made slit your wrist films and the other (Fanny and Alexander) is my least favorite of all his films I've watched so far. So I changed course, like you I've used many of the foreign winners I like before, and ultimately ended up with one heavy duty drama and two that lean toward a lighter approach.

    The Sea Inside (2004)-Quadriplegic Ramón Sampedro (Javier Bardem) is tired of the loss of mobility he’s endured since a diving accident crippled him years before. Though celebrated for the writing he’s passed the years with, he now sees his life as pointless and wishes to die with what dignity he still possesses. His friend Gené and attorney Julia work with a "Right to Die" organization attempting to persuade the courts to let Ramón end his own life. Heavy going but Bardem is brilliant.

    Day for Night (1973)-Director Francois Truffaut’s bittersweet satire of the chaotic behind the scenes happenings during the filming of the frothy comedy “Meet Pamela”. The calamities include a leading lady (Jacqueline Bisset) recovering from a nervous breakdown, the unions threatening to walk, the main supporting actress (Oscar nominated Valentina Cortese) being snockered most of the time, the cat can’t hit her mark and the thousand little emergencies that go into making a picture.

    A Man and A Woman (1966)-While visiting their children at boarding school a race car driver (Jean Louis Trintignant) and movie script supervisor (Anouk Aimée) meet and embark on a brief but gentle, swoony romance.

    1. I agree Bardem was brilliant in The Sea Inside. I haven't seen the other two, I really need to see Day for Night. It's on my never ending list.

  3. I've only seen Cinema Paradiso which I love but I want to see the extended version of that film as it featured a subplot about the young boy when he is an older man.

    I haven't seen the other 2 films but I'm sure the latter can't be better than Dogtooth.

    1. I'm not sure Cinema Paradiso needed that subplot, but I'd watch it. Yeah, it's very good but Dogtooth should've been the winner.

  4. I saw Departure about the time it won and I was disappointed. The only other contender for that year I saw was The Class and while not a great fan of that either, I think it was better.

    1. I never saw The Class. I'll have to look into that one.


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