• Kate Neilson

These Foreign Films Will Make Your Soul Smile

In light of all the weird and crappy things that are going on in Europe at the moment we thought it was only fair to remind Britain of all the wonderful, whimsical and heart-warming films that have been birthed from their fellow neighbouring EU countries.

If you need a break from watching all of the explosions, car chases and gun-toting in mainstream cinema, then give your tired old soul a rest with a nice foreign film (while you can give your soul a rest, your eyes will have to do a lot of hard work in keeping up with the sub-titles but trust us, it's worth it).

We’ve picked out a few that made us feel particularly warm and fuzzy in our tummy-tum-tums.

Amelie (2001)

Follow the tale of the softly spoken, curious kitty Amelie as she explores the nooks and crannies of the Parisian streets while discreetly manipulating the lives of those around her, but of course only with the best of intentions.

While Amelie may avoid trying to make positive and important changes in her own life, that wont stop her from performing acts of social justice for others and going to great lengths in order to put a smile on someone else's face.

Directed by the wonderful Jean-Pierre Jeunet (who also brought us Micmacs and Delicatessen), this film is the definition of whimsical and will have leave you with a warm glow of happiness and an intense need to become your own local hero and bring a sense of magic into the lives of those around you. Take a few hours to dive into Amelie's world; it's one of those films that may just change your outlook on life.

The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

Now, this one is a classic foreign film in that there is no speaking throughout the entire film, which at first you think is going to be a problem. You’re pretty open minded and you’ll try to give most things a good go, but two hours of watching a screen without any dialogue, that’s just too far fetched. THAT’S WHAT WE THOUGHT TOO, but after giving it a good old crack we were hooked.

This film follows a sweet old lady (who looks exactly like my grandma FYI) and her grandson, who is training for the Tour De France. The Grandson gets kidnapped (we think by the government) and the grandmother and her adorable over-weight Labrador set out to find him. Along the way she meets the Triplets of Belleville, three old ladies who used to be singing sensations of France back in the day, who jump on board in the mission to find the missing grandson. An incredibly sweet film with a few odd and kooky twists and turns.

Delicacy (2011)

Following on with the French theme (these guys know how to make a good film), Delicacy is another remarkable film staring Audrey Tatou, she's pretty much like France's version of Meryl Streep, she's in anything that is worth watching. This one is an absolute tear jerker and it gets you from the very beginning (don't worry it ends on a good note).

This film is all about loss and renewal. Natalie (Tatou) loses her husband during the infant years of their marriage. She is heart-broken, as you would imagine, and this movie is following her journey to recovering. She meets a guy, he's kind of scruffy and odd, and he brings her back into her own body again. It's a beautiful romance film, perfect if you need to let out a few sobs but still feel okay about the world at the end of it all.

Goodbye Lenin (2003)

Now, let's chuck a German film in for good measure. Goodbye Lenin is set in East Berlin in 1989, around when the Berlin wall came down. Alex's mother Christiane has been in a coma for months and when she finally awakens, Alex is set with the task of caring for his fragile mother and directed not to upset or distress her, due to her ailing heart.

How does he do this? By making time and history stand still and pretending that the country that his mother so dearly loved has not been through political upheaval in her absence. Between the four-walls of his mother's bedroom, the German Democratic Republic lives on, thanks to the farcical stunts and cover-ups used by Alex and his friends to squash any glimpses of the western world that manage to creep into Christiane's life. She remains in ignorant bliss, right up until the very end.

The film takes a comical stance on a poignant political slice of history.

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