The list author says: "Listed here are films of the past few years from France, Italy, Belgium, Argentina, Russia, Chile, Turkey, Denmark, Slovenia, Germany, Lebanon, Spain, China, Australia, Norway, the Netherlands, Macedonia, England, Ireland, and Scotland. They range from serious, to disturbing, exciting, chilling, and funny. Most are in a language other than English, and not one of them comes from Hollywood."
"British director Ken Loach illuminates the real-world complications in a romantic story set in Glasgow, about star-crossed lovers, a young Irish music teacher in a Catholic school and the only son of a tightly knit Pakistani family."
"Also by Ken Loach, and set in a town outside Glasgow, this film tells a sometimes heart-stopping and finally heart-rending story of a 15-year-old boy's attempt to create an orderly life out of the chaotic one he's inherited."
"This thoughtful film from writer Hanif Kareishi tells a complex story of a Pakistani taxi-driver in a northern British city, whose settled life comes apart as his only son rebels against his father's secular life and takes up with a cell of young Muslim fundamentalists."
"This film by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar is set in Madrid and portrays another of his women on the verge of a nervous breakdown - several, in fact - and follows them through a series of life crises to a happily bittersweet ending."
"This Spanish film, set in the 1960s, tells a story about a 9-year-old's slow discovery of the mysteries of adulthood, successfully recreating the puzzled feelings of fascination and revulsion that come with curiosity about what adults know and try to keep from children."
"Focused as it is on the mental and emotional state of the lead character, who is troubled by epilepsy, this heist movie by Argentine director Fabián Bielinsky is full of twists and turns that defy expectations."
"Danish film director Bille August describes this film as a love story, although viewers are more likely to see it as a portrayal of the terrible toll of Alzheimer's disease on a spouse who is a survivor and caregiver."
9. The Son DVD ~ Morgan Marinne, Isabella Soupart Olivier Gourmet
The list author says:
"This Belgian film tells a story of grief and redemption as a teacher in a vocational training center takes on a young student, who is just released from prison, to teach him the fundamentals of carpentry."
"In this film that begins with the murder of a young girl, French director Claude Chabrol explores the lies and half-truths that hold people together, even while they hide from each other what's really on their minds."
"In this French thriller, Harry is one of those over-friendly people who seem to have no idea when they're getting too close to someone else, and the creepiness sets in long before we sense that he's more than a little obsessive, if not totally psychopathic."
"In this French-Moroccan road movie, a father and son travel by car from France to Saudi Arabia. For the father, it is his once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca. For the teenage son, it is the worst possible turn of events."
"This German film revisits war-time Berlin and tells the fact-based story of non-Jewish women married to Jewish men, who are separated from their wives and detained in a building on the Rosenstrasse of the film's title."
"This gripping German film tells the story of a group of men and one woman who dig a tunnel under the Berlin Wall to rescue relatives and friends wanting to cross to the West. 2+ hours of high tension."
"For something way out of the ordinary (with a glimpse of pre-hurricane Gulf coast) and a quirky portrayal of pursuing an elusive dream that takes a retirement-age accordianist far off the beaten track, this German film is a pleaser."
"Set in Scotland, this is a story of a single mother, on the run from an abusive husband, who keeps alive her nine-year-old son's wish for a loving father by writing him letters from what he's led to believe is a sailor aboard a cargo ship sailing the high seas."
"Set in the 1960s in Ireland, this film tells the story of four young women living and working in a Roman Catholic institution, supervised by nuns, where they have been sent for giving birth to children out of wedlock."
"This comic British mockumentary portrays the conflicts and potential mayhem inherent in the run-up to any wedding and multiplies it by about ten, as a wedding magazine launches a self-promoting competition among three couples for the most unusual marriage ceremony."
"A haunting vision of human culpability, this disturbing domestic drama from Australia takes a situation from a Raymond Carver story and explores the impact of four fishing buddies' behavior on a community of whites and aboriginals."
"A modern movie musical set in Ireland, as a street musician befriends a Czech immigrant. Shot on a shoe string with a hand-held digital camera, the film has the look and feel of documentary, while telling a simple story about music's ability to heal and inspire."
"This wonderful, quirky comedy has volumes to say about the need for human intimacy. Set in 1950, as Swedish “home scientists” invade the homes of Norwegian bachelors to study how they use their kitchens."
"This striking, touching, and disturbing film from Turkey follows events in the life of a young man in Istanbul who befriends a Kurd and discovers some of the realities of being an ethnic and political outcast."
"Set in post-WWII Macedonia (former Yugoslavia), this film tells the story of two boys in an "orphanage" for the children of those who have opposed Stalin. Here they are subjected to political indoctrination and other cruelties, yet with a spirit of rebelliousness, they survive. Not all grim; there are some laughs, too."
"This Israeli film, set in 1981, finds a middle-aged widow with two growing daughters at a point of change for all of them. While their mother is looking for an eligible bachelor to improve her chances of joining a group of West Bank settlers, the two girls have boyfriend problems of their own."
"This film about a family of Orthodox Jews living in Paris is concerned with freedom - especially freedom for women in a highly regulated and constricted culture - and what it means to live by the rule of law."
"Set in Paris in 1970-71, this is a film about 9-year-old Anna, growing up in the home of leftist political activists. Directed by Julie Gavras, daughter herself of political filmmaker Costa-Gavras, the film represents the sometimes comic attempts of a child to make sense of the turmoil that has upset her previously untroubled middle-class life."