You Need to Watch Foreign Films and Here's Why

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Denim Jacket with Floral Midi Dress and Boots
Denim Jacket with Floral Midi DressLong Gold Earrings with Red LipsDenim Jacket with Floral Midi Dress Denim Jacket with Floral Midi Dress and Boots

Dress - River Island
 Jacket - Noisy May (Asos)
Boots - Betts
 Earrings - Lovisa
 Lipcolour - Colourpop 

Sydney Film Festival is currently in full swing and after several failed attempts in the years prior, I finally got around to attending a screening. The outfit above was worn on the same day for a screening of the Finnish film, ‘The Other Side of Hope’. The wry comedy about a Syrian Refugee in Finland was nowhere in my shortlist of films to see, as its somber and minimalist style of cinematography simply never appealed to me. But as chance would have it, I failed to get tickets to the movies I wanted to see and chose to watch this instead, and boy was I surprised!

The first 20 mins I sat perplexed, wondering why my fellow movie-goers were laughing so hard. I seemed to miss the joke every time. But gradually as the movie finished, I realised just how much I enjoyed the deadpan humour and how deeply moving it had been.

Four hours later, it was still on my mind.

I’m glad to say that I was able to shatter my preconceived notions about the film and enjoy it for what it was, a poignant tale of an unusual friendship and humanity in characters that at first seemed cold.

This struggle of setting aside your prejudices is one I’ve also had to handle in my previous experiences of watching foreign films. Having never been much of a movie buff and almost never one that watched movies at home, my experience with films was limited to visiting the cinemas every 3-4 months.

That was until one dreadfully boring day, where on a whim I decided to watch the South Korean drama, ‘The Handmaiden’. Beautiful, colourful, and dramatic, it kept me on the edge of my seat. I was impressed enough to follow it up with a Chinese film called ‘What’s in the Darkness’ and an Iranian Oscar Winner titled ‘The Salesman’.

What got me hooked was not the differences (I guess I expected those), but the abundant similarities. If you take away the Chinese cast of ‘What’s in the Darkness’ what’s left is a story that could translate wonderfully into Indian society. Whether that’s the mannerisms of characters, the quirks of the story, the relationship dynamics and concerns or the town it was set in, it could all very easily strike a chord with the nation’s southern neighbours. Seeing all these similarities had me sold and I firmly proclaimed my love for foreign films from there on.

However, while the similarities can offer a sense of kinship and belonging, the differences that come to the fore are just as intriguing to watch. I anticipated that foreign films will likely hold no social relevance to me, after all our reactions to topics and our approach to life is intrinsically linked to our culture. But if you look beyond this seemingly irrelevant surface of differences, you can acquaint yourself with human emotions and dilemmas that seem to occur thousands of times over, all around the world. When you are able to connect with the person onscreen, who looks and talks differently to you, when you are able to understand their plight despite the barrier of cultural, social and political differences;

This for me paves the way for a unique kind of intimacy.

Ultimately, empathy is the need of the hour and films have proven to be a path to uncovering that.

There is so much to be learnt from foreign films. I recently wrote an article about ‘Journey to Personal Growth without Travel’, and one aspect that I didn’t address was the role foreign films can play in this growth. It's a little like traveling too. If you think about it, people often talk about films as having transported them to faraway places. If that's the case, then a foreign film can be a new experience as movies really are a mirror for society. A while ago, I went to watch an India vs Aus cricket match in Sydney. Before the match started, right outside you could see Aussies doing what they do best, drinking at an open bar outside the stadium.  Whilst the Indians were doing what they do best, dancing and singing their hearts away, with the dholis in full swing. We all talk about the usual song and dance routine of Bollywood films, and often even do so in a derogatory manner. But what we fail to see is that song and dance is an essential part of our culture, our day-to-day lives and the very reason as to why it is repeatedly projected on screen.

Similarly I heard a recent Bollywood movie ‘Dangal’ broke records in China and my Chinese colleagues gushed about how they needed to watch it. Perhaps, they could identify with the characters and relationships just like I did. 

In the end, watching foreign films can help us get rid of the often biased media lens that we view the rest of the world through. These films might not always have happy endings, but they will stay with you and make you think. The endings that aren’t always neatly tied up can be good reflections of our lives – messy but beautiful.  

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  1. Love your floral piece. You look fab girl!!!

  2. Such a cute dress :)

  3. That's great and interesting! Except American movies I'm not watching anything else but I should! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Cute dress. I like watching foreign films.

    Bernie, xx
    The Style Fanatic

  5. You're inspiring me to watch more foreign films! You look gorgeous hunny xx

  6. These florals are seriously made for youuu, girlie!! I actually never really watch German movies, even though I live here - haha!

    XX from Germany
    Want Get Repeat

  7. lovely :)

  8. I really should take your lead and watch more foreign films as the one or two I have watched in the past I have really enjoyed. My fiancee once brought round a French DVD and I felt really mean after as I was less than impressed to begin with but he said he had brought it as he thought I would like it and he was so right! Lesson learnt and it just goes to show that you should try something before just dismissing it completely :) x

  9. What a cute outfit, girlie; I love that dress and those earrings! I've never really watched foreign films before, but I must admit, you've inspired me to, I'd imagine it'd give you more insight of the culture overall. Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a great week ahead!



  10. First of all, beautiful outfit! I love that dress. And second, I really enjoyed reading your post! Very interesting to hear your perspective on watching this film.


  11. I feel like you would really enjoy this Japanese movie called Our Little Sister. It's so heartwarming and funny. One of my favourite foreign films.

  12. It's been a while since I've watched a foreign film, unless you count Bollywood films. I don't get to the theater often enough. I totally agree that foreign films are so moving and really get you to think differently. Humanity is often divided, but I feel like films are a great way to bring us together. I'll have to check out that Syrian film. Would love to see how they turned a tough situation into a humorous one.

    xx Yasmin

  13. Suck a beautiful outfit! you look beautiful as always
    Gros bisous

  14. This is such an incredible post. I totally agree with the moral of this post. When I was younger my mom would make my brother and I watch all sorts of different foreign films: Afghan, Iranian, Chinese, French! What's funny is I wasn't that interested as a kid at first, but they were still really important as I learned about different cultures from a director's beautiful point of view.

    S | Je M'appelle Chanel

  15. In love with the entire outfit!! So chic!!
    Mónica Sors

  16. Amazing look, love your dress ! :-) xoxo

  17. I loved the floral dress and the way you have carried it girl!

  18. I completely agree that foreign films are a must. That's why I love Netflix! They have such a good selection of them. As long as there are subtitles I'm good to go =)

    Rina Samantha

  19. You look so lovely! ♥️ Anyway, here in the Philippines, we're also fond of watching foreign films, specifically American movies and TV series. Aside from that, I'm also a bit hooked with Korean dramas! I recommend you watch Legend of the Blue Sea, Descendants of the Sun, and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo. You'll love it! :)

    Hear from you soon!

    Airish | Gorgeous Glance

  20. Great post!