Movie season: Favorite foreign language films (and TV shows)

Arts & Entertainment

Alina Snopkowski, Editor

Header Image: N2TShop

Happy Foreign Language Awareness Week, La Salle! In the same thread as Nolen Kelly’s past articles about favorite movies from Valentine’s Day or Christmas, here’s a small collection of some foreign-language movies and TV shows that you guys thought were pretty great.

Sarah Liszewski, ‘22: Skam (Norway) and Elite (Spain)

“Skam” is a romantic dramedy that follows friends from Hartvig Nissens school in Oslo. The story deals with very real issues that high schoolers face such as self-esteem, eating disorders, mental health, self care and sexuality. Some American critics have dubbed it the “Norwegian Euphoria” and the comparisons are apt. “Elite” is set in a similar world, albeit with a much more serious tone. The story follows three teenagers from working-class families as they clash with the overly-wealthy students of a bougie private school. The drama from these cultures repelling each other leads to a murder, the central conflict for the series.

“I like ‘Skam’ because it focuses on different characters every season and shows points of view that normal shows wouldn’t. ‘Elite’ is a blend of everything in one show: murder, mystery, love, revenge, and basically every theme you can think of.”

Jake Eiseman, ‘22: Los Espookys (Chile)

“Los Espookys” is a dry comedy series from HBO co-created by comedian Ana Fabrega and “Saturday Night Live” alums Fred Armisen and Julio Torres. The show follows a troop of creatives that travel around an unnamed South American nation putting on horror shows and displays. Their skills as crafting haunted houses take them far and wide, and the plot is bizarre enough that they get wrapped up in crimes, politics and even alien experiments during the show’s single season.

“Los Espookys is one of the funniest series I’ve ever seen. It plays with the tropes of comedy and horror, which is unique in itself. But, it also does it from the perspective of some of the weirdest characters I’ve ever seen. The jokes are just as bizarre as they are unsettling and every episode just keeps getting more crazy. Highly recommend.”

Danielle O’Brien, ‘24: “True Beauty” (South Korea)

In the traditional “K-Drama” style, “True Beauty” is a one season show that tells a contained romance story and covers a lot of ground in its 16-episode run. “True Beauty” follows a high schooler who changes her visual style dramatically after experimenting with online makeup tutorials. The swooning of classmates and disapproval of others is where the comedy of the series comes in, but the story is rather dramatic as it deals with issues of self-image and beauty standards. 

“It’s based on a webtoon series about a girl who ‘transforms’ into the most sought after girl in school, but her secret is that she looks totally different without it. The actors in the drama are so good, I recommend it!”

Nolen Kelly, ‘22: “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (China)

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” has surpassed cult status in the U.S. over the last two decades, becoming a classic piece of martial arts fantasy that fans go back to for its over-the-top action and impressive choreography. The film is credited with spawning dozens of imitative works since its release, with the martial arts genre changing dramatically due to the cinematography and narrative style of the movie. While it is at times a cheesy martial arts movie, there is a special element about it that can’t be attained by its imitators.

“Fantastic characters, an amazing story, wild fight scenes, a great love story, gorgeous camerawork and visually striking settings make this one of the most unforgettable movies I have ever seen that I will recommend to anyone any time.”

Others’ Favorites

Anthony Pantalone, ‘23, thinks the French film “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is “a fantastic slow burn” and has “an ending that stays with you long after the film ends.” 

Enrique Carrasco, ‘24, likes the Japanese series “Attack on Titan” because of the intense and well-animated action sequences. 

Gregory Shannon, ‘22, likes the South Korean film “Parasite” and the animated movie “Spirited Away” from Japan. He says “both are visually stunning and the story is just great. It’s hard to find flaws within these two movies.” 

David O’Brien, ‘24, thinks the 1966 Czechoslovakian film “Daisies” is really funny, and Keri Marable, ‘23, is a fan of the French series “Miraculous Ladybug” because it’s about a “magical girl with cute transformations and fun powers.”

Ciara Ledgard, ‘22, likes the Spanish show “Cable Girls” (“Las Chicas del Cable”) because it takes place in the 1920s and 1930s and it involves mystery and drama. 

Meghan Cain, ‘22, is fond of the Swedish show “Quicksand” because of its great storyline and ending. 

My personal favorite at the moment is the German series “Dark,” which is a really great mix of a lot of really bad things: scandals, murder, affairs and nuclear waste. Plus time travel, which I usually don’t like, and history, which I always like.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a response. I hope you found a couple shows or movies that piqued your interest. Foreign Language Awareness Week is just beginning — today (Tuesday) from 12:30 – 2:00 is the food fair in the Hayman lobby, and there’s all sorts of other interesting presentations and events going on the rest of the week, all listed here.

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