Friday, December 30, 2022

2022 Films from the Non English world.

 The non English world is pretty big, in fact they put out more films than does the English speaking world.  It should not be surprising that many of them are as good  and some might be considered better.  My contention is that they offer something with enough differences that are interesting and enough similarities that we can reflect on our own lives.

If you have a different opinion of any listed film, please feel free to share.  Any suggestions?

 It is impossible to fairly rate these films.  To make it to my blog they had some personal merit and I have tried to post photos of my favorites

One of my six most satisfying films viewed this year is in a language that was totally unknown until the last few years, Malayalam.  Read more about it under Malayalam section which is included under Regional Indian film

Please feel free to express your opinion on any film you have seen.


"The Billion Dollar Code" (2021) is based on the experience of some Germans who developed a precursor to a Google program and then got tied up in legal matters.







"The Damned" (1969)--dealing with German and Italian fascists.

"Bicycle Thieves (1949) classic just after Italy recovering from the war.


"The Bombardment" (2022).  During WWII, the RAF was planning a bombing to hit the Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen, but miscalculated and sent some bombers dropped their bombs over a school.

"Borgen" (4th season 2022) Little Denmark supervises huge Greenland.  They have a different political system than we in English North America are saddled with.

One of four top series




"You Disappear" (2017)   Low ratings, possibly due to a heavy dose of free will and psychology.  Provoke thoughts.  A brain tumor is implicated in a case of embezzlement and stresses marriage.

"Toscana" (2022) A joint Danish Italian effort.  A chef inherits his father's (who he resented) restaurant in Italy.  Food  and scenery are hi-lites.


"Anxious People"(2021) based on a book by Fredrik Backman


"The Worst Person in the World" (2021) nominated for two Oscars.  Trying to understand yourself, while going through life.  Cinematographic tricks to illustrate feelings.






"The Cut" (2014)  covers some post Armenian genocide consequences.  With Tahir Rahim.


"Quo Vadis, Aida?" (2020) Heartbreaking about Bosnia? slaughter.  Senseless and brutal.


La Chica que Limpla"  (2017) from Argentinaseries remade in U.S> The Cleaning lady??

"Boss, the Anatomy of a Crime" (2015) comes from Argentina and was remade in Mexico and the U.S.

"The Endless Trench" (2020) recounts the story of a fugitive from Franco's fascists.  At first there is a scary escape when soldiers corner him in a well with water to the waist and shooting, killing three other escapees.  He decided to hide at home with the co-operation of his wife.  It ended up being 30 years of living in a narrow hole.  It might seem boring, but there was a lot of tension.   Spanish entry for the 2021 Oscar, international feature.   



 "Leona" (2020 )   A Jewish woman loves a non Jew in Mexico City.

"Green Frontier" (2019) a mini series from Colombia delving into their indigenous culture, but with super natural elements.

"Plaza Catedral" (2022) from Panama, borrowing a Mexican actress, Ilse Salas.  Concerned with violence against children.

"Parallel Mothers"  (2021) Directed by Pedro Almodovar and starring Penelope Cruz.  Nominated for 2 Oscars and winner of international festival awards.  Check




"Belscoaran, PI" (2022) a Mexican mini series.  A crime show, but with lots of humor.

"God's Crooked Line" (2022) a super psychological film directed and written by Oriol Paulo and starring Barbara Lennie.  Loads of twists.







'Argentina, 1985" (2022) with one of my favorite actors, Ricard Darin, this time acting as a prosecutor against a military junta.


From Brazil "Beyond the Universe" (2022).  Kind of a sappy love story, but with a surprising end that will leave you thnking.  Sao Paulo is the biggest city in Brazil and you will get a better appreciation of it.

from Portugal "The Metamorphosis of Birds" (2020) A documentary starting from family memories of director/writer Caterina     Thoughts of mortality, meaning of life.  Narration, but no dialogue for character.  Beautiful cinematography.






"Adoption" (1975). A lonely middle aged woman aiming to give natural birth decides it might be better to adopt a particular teenage girl.


"The Chorus" (2004) considered a French comic classic about a school choir.

"Wolf's Call" (2019)

"The Story of a Three Day Pass" (1968)  fourth paragraph

"Mr. Klein" (1976).  Considered a classic by some.  Alain Delon directed and starred with Joseph Loney (who doesn't speak fluent French) directing.  Set in WWII during German occupation of Paris.  Two men share the same name and look very similar, but one is Jewish and the other is art agent who is taking advantage of Jews needing to sell paintings at low prices.  As the director says it is not about anti-Semitism, but more about the stupidity of racism. 

"'Round Midnight" (1986) is a French movie, but with mostly English about an aging, addictive jazz musician.  At one time black musicians found France to be a hospitable to America. 


"Luzzu""  (2022) deals with financial pressures that force one man to get involved with illegal fishing.


"Tehran" (2020) An Israeli series focusing on Israelis trying to sabotage Iranian efforts to develop an atomic bomb using technology and seduction.  Well done.  Had been led to believe Iranians treated fairly, but would say both sides seemed pretty despicable.   


Many of us are unsure of Georgia, but it exists and had largely freed itself from Soviet dominance.    "The Trader" (2018) is a 23 minute short that gives an insight  into a lifestyle and won attention at the Sundance Festival.  A middle aged man drives a truck with a variety of merchandise.  The rural economy uses potatoes as currency or barter.   Women bargain for beauty aids. 

"March for Dignity" (2020) A documentary about an effort by LGBTQ activists to organize a Pride March and run up against opposition from homophobic elements.


"Bordertown" (2017) series with a unique detective protagonist.  The Border refers between Finland and Russia.


"Hold Tight" (2022) series from American novel. Criminal elements in Warsaw and a missing young man.

"In Darkness" (2011) Polish rescuers of Jews in Lvov during the war.  First interested in money, but kept on after money ran out. 

"Of Animals and Men" (2019) Documentary about Warsaw Zoo from WW II protecting Jews and a little before and after.




"Servant of the People" (2015) series  We are all familiar with Volomyr Zelensky and this satiric series helped propel him into politics.  We know he is more than a comic genius.



"The Italian" (2005).  Despite the title it is about a Russian orphan who some Italians want to adopt, but he wants to seek out his real mother.

 "Compartment no. 6" (2021)" A joint, Finnish, Russian, Estonian film.  Won Cannes Grand Prix.  A train trip to Murmansk.






"In Good Hands" (2022).  A single mother is told she has a terminal illness and juggles her life between her child and a possible lover.

"Godspeed" (2022) Friendship between soldiers of different ranks.    Very subtle ending.


"Extraordinary Attorney Woo" (2022) one of my four top series of the year.  The heroine is an autistic lawyer.  Despite being a top student no firm would hire her, until a family connection with hidden motives got her a job.  Autistics are easy to make fun of, but this series helps us to understand better how they see the world.





Twenty Five Twenty One" (2022) An unusual romance between a young woman fencer and a man whose family had been bankrupt.

"Misaeng" (2014) series. A young man dropped out of competition for several years before re engaging in a tough business atmosphere.  

  "Escape fro Mogadishu" (2021)A rare story of co-operation between North and South Korea.




"Steel Rain" (2018) A spy flees North Korea and mixes up with South Korean diplomat to prevent a nuclear war.  Lots of action, but interesting politics tying in China, the U.S. and Japan

"Thirty-Nine" (2022)   Korean series about three women of that age and their romantic efforts.    Son Ye-jin, a favored actress stars.

"Juvenile Justice" (2022).  We are used to adult police and court room dramas, but juvenile issues require special attention.   Lead actress Kim Hye-su, who once provided one of my all time laugh fits shows she can be deadly serious.





"My Holo Love" (2020) shows a romance mixed up with intelligent hologram beings and their human orginators.

"The Strongest Deliveryman" (2017)  In this series competition heats up between a male and female deliveryman.

"My Liberation Notes" (2022) by same writer as "My Mister" (2018)   photo  The slow moving story focuses on three siblings who are introverted and they all work a long commute away.  The dialogue is very heavy as they each question their purpose in life.  They all make unusual choices.  The viewer is dragged along wondering how they will deal with their lives.  




"Flower of Evil" (2020) Top four of year  series.  Complicated mystery plot, good background music, draining emotionally romance(s).  Check






 "Jersey" (2022)  Shahid Kapoor stars in this Bollywood remake of a Telegu hit.  About a cricket player who quite while young and decides to get back in at a high level many years later.

"83" (2022)  About a triumphant Indian cricket team becoming world champions in 1983

"Gangubai Kathiawadi" (2022) Alia Bhatt proves she is not a meek actress as she moves from a brothel to be the top mobster.

"Dasvi" (2022) A crooked politician decides to use his time in jail to educate himself under the guidance of a tough cop.

"Sharmaji Namkeen" (2022) Rishi Kapoor's last film is a retiree becoming enlightened. 

"Badhaai Do" (2022) A gay cop meets a lesbian teacher and they decide to marry to stop their pestering parents, but of course the pestering resumes on a different path--Funny, but thought provoking.

 "Human " (2022) a mini series exploring issues for human drug testing.

"A Thursday" (2022) A strange set of circumstances with a big surprise.  Yami Gautam is fantastic. 

 One of top movies.







"Doctor G"  (2022)  Ayushmann Khuranna plays a young medical student who is coerced into flipping his field to gynecology.  Lots of laughs while he gradually learns not only skills, but also a feeling of purpose.




 Gehraiyaan" (2022) a dramatic vehicle for Deepika Padukone.

"Do Paise Ki Dhoop Chaar Aane Ki Baarish" (2009) An unusual family movie.  A gay songwriter, a prostitute and her handicapped son.  He is mostly unemployed, she is an aging and over priced.  The three bond and she tries to seduce him, but he cannot be seduced by a woman. A happy ending.  Quote "if we have no regrets about our mistakes or impulsive behavior then life has not touched us at all."



"Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar" (2021) A drama with Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor.

"Chandigarh Kare Aashqui" (2020)   If you aren't aware of any promotional bits on this you would be very surprised, but I will hint:  The woman is a transexual who doesn't reveal it until after a night with the protagonist.

"Anek" (2022) Ayushmann Khuranna is an agent working in a separatist part of India. 

"Toolsidas Junior" (2022) A fun film about snooker players and family redemption. 

"Laal Singh Chaddha" (2022).  Is a Hindi remake of "Forrest Gump" (1993) with adaptations for Indian history.








 "Monica, O My Darling" (2022) as a remake of a Japanese film, but ironically has a higher rating.  A murder mystery with loads of twists. 

"Dhoka" (2022) was an exciting psychological drama.




 "Goodbye" (2022) was a vehicle for Abhishek Bachchan doing the story of an older man reacting to the death of his wife.  Tradition competes with modern ideas, but still retains much of its strength.

"Monsoon Wedding" (2002) An Indian wedding with lots of family turmoil.  Shefali Shah and Naseeruddin Shah



"Bulbul Can Sing" (2018) set in small village with a group of teenagers growing up with problems.


"#Home" (2021  A simple story involving two families that like each other.

My favorite movie of the year and difficult to explain.  It is a family drama where the head seems to be taken for granted.  Writing about writing, one character goes back to his family, but maintains wife and in-laws.  Everyone gets along and even likes one another, but a surprisingly connection comes near the end.   Humorous in parts, touching in parts. 





Night Drive" (2022)  Encountering a car accident on a night drive can have scary repercussions.

"Hridayam" (2022) Follows the maturing process of a young man.  Described as a "feel good" movie.

"Ohm Shanthi Oshaana" (2014) is a well done romantic comedy.

"Padavettu" (2022) a movie with a political slant.  One quote, "If we don't have a scheme of our own others will make us part of their schemes"


"Firebrand" (2019) is a woman centric film involving rape.

"The Disciple" (2020) About Indian classical music and one man's effort to master it.  Surprised to learn an executive producer and financial supporter was famous Mexican director, Alfonso Cuaron. 

"Habaddi" (2022) About a young boy who stutters and later gets involved with kabaddi


"Pahuna:  The Little visitors" (2017).  Produced by Priyanka Chopra Jonas and is about two very young children who run away and adapt.  Touching.


"Guna" (1991) is considered one of the best of Kamal Haasan.

"Raatchasi" (2019) A clever teacher with military training saves a school.

"Taanakkaran" (2022) Conflict at a police training camp very well done.

"Love Today" (2022)  Troubles that can be fueled by modern technology.  Written, directed and starring Pradeep Ranganathan it makes a social point about modern lifestyles.





"Comali" (2019) was watched shortly after "Love Today" as after admiring writer/director Pradeep Ranganathan.  It had a social message.  Society has too much emphasis on technology and not enough on face to face.  For India pointed out the caste system hurts unified action.


" Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopaysa"  (2020) A revenge movie where the hero/victim has vowed to go barefoot until gets even.

"Shyam Singha Roy" (2021) A highly regarded movie using reincarnation as a dramatic device.

"Mallesham" (2019)  The story of an inventor overcoming obstacles.

"Pushpa:  The Rise Part One" (2021) a Blockbuster type of movie.  Lots of action.

"RRR" (2022)  even more ridiculous gimmicky action.  Still a dynamic story with some top name actors, Alia Bhatt, Ajay Dvegn, Shriya Saran,   Won an Oscar for a song.

"EE Nagariniki Emandhi" (2018) follows four long term male friends involved in a short film contest.  The one who fancies himself director writer is somehow entered into a short film contest in a category he detests--"romance"    Check    

"Varuta Parvam" (2022) was promoted as a love story which it was, but at the very end the writer told what motivated him to write the script. 

'Major" (2022) Life of soldier who died during Mumbai in November 2008  terrorist attack. Lots of action.  Great acting.  Discovered Adivi Sesh with his debut in Bollywood as actor and writer.

"Ante Sundaraniki" (2022) is a romance comedy with a common theme, lovers with opposing religion (at least in their parent's view) and they decide the best strategy is to lie and boy do they tell some whoppers.  There are a lot of twists including that one of their lies points to a serious life threatening situation.  Well done.

"Anukokunda Oka Roju" (2005) is a very confusing story about a young woman having a memory lapse and apparently did strange things out of character.  At the end are some practical philosophy dealing with the strange events.


"Lunana:  A Yak in the Classroom" (2019) About a young man who longs to escape his life in Bhutan to go to Australia, but ends up at a very remote site in Bhutan where he comes to appreciate a different way of life.




"In Her Hands" (2022) is a documentary that answers the question why would the people support such a backward group as the Taliban.  It is corruption--the governement campaigns for donations, but most of the moneu never reaches the ordinary people who live in relative poverty and ignorance.  The focus is on a female mayor whose life is endangered. 



"The Eight Hundred" (2020) Eight hundred Chinese soldiers surrounded by Japanese in 1937.

"Man in Love"(2021)  from Taiwan.  A lowly gangster takes in his head to court girl and possibly give up his gangster habits.

"American Girl" (2021) During the 2003 SARS pandemic a young girl returns to her Taiwan home.

"The Falls" (2021) Another Taiwanese film.  A mother daughter relationship, this one during a quarantine.


"Rouge" (1987) is considered a classic and it certainly has an intriguing story.  A courtesan (high class prostitute) and client love each other and decide on a mutual suicide pact.  Fifty years later the courtesan in hell is still waiting for her lover.  She decides to go back to earth in her old Hong Kong neighborhood to find out what happened.  She recruits a journalist and his girl friend to help her.  The two stars were very well regarded in Hong Kong cinema.

"Boat People"(1982) Set in Vietnam with the lead character a Japanese photographer.  Very gruesome at times.  This is post victory for the North Vietnamese who are very tough on the Southerners and the title refers to the hardships that lead to the boat people rather than the boat people themselves.


"Heneral Luna" (2015) is set during the Philippine-American War.

"Smaller and smaller Circles" (2017) interesting detective work done by two priests who are very knowledgeable about science.


 "Surga Yang Tak Drindukan" (2015) and #2

"Cemara's Family" (2019)

"The Photocopier" (2022)     A drama of a sexual assault 

"Ali & Ratu Ratu Queens" (2021). Enjoyable family drama.  Mostly filmed in New York City.  Young man's father dies in Indonesia and decides to seek out the mother who abandoned him who lives in the States.  Chasing her down gets him sidetracked.  

"Ngeri Ngeri Sedap (Missing Home)" (2022) A big surprise.  A family drama that started as a comedy (parents pretending to divorce to lure their reluctant sons to come home.  Turned deadly serious as we delve into underlying family dynamics.  Although everyone is well meaning the father is stuck in some of his ways, but realistically he does change. 




"Drive My Car" (2021) won the top foreign film Oscar and previously Cannes.  A many layered film.   Multi lingual.  One of my top favorites.








 "The Journalist " (2022) 

Good ethical ones are precious and under assault.



First Love  (2022)   One of four top series.    A romance over two decades with many time shifts and very likable leads.  Set in Sapporo.









"The Funeral" (1984) was an observation of funeral customs--sometimes mocking  


 "Khabsa" (2018) What did I mess"  from Lebanon   at dinner table conflicts exposed

 "You will Die at Twenty" (2020) from Sudan.  Concerns a prediction of a "holy" man that a new born would die at age 20.  The movie focuses on him at 19.  <personal note--as I write this I am tutoring a 19 year old from Sudan>

 "3000 Nights" (2018).  A Palestinian school teacher runs afoul of Israeli authorities and endures a long imprisonment and gives birth while there.

Newton's Cradle (2021) A series from Egypt and partly filmed in America.  This apparently has been my top movie blog.





"Excuse my French" (2014)  Surprised to see a director/writer depict Christians in Egypt.  Although there was some discrimination they tried to show how many felt it was their home.  Check:





"Soil: (2022)  Set in Belgium with a Moroccan family setting up for Muslim burials with soil.

"The  Present" (2021) a short film about a man taking his daughter to buy a present for his wife.  He  lives in Gaza and has to cross border stations to buy a refrigerator in Israel.  He is humiilated in front of his daughter.  Nominated for Oscar, did win several awards.

 "Costa Brava, Lebanon" (2022)  was a family oriented film set outside Beirut.  Preiously the family had moved from the big city to breathe fresh air, but a large trash dump was set up almost in their back yard and was a major factor in the downfall of the family.


"Binti" (2021) Four women in Dar-es-Salaam endure hardships

"Samara;s Dream" (2022) set in Zanzibar and over 7 years follow a young woman who dreams of being educated to be independent.  Tradition is a big obstacle. 

"Something Necessary" (2013) set in Kenya after riots following the 2007 election. 


"Hole in the Wall" (2020)  A man is dying from colon cancer, shames his estranged son to going on a trip including a female companion.  Graphic with his physical suffering. 


"Munyurangabo" (2008) Written, directed, edited and filmed by Lee Isaac Chung who spent time teaching film making in Rwanda.  His students and he decided to make a film themed on reconciliation efforts after that Rwanda genocide.


"Faya Dayi" (2021) set in Ethiopia where the number one crop Khat, a drug with religious associations.  The subjects live in Harar and have a very harsh life which has led to Khat becoming a single crop economy

Last year there was another good batch of subtitled movies: 

For my list of English language films check:

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