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  • Abby Wormsbaker

The World of Foreign Cinema



“Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” -Bong Joon-ho


As foreign entertainment strikes the nation once again with Netflix’s new show SquidGame (directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk), we are reminded of how great foreign cinema truly is.


Movies often portray real world situations, exaggerated of course, but are nonetheless based on real scenarios. Foreign cinema demonstrates the different ways people cope and the reactions can be influenced by where people live; grief, love, loss, etc. might look a lot different in America than it does in other countries. We gain a new perspective through watching foreign movies and learn a little about their cultures through their dialogue and daily struggles.


With subtitles being one of the main setbacks for foreign movies to be watched in America, it is understandable how some people can not read quick dialogue and watch a scene at the same time. It can be challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it by watching more and more subtitles (even if it is subtitles on an English show) you can find it a lot easier in the long run. It all becomes very natural to where you don’t even think about it.


Vera Blasi, a screenwriter, said it best: “Subtitles aren’t always reliable; you have to pay attention to what’s being told cinematically. You learn to watch a movie and pay close attention to the visual language, the body language of the characters, which changes from one culture to another. Some cultures are more expressive and bombastic, and others are very reserved, with things conveyed in the flicker of an eye or something tucked away in the scenery. You shouldn’t be afraid of subtitles because it’s the visual aspects that really help you understand what’s being said.” (​​https://medium.com/art-science/why-you-should-watch-more-foreign-language-films-91256a1c368)


The world of foreign cinema has only just begun, and the pure art that they have to offer shouldn’t be missed out on simply because of the argument that people don’t like to read as they watch a movie. There is something so different, vibrant, and beautiful about foreign language itself and in its movies. Stories are told in a way that you never thought possible, and it’s a look into the worlds that are outside of your comfort zone. As you finish Squid Game, and ponder over how amazing it was, keep in mind that there are thousands of foreign movies/tv shows/etc. out in the world that are just as great.


Movies to get started: In The Mood for Love, Roma, Chungking Express, Parasite, A Taxi Driver, Amelie, Mommy, Fallen Angels, Burning, and A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night.

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