2019’s Best Picture winner, Parasite, became the first non-English language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It turned the world’s attention to international films that had long been underrated and placed second fiddle to Hollywood films. Not only did Parasite win Best Picture, but it also won Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature, therefore sweeping four awards at the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony. This article will find five similar films you can watch if you like “Parasite.”
5. Tsotsi (2005)
Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi tells the story of a young orphan boy nicknamed Tsotsi who grows up in the harsh streets of the townships of Johannesburg to become a gang leader in Soweto. When a routine carjacking crime results in the unexpected kidnapping of a baby and the mother’s death, Tsotsi is forced to make radical changes to his lifestyle in a short period to accommodate his new predicament. In the process, he confronts his morality. With some scenes that are difficult to watch, like Parasite, Tsotsi is a coming-of-age film that delivers a strong message without embellishments. For this, it won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
4. The Hunt (2012)
Danish auteur Thomas Vinterberg broke into the scene with the 1998 black-comedy film Festen (whose themes are similar to The Hunt), but some flops in between caused his initial acclaim to dwindle. Now returning to his best, he delivers a knockout film that delves into a social issue that is rarely addressed yet exists widely in our society. This is an excellent masterpiece from Vinterberg. Hats off to him for showing the emotions of an ordinary man in such an excellent way. It’s a complicated watch that will make you want to look away and stay glued in front of the screen simultaneously. Mads Mikkelsen gives the performance of a lifetime, while the script delivers one of the most authentic stories ever to be told in cinema. It feels real because this is precisely how you imagine a real-life story unfolding. There is no moment throughout the film where the director asks the actors to pause and ‘act.’ This film is more terrifying than many horror films out there.
3. A Separation (2011)
Set in contemporary Iran, A Separation is a compelling drama about the dissolution of a marriage. Simin wants to leave Iran with her husband Nader and daughter Termeh. Simin sues for divorce when Nader refuses to leave behind his Alzheimer-suffering father. Her request having failed, Simin returns to her parent’s home, but Termeh decides to stay with Nader. When Nader hires a young woman to assist his father in his wife’s absence, he hopes his life will return to normal. However, when he discovers that the new maid has been lying to him, he realizes that there is more on the line than just his marriage. For his efforts, director Asghar Farhadi won an Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, and various awards were awarded to the cast.
2. The Lives of Others (2006)
The winner of the 2006 Best International Feature Film, The Lives of Others, is set in East Germany in the early to mid-1980s. The Stassi reigns supreme with the enlisted help of many informants such that no one can be trusted. Arguably the best International film released in the 2000s, Florian Henckel Von Donnersmark’s masterpiece regarding the influence and the attraction of an individual towards another creates an image that was very well interpreted by the masterclass cinematography and musical expertise. The screenplay is masterfully written and the story carefully directed. So good is the crafting and telling of the story that the film transcends borders – any audience can appreciate it. The superb acting from the leads, namely: Ulrich Muehe and Sebastian Koch, along with the supporting cast, drives Florian’s work past the ceiling so many better directors hit with similar ideas. The most heart-rending thing about this film is the knowledge that Ulrich Muehe died shortly after this film. He was a man of great talent, and this is evident here, at the peak of his career.
1. Cinema Paradiso (1998)
Anyone who hasn’t watched or heard of this film and loves cinema is missing out on one of the greatest films to ever grace the movie theaters. The majestic duo of Giuseppe Tornatore’s directing and Ennio Morricone’s score produced a film that moved me so much and affirmed my love for film. Films like ‘Il Postino,’ ‘Life is Beautiful, and ‘Mediterraneo’ stand on the shoulders of Cinema Paradiso. Cinema Paradiso is a call for the art of film as a medium and cinema as a theater; a collective place to escape from the hardships of life into dreams, sharing laughter and tears for a short time while watching a film. It’s a revival of digitalism and special effects and films being made at the computer desks.