Recommended World Cinema

If you expect out of cinema not just a technological extravaganza, but something more than superficial, something real, inartificial, closer, sensitizing and lingering, then this list is for you.
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1.
Courthouse on Horseback (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
(101 mins.)
Director: Jie Liu
“ Judge Feng is an old, humane judge, settling small disputes through his ‘mobile courthouse’ on the horseback to isolated mountain communities in the forlorn minority hamlets of the Yunnan Mountains in the far southwest of China. Although a representative of an autocracy, Judge Feng is greatly liked by the inhabitants of the mountain hamlets.
A change in government policy is forcing "Auntie" Yang, a lifelong assistant to the Judge into retirement. On "Auntie" Yang's final trip, they are accompanied by her replacement, recent law school graduate Ah-Luo. He has yet to realize that in these tiny hamlets, the government's representatives must often bend the letter of the law to honour more deeply entrenched village codes and customs. ” - filmfrend
 
2.
Shower (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Shenzhen businessman, Da Ming, goes home to Beijing when he thinks his father has died. He finds his... (92 mins.)
Director: Yang Zhang
“ Contrasting yuppie ambition with family ties and tradition, it's the story of a wealthy businessman who pays an overdue visit to his father and mentally disabled younger brother.
Dad, humble but pure, runs a crumbling bathhouse that caters to an all-male clientele of geezers, misfits and crooks on the lam. A refuge from progress, an oasis in rapidly changing Beijing, the bathhouse is about to fall victim to urban renewal. Is it older son's job to rescue Dad and brother from their myopic delusions? Or can Dad and younger brother save Big Shot -- and the bathhouse -- with wisdom and humanity? ” - filmfrend
 
3.
It All Starts Today (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Daniel is schoolmaster of a kindergarten in a small French town. The local economy, which depended entirely on coal production... (117 mins.)
 
4.
Armin (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Ibro takes his son Armin from their small Bosnian village to Croatia to audition for a German film about the Balkan conflict. (82 mins.)
Director: Ognjen Svilicic
 
5.
Honey (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The quiet life of a boy and his family is endangered when his father does not return home from his work collecting honey in the forest. (103 mins.)
 
6.
Blind Shaft (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Two Chinese coal miners have hit upon the perfect scam: murder one of their fellow mine workers, make the death look like an accident... (92 mins.)
Director: Yang Li
 
7.
Departures (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A newly unemployed cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals. (130 mins.)
Director: Yôjirô Takita
 
8.
Dear Doctor (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young medical intern student is dismayed when he is assigned to work in a remote countryside village. (127 mins.)
Director: Miwa Nishikawa
 
9.
The Syrian Bride (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In Majdal Shams, the largest Druze village in Golan Heights on the Israeli-Syrian border, the Druze bride Mona is engaged to get married with Tallel... (97 mins.)
Director: Eran Riklis
 
10.
Yaaba (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A small African village. The story focuses on Bila, a ten year old boy who befriends an old woman, Sana... (90 mins.)
 
11.
Conversations with My Gardener (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A successful artist, weary of Parisian life and on the verge of divorce, returns to the country to live in his childhood house... (109 mins.)
Director: Jean Becker
 
12.
The Band's Visit (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A band comprised of members of the Egyptian police force head to Israel to play at the inaugural ceremony of an Arab arts center, only to find themselves lost in the wrong town. (87 mins.)
Director: Eran Kolirin
 
13.
Lemon Tree (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The story of a Palestinian widow who must defend her lemontree field when a new Israeli Defense Minister moves next to her and threatens to have her lemon grove torn down. (106 mins.)
Director: Eran Riklis
 
14.
Since Otar Left (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The one joy in the lives of a mother and daughter comes from the regular letters sent to them from Paris from the family's adored son... (103 mins.)
 
15.
Angel on the Right (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Set in the Tadjik village of Asht, this film draws on the Muslim notion that we are born with an angel on each shoulder... (89 mins.)
Director: Jamshed Usmonov
“ Hamro is an unrepentant prodigal son straight out of a Russian jail returns to his hometown, Asht, to visit his dying mother, Halima. But his debts in his hometown are many and long overdue, the townspeople are tough as nails, and he soon gets more than he expected from the quiet village.
The title derives from an Islamic legend, which talks of an invisible angel standing on each of our shoulders. That on the right witness our good deeds and thoughts, that on the left our bad ones. Upon death the Scales of Justice are weighed with the angels' host being sent to Heaven or Hell. Yet the director refuses to paint his characters in black and white terms, according a sense of mystery to the motivations and actions of mother and son.
Filming in his own village, and using his close relatives in key acting roles, the director constructs a revealing portrait of an impoverished community, still recovering from the effects of civil war. Many of the pleasures here are in the details and rituals of everyday life: the vigorous handshakes when doing business, the techniques of the local estate agent, the way somebody books the time of their passage into the next life. ” - filmfrend
 
16.
Mountain Patrol (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A moving true story about volunteers protecting antelope against poachers in the severe mountains of Tibet. (85 mins.)
Director: Chuan Lu
“ Kekexili, the largest animal reserve in China, is home to many rare species, including the Tibetan antelope. Prized for its skin that is used in making luxurious, albeit illegal, shahtoosh scarves, the antelope’s numbers have been dwindling drastically in the past 20 years as poachers slaughter the animals, often hundreds at a time. In the 1990s local Tibetans formed a volunteer patrol to try to stop the illegal poaching—sometimes at the cost of their own lives. The film chronicles the life-and-death struggle between these volunteers and the poachers, and takes place in the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) high Kekexili on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.
A journalist from Beijing ventures to this far country to spend some time living with the mountain patrol. He meets their legendary leader, Ri Tai. The leader is a man of few words, a man consumed by his mission. and he and his consider themselves the hand of justice. We are also left with wonder about what drew these desperate men to this desolate place for their thankless struggle. The film is based on a true story is filmed on the actual locations ” - filmfrend
 
17.
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A woman assists her friend in arranging an illegal abortion in 1980s Romania. (113 mins.)
Director: Cristian Mungiu
 
18.
Dersu Uzala (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The Russian army sends an explorer on an expedition to the snowy Siberian wilderness where he makes friends with a seasoned local hunter. (144 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosava
 
19.
Himalaya (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An aging chief's last stand, lessons for the new, and the education of a young chief-to-be played against harsh Nature in Nepal's Dolpo... (108 mins.)
 
20.
The Cup (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
While the soccer World Cup is being played in France, two young Tibetan refugees arrive at a monastery/boarding school in exile in India... (93 mins.)
Director: Khyentse Norbu
 
21.
Tricks (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Six-year-old Stefek challenges fate. He believes that setting a chain of events in motion will help him get closer to his father who left his mother... (95 mins.)
 
22.
Il Postino: The Postman (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Simple Italian postman learns to love poetry while delivering mail to a famous poet; he uses this to woo local beauty Beatrice. (108 mins.)
Director: Michael Radford
 
23.
Rain (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Buenos Aires. It rains. Alma is in her car, stuck in Buenos Aires' traffic. She has recently broken-up with her boyfriend... (110 mins.)
 
24.
Baran (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
In a building site in present-day Tehran, Lateef, a 17-year-old Turkish worker is irresistibly drawn to Rahmat, a young Afghan worker. The revelation of Rahmat's secret changes both their lives. (94 mins.)
Director: Majid Majidi
 
25.
Journey to the Sun (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Mehmet, a young Turkish man newly migrated from the village Tire, takes a job searching for water leaks below the surface of the streets of Istanbul... (104 mins.)
Director: Yesim Ustaoglu
 
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27.
Under the Bombs (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In the wake of Israel's 2006 bombardment of Lebanon, a determined woman finds her way into the country convincing a taxi cab driver to take a risky journey around the scarred region in search of her sister and her son. (98 mins.)
 
28.
Me Too (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Daniel - a recent university graduate with Down's Syndrome - falls in love on his first day at work in the Department of Social Services... (103 mins.)
 
29.
Séraphine (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Based on the life of French painter Séraphine de Senlis. (125 mins.)
Director: Martin Provost
 
30.
Letters to Father Jacob (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
With few options, newly pardoned convict Leila agrees to work as an assistant to a blind pastor. Father... (74 mins.)
Director: Klaus Härö
 
31.
Mondays in the Sun (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
This is the story of those who live as if every day was a constant Sunday, those who spend their Mondays in the sun. The story of people who worked in a dockyard but are now unemployed. (113 mins.)
 
32.
Where is the Friend's Home? (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
An 8 year old boy must return his friend's notebook he took by mistake, lest his friend be punished by expulsion from school. (83 mins.)
 
33.
The Visitor (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A college professor travels to New York City to attend a conference and finds a young couple living in his apartment. (104 mins.)
Director: Tom McCarthy
 
34.
The Maid (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A drama centered on a maid trying to hold on to her position after having served a family for 23 years. (95 mins.)