Foreign-language films seem to come with an expectation to be arty and abstract, but in fact they’re found in all styles and subjects, much like the American and British films we’re all familiar with. One of the best things you can do if you’re planning to travel abroad, or just need to find out about another country’s culture for an essay, is to get acquainted with their film industry. You not only get a taste of that country’s way of life, but also an idea of what passes for popular culture there, and perhaps even some suggestions of where to go on your next holiday!

I asked some of Sussex’s international students to recommend their favourite film from their home country, and their choices ranged from a Christmas comedy to an avant-garde thriller. They’re all available on Amazon, so there’s no excuse not to take your first steps to being a connoisseur of international cinema!

Tesis

Pedro Abellán & Patricio Novales (Spain)

Alejandro Amenábar’s first movie, Tesis, winning six Spanish Cinema Academy awards, is a convincing attempt within the defiant psycho-thriller genre, unexplored before he did and never overtaken.

Ana, a journalism student involved in her thesis investigations finds a dark trade network of snuff movies, gore records where the victims are not actors, but real kidnapped students.

Room-mates and professors are involved. Who can you trust? Who not? Will she discover enough before becoming the next involuntary protagonist?

Intrigue is assured in this film, the start of the brilliant career of the most avant-garde Spanish director. Enjoy your fear.

Rang De Basanti

Prateek Sureka (India)

A Generation Awakens was not only a film. It was the celebration of youth. It’s said that art imitates life, but after this film life imitated art.

It is a film about a group of friends who are aware of things around them and want to change the corrupt system in India. Thing go nasty when one of their friends who is an air force officer dies in a fighter plane crash. The explanation given by the authorities

is that he was an irresponsible pilot. The truth is the fighter plane had faulty parts because of corrupt bureaucracy and personal favours of defence minister. They assassinate the defence minister to revenge the death of their friend and capture a radio station to tell their story. This film gave India a reason to stand and speak for what is going on in the country. It gave a way to protest peacefully. This film was imitated when the government

passed laws which were not ethically right.

I love this film because it truly describes what youth is all about – passion, inspiration and a burning desire to change the world. We all are like that, aren’t we?

Le Père Noël est une Ordure

Marie Neirynck (France)

A very famous movie in France. The casting of “Father Christmas is a jerk” is great and the characters are very funny. The action is set up in an emergency calling centre office. It is called « SOS détresse-amitié ». If people are desperate and need to talk to somebody, they can call there. It is Christmas Eve and two of the employees are staying to answer the calls. Josette comes this night. She is a young, half-homeless pregnant girl, moving around with her trolley because she just broke up with her seedy boyfriend Félix. Félix is desperate

and wants to have Josette back. He arrives dressed up in his working suit: a Father Christmas suit. This is one of the best French comedies and the kind of film one can watch twenty times, always laughing as the first time. It is therefore a French cinema classic, a cult movie.

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