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Thursday, April 14, 2011

The 10 Best Foreign Films to Watch on a Date

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Dinner and a movie. They're ubiquitous date fodder, and rightly so. Feeding and entertaining someone is not only a good first impression, but also a chance to tell your date who you are. And just as you wouldn't take a date to Denny's, you probably don't want to choose the wrong movie, either. There's nothing inherently wrong with a slasher flick or a rom-com, and if you already know your date's preferences, maybe that's the right move. Sometimes. But, if you seriously want to impress that new gentleman or lady in your life, stick with foreign films. Not only do they speak well of your general worldliness and intelligence, but they also light the match for political, sexual, and intellectual conversation. And conversation equals foreplay.

Here's the thing: Too often, people confuse "foreign" with "boring."

Granted, it can be daunting to choose a film that isn't too artsy or complicated, and on the other extreme you don't want to be sitting together watching some dubbed soft-core porn with wicked bad dialogue (not that there's anything wrong with that). So how do you impress that new someone while still having a good time at the movies? Put these films on your Netflix list. Trust us.

10. A bout de souffle - 1960 - Jean-Luc Godard

This film, the title of which translates from French as "at breath's end," boasts a simple storyline and small cast -- but that doesn't make it a small movie. On the contrary, it's considered by the British Film Institute to be one of the best films of all time. The draw isn't only its engrossing dialogue and jump-shot cinematography, but also the controversy surrounding the ending scene. The dying thief utters, "C'est vraiment dégueulasse" (literally: "I'm really disgusted"). The word has caused much debate on the intent of the meaning and writer. Is he condemning the woman who betrayed him, society, or life in general? That's not giving too much away, believe us -- we're just prepping you for the intense discussion that you can have afterward over some fine French wine.

9. Pan's Labyrinth - 2006 - Guillermo del Toro

Del Toro's masterpiece gives us a wicked, beautiful fairytale, nothing less than awe-inspiring. Not at all intended for children, this film deals with violent death, a harsh political climate during the Spanish Civil War in 1944, and the struggle of one little girl, Ofelia, trying her best to make sense of it all. Del Toro draws in his viewers with intense imagery and scenes of surprising brutality. You won't be able to look away. Not only does this movie make for an in-depth conversation about how scary most fairy tales really are (and they are -- do you know how fucked-up the original Cinderella was?), but you can show off your history knowledge by explaining the atrocities of the short but horrifying Spanish Civil War.

8. Amelie - 2001- Jean-Pierre Jeunet

You'll be hard-pressed to leave this movie feeling anything less than giddy. Amélie is all about paying it forward, and teaches its viewers that there is nothing more amazing in this life than to go out of your way to help others. The titular character is an isolated, simple young woman who devotes her life to the simple joys in life and sort of morphs into a guardian angel. It's adorable, it's sweet, it's good-hearted, and if you're trying to impress a girl (or a guy, we're not judging) who's a huge fan of romance, this film is a must-see. Even the soundtrack will inspire you to live just a little better. And anyway, this is not a movie to view alone. You'll need someone to discuss a person's impact on the lives of others, and how for every action, there is a reaction. Cause and effect? Not just for high school physics anymore. In this case, they're also fabulous topics over nightcaps.

7. The Orphanage - 2007 - Juan Antonio Bayona

If you're with someone who loves horror movies, show them this, and watch it become their favorite movie ever. Tomas, the sack-faced resident of the titular institution, is simply one of the scariest movie characters of all time. The movie follows a woman who wants to reopen an orphanage and the haunted path she will encounter in doing so. The Orphanage screws with what you see and what you think for its entire duration. And although you never really see anything, it's the dread of what you don't see -- what you fear seeing -- being right around the corner. And here's the serious freak-out: Because it's in Spanish, even if you want to look away (and you will), you can't, because you're reading subtitles. You're doomed to watch every single frame of this thriller. Sharing something this frightening with someone is bound to bring you closer, both in spirit and on the couch. Maybe even in your lap.

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Stephanie March


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