When last year’s best international film Bong Joon-ho Parasite won the Best Picture award, the affable director encouraged Oscar viewers to transcend the barrier of subtitled films. Many of the most compelling stories and inventive films come from outside the United States, Canada and Great Britain. Thanks to streaming services (especially Hulu) and video on demand, international films are more accessible than ever, especially to watch the nominees for the Oscars 2021.
Another round (Denmark)
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg (also nominated) and starring Mads Mikkelsen, Another round is favorite to win. Four middle-aged teachers and friends, disappointed with their enviable but mundane lives, decide to drink alcohol around the clock to keep a constant buzz going. They suspect that their experience will resolve their ordinary midlife seizures and leave them more relaxed, open, and courageous. Another round is endearing even if its beats are a bit predictable. Sure, alcoholism won’t improve their parenting, marriage, or work performance, but the movie is more entertaining and thoughtful than its plotline suggests.
Another round is streaming on Hulu.
Better days (China)
Better days demonstrates that bullying is a problem in schools around the world, with many deep-rooted causes that simply cannot be addressed with anti-bullying platitudes. He skews young adults more than most Oscar nominees, in large part because he’s adapted from a YA novel. The film follows a teenage girl, Chen Nian, who, along with other students, is subjected to brutal harassment, especially because of her socio-economic status. When school administrators don’t seem interested or able to help, Chen Nian forms a relationship with Xiao Bei, a street kid with his own concerns. Together they care for each other in a world that doesn’t care for them, with engaging melodramatic results.
Better days is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube, and most other streaming platforms.
This poignant film is a double nominee. It has earned a spot in the competitive lineup of Best Documentary Feature Films. Collective talks about the devastating fire at a nightclub in Bucharest that killed dozens and injured hundreds of innocent spectators. This tragic event might be familiar to viewers; it made headlines in 2015. But this gripping documentary goes far beyond the front page coverage as courageous survivors, victims’ families and investigative journalists expose a shocking amount of government and corporate corruption which was not common knowledge elsewhere in the world. The film is a clear call to the accountability of systems supposed to protect the public, and it shows the role the public must play in demanding such action.
Collective is streaming on Hulu.
The man who sold his skin (Tunisia)
One would assume that the title of this film is metaphorical, but it is inspired by a true story in which a man volunteered (or at least his back) as the canvas for the work of a provocative artist called “Tim “. Tim now spends his time posing in museums. This fictionalized version adds a humanitarian crisis to already rather heady questions about the commodification of human beings. Sam must flee Syria and finds himself separated from the woman he loves. In order to make matters better, he sells his body to a wealthy and attention-seeking tattoo artist. He gets the money and the passport he needs but realizes that he has lost his autonomy in the transaction.
The man who sold his skin is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube, and most other streaming platforms.
Quo Vadis, AÃ¯da? (Bosnia Herzegovina)
Frequently, the nominees in what was once the Best Foreign Language Film category were a litany of prominent downers, full of masterfully delivered pain. Quo Vadis, AÃ¯da? is such a movie, but it’s a good and effective one, and probably Another roundthe biggest competition of. The film is set during the war that rocked Eastern Europe only a quarter of a century ago. General Mladic and his forces have taken control of Aida town, Srebrenica, and she becomes a translator between the cruel invading forces and the indifferent UN. Aida’s family seek refuge in the UN camp and, from their perspective, the public comes to view the conflict from both a societal and a family perspective. Quo Vadis, AÃ¯da? is a moving but disturbing reminder and a warning that hatred is all too common.
Quo Vadis, AÃ¯da? is streaming on Hulu.
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