Stream These Five International Movies Now

“Sarpatta Parambarai” (Stream it on Amazon Prime Video.)

“Sarpatta Parambarai” begins with an outdoor boxing tournament filled with enthusiastic spectators. It is the mid-1970s, and India is under the draconian state of emergency of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The rulers of the southern state of Tamil Nadu are fierce opponents of Gandhi, and the tournament also serves as a platform for them. In an almost 40-minute prologue, comprising a series of quick fights, the film introduces us to both this larger political history and the complicated micro-history of boxing in the Tamil capital of Chennai: The Many Clans rivals; the waning reign of the Sarpatta clan and its once legendary trainer; the rise of a new villainous champion who threatens to end Sarpatta. Soon Kabilan (Arya), a rookie who lost his father years ago in boxing gang wars, takes up the challenge, vowing to redeem Sarpatta.

Pa Ranjith, a director known for mixing the style of blockbusters with meaty socio-political themes (see his 2018 hit “Kaala,” also on Amazon Prime Video), creates an electrifying hybrid of sports film and mafia film. “Sarpatta Parambarai” is as granular in its details – character, costume, setting – as it is sprawling. Taking place at a breathtaking pace, the film follows Kabilan and his team for several years as they face challenges, betrayals, and honor plays. But it’s in the bravery fight scenes (both inside and outside the ring) that Ranjith really flexes the chops, featuring fights with such swagger and kinetics that they made me bite my nails and sway to their infectious rhythm.

“The Ants Awakens” (HBO Max)

This Costa Rican drama is a beautiful addition to what I call the canon of women on the verge of a nervous breakdown: films about women who are undone by the demands of femininity, their instability producing ripples of disorientation in the fabric. of the movie. Isabel, a young mother of two daughters, struggles to find her place in a life framed by childcare, housekeeping and her tailoring. When her husband and her in-laws begin to harass her to have another child, despite the family’s insufficient means, she is unable to express her refusal. His pent-up dread soon manifests in the form of strange visions of bodily disintegration: ants crawling all over his body; her hair was falling in tufts.

If Antonella Sudasassi’s film fits a bit too well into the Nervous Breakdown model – it even features this cinematic shortcut for neurosis, a woman stuffing a cake in her mouth – what sets it apart is that it never quite succumbs to hysteria. Instead, the perceptual study of Sudasassi’s character reveals his ideas delicately and without much ado. Daniela Valenciano plays Isabel with an unpretentious sense of mystery, never making her inner turmoil too obvious or predictable; Refreshingly, her husband, though unconscious, is not turned into a villain either. With naturalistic cinematography and sound design, the film draws on Isabel’s little daily breaks to reach a climax that surprises with its simplicity.

“Everyone on the bridge” (Mubi)

Resplendent with sun, breeze and youthful envy, Guillaume Brac’s comedy follows a group of around twenty on an exuberant adventure in the French mountains. Félix, a handsome nursing student, meets the effervescent Alma on a sweet Parisian evening and spends the night with her. When she goes on vacation with the family the next day, he stubbornly decides to surprise her with a visit, leading her pal Chérif and Edouard, a stupid carpool, reluctantly stuck in their scheme. What begins as a lust-fueled boys’ journey transforms into something warm and tender, with the scenic setting seemingly setting off puzzling and alluring currents of friendship and romance. Felix and Alma test the fickle waters of infatuation; Edouard becomes comically attached to his new crew; and Chérif, in love with a young mother, becomes his accidental babysitter. Working on a loose and partly improvised scenario, the young actors of the film bring its endearing rhythms to life, mixing easy and burlesque laughter with an unforced depth.

“His house” (Netflix)

In Toni Morrison’s classic novel “Beloved”, a house is haunted by the ghost of a child murdered by his mother to save her from the horrors of slavery. Remi Weekes’ “His House” offers a sort of modern twist to this Gothic story of survivor trauma and guilt, swapping the transatlantic journeys of the slave trade for those of the contemporary refugee crisis. In the film’s opening cut of fable, a Sudanese couple, Bol and Rial, are seen escaping their homeland in an overflowing raft; as their boat capsizes in a storm, they lose their daughter. Next, we meet them in a detention center in Britain, where, after a long time, they are finally released on bail and housed in a large creaky house, the shadows of which soon take malicious forms. What’s great about Weekes’ vanity is how it intertwines some sort of kitchen sink drama about the life of an immigrant – riddled with hostile bureaucracy and rampant racism – with a festival of all creeps. azimuths. Just as frightening as the zombie sequences in the film are of Rial being heckled by xenophobic teenagers as she tries to find her way around London, the camera circling around her, making her fear and disorientation palpable.

“Arabian blue” (Mubi)

The radiant Golshifteh Farahani plays in “Arab Blues” the role of Selma, a psychoanalyst born in Tunis living in Paris who returns to her hometown to open a practice in the aftermath of the Tunisian revolution. If the reasons for his return are puzzling to those close to him, many of whom aspire to emigrate, the remedy by speaking is even more difficult to sell. “My clients come here and talk about a blue streak, but they come away with beautiful hair,” a local hairdresser tells Selma. “What do people leave your office with?” “

But Selma doesn’t make any exaggerated promises about her services, and neither does Manele Labidi’s screenplay. “Arab Blues” simply revel in the comedic, romantic and philosophical conversations that take place in Selma’s sessions, highlighting the minor and major issues of a people living in the midst of uncertain political upheaval. Labidi gently pokes fun at the cultural and ideological conflicts that make up Selma’s milieu: her neighbors balk at the sight of a tattooed, single woman smoking on their roof, while Selma can’t seem to prevent her own distraught condescension. But these observations never boil down to punchlines. It’s a movie that’s sensitive to people’s innate complexities, and it’s helpful that Labidi has an irreverent sense of wit: in an unexpected twist into fantasy, Sigmund Freud himself appears to save Selma after his car is gone. broke down, smoking a cigar in icy silence. while she pours out all her misfortunes.

© 2021 The New York Times Company

Darcy J. Skinner

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