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Foreign Gems You May Have Missed

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The Intouchables

This is the best movie I've seen in a long time. It's so hilarious that I was frequently laughing out loud but it's also a dramatic movie that's full of life, wisdom and soul. Based on a true story, Philippe is a rich quadriplegic who needs a caretaker. When Driss, a brash ex-convict, shows up, Philippe hires him and this amazing story of friendship begins. Even if you don't like foreign films, you should take a chance on this rare and unexpected treasure.

Love is all you need

If you like romantic comedies but are tired of the young and perfect protagonists this movie is for you. The movie is partly in Danish but mostly in English - with Pierce Brosnan as the lead. He plays a widowed Englishman living in Denmark who finds himself entangled with the family of the girl his estranged son is about to marry. The movie is about letting go, moving on – and maybe having the chance to find love.

Les adieux a la Reine

Based on the best-selling novel by Chantal Thomas, the film stars Léa Seydoux as one of Marie Antoinette’s ladies-in-waiting, seemingly innocent but quietly working her way into her mistress’s special favors, until history tosses her fate onto a decidedly different path.

Le Chant des mariees

The Nazi occupation of Tunisia strains the bonds of friendship between a Muslim woman and a Sephardic Jewess who are both preparing for their marriages.

Departures

Yôjirô Takita’s funny and profound film follows disillusioned young cellist Daigo (Masahiro Motoki) from his disbanded Tokyo orchestra back to his hometown. Confusing a small ad for “departures” with an entrée into the travel industry, he finds himself working alongside an elderly casket-maker, performing last rites on the dead, a career that leads him into elaborate subterfuge as he tries to keep the truth from his wife.

La Grande seduction

A tiny, impoverished Quebec village needs a full-time doctor to get a town-saving factory built there. A doctor is forced to work there for a month for punishment, and they set out to seduce him to stay by any (often hilarious) means necessary. Worldwide awards: 15 wins and 11 nominations.

12:08 East of Bucharest

Gil-Scott Heron once wrote "the revolution will not be televised," but one Romanian newsman attempts to put his nation's revolution on the air after the fact in this satiric comedy from writer and director Corneliu Porumboiu. Witty, hilarious, and smart.

Les Choristes

It is the late 1940's, and the new assistant teacher at a boarding school for "problem" boys feels that getting the boys to join the choir will help them. Comedy, drama, music and romance all blend together as the new "Monsieur" tries to teach the boys the power of music while the cruel, restrictive principal tries to thwart him. Worldwide awards: 11 wins and 23 nominations (incl. an Oscar nom. for Best Foreign Film)

Shaolin soccer

The plot really doesn't matter in this fabulously cheesy and fun action-comedy where Shaolin monks learn kung fu soccer and take on the dreaded Team Evil. Just sit back and enjoy! Worldwide awards: 13 wins and 7 nominations.