My Top Ten Non-English Language Political MoviesJun 19, 2004 (Updated Nov 10, 2005) Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in MoviesThe Bottom Line These ten foreign films all have strong political themes that viewers will find intriguing.
There are plenty of good foreign films with political themes. In picking my Top Ten, I am considering two factors how good a movie is it overall and how big a part of the movie is the political theme. For this list, a film that has strong political elements in its plot can move ahead of another film that is slightly better overall but with a weaker political component. Im excluding films that are more about war than politics, even if it carries a strong antiwar message. I am not excluding, however, films dealing mainly with the antecedents of a war or its aftermath.
#10. Wedding in Galilee (1987). This fine Israeli film deals with the tension between Israelis and Palestinians in the context of an elaborate wedding in a small Palestinian village that is under occupation. Possibly the only film ever made in Israel that looks at things from the Palestinian perspective.
#9. Strawberry and Chocolate (1994). This Cuban film exposes the antigay stance that existed in the early days of the Castro regime. It also effectively examines interactions between gays and straights, both positive and negative, at the level of individuals.
#8. Dangerous Moves (1984). The Cold War is the backdrop for this Swiss film about a world chess championship between an exile from the Soviet Union and an aging Soviet champion. More than just a championship for an individual is at stake. The potential propaganda fallout could be enormous as well.
#7. The Terrorist (1998). This exciting and intriguing Indian movie examines the mind of a young terrorist as she prepares for a suicide mission to assassinate a political leader. How will her view of her mission be affected by her discovery that she is pregnant?
#6. Zentropa (1992). Few films look at the aftermath of war in as fascinating a way as this one. This German film, set in Germany immediately after World War II, features a lead character who is an American pacifist. Though born in America, his parents were German and he has decided to try to help rebuild his parents country of origin. Instead, he gets caught up in all sorts of political intrigue.
#5. Mephisto (1981). This Hungarian film in German language is one of the best examinations of the role and responsibilities of artists in relation to propaganda and resistance. Can artistic expression even ethically continue under totalitarian regimes and with war looming?
#4. Butterfly (1999). This Spanish film is set in the days of the Spanish Republic of the 1930s. Although the story really only gets strongly political near its end, it does so in a very powerful way.
#3. Burnt By the Sun (1995). This Russian film makes a very strong statement about the purges conducted during Stalins regime. It is also highly engaging on the level of the family that finds itself caught up in the madness which was Stalinist Russia.
#2. The Official Story (1984). The disappearance of political dissidents in Argentina during the late 1970s is addressed in a most effective and personal way in this Spanish language film from Argentina. The performance by Norma Aleando is worth the price of admissions by itself.
#1. Z (1969). This French and Algerian co-production was based on the assassination of a charismatic leftist leader, Gregorios Lambrakis, by the rightwing government and the subsequent attempt at cover-up and whitewash by a mock investigation. One of the best conspiracy films ever.
I would have included some others, but with the Patriot Act in effect and the CIA and FBI looking over my shoulder, well . . . . . . never mind. Could somebody pass me my Thorazine?
You may also enjoy my other genre lists for non-English language films:
Ten Excellent Spanish-Language Films
Ten More Excellent Spanish-Language Films
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Top Ten Foreign Language Psychodramas
My Top Ten Non-English Language Tragedies
Top Non-English Language Comedies
Top-Ten Non-English Language Film Biographies
Top-Ten Non-English Language Action/Adventure Films
Top-Ten Non-English Language Mystery Films
Top-Ten Non-English Language ~Horror~ Films
Top-Ten English-Language ~Horror~ Films from Outside the USA
Ten Excellent Films Featuring Royalty
Ten Excellent Non-English Language Thrillers
Ten Non-English Language High-Yield Tearjerkers
Ten Best Non-English Language War Movies!!
Ten Excellent Non-English Language Senior Films
Top-Ten Non-English Language Films Featuring Classical Music
The Top Non-English Language Epics
The 10 Best Foreign Language Romance Movies!!
The Ten Best Non-English Language Love Story Movies!!
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