Last Updated: January 30th
With every passing year — with every passing week — Netflix inches closer to a future in which the service streams only original content and eschews outside programming completely. But until that apocalypse arrives, off-the-beaten-path picks continue to hang tough in the under-explored International section of the ever-expanding library. The pickings favor the recent over the time-tested, but a neophyte trawling for something novel to watch can still get a pretty varied crash course on world cinema. Who needs the prestige festival circuit? Give Cannes, Berlin and Venice the slip by trying out one of the best foreign films on Netflix right now.
15. The Lobster (2015)
Run Time: 119 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star in this dark, absurdist comedy about a man searching for love under some very strange circumstances. Farrell plays David, a man whose wife recently left him. David is sent to a hotel where he’s told he must find a mate within 45 days or be turned into an animal. While there, David witnesses strange rituals and must follow strict rules in order to find love, but it’s not until he ventures into the woods, where the “loners” live that he pairs up with a woman (Weisz) who may be his soulmate. It’s weird, eccentric, and the perfect Farrell-starring vehicle.
14. Tale of Tales (2015)
Run Time: 134 min | IMDb: 6.4/10
Those fairy tales you grew up on? The stories they were based on are much grimmer. At least, that’s what Tale of Tales would have you believe. The film pulls inspiration from stories by Giambattista Basile, tales that are interwoven throughout the movie though they follow three separate women. The first is the tale of a bitter Queen (Salma Hayek) who desires a child above all else and pays the ultimate sacrifice to have one. The second is of an old hag who is transformed into a beautiful young woman before catching the eye of a king. The third is of a princess betrothed to an ogre who finds a grisly means of escape. Each story is beautiful, grotesque, and rooted in fantasy.
13. Immoral Tales (1973)
Run Time: 103 min | IMDb: 5.7/10
Poland’s proudest envelope-pusher Walerian Borowczyk directed a long line of surrealist features freely weaving elements of pornography into the dreamy realm of Euro-art cinema. And while this 1973 effort may not be his finest work, it is the only one currently available on Netflix. This anthology binds together four shorts simpatico in their hunger for perversions off the beaten path: incest, crucifixion fetishes, and a whole lot of bloodplay make for a rather exotic delicacy, even for those with a taste for the kinky. But the golden-hued ‘70s production values, the bosom-clutching emoting from Borowczyk’s lineup of French beauties, and a willingness to follow his weirdest artistic whims to their logical conclusion (here’s hoping you’re into extended close-ups of lips getting fondled!) amount to the sort of classed-up sleazefest seldom made these days.