We may not be able to physically travel to far-flung places right now, but these five foreign-language movies will whisk you away immediately as you get caught up in the intricate storylines and stunning cinematography.
La Grande Bellezza, 2013 (The Great Beauty)
Jep Gambardella (played by Toni Servillo) is a somewhat disillusioned 65 year-old journalist and man-about-town who looks past the success of his career and the high-life to try and find a deeper meaning to it all. Director Paolo Sorrentino picked out some of the most stunning locations in Rome to shoot including the San Pietro di Montorio and the picturesque gardens of Villa Medici. You’ll never see the city of Rome in the same way again.
La Piscine, 1969 (The Swimming Pool)
This French cinema classic starts off as a quaint summer-holiday story before turning into a psychological-thriller that is both discomforting and exhilarating to watch. Set in a villa somewhere in the South of France, once real-life couple Alain Delon and Romy Schneider play Jean-Paul and Marianne, a pair of lovers whose holiday gets interrupted when Marianne’s former flame (played by Maurice Ronet) comes to visit with his teenage daughter Penelope, (played by a very gamine Jane Birkin). It’s not long till jealousy, desire and contempt come into play.
Princess Mononoke, 1997
With its strong environmental message, this Studio Ghibli classic by Hayao Miyazaki is as relevant today as it was when it first came out in 1997. This animated masterpiece tells the story of a young warrior princess on a quest to protect the forest in which she was raised against industrialism. The stunning animation of the lush green forests will make viewers rethink how humans connect with nature.
Plein Soleil, 1960 (Purple Noon)
You’ve seen director Anthony Minghella’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel in the 1999 version of The Talented Mr Ripley, but the 1960 adaptation directed by Rene Clement provides an entirely different atmosphere. In one of Alain Delon’s breakthrough roles, the French actor plays Ripley who tags along on holiday with his rich friend Greenleaf (played by Maurice Ronet) on holiday. Set in a sleepy European seaside setting, this heady thriller is one that will keep you mesmerised by the performances and the unexpected twist and turns.
Le Mépris, 1963 (Contempt)
Arguably said to be Jean-Luc Godard’s masterpiece, this film will transport you to idyllic days by the mediterranean. Based on Alberto Moravia’s novel a Ghost at Noon, the film is about a novelist and screenwriter (played by Michel Piccoli) and his wife Camille (played by Brigitte Bardot) and their tumultuous relationship.