It’s almost the weekend, and that means you should book in another Gizmodo movie night. This week, brush up on your Mandarin and your Spanish, or get ready to read some subtitles — these are the best world movies and international TV shows streaming online right now.
We’ve re-jigged our existing Netflix Movie Night series, and brought in Australia’s other popular subscription video on demand services — Stan and Presto — to give you a broader selection of movies and TV shows to enjoy. On all three services, you can watch from your tablet or smartphone, on your PC or laptop, through your Smart TV, or through a media streaming dongle like the Google Chromecast, although specifics can vary.
Not what you’re after? Check out some other Gizmodo Movie Night suggestions:
Notable exceptions this week: Amelie, any of the great anime like Spirited Away, City of God, no Akira, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, no Downfall, Ghost in the Shell…
Oldboy is a 2003 film from Korean director Chan-Wook Park; it’s a brutal and bloody story of revenge, which starts with the forced imprisonment of a drunk called Oh Dae-Su, locked in a hotel room for 15 years with no contact from the outside world. When he’s released, Oh Dae-Se makes it his mission to track down the people responsible for taking his life away from him. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: WARNING: FEATURES HIGH IMPACT SEX SCENES AND VIOLENCE: After being kidnapped, Oh Dae-Su spends 15 years locked up in a hotel room, during which time he learns he has been framed for his wife’s murder. Grand Prix winner at Cannes.
Seven Samurai is the world movie you have to see if you like cinema. Set in the late 1500s in the Feudal period of Japan’s history, the movie follows a group of seven ronin — masterless samurai — who are hired to protect a rural village from marauding bandits, intent on raiding it for its crops and food supply. This is one of the greatest films of all time, and you should watch it. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: Considered one of cinema’s greatest-ever masterpieces, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) is an epic tale of heroism, camaraderie and sacrifice.
Martyrs is an extremely controversial French horror film; and it is extreme in its depictions of violence and horror — this is one to watch after you’ve put the kids to bed. Two girls, placed together in an orphanage, grow up inseparable, while one is tortured by her visions of the grotesque, emaciated creature she believes to be stalking her. Martyrs is the story of their mental struggle. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: WARNING: FEATURES HIGH IMPACT VIOLENCE. Two young women who were both victims of abuse as children embark on a bloody quest for revenge only to find themselves plunged into a living hell of depravity.
Blue is the Warmest Colour is La Vie d’Adèle, The Life of Adele, in France where it was made. It’s a coming of age film centering on teenager Adele, and her blooming relationship with painter Emma. It’s beautifully shot and beautifully acted, and is a perfect demonstration of the value of world cinema; I doubt this movie would have ever been made in Hollywood. This is probably another one for after you’ve sent the kids to bed. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: WARNING: FEATURES HIGH IMPACT SEX SCENES. Adele’s life is changed when she meets Emma, who allows her to discover desire and assert herself as a woman and adult. Adele grows, loses herself and ultimately finds herself through love and loss.
Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai is a Takashi Miike movie — the man who is the Steven Spielberg of the Japanese movie scene. This film, though, is actually a remake in 3D of the 1962 film of the same name by Masaki Kobayashi — see, cinema cultures other than Hollywood are equally guilty of recycling remakes! Hara-Kiri is a must-watch movie about the samurai code of honour, and how it was corrupted by those in positions of power and privilege. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: Hanshiro, a destitute samurai, asks to commit hara-kiri at the estate of feudal lord Kageyu. Knowing the dishonour this will bring, Kageyu begs him to reconsider, unaware of the shocking truth behind Hanshiro’s choice.
[REC] was actually re-made a few years later by Hollywood, and credit to its original storyline that it was recreated shot-for-shot. Take a dark, run-down apartment block, introduce a deadly and horrifying, horrifying virus, and you have this film; they’re not exactly zombies, but they’re close. [REC] is done extremely well, and you can even use it to brush up on your schoolboy Spanish skills — it’s set in the city streets of Barcelona. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Trapped in a quarantined building with a horde of ravenous zombies, a television reporter and her cameraman record the brutal events that transpire.
Troll Hunter follows a couple of film students as they put together a documentary, even after they realise the subject of their documentary actually hunts trolls for a living for the Norwegian government. There are some moments of sheer terror, but at the same time Troll Hunter actually humanises the giant creatures that it follows. Plus, you might even pick up a few words of Norwegian along the way. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Three students enter the Norwegian woods to film a documentary on a bear poacher who claims that he really tracks trolls for the Norwegian government.
Battle Royale. Oh boy. This is a tough watch. This is where The Hunger Games began. What happens when you force an entire class of 14-year olds onto an abandoned island, tell them they have to kill each other to survive, and give them a completely random and ridiculous bunch of weapons? Make no mistake, Battle Royale is a brutal and bloody movie. If you’re keen on a bit of gore, settle down with a beer and a bowl of chips and enjoy. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: The Japanese government introduces a system whereby randomly chosen schoolchildren are taken to an island and forced to fight each other to the death.
Let The Right One In is beautiful, and is another film that well deserved — but also surpassed — its Hollywood remake. A soft-spoken Swedish romantic horror film that will really hold your attention, until it sinks its fangs into your neck. It’s beautiful, quiet, and almost relaxing if it weren’t so eerie and unsettling. It should also make you worry about all the vampires that could potentially be living next door to you right now. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: A 12-year-old victim of bullies in a town plagued by murders spends his time plotting revenge — until he meets a misfit vampire who steals his heart.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a dark, moody Swedish crime drama that follows a wealthy family’s long-running intrigue, and it’s absolutely gripping to watch. Noomi Rapace’s break-out role as Lisbeth Salander is chilling and fascinating, and it’s no surprise that the entire movie was re-made for an American audience by Hollywood director David Fincher. The scenery, too, is beautiful, as is the Swedish language itself. One to sit down and consider. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: A journalist and a computer hacker team up to probe the unsolved disappearance of a wealthy man’s niece, only to uncover the family’s darkest secrets.
La Horde is a French horror film that starts out almost as a police procedural; it follows four policeman intent on capturing a notorious drug dealer. In the middle of their raid, though, things start to go wrong outside the slum apartment block that they’re in, and they find themselves having to strike an uneasy truce with their foes to keep out a more dangerous — and more undead — threat. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: In order to avenge the murder of one of their own by a gang of ruthless gangsters, four corrupt cops go on a rampage in a condemned building which serves as the mobsters’ hangout.
Presto: The story of Hidetora Ichimonji, an ageing warlord who after spending his life consolidating his empire, decides to abdicate and divide his kingdom amongst his three sons.
Disclosure: Stan is a 50/50 joint venture between Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media. Allure Media, the company which publishes Gizmodo Australia, is also owned by Fairfax.