6 Reasons To Watch Foreign Films

Wool 100% (2006)

As I posted in Why I Love Foreign Films: Magic Without Needing Graphics, I have particular reasons as to why I prefer foreign films over standard Hollywood box-office hits.

These are a few reasons why I think everyone should watch at least a few foreign films for leisure:

  1. Learn a different way of life- Although not all foreign films are realistic, most of the foundations are based on cultural or social norms and mores. Watching an obsessive amount of foreign films has made me adapt to loving the japanese dietary lifestyle. I’m not saying I’m an expert at using chop sticks ’cause I watch foreign films that involve chop sticks, but I am saying that since I’m exposed to it on a regular basis, that I am more likely to try new things. It could also be that Asian  films always have food or “eating”, as it is a vital part of our (speaking as an Asian-American) culture.
  2. See the world- sick of the everyday norm? watch a foreign film like The Story of The Weeping Camel  and you’ll see the vast contrast between your life, in comparison to a family of Mongolian nomads who round up camels and elks for a living. Watching foreign films ignited my desire to travel the world, but until the day I can afford it, I’ll live vicariously through movies.
  3. Learn a different language-  Okay. So you may not be able to speak French just by watching French films, but if you can’t tell one Asian culture from another and you think they all “look” or “sound” alike, by hearing different tones, dialects, and being acquainted with the expressions and mannerisms in multiple films, you may start to pick up slight differences.
  4. Tell better stories-  I have no doubt that watching an immense amount of films has made me a better story teller. Watching and learning how the deliverance of a story affects the outcome of how the story is perceived, makes a HUGE difference when trying to get a point across. I use my body, my face, my whole being when I tell a story, sometimes all I have to do is make a gesture and it’s hilarious. A foreign film like Rumba  that is 77 minutes long has very little dialogue, but I guarantee that if you watched it on mute you’d still laugh your butt off.
  5. Become cerebral- for those of you who don’t know what  the phrase “being cerebral” mean, watching a few foreign films may help make you feel smart. Not pretentious-smart where you pretend to understand what’s happening, but the exact opposite. Don’t ignore why you don’t understand a scene, think about why it’s happening. Why would we need to know that a lady that lives in a farm has a collection of baby shoes when she doesn’t have a child?! You tell me! Is it essential to character development or are they just being random?  Great movies (foreign or not) should always make you think! Challenge yourself and watch films that aren’t  dummy-proof. You’ll be surprised by how much the brain can understand, without taking the easy way out.
  6. Be aware of world issues- a lot of foreign films touch on subjects that people may not want to see, but have to know. Of course, they are no substitutes for the daily news, but the news cannot possibly inspire you to care as much as you would, if you were to watch a full story. Movies add a sense of wonder and value, to the human life that can be expressed through music and visual storytelling; something the news can’t touch  in under 1 minute. Humanizing people by adding character, background and personality makes the issue they are going through a lot more interesting.  I’m aware that as a woman living in America, I am blessed with the freedom of choice and the ability to pursue happiness (while others may not.) But I never felt so much gusto and determination to make my freedom count, till I saw The Stoning of Soraya.

Whether based on fact or totally imagined, movies (foreign or not) can be an entertaining way to see the world in a different light. Who knows…maybe your life’s purpose is only a movie away (just don’t forget to put the subtitles on ^-^)

-JRB

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