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From 'Metropolis' to 'Parasite': 100 best international movies of all time

  • #80. The Wages of Fear (1953)

    - Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
    - Stacker score: 86
    - Metascore: 85
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 131 min

    This French-Italian production is set in a fictional and remote Latin American town where villagers live in squalor, exploited by the American oil company based there. The film is famous for edge-of-your-seat suspense as truck drivers, hired for the dangerous mission, travel over rough terrain with loads of nitroglycerin. The film captures the futility of living under capitalism and provided the template for action films with a bomb-on-board plotline.

  • #79. I Vitelloni (1953)

    - Director: Federico Fellini
    - Stacker score: 86
    - Metascore: 87
    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Runtime: 104 min

    Federico Fellini directed and co-wrote this autobiographical film about “vitelloni” (or “layabouts”) who are beset with post-war ennui in the provincial coastal town of Rimini, Italy. Five young men, all friends, struggle with women and artistic yearning as they try to break through paralysis and enter adulthood. It was an international hit that showcased Fellini’s early-career style and themes.

  • #78. The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

    - Director: Víctor Erice
    - Stacker score: 86
    - Metascore: 87
    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Runtime: 98 min

    In a small Spanish town, a screening of the horror classic “Frankenstein” for the local villagers inspires a young viewer to obsess over the plot. Soon, she believes the spirit of the monster is hiding out in a barn. Victor Erice’s film is considered a masterpiece of Spanish cinema for its portrait of the effect of wartime trauma told through a child’s fantastical point of view.

  • #77. The Seventh Continent (1989)

    - Director: Michael Haneke
    - Stacker score: 86
    - Metascore: 89
    - IMDb user rating: 7.7
    - Runtime: 104 min

    Michael Haneke’s debut feature follows a family of three who go about their daily routine with a robotic, pervasive despair. In an interview, Haneke commented that these characters are enslaved by these everyday gestures, and this Austrian film set in Australia, the continent of the title, explores the pervasive cynicism of everyday routine.

  • #76. Cold War (2018)

    - Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
    - Stacker score: 86
    - Metascore: 90
    - IMDb user rating: 7.6
    - Runtime: 89 min

    Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski based this sweeping love story partly on his parents' tumultuous relationship as they moved across Europe from Poland, fleeing communist rule in the postwar period. The acclaimed film is a co-production between Poland, France, and the UK, lauded for its lush black-and-white cinematography and the tautly drawn passion between two Polish musicians who have a love affair across continents and years.

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  • #75. Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001)

    - Director: Zacharias Kunuk
    - Stacker score: 86
    - Metascore: 91
    - IMDb user rating: 7.5
    - Runtime: 172 min

    The first Inuit-language fictional film was shot on digital video and garnered international acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival while becoming a box-office hit in Canada. Filmed in Igloolik in Northern Canada and set in ancient times, the mythic drama features stunning natural landscapes as the backdrop for an engrossing plot, based on legend in which rival men vie for a woman, and the winner ends up chased away.

  • #74. Son of Saul (2015)

    - Director: László Nemes
    - Stacker score: 86
    - Metascore: 91
    - IMDb user rating: 7.5
    - Runtime: 107 min

    In this devastating Holocaust drama, a Hungarian Jew and camp prisoner tasked with burning the bodies of murdered Jewish people tries to bury the body of a killed child. Hungarian director László Nemes uses a roving camera and tight closeups to capture a grim horror that builds with unrelenting tension. “Son of Saul” was highly acclaimed for what was considered a responsible depiction of unbearable human suffering.

  • #73. Rocco and His Brothers (1960)

    - Director: Luchino Visconti
    - Stacker score: 87
    - Metascore: 84
    - IMDb user rating: 8.3
    - Runtime: 179 min

    When Luchino Visconti’s lush melodrama premiered in Italy in 1960, the most violent scenes went to a censored black screen while the soundtrack played. The family epic about five brothers in post-war Milan descends into sordid plot twists when two of the young men, both boxers, fight over the same woman.

  • #72. Persona (1966)

    - Director: Ingmar Bergman
    - Stacker score: 87
    - Metascore: 86
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 83 min

    Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona” is emblematic art cinema drenched with ambiguous psychological theory and filled with symbolic imagery. Liv Ulmann stars as an actress who has stopped talking, and Bibi Andersson plays the nurse who is to care for her at a Swedish coastal cottage. Surreal visuals use shadows and mirror shots to depict the two women as doubles, perhaps suggestive of a single character or a split feminine psyche.

  • #71. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

    - Director: Hayao Miyazaki
    - Stacker score: 87
    - Metascore: 86
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 117 min

    Breathtaking and strange visuals create the apocalyptic futurescape of this thrilling eco-fable set in the aftermath of industrial disaster. The setting is both natural and technological as it follows a princess who tries to bring peace to the world in the face of giant insects out to poison everything. This is an early masterpiece from Hayao Miyazaki, who would transform the Japanese anime genre with his original, vibrant stories for both adults and children.

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