15 Non-English Language Films from This Century You Might Have Missed

8. What’s a Human Anyway? (2004, Reha Erdem)

Country: Turkey

What’s a Human Anyway

A close group of friends and family members live in a block of Turkish apartments. The male characters depict phases of manhood in Turkish society. Ali suffers from temporary amnesia, a little boy refuses to be circumcised, a young man refuses to perform military service and a thirty year old man refuses to leave home.

What’s a Human Anyway? is a very poignant, slow paced, multi-plot, multi-character film which examines the structure of men and women in Turkish society. The director brings masterful touches to this unique comedy-drama.


9. A Touch of Spice (2003, Tassos Boulmetis)

Country: Greece, Turkey

A Touch of Spice (2003)

Fanis grows up in Turkey under the wing of his culinary philosopher grandfather. Fanis grows up to be an excellent cook and tries to spice up the lives of those around him. When he travels to his birthplace in Turkey, he comes to the realization that he has been too busy spicing up people’s lives and has left his own without the needed amount of salt.

This is a film with soul, combining two cultures and through culinary philosophy and displaying cosmopolitan attitude through a series of picturesque episodes. Food and life both need some spicing up according to this film. The nostalgic atmosphere is profound and achieves its points at the highest level.


10. The Butterfly’s Dream  (2013, Yilmaz Erdogan)

Country: Turkey

The Butterfly’s Dream

Two Turkish best friends in their early twenties work in mines and aspire to become published poets. Muzaffer Tayyip Uslu and Rustu Onur have dreams bigger than their means and they continuously bet on things unsecured. They meet a rich girl and bet that whoever writes her a poem she likes the most wins her. Things get complicated when both men contract tuberculosis.

This film depicts 1940s Turkey with accurate scenery and costumes. The thematic approach is compelling, it presents undying friendship, the dream of young boys to succeed, their doomed lives, and poetic presentation of love.


11. 10.000 KM (2014, Carlos Marques-Marcet)

Country: Spain


Alex and Sergi are deeply in love. Alex’s work opportunities are based in L.A., Sergi lives in Spain without her soulmate for a year. In an effort to keep their love alive, they use every means of technology available. Will they make it work out? A tale of 21st century, the use of technology is the point of this film. People are separated due to distance and alienated from each other. Now the power of media and phones keeps people connected. Is it a virtual substitute?

The film is romantic and intimate without becoming too melodramatic and emits a nostalgic but funny feeling. It is eccentric, different and captivatingly real.


12. Distant (2002, Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

Country: Turkey


A photographer named Mahmut lives in Istanbul. When his wife abandons him, he falls into an existential crisis. Also, his cousin, Yusuf, comes to stay with him due to unemployment after his factory closes. The two men don’t get on well. The two very different men, even though related, couldn’t be more distant. Their background plays an important part in their attitude.

The film is stoic, offbeat, concise and slow paced. It’s also a movie which pretty much anyone can relate to. The theme is timely and timeless, reflecting a wide range of human emotions.


13. Goodnight Mommy (2014 , Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz)

Country: Austria

Goodnight Mommy

In a luxurious country house, two young twins play between cornfields all alone. When their mysterious mother returns home from the hospital, after facial plastic surgery her kids start to doubt that she is their real mother and a series of weird events take place.

Deeply disturbing, weird and full of psychological aspects, this film has had many viewer on the edge of their seats. The film also deals with important topics such as single parenthood, the relationship between twins, trust issues, and identity theft. This is a poignant psychological thriller with moments of gore and heart stopping touches.


14. Bogowie (2014, Lukasz Palkowski)

Country: Poland

Bogowie 2014

Zbigniew Religa is a cardiac surgeon in 1980s Poland, who successfully leads a team of doctors performing the first heart transplant done in Poland. The English translation of the movie’s title is “The Gods” referring to the part doctors play in saving and prolonging human life.

The film is biographical, realistic, controlled, and it involves the audiences and is not based on religious perspectives. Both the costumes and sets are correctly depicted in recreating the era. This raw, exhilarating and authentic movie discusses existential issues and the power of humans in the medical field.


15. Palimpsest: A Hypnotic Mystery (2006, Konrad Niewolski)

Country: Poland

Palimpsest A Hypnotic Mystery 2006

A police inspector going by the name Marek is on the verge of psychological turmoil as he hopelessly tries to solve a case. As Marek investigates, his mental state slowly becomes hazy and hallucinations blend with reality.

A mysterious psychological thriller with neo-noir touches, the film can accurately be described as weird. This psychological puzzle is adamant and very smart. This movie starts off as a crime solving and digresses into dreams and visions, which somehow make sense in the end.

Author Bio: Ilona speaks five languages, and she is studying Film. She specializes in the theory and history of cinema . She also writes film reviews as well as screenplays. And she is currently working on her first fiction book.