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    10 servings of subtitled cinema to fill your foreign film fix

    Promotional+still+for+the+Korean+thriller+Train+to+Busan.
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    Promotional still for the Korean thriller Train to Busan.

    There is more to the silver screen than the good ‘ol blockbuster, and furthermore, from outside the U.S. Here are 10 foreign films to watch this semester at the Loft Cinema. 

    “Mia Madre” from Italy

    From the tragic, “The Son’s Room” to the comic, “We Have a Pope,” Director Nanni Moretti has displayed his own intimate style in each of his films. This madcap dramedy follows a film director as she struggles with her problems on and off the set. The film opens Friday, Sept. 2 at the Loft Cinema.

    “Ixcanul” in Guatemala

    It’s Guatemala’s first-ever submission to the Oscars! If that does not get your blood pumping, nothing will. The movie opens Friday, Sept. 30 at the Loft.

    “Train to Busan” in South Korea

    South Korea has produced a peerless film renaissance in the last 10 years or so, and this gory zombie thriller/political commentary seeks to continue in that tradition. This will likely not be for the faint of heart for fans of “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” but for those adventurous of spirit, “Train to Busan” is one to catch. This film opens Friday, Sept. 9 at the Loft.

    “Desierto” from Mexico

    An illegal immigrant finds himself in the crosshairs of a psychotic gunman bent on protecting the Mexican-American border from all intruders in the first film from Jonás Cuarón. Cuarón, the son of, “Gravity” director Alfonso Cuarón, has certainly chosen prescient subject matter in the era of Donald Trump. At any rate, this promises to be a pulse-pounding thriller. This opens in limited release Friday, Oct. 14, and local showtimes are TBD.

    “Elle” from France

    Director Paul Verhoeven is known primarily for gory sci-fi satires like “RoboCop” and “Total Recall” (and the NC-17 camp classic/trainwreck, “Showgirls”), but his latest film finds the Dutch auteur in more realistic territory. The luminous Isabelle Huppert stars as a woman seeking revenge on the man who raped her. It was extremely popular at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, though it left the fest empty-handed. Opens in limited release Friday, Nov. 11. Local showtimes are TBD.

    “Toni Erdmann” from Germany

    With a running time closing in on three hours, it’s possible this father-daughter reconnection dramedy will find an audience only among the cinephile elite, but those who do show up will surely find much to love. Variety film critic Guy Lodge called it a “humane, hilarious triumph” out of Cannes. Right now, “Toni Erdmann” looks like a major contender for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film opens in limited release Sunday, Dec. 25, and local showtimes are TBD.

    “The Salesman” from Iran

    Director Asghar Farhadi came roaring onto the international scene with his insta-classic, “A Separation,” a few years ago, but his next film, French-language drama “The Past,” underwhelmed many viewers. His latest, about a couple’s romantic problems during a production of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” has a neat meta angle as well as thunderous critical approval. Opens in limited release Friday, Dec. 9. Local showtimes are TBD.

    “Neruda” from Chile

    Pablo Larraín has been responsible for some of the most notable movies out of Chile this century. The dark, twisted “Tony Manero,” is about a killer obsessed with John Travolta’s character in “Saturday Night Fever” served as Larraín’s calling card, but it was his political drama “No” that broke the director through. Seeking to capitalize on that momentum is his unconventional biopic about the seminal poet Pablo Neruda, “Neruda” will also inevitably be a contender for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Local showtimes are TBD.

    “Julieta” from Spain

    A mother reassesses her relationship with her daughter in the latest from Pedro Almodóvar, the man behind some of the finest Spanish-language films of all time, including, “Talk to Her” and “Volver.” His most recent film, the screwball comedy, “I’m So Excited!” received a poor critical reception, but “Julieta” is by all accounts a return to form. It opens in limited release Wednesday, Dec. 21; local showtimes are TBD.

    “The Handmaiden” from South Korea

    Further proof of this country’s cinematic dominance is the latest from Park Chan-wook, who directed “Oldboy,” perhaps the most famous of the South Korean New Wave. This inevitably violent tale centers on the titular handmaiden who is drawn into a tale of intrigue. Opens in limited release Friday, Oct. 21, with local showtimes TBD.


    Follow Raad Zaghloul on Twitter.


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