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6 Foreign films to watch this Valentine's Day


12th Feb 2021 Film & TV

6 Foreign films to watch this Valentine's Day

Fed up that you can't go out this Valentine's Day? These beautiful foreign language films make for the perfect COVID Valentine's viewing. 

Valentine’s Day offers a moment for people around the world to celebrate their relationships, exchange gifts, go on special dates or even head off on an exciting getaway. This tradition isn’t simply reserved for couples, with many people may using the day to celebrate friendships, exchange messages with loved ones, or to simply bask in the warm glow of all things loved-themed (even if they aren’t in love themselves).

Unfortunately, in the era of the pandemic, many of our usual rituals will be off the cards. With the Netflix catalogue getting slimmer each week, many of us may be scratching our heads about what to do, come February 14th. Luckily, it’s still possible to find a bit of escapism and romance from your sofa. There are lots of great movies out there with love as the central theme. In fact, as it turns out, quite a few of them come with subtitles.  

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, the language learning experts at Babbel, have compiled a list of must-watch romantic movies that happen to be in another language. These are the kind of classics that rival Titanic, with the added benefit of transporting you to an entirely different place. So, grab the popcorn and cuddle up with your S/O, hunker down with your flatmates, or set up a virtual watch party with friends and family, and let Babbel take care of the entertainment.


1. Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water For Chocolate), 1992, Spanish

Like Water for Chocolate

Forbidden love is the main theme of this Mexican romantic movie set on a family ranch in the early 1900s. Tradition has it that the younger sister in a family shouldn’t get married, instead living with the parents to take care of them. This means our protagonist Tita can’t marry the man she loves, Pedro. Even worse, Tita’s mother has her older daughter marry Pedro, though he only agrees so that he can stay close to his love. In response, Tita channels her emotions into cooking.

As the years go by and several strange events unfold in the family, Tita finds ways to be close to Pedro. The movie is based on a bestselling 1989 novel by Laura Esquivel with the same name, in case you want some reading to go along with it.


2. Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (Amelie), 2001, French


Amélie is definitely one of the most well-known French movies; however, if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s the perfect date night romantic movie. A happy ending isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for all the movies in this list, but Amélie won’t leave you and your date in a sombre mood. We promise!

In the movie, we follow the shy and somewhat awkward waitress Amélie, who has a very vivid fantasy as a result of an isolated childhood with her eccentric parents. She spends her time daydreaming and waitressing, until one day when she finds a box of childhood memorabilia hidden in the walls of her apartment. She decides to find the person it belongs to, and so she embarks on a journey through Paris. The movie is shot in a cinematographically original and beautiful way, and it’s accompanied by an iconic soundtrack.


3. Im Juli (In July), 2000, German

Im Juli film

One of the early works of German director Fatih Akın—who later won a Golden Globe for In the FadeIm Juli is a romance, a comedy and a road trip movie all in one.

The story begins with Daniel, who buys a Mayan ring with a sun symbol at a jewellery stand. The woman selling him the ring, Juli, claims that he will soon meet the woman of his dreams and she will bear a similar sun symbol. That same night, Daniel meets a woman with a sun symbol on her shirt and decides to meet up with her in Turkey six days later.

He hits the road in his friend’s old car and starts his way southeast toward Turkey. But just outside of Hamburg, he stops to pick up a hitchhiker who makes the prophecy a little more complicated…


4. L’ultimo Bacio (The Last Kiss), 2001, Italian

A story about how to navigate love and relationships as you enter adulthood with all its responsibilities when you might not yet be ready for it.

The movie follows a love triangle consisting of Carlo, his girlfriend Giulia (who’s expecting their first baby), and 18-year old Francesca, with whom Carlo’s having an affair—his last chance of an uncomplicated youthful fling before his new, solemn life as a father begins. T

he movie was adapted for the American market in 2006 with Zach Braff as the immature protagonist. But if you’re looking for a foreign-language romantic movie experience, you should go for the Italian original.


5. Fucking Åmål (Show Me Love), 1998, Swedish

fucking amal film

Perhaps the most celebrated debut in Swedish cinema ever, the modern classic Show Me Love, or Fucking Åmål in Swedish, is the story of the seemingly impossible love between the school’s most popular girl Elin and the depressed and isolated Agnes.

The familiar, love-against-all-odds narrative is driven forward by an energetic and funny dialogue, and the movie really captures the desperation and awkwardness of being a teenager in love. Small-town bigotry and the teenage yearning to be both somewhere else and someone else are themes in the foreground of this coming-out and coming-of-age movie, which is one of the most beloved Swedish indie films.


6. A Copy of My Mind, 2015, Indonesian

What’s more romantic than you and your lover discovering a hot case of political corruption together?

Sari and Alek are both film nerds; Sari works in a beauty parlour but spends most of her time watching pirated DVDs, and Alek works as a subtitle writer for those DVDs. As you can guess, they meet and fall in love. But when Sari accidentally gets hold of a DVD that proves a connection between politicians and the mafia, their lives turn to a suspenseful political thriller, delivering a powerful message, both romantic and political.


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