Pop Culture Imports: Flee, A Hero, All Of Us Are Dead & More Foreign Movies And TV Streaming Now

It may be the shortest month of the year, but February has given us a veritable treasure trove of underseen foreign-language gems, whether it be Oscar-nominated movies that are finally making their way to streaming services, or graveyard season Netflix hits. Whatever the case, there's been such a wealth of riches this month that this edition of Pop Culture Imports will feature only the heavy-hitters. (I could expand to 10 movies just to feature a few of those international movies or shows that might have slipped your notice, from the Korean sci-fi series "The Silent Sea," to the Mads Mikkelsen-starring "The Hunt," to the lovely anime fantasy film "Child of Kamiari Month.") But first, why haven't you watched "Flee" yet? 

Let's fire up those subtitles and get streaming.

Flee - Hulu

Country: Denmark

Genre: Documentary

Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen

Cast: Amin Nawabi

"Flee" is an animated documentary that turns writer-director Jonas Poher Rasmussen's confessional-style conversations into a staggering refugee tale. Inspired by the story of his friend (who goes by Amin in "Flee" to protect his identity), Poher Rasmussen spins a clear-eyed coming-of-age tale that triples as an LGBTQ awakening and a sobering refugee story. But what sets "Flee" apart is its use of animation, which is used partially as a veil to conceal Amin's identity but is also a stunning show of artistry from Rasmussen, who is one of the few filmmakers to see the potential of animation as more than just a novelty for the documentary film, but a tool with which he can create a fuller, richer, livelier depiction of his friend's life. It lends the film a stream-of-consciousness feeling that makes "Flee" feel like you're watching the thoughts and memories drift right out Amin's head onto the screen.

Watch This If You Like: "Persepolis," "My Life as a Zucchini," "The Kite Runner," Jean-Claude Van Damme winking at you.

A Hero – Prime Video

Country: Iran

Genre: Drama

Director: Asghar Farhadi

Cast: Amir Jadidi, Mohsen Tanabandeh, Sahar Goldoost, Fereshteh Sadr Orafaie, Sarina Farhadi.

Can you have a morality play without a moral? That's what "A Hero" feels like as it puts its hapless good Samaritan (Amir Jadidi) through the wringer. Or perhaps the better question is: do morals matter in an immoral world? That question is much bleaker, but it's fitting for "A Hero," the relentless Iranian drama written directed by Asghar Farhadi. "A Hero" follows Rahim, on leave from debtor's prison, as he discovers a bag of lost money and decides to return it to the owner, sparking a media circus that raises him up as a hero before tearing him down as an all-too-flawed human. Intense, ruthless, and thought-provoking, "A Hero" is one of the best movies of 2021 and proof that Farhadi is one of the best directors working on the global stage today.

Watch This If You Like: "Prisoners," "The Pursuit of Happyness," being stressed out for two hours.

The Woman Who Ran - Mubi

Country: South Korea

Genre: Drama

Director: Hong Sang-soo

Cast: Kim Min-hee, Seo Young-hwa, Song Seon-mi,Kim Sae-byuk.

Directed by Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo, "The Woman Who Ran" unfolds as a cozy slice-of-life tapestry spun together with three loosely threaded sections centered around Gamhee (Kim Min-hee of "The Handmaiden"), a woman traveling around without her husband for the first time in years. In three separate visits to her three of her friends, Gamhee earns a glimpse of the rich textures of womanhood — or perhaps it's actually a serene twist on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," showing Gamhee insights into potential pathways that her life could have taken. In classic Hong fashion, it's never made clear whether this is just a passing fancy or if "The Woman Who Ran" does carry shades of the surreal. But in atypical Hong fashion, Hong's longtime muse Kim Min-hee gets to act out more than just his autobiographical fantasies and earn some kind of agency for herself for once — in a choice which makes 'The Woman Who Ran" feel like Hong's most quietly feminist film.

Watch This If You Like: Saoirse Ronan saying, "Women!"

Titane - Hulu

Country: France

Genre: Horror/thriller

Director: Julia Ducournau

Cast: Vincent Lindon Agathe Rousselle Garance Marillier Laïs Salameh

"Titane" has made headlines for its shocking twists and bloody indulgences — the wildest movie to win the Palme d'Or at Cannes! But what's most surprising about "Titane" is not its gore or transgressive overthrowing of the gender and sexuality conventions, or even its moments of wry humor: it's the rusted, tender heart that is hidden underneath a steel cage. "Titane," directed by "Raw" filmmaker Julia Ducournau, is actually a strange and twisted love story. If you've heard of "Titane," you know the gist by now: it's about a woman (Agathe Rousselle) who gets impregnated by a car and proceeds to go into hiding after her serial killer lifestyle gets her in trouble with the law (duh). But this is where the film takes a 180 into more tender territory, and where to spoil anymore for you would ruin the whole thing.

Watch This If You Like: "Climax," "Crash," "Under the Skin," hair pins.

All of Us Are Dead – Netflix

Country: South Korea

Genre: Zombie series

Creators: Lee Jae-kyoo Chun Sung-il Kim Nam-su

Cast: Park Ji-hu, Yoon Chan-young, Cho Yi-hyun, Lomon, Yoo In-soo, Lee Yoo-mi, Kim Byung-chul, Lee Kyu-hyung, and Jeon Bae-soo.

Korean dramas have been on a roll lately, and its latest Netflix smash hit is no exception. "All of Us Are Dead" manages to inject some life into the tired zombie formula by giving it some high school soap and that good old South Korean class commentary. The latest Netflix K-drama to use the green-and-white color scheme — and to draw inspiration from Korean New Wave films, "All of Us Are Dead" is another surprising hit from the streamer. Surprising in that it's one of those popular shows that is actually quite good, and not just something to throw on in the background.

Watch This If You Like: "Train to Busan," "#Alive," zombies and high school!