best foreign movies and tv streaming january 30

(Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best foreign movies and TV streaming right now.)

As we near the annual Academy Awards, you may be anxious to watch the films nominated for the coveted golden statuette. And while some of them are available to stream now, a fair few are harder to find. But you can still watch the next best thing: movies or shows vaguely related to the Oscar-nominated movies! We have that and more in this week’s Pop Culture Imports, in which I offer you a chance to see Honeyland, the first movie ever nominated in the Best Documentary and Best International Feature categories (and deservedly so), as well as next-best recommendations for those eager to see Céline Sciamma’s lush romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire or to watch Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece Parasite again. Instead I have for you Sciamma’s Tomboy and a tremendous K-drama starring Parasite‘s rich dad Lee Sun-kyun as a poor dad struggling against socioeconomic pressures. Those and a few more are streaming now.

So let’s fire up those subtitles and get streaming.

Best Foreign Movies and TV Streaming Now

Honeyland – Hulu

Country: Macedonia

Genre: Documentary

Director: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov

Cast: Hatidze Muratova

Honeyland has the rare honor of being nominated for both best documentary and best international feature — a first for any film. But this meditative Macedonian documentary that follows the life of Hatidze Muratova, a lone beekeeper who lives peacefully with her bedridden mother in a remote mountainous village until a rowdy nomadic family moves in next door, fully deserves that double nomination. Directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, who shot the film over the course of three years and compiled more than 400 hours worth of footage, Honeyland hardly feels like a documentary but rather like a piece of cinema verité, as if Kotevska and Stefanov had stumbled upon this beautiful, untouched corner of the world. Originally intended as a government-supported documentary, Honeyland pays its due attention to the effects of climate change and how the fast pace of civilization can damage the world’s depleting resources, but ends up being a sad and lovely little fable of a lonely woman whose greatest struggle is with the ravages of time.

Watch This If You Like: The Gleaners and I, The Trader, bees!

Tomboy – Criterion Channel

Country: France

Genre: Coming-of-age drama

Director: Céline Sciamma

Cast: Zoé Héran, Malonn Lévana, Sophie Cattani, Mathieu Demy, Jeanne Disson.

Céline Sciamma‘s Portrait of a Lady on Fire may be completely shut out of the Oscars this year, but as the ravishing lesbian romance finally goes wide in U.S. theaters this February, check out one of the French director’s coming-of-age classics. Tomboy follows a 10-year-old gender non-conforming child, Laure (Zoé Héran, in a tremendous turn), who starts presenting as a boy when her family movies to a new neighborhood. A dreamy summer coming-of-age film, Tomboy manages to still cut sharp and deep, as the anxiety over Laure’s rapidly expanding lie begins to overtake any of the sweet, intimate character moments. Sciamma’s examination of gender identity gives a dark edge to the typical summer slice-of-life story, and one that feels overwhelmingly honest.

Watch This If You Like: Girlhood, Pariah, The Florida Project, Boys Don’t Cry but without the horrific ending.

My Mister – Viki

Country: South Korea

Genre: K-drama series

Director: Kim Won-seok

Cast: Lee Sun-kyun, Lee Ji-eun.

A year before he became the symbol for the decadently wealthy in Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-nominated masterpiece ParasiteLee Sun-kyun played the polar opposite character in My Mister, a disarmingly profound K-drama series about a group of weary souls beaten down by social and economic pressures. It seems the actor has found a niche in stories about socioeconomic anxiety in Seoul, starring in My Mister as a low-level engineer at an architectural firm who has begun to resent his life as his middle-age years pass him by. But when a young employee (pop star Lee Ji-eun), an impoverished woman who struggles to take care of her infirm grandmother while avoiding loan sharks, catches him in what appears to be a bribe, she attempts to blackmail him. However, they soon find kinship in each other’s sad situations, and strike up an unlikely friendship that begins to change both of them for the better. In the K-drama genre, which is terribly oversaturated by cheesy romances, the sublime My Mister is a refreshingly mature drama about the hardships of every day life, and the relationships that help us navigate them.

Watch This If You Like: My So-Called Life, Once, Columbus, socioeconomic anxiety the TV show!

A Sun – Netflix

Country: Taiwan

Genre: Family drama

Director: Chung Mong-hong

Cast: Chen Yi-wen, Samantha Ko, Wu Chien-ho, Liu Kuan-ting.

A sweeping saga of a family struggling through a bad son’s imprisonment and the good son’s suicide, A Sun is a little overlong and sometimes veers toward the melodramatic, but is punctuated by moments of wry humor that helps digest this tale of a family fractured by violence. Directed by Chung Mong-hongA Sun follows the family of A-Ho (Chien-Ho Wu), the younger son and problem child of a lower middle-class family of four, who commits a shockingly violent crime and gets sent to juvenile detention. His mother, father, and older brother struggle with the fallout of A-Ho’s incarceration, but are never able to return to the way things were, leading to the older brother (Greg Han Hsu), a promising medical student, to commit suicide. Meticulous in its portrayal of trauma and unmet expectations, A Sun is a remarkably restrained family drama anchored by incredibly nuanced performances from the entire cast.

Watch This If You Like: A Prophet, Ordinary People, Rust and Bone, tales of two brothers.

The Ghost Bride – Netflix

Country: Taiwan, Malaysia

Genre: Supernatural comedy-drama

Director: Quek Shio-chuan, Ho Yu-hang

Cast: Huang Pei-jia, Wu Kang-jen, Ludi Lin, and Kuang Tian

What if you got married to a ghost to solve a murder mystery? That’s the wacky premise of The Ghost Bride, based on the New York Times bestselling novel of the same name by Malaysian-Chinese author Yangsze Choo. The Taiwanese-Malaysian supernatural drama somewhat clumsily balances its horror premise with more comedic leanings, something that showrunner Kai Yu Wu, a Tiawanese-American writer who has written for Hannibal and The Flash, has experience with in spades. But there’s a certain charm to The Ghost Bride, which follows 20-year-old Pan Li Lan (Huang Peijia), a girl living in 1890 Colonial Malacca whose family promises her to be the bride of a deceased wealthy son to save his soul. Skeptical of the whole thing, she agrees, only to find herself plagued by the vengeful dead man, who reveals to her that he was murdered. Li Lan strikes a deal with her dead husband, that she will solve his murder, and he will save her ailing father, whose soul is stuck wandering the netherworlds. But the dramatic twist! Li Lan’s hunky childhood friend (Ludi Lin) may be the culprit.

Watch This If You Like: American Horror Story, Scream Queens, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, solving a murder mystery by marrying a ghost.

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