(Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best foreign movies and TV streaming right now.)
With businesses re-opening and the sun shining, it’s probably tempting to go out and enjoy the summer right now. And while I can’t tell you what you can or can’t do, I can encourage you to stay at home instead and continue to brush up on your quarantine viewing with some fantastic foreign-language films. This week’s Pop Culture Imports includes a sumptuous Pedro Almodóvar mother-daughter tale, a whimsical original anime movie on Netflix, Jan Švankmajer‘s unsettling stop-motion take on Alice in Wonderland, an edgy 2019 remake of an Osamu Tezuka ronin classic, and a Chilean drama that finally gives Lost breakout Jorge Garcia the leading man role he deserves.
Fire up those subtitles and let’s get streaming.
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(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Series: Dororo
Where You Can Stream It: Amazon Prime
The Pitch: A ronin named Hyakkimaru, born without limbs, facial features, or internal organs due to a pact with demons made by his father, roams feudal Japan with a young urchin named Dororo to defeat demons and gain back his body. Also he has swords for arms.
Why It’s Essential Viewing: Dororo is a ronin anime with a grim tone and a deep history, stretching all the way back to 1967 when it was created by Osamu Tezuka. That’s right, that Osamu Tezuka, the “Godfather of Manga” and the creator of highly influential children’s manga like Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion (the latter of which would be the alleged inspiration for The Lion King). So how did someone who was essentially the Walt Disney of Japan create a series as violent and grotesque as Dororo? That unlikely background is what makes the 2019 remake of Dororo so much more fascinating than your run-of-the-mill ronin anime. And did I mention that the lead has swords for arms?
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