(Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best foreign movies and TV streaming right now.)
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled programming on Pop Culture Imports, in which I dispense with the themes now that Oscar season is over, and I give you some good foreign-language movies and shows to watch while you’re working from home waiting for the coronavirus scare to die down. In fact, there may be no better cure for the closet racism and xenophobia that the coronavirus has inspired than watching a few international films to remind you that there is a world outside your heavily bolted door. And if you’re not going to eat at your local Chinese restaurant, the least you can do is watch an HBO anthology series about food around East and Southeast Asia. In addition to that series, called Food Lore, there is a moving and magnetic German childcare drama, a Spanish-British romantic dramedy, a very bizarre anime series, and more.
Let’s fire up those subtitles and get streaming.
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I rarely start reviews with first-person prose, but for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, an exception must be made. Why? Because I’ve attended midnight screenings of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room with tamer audiences. Welcome to the Fantasia International Film Festival, where a Japanese manga adaptation can pack an auditorium full of French Canadian superfans.
When JoJo first struts into focus, pompadour-on-steroids cut and all, audience members lost their collective cool, like The Beatles just touched down on American soil for the first time. Diehard “JOficionados” (Copyright) spiked an energy that can be neither bottled nor explained, as they were harder than any diamond for glam-rock JoJo. And his mousy new friend. And white hat Michael Jackson impersonator. And Water Golem (whose actual name is Aqua Necklace).
Now imagine myself – an outsider to the manga’s cult fame – who dashed from airport to theater after a three-hour-plus flight delay. Was it all just a malnourished exhaustion hallucination? That’s how it felt, and even as you read these words, I struggle to grasp what entered my eyeballs that night.
But I’m going to try.
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