best foreign movies and tv streaming

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

In unprecedented times such as these, is there really only one kind of movie you can turn to? One that can offer you an escape, tap into your rage, or quench your thirst? Probably not, but you can achieve at least one of these with this week’s batch of foreign-language films in Pop Culture Imports. This week we have French-Israeli festival darling Synonyms, the Mexican coming-of age gem I’m No Longer Here, the Jackie Chan martial arts comedy classic Police Story, Mamoru Hosoda’s whimsical time travel anime Mirai, and the sexy riff on Alfred Hitchcok’s NotoriousLust, Caution.

Fire up those subtitles, and let’s get streaming.

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mirai review

Mirai is a movie utterly without pretension. And believe me, it teeters on that precipice — Mamoru Hosoda’s latest film has got all the elements of “important art” meant to challenge and excite its audience: a slow-burning pace, a fantastical time travel plot, and sequences that experiment with animation and reality. But everything about Mirai is deeply sincere.

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mamoru hosoda interview

Mamoru Hosoda has laid his life out bare on the silver screen — though at first glance it doesn’t seem obvious. The 51-year-old Japanese filmmaker exclusively directs in anime films, garnering critical acclaim for his deeply affecting, achingly human fables such as The Girl Who Leapt Through TimeThe Wolf Children, and The Boy and the Beast. Through his films as well as the upcoming Mirai, Hosoda has managed to turn his life into sweeping, whimsical fantasies that both enchant and educate.

“I tend to be inspired by what’s happening around me,” Hosoda told /Film in an interview ahead of the release of Mirai (out in select theaters November 29). “I hope that the audiences would watch my movies and think, ‘I know this is fiction, but I wonder if that happened to him in real life.'”

But Mirai stands out from the pack because it doesn’t deal with Hosoda’s specific experience, but that of his son. The sci-fi film follows a 4-year-old boy named Kun, who is overcome with jealousy when his parents bring home his new baby sister. Unable to consolidate his complicated feelings of love and disdain, Kun finds himself confronted by a future version of his sister, now a time-traveling teenager. They embark on a whirlwind adventure through time in a breathtaking film that dances between dreams and reality.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Hosoda, who directed one of my favorite films,The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, about Mirai and how it became his most personal film yet.

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mirai english voice cast

GKIDS has landed a talented set of actors for the Mirai English voice cast. The latest Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars) film, Mirai is a critically acclaimed surreal family drama that has already made waves at the Cannes Film Festival and the Japanese box office. Now, Mirai is heading to U.S. theaters with a star-studded English voice cast lead by John Cho, Rebecca Hall, and Daniel Dae Kim.

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oscars 2019 animated feature

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has officially announced the 25 animated films qualified to compete in this year’s Oscar race. The competing films for the Oscars 2019 animated feature category include Pixar’s superhero sequel Incredibles 2, Disney’s irreverent comedy Ralph Breaks the Internet, Sony’s eye-popping Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Wes Anderson’s quirky Isle of Dogs. But there are a handful of anime films jostling for a slot that may just earn the rare non-U.S. studio nomination.

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mirai us release

While the world has been scrambling to name any promising anime director as the next Hayao Miyazaki (while the man himself diligently ignores all the hoopla with another un-retirement), Mamoru Hosoda has quietly proved to be a visionary filmmaker in his own right. With a career spanning wildly inventive films like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars, Hosoda has not delivered a bad film yet. And now U.S. audiences can soon experience his latest film, Mirai, in theaters this fall. Read More »