Five international movies to stream now

Stream it on Netflix.

Coming to Netflix just in time for Halloween, this Swedish slasher is about one of the greatest horrors of modern life: the backsliding of work. A group of municipal officials gather at a resort to reconnect with nature, build team spirit, and discuss plans for a controversial project that calls for the appropriation of local farmland. The strained smiles of the project managers – and their circular corporate speeches when a colleague raises ethical concerns – are ominous in their own way. But when the resort’s staff and guests are killed one by one in incredibly gruesome fashion, the group’s ability to work together—and zip lines and DIY rafts—takes on a life-and-death stake. Director Patrick Eklund crafts a weak thriller from this premise, serving up a sharp satire of corporate greed with a generous sprinkling of blood and gore.

Rent it on Amazon.

The premise of this Tunisian thriller by Youssef Shebi is mesmerizing in itself: In Tunisia, a young detective Fatma (Fatma Usaifi) investigates a series of increasingly inexplicable cases of self-immolation. But the historical context deepens the genre pleasures of Ashkal: The Tunisian Inquiry into a political parable. In 2010, a Tunisian street vendor publicly set himself on fire to protest harassment by the authorities in a tragic spectacle that ushered in the Arab Spring. Drawing inspiration from this moment, Chebbi crafts a compelling take on the classic, hard-boiled police procedural. Many of its flourishes are familiar (albeit presented with great visual originality), such as the detectives solving puzzles while traversing an industrial cityscape rendered in bright chiaroscuro. The mystery at the heart of the film, however, burns unquenchably: it illuminates no answers or evidence, only the people’s burning desire for self-determination.

If you saw and loved director Huang Ji and Ryuji Otsuka’s Stonewalling, which was released in theaters earlier this year, their 2017 film The Foolish Bird—which recently aired on the Criterion Channel—is a must watch. Like its successor, “Stupid Bird” is a dark, delicately crafted drama about the relationship between ruthless capitalism and patriarchal violence that captivates young women in China. Here, a shy and bullied high school student Lin (Yao Hongui) describes a difficult coming of age in the shadow of sexual abuse in a small town of Huna. The recent rape and murder of a girl has rocked the town, but that doesn’t diminish Lin and her friend May’s longing to break free from their restrictive poor home life. They start selling stolen phones to make a little extra money, but find themselves repeatedly – and in some cases, brutally – hemmed in by a world where masculinity, not money, seems to be the real currency.

Stream it on Tubi.

In this tender French drama, a man, Thomas (Nils Schneider), returns to his hometown after 12 years away and finds himself confronted by a family in chaos. His mother is on her deathbed, his father still hasn’t forgiven him for leaving, and his daughter-in-law Mona (Adele Exarchopoulos), whose husband died under mysterious circumstances, is struggling to raise her 6-year-old son. Grief hangs over the house and adjoining farm, whose debt has been cleared over the years. Thomas works his way through this emotional fog, finding his way back into the family through his young nephew Alex (Roman Custer Hatchez). Jessica Palud’s film is remarkably simple yet full of feeling, thanks to a collection of sensitive performances. Exarchopoulos exudes both sensuality and anguish, and Schneider seethes with love and hurt, but Kuster Hasch is the standout: His precociousness and mischief perfectly embody the ways children can usher in the future when adults are too mired in the woes of the past .

Boxes of vintage cars, screeching dial-up phones and women traded in marriage like cattle: Set in the 1960s and 1970s in the South Indian city of Bangalore (now Bengaluru), this period drama by Sindhu Srinivasa Murthy (she also plays) combines a nostalgic charm with a clever satire of shaggy old patriarchal traditions.

When the film opens in 1960, the fearsome Madhusudhan Aachar (Ashok), an engineer with a temper, is the envy of his neighbors with his government job, big house and 10 children. Three are boys he hopes (or rather demands) to become engineers like him, and seven are girls he hopes to match with successful husbands. As the film moves through the next two decades, multiple weddings, unexpected deaths and births change the family’s fortunes, as well as changing attitudes about marriage and women’s social roles. Told with great wit and charming irony, and overflowing with gags (three neighborhood gossips, nicknamed the BBC for their initials, appear occasionally as a Greek chorus), “Aachar & Co.” is a clever, Ostensian take on the great Indian wedding melodrama.

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