Entertainment

Five foreign-ish films & TV shows you should watch

I love movies and television shows. During the school year I have to forcibly restrain myself from watching everything I can and it is an actual struggle because my interests are so varied. As many of my friends will attest to, I attempt to give every TV show and movie that I hear of at least one chance, meaning that sometimes I end up watching a Bollywood movie, an episode of Sherlock/Suits, and an episode of Merlin/Mindy Project all in one night. So I decided to compile a short list of things that I loved watching and share with you, just in case one of them piques your interest and I can convert you into a Bollywood film/Spanish TV show/French procedural show fan.

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham

The film encapsulates the epitome of Bollywood with its songs, over the top destination song settings, and intrinsic, family-based drama. The eternal pairing of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol (the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan of Bollywood) is, as usual, fabulous–the film would not be what it is without the two bickering at each other. If you ever want to impress your brown friends with your knowledge of Bollywood, one mention of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and you are good to go. There are fabulous costumes (Poo’s lehenga choli), dramatic family moments (#thewholemovie), and the typical desi family adage of family sticks together through thick and thin with the modern addition of ‘sometimes parents make mistakes, too.’

I would recommend watching this while eating spicy chicken tikka curry, rice, and raita (spiced yoghurt). Why, you ask? Because that is what I like to eat while watching Shah Rukh Khan run around the Egyptian pyramids with a scantily dressed Kajol. ‘Nuff said.

Spiral (Engrenages)

Canal+’s murder mystery drama is dark, gritty, and messy. The series focuses on the Police Captain, Laure Berthaud (played by the fantastic Caroline Proust), and an Assistant Prosecutor, Pierre Clément, (played by ever-debonair Grégory Fitoussi of Mr. Selfridge’s fame). The series focuses on one major crime per season with smaller cases on the side and legal drama to add some extra edge. It is probably one of my favorite dark investigative television shows. The cinematography alone is fascinating: when watching the episodes the sheer violence and horror of the crimes are often made almost milder by the grey tones everything takes. Sometimes I feel like I am watching a television show in Vancouver. Although I find some procedural shows become dull or predictable as time goes by, Engrenages is one of those television shows where I have rarely been able to guess whodunit.

Grand Hotel (Gran Hotel)

A late night Netflix find, The Grand Hotel is a Spanish show which, at first glance, appears to be about murders and disappearances linked to the lavish Grand Hotel. But, at second glance, is a show based around the Alarcon family and their (various) nefarious dealings. The show has some of the most amazing period costumes (maybe even better than Downton Abbey, but shhh). The story line resembles a web made by three different spiders all glued together. Its enthralling to watch Amaia Salamanca and Yon Gonzalez attempt to pull apart the pieces bit by bit. Although Yon Gonzalez is terribly dashing, I would have to say my favorite character would have to be Detective Ayala (and his magnificent moustache).

I know this television series is Spanish, but, whenever I watch it I always crave a big, comforting bowl of pasta. I have no idea why but there you go.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

A year ago, I had just finished binge-watching Witches of East End and was rather bereft of purpose and entertainment. My friend told me watch this random Australian TV show and I thought, why not? Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries has become one of my favorite things to watch! Phryne Fisher is intelligent, stunning, fearless and all around badass. The show is set in the 1920’s in Melbourne and it’s rather ridiculously mesmerizing to watch. Essie Davis’ costumes are brilliant and her acting even more so. Nathan Page is just the perfect amount of dashing and exasperated in his role as Detective Inspector Jack Robinson. Perhaps the best part about this television series is the brilliant mix of violence and lightness. The moments of violent crime are lightened by the impeccable humor and wit of the dialogues. To make it all the better, season three just aired so, unlike me, you will not have to pine away the days waiting for Davis and Page!

Finding Fanny

Finding Fanny is Bollywood at its alternative best. While Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham is your typical film with mirch, masala, and dramatic Indian mothers, Finding Fanny is quirky, naive, and delightful. Its cast is a dream come true with Naseeruddin Shah, Deepika Padukone, Pankaj Kapur, Arjun Kapoor, and Dimple Kapadia playing a host of unique characters. The film is a road trip across India to find Naseeruddin Shah’s lost love, the titular Fanny. The film is charming, cheerful, sad, and beautiful. It is a reminder of lost love, friendship, unlikely relationships, and the quirky moments in life. Arjun Kapoors’s character, Savio, perfectly describes desi society by pointing out that in Pokkoli everyone’s business is everyone else’s business (it sounds far more poetic in Hindi but this will have to do). Also, Naseerudin Shah mock pirouetting may be the greatest thing I have ever seen.

I am not certain why, but this movie makes me crave South Indian food (even though the film is set in Goa). I want to eat idli’s with spicy, tangy sambar and potato dosa’s with all the prerequisites and a nice cold bottle of Coke.

Bonus Round

You will probably remember the name Neil Cross from the Doctor Who episodes, Rings of Akhaten and Hide, but his masterpiece is Luther. Idris Elba plays a brooding and slightly disturbed detective in a gritty and messy London. Where Sherlock shows a slightly shiny London, Luther takes you into the messy and chaotic corners. If you are a fan of True Detective and Sherlock, Luther is something you should definitely check out. Also, Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson sharing a screen–what more could you ask for?

 

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