For cinematic wonders both well-known and not, Netflix has got you covered. If you’re in need of inspiration for your next movie night, we’ve put together a list of movies (and one TV series) that we absolutely loved. From westerns to romantic tragedies, there’s something for everyone!
Happy as Lazzaro, Alice Rohrwacher
We fell in love with this incredible award-winning film by Alice Rohrwacher, which won for Best Screenplay at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
Lazzaro is a young, naïve peasant who is unrelentingly kind. He’s exploited alongside other peasants by a baroness practicing a form of medieval serfdom. Befriending her son, Tancredi, Lazzaro helps him enact a fake kidnapping so he can flee the countryside and his mother. Lazzaro then falls off a cliff and wakes up 30 years later, looking the exact same.
Divided into two parts, this film questions the systems of capitalist and social domination. Despite its inclusion of violence and realism, this magical film’s poetic atmosphere won us over.
Your Name Engraved Herein, Kuang-hui Liu
In 1987, during the end of Martial law in Taiwan, two young men, Birdy and Jia-Han, become friends on a day off to honour the President’s death. Over time, their friendship evolves into a sincere but repressed love. In a context of ambient virility and Christian morality, Birdy seduces a young girl and rejects Jia-Han.
This film features beautiful cinematography and highlights a poignant love story, superbly brought to the screen by the two main actors. Kuang-hui Liu expertly plays with romantic film clichés without going overboard.
Cuties, Maïmouna Doucouré
Aminata, 11, lives in northern Paris with her Senegalese family. She puts up with the religious traditions of her community and bears witness to the sadness of her mother, whose husband is marrying a second wife. She befriends Angelica, a girl her age who lives in her apartment building. Full of admiration for Angelica and her friends, she manages to join their dance group. In preparation for a competition, they train and mimic the gestures and attitudes of women in video clips they see online.
Maïmouna Doucouré delivers a powerful film about the hypersexualization of young girls, the pervasive sexualization of female bodies in media and the influence it carries.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Joel and Ethan Coen
A literal storybook called The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is introduced in the opening scene: it’s time to discover six stories that take place in the Old West. The movie begins with a typical western movie character: Buster Scruggs, an outlaw famous for his precision with a pistol.
Outlaw, gold rush, stagecoaches: the Coen brothers reinvent the western film genre by painting six different pictures, each exploring a unique side of the American West. A real gem.
Derry Girls, Lisa McGee
Last but not least, a hilarious series inspired by the director’s own teenage years in the 1990s, in the Irish city of Derry. Amid ongoing political tension in Northern Ireland, a group of friends (and one of their English cousins) experience near-normal adolescence in Derry.
The mundane and wacky adventures of teenagers blend into the tragic events of a country at war; the perfect balance of character stories meeting the big picture with lightness and genuine consideration.
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Which of the above would you like to watch? What are some of your Netflix favourites? Tell us all about it in the comments!
Adapted from French by Erika Spedding