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23 Fresh International 2020 Movies To Watch Right Now

Can't travel? We've got you covered. Thanks to virtual cinemas, these gems from around the world will make you forget you're sitting on your couch.

by | May 27, 2020 | Comments

Images from The Whistlers, The Wild Goose Lake, A White, White Day, The Wonderland, and Beanpole
(Photo by Magnolia Pictures, Film Movement, Eleven Arts, Kino Lorber)

Over the last couple months, in response to the ongoing pandemic, several independent distributors have opted to release their new films via digital theatrical experiences that allow audiences to access the films from their homes while supporting local art houses. The revolutionary initiative has expanded access to the best of international cinema to viewers across the country, some of whom may otherwise not have had the chance to see these gems and can now rent them from any participating theaters. The list below takes you around the world via 23 new titles with stories representing 16 countries from four continents, including award-winners at festivals like Cannes, Sundance, Venice, and SXSW. These highlights feature a variety of genres, a mix of emerging and established filmmakers, and above all, a tapestry of human experiences that can help us feel connected in the midst of uncertainty.


15 Years (2020) 60%

Yoav (Oded Leopold) and Dan (Udi Persi), a well-off gay couple in Tel Aviv, find themselves at a crossroads in their long-standing union because the former is vehemently against having children. Unresolved family wounds and resentment towards his best friend’s pregnancy push Yoav down a self-destructive path in Yuval Hadadi’s debut feature, a touching, character-driven drama that ponders the fear of growing old and the notion of finding purpose through parenthood.

Watch on: FandangoNOW, Vudu, Amazon, Google PlayiTunes, Vimeo


Alice (2019) 92%

Australian writer-director Josephine Mackerras introduces us to Alice (Emilie Piponnier), a French mother and wife who, in a matter of days, goes from a conventional and seemingly comfortable existence to working as a high-end escort in order to save her home. With her life upended due to her husband’s reckless actions, a journey of self-discovery ignites within her. In a star-making role, Piponnier traverses a wide range of layered emotions that make Alice deeply endearing and relatable.

Watch via Virtual Cinema


And Then We Danced (2020) 92%

Traditional Georgian dance, a symbol of accepted masculinity, has been a lifelong passion for Merab (Levan Gelbakhiani), a promising male dancer at the national ensemble who is involved in a closeted love affair with colleague Irakli (Bachi Valishvili), but pervasive homophobia and economic hardship hinder his dreams of greatness. An outstanding lead turn by Gelbakhiani, both physical and intimate, make Swedish-born Georgian director Levan Akin’s third feature a portrait of gracious defiance.

Watch via Virtual Cinema


Bacurau (Nighthawk) (2020) 91%

Iconic Brazilian actress Sonia Braga  (Aquarius) reteams with outspoken filmmaker Kleber Mendonça Filho, now working with co-director Juliano Dornelles, for a Western with a social justice edge set in a not-so-distant future where a tyrannical government seeks to obliterate entire populations for financial gain. Under attack by foreign mercenaries, with German star Udo Kier as their villainous leader, the small town of Bacurau furiously fights back. In the end, realty and fiction look terrifyingly similar.

Watch via Virtual Cinema or on FandangoNOW, Vudu, Amazon, Google Play


Beanpole (Dylda) (2020) 91%

In ravaged, post–World War II Leningrad, two former female soldiers, Iya (Viktoria Miroshnichenko) and Masha (Vasilisa Perelygina), survive working as nurses. Their friendship relies on an unjust power dynamic in which Masha sees motherhood as a chance for redemption and Iya as the vehicle to achieve it. Young Russian auteur Kantemir Balagov elicits exquisite imagery from the stark circumstances and directs the two first-time actresses in fiercely complex roles for a masterful accomplishment.

Watch via Virtual Cinema or on FandangoNOW, Vudu, Amazon, Google Play, iTunes


Corpus Christi (Boze cialo) (2020) 97%

Oscar-nominated for Best International Film at the most recent Academy Awards, this spiritual drama from Polish director Jan Komasa observes the rigidness of the Catholic Church from the point of view of an ex-con impersonating a priest in a small town. Though his intentions are genuinely compassionate, the redeemed sinner, Daniel (Bartosz Bielenia), carries the stigma of his past mistakes as he tries to assert his faith. Bielenia is a revelation as the unorthodox believer.

Watch now via Virtual Cinema or June 23 on FandangoNOW, Vudu


Deerskin (2020) 86%

Inanimate objects fascinate French auteur Quentin Dupieux. For his latest absurdist tale, Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist) plays a man whose midlife crisis manifests in his deranged relationship with a jacket made of 100% deerskin. Under the pretense of being a successful filmmaker, the leather-clad man convinces an aspiring film editor (Portrait of a Lady on Fire star Adèle Haenel) to finance his project; however, he and his new garment have a large-scale, egotistical goal in mind.

Watch via Virtual Cinema


I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aquí) (2019) 100%

Head of a teen gang in Mexico’s northern metropolis of Monterrey, Ulises (Juan Daniel Garcia Treviño) dances to “cumbia rebajada,” a low-tempo style of the Colombian genre, and speaks with slang that reflects the American influence on the local street identity. Director Fernando Frias’ social realist stunner cuts between the young man’s past and present as an undocumented immigrant in New York City for a compelling and honest peek into an unseen subculture.

Watch on: Netflix


Incitement (2020) 96%

Yaron Zilberman’s chilling historical profile chronicles the radicalization of a devout law student, Yigal Amir (Yehuda Nahari Halevi), whose extreme Jewish nationalist views were inflamed by right-wing religious leaders. In the aftermath of the 1993 Oslo I Accord, which aimed to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Amir saw Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as an enemy of the people and began plotting his assassination. A warning call about the dangers of fanaticism and unchecked populism, Incitement is a tough but necessary watch.

Watch via Virtual Cinema or on FandangoNOW, Amazon, Google Play, iTunes


José (2020) 86%

Chinese moviemaker Li Cheng tells an authentic Guatemalan story about a 19-year-old boy from an impoverished community who must keep his sexual orientation a secret as not to upset his religious mother. Often captured from afar or from behind, as if to conceal what society sees as sinful, the eponymous character (played by newcomer Enrique Salanic) suppresses his desire for freedom, internalizing his painful frustration. The socioeconomic and geographical specificity yield a singular LGBTQI account.

Watch via Virtual Cinema


Liberté (2020) 67%

With perverse elegance, Catalan provocateur Albert Serra’s latest explicit effort depicts a rogue pack of 18th century: French libertines hiding in the woods to indulge in violent sexual acts. Dialogue is scarce in this nocturnal parade of anarchic depravity, but when participants do articulate their philosophy, lines piercingly question the pre-Revolution establishment and Christianity’s own fascination with pain and degradation as a pathway to divinity. To put it mildly, it’s a polarizing piece.

Watch via Virtual Cinema


On a Magical Night (Chambre 212) (2020) 65%

Centered on how love and desire change over the years, Christophe Honoré’s whimsical new romance explores a marriage on the brink of collapse through magical realism. Uninterested in restrictive faithfulness, Maria (Chiara Mastroianni) is confronted with a much younger version of her husband — and many of her ex-lovers — to reevaluate whether the bond they once had can adapt and endure. Delightfully introspective, this tragicomedy strongly echoes the narrative playfulness of Midnight in Paris.

Watch via Virtual Cinema


Our Mothers (Nuestras Madres) (2019) 71%

Revisiting a horrific chapter in the recent history of Guatemala, director Cesar Diaz delivers a humanistic take on its ramifications that’s equal parts heartbreaking and life-affirming. Mexican actor Armando Espitia (Heli, I Carry You With Me) embodies a forensic anthropologist investigating the whereabouts of countless human remains from people murdered during the Efraín Ríos Montt dictatorship and buried in secret. For him, like thousands of Guatemalans, only the truth can provide a semblance of closure.

Watch via Virtual Cinema


Papicha (2019) 79%

Nedjma (Lyna Khoudri), a college student with the makings of haute couture designer, lives in 1990s Algeria, where religious radicals want to impose restrictions on women’s freedoms. Determined not to succumb to violent oppression, the fabric warrior in Mounia Meddour’s assured debut becomes a source of strength for others around her. She doesn’t want to leave her country, but to fight to improve it, and set against this dire, sexist backdrop, a school fashion show becomes a roaring feminist statement.

Watch via Virtual Cinema


The Sharks (Los tiburones) (2019) 86%

A Uruguayan seaside town sees its tourism-tied livelihood threatened when a marine predator is spotted near the shore in Lucía Garibaldi’s subdued coming-of-ager. As locals deal with uncertainty, enigmatic teenager Rosina (portrayed with utmost restraint by Romina Bentancur) undergoes an unsatisfying sexual awakening that drives her to retaliation against a nonreciprocal love interest. Her unspoken impetus for violence and the larger crisis at hand both simmer under the surface, ready to burst unannounced.

Watch on: FandangoNOW, Vudu, Amazon, Google PlayiTunes


Until the Birds Return (En attendant les Hirondelles) (2017) 78%

Structured as a triptych with a curious musical number as a bonus, Karim Moussaoui’s ensemble piece provides a varied glimpse into Algerian society today. Cars on the road take us from one segment to the next, creating dynamic links between them: a father dealing with guilt over a selfish decision, a man and woman coming to terms with the impossibility of being together, and a doctor haunted by a ghost from the country’s civil war during the 1990s.

Watch on: FandangoNOW, Vudu, Amazon, Google Play, iTunes


Vitalina Varela (2020) 98%

Portuguese master Pedro Costa continues to explore the troubled connections between his homeland and former colony Cape Verde in yet another meditative work. This time, it’s through the eyes of Vitalina Varela, a widow piecing together how she and her late husband drifted apart across continents. Shrouded in evocative darkness, the expressive face of actress Vitalina Varela, playing a fictional alter ego of herself, speaks volumes in every gesture, and her hard-earned wisdom transcends the screen.

Watch via Virtual Cinema


The Whistlers (2020) 83%

Set in a corrupt world where everyone is under surveillance and loyalty is feeble, Corneliu Porumboiu’s sleek Romanian thriller exploits El Silbo — a whistling language from the Spanish island of La Gomera used to communicate in secret from a distance — as a perfect criminal tool. From a familiar premise of deceitful dealings between police officers and ruthless gangsters, the director constructs an intricate and razor-sharp plot with overt nods to classic cinema.

Watch via Virtual Cinema or on FandangoNOWVuduAmazonGoogle PlayiTunes


A White, White Day (Hvítur, hvítur dagur) (2020) 97%

Iceland’s melancholic landscapes serve as backdrop to Hlynur Pálmason’s intriguing drama about a widowed police officer and devoted grandfather digging into his wife’s final days. As Ingimundur — a prideful macho man unable to grapple with sorrow — actor Ingvar Sigurdsson graces the screen with a devastating performance that ranks among the very best of any movie this year. Interesting flourishes enhance the affecting film’s visual grammar, providing insight into the protagonist’s conflicted psyche.

Watch via Virtual Cinema


The Wild Goose Lake (Nan fang che zhan de ju hui) (2020) 92%

On the run from police and disgruntled rivals in rural China, a skilled thief teams up with a young prostitute to collect the reward for his own capture in this riveting, neo-noir gem from acclaimed director Diao Yinan. Lush cinematography courtesy of brilliant cinematographer Jingsong Dong (Long Day’s Journey Into Night) immerses us in a thought-provoking study on social structures and unexpected alliances laced with fast and furious motorcycle chases and action-packed shootouts.

Watch via Virtual Cinema


The Wolf House (La casa lobo) (2018) 98%

Chilean duo Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León have handcrafted a stop-motion nightmare addressing emotional manipulation and crippling trauma via fairy tale tropes. Their unforgettable animated feature sees Maria, a young woman who escaped from an infamous German colony in the south of Chile, trying to build a new life outside the grasp of her oppressors. Constructed from moving paintings and tactile figures that transform right in front of out eyes, the result is a mind-blowing experience.

Watch via Virtual Cinema


The Wonderland (2020) 100%

Reminiscent of some Studio Ghibli’s greatest hits, this colorful adventure by prolific anime storyteller Keiichi Hara follows shy teenager Akane as she travels to a fantastical world in peril with refined alchemist Hippocrates. Not unlike Alice from Lewis Carroll’s classic novel, the modern-day heroine destined to become the wonderland’s savior also encounters magical creatures, stunning scenery, and a powerful villain with a troubled past. Marvelous animation meets lighthearted humor for an engaging fable.

Watch via Virtual Cinema


Zombi Child (2020) 85%

Audacious writer-director Bertrand Bonello departs from the eerie, real-life account of Clairvius Narcisse, a Haitian man who claimed to have been zombified in the 1960s, in order to comment on colonialism, slavery, and white privilege. He brings the voodoo tradition to the present through Mélissa (Wislanda Louimat), a black student at an elite high school only opened to the daughters of those decorated by the French government. Otherworldly events then blur the lines between myth and fact.

Watch via Virtual Cinema or on FandangoNOWVuduiTunes


Thumbnail images by Magnolia Pictures, Film Movement, Greenwich Entertainment, Eleven Arts, Kino Lorber

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