Americans watch an extraordinary amount of television throughout their lives, even more so considering that all of us at San Joaquin Memorial at the moment are still experiencing our teenage years. From the old reliable Netflix to new streaming services such as HBO Max and Paramount Plus, the amount of entertainment lingering at our fingertips is staggering.
Foreign language films and television shows have been brought into more mainstream thinking due in large part to the Oscars, as well as many other awards programs such as the Golden Globes. Despite the prestigious awards already possessing an award’s section completely dedicated to the prowess of foreign directors, most of these films have been largely forgotten by the Academy within the larger categories, causing apathy about them from the general public who had never even heard of them before the awards.
However, in recent years this pattern has changed. In the past two award seasons alone in 2019 and 2020, two foreign language films have been nominated for best picture, with Parasite in 2020 managing to cinch the award and become the first foreign language film in Oscar history to do so.
Films like these are just as noteworthy as ones crafted within Hollywood, coming from critically-acclaimed directors like Bong Joon-Ho who have crafted films both in this nation and outside of it. Many tell stories that are often more compelling than American ones, so much so that some have even been remade into American movies such as The Magnificent Seven and The Ring.
If foreign live action films and television shows are not exactly your style, then perhaps the world of international animation would peak your interest? Specifically, this is largely focused on Japanese animation, or "anime" as it has been known by the public. No matter what streaming service you prefer, every single one offers a wide array of Japanese anime. For decades now, animation has dramatically improved throughout Japanese studios, maintaining its image as a titan of the industry that it is now. Anime is popular all around the world, and over the years has become increasingly popular within the United States as more and more popular ones are created. Even with that, you can watch the anime in an English dub if you are uncomfortable with reading subtitles. Although dubs have dramatically improved in recent years, there is something unique about hearing something in its original intended language.
HBO Max itself has an entire section dedicated for Studio Ghibli films, a studio within Japan that has created a large number of animated films famous in the United States, from My Neighbor Totoro to the Oscar winning film Spirited Away. These movies have become famous with American children, however the mature themes have allowed it to become enjoyable for both teens and adults.
Just because a form of media is created outside of countries that speak English like all of us do, that does not mean the same talent and skill present in famous writers and director’s minds is so easily forgotten. Perhaps give an international movie a watch next time you have exhausted all of your options on Netflix, breathing new life and perhaps even a new style into your life and introducing you to a new genre of movie that you may genuinely enjoy.