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12 Best Foreign Movies Of All Time That Will Expand Your Worldview

12 Best Foreign Movies Of All Time That Will Expand Your Worldview

Foreign movies are one film genre that is frequently misunderstood. Not all foreign movies are boring or slow-paced, and many offer eye-opening insights and views on the world. Where a film comes from has a huge effect on the piece an audience ultimately sees, for reasons ranging from culture to rating laws. To truly enjoy the wide variety of films that’s out there, you can’t forget to experience the most impressive foreign films. The following foreign movies are truly inspiring, and will expand the way you approach the world.

1. Life Is Beautiful, Italy (1997): Make The Most Of Life

foreign movie

    Life Is Beautiful is an Italian film taking place during the Holocaust. The movie follows a father in his quest to shield the horrors of their reality from his young son. A truly moving look at a very serious time in history, this tearjerker will have anyone viewing the world in a more gracious way.

    2. The Lives of Others, Germany (2006): Individuals Have Power

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      This moving film takes place in post-World War II Germany, when the country was split into East and West. After the state police bug the apartment of a prominent artist, the officer surveying the artist is drawn into his life. An exciting and poignant foreign movie, this film explores the importance of taking action.

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      3. Let The Right One In, Sweden (2008): Be Kinder

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        This Swedish language film follows a young boy cast aside by his peers. The boy meets his first friend in a young girl with the gruesome secret. Artfully shot, this thriller film is a new twist on themes exploring the consequence of our actions.

        4. Pans Labyrinth, Spain (2006): Never Stop Exploring

        pan039s-labyrinth-poster-artwork-maribel-verduacute-ivana-baquero-sergi-loacutepez

          This Spanish film was an instant classic upon release. Pan’s Labyrinth shows a young girl struggle to accept her reality when the family moves in with a new step-father. As the girl stumbles upon a magical world, this film challenges viewers to live a richer life.

          5. Intouchables, France (2011): Consider The Other Side

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            This foreign film is set in Paris, as a quadriplegic aristocrat seeks to hire a new assistant. An unusual meeting with a disrespectful freeloader leads the millionaire to test the student. As the troublesome addition changes their lives, viewers are challenged to look at their own contributions to the world.

            6. Delicatessen, France (1991): Death Is Inevitable

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              This film is a quirky and dark look at a post-apocalyptic French society. In a world where food is scarce enough to be used as currency, a twisted butcher provides meat to citizens nearby. Delicatessen is not only noteworthy for it’s exploration of life and death, it is directed by celebrated French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Juenet – the director who brought us Amelie. 

              7. The Bicycle Thief, Italy (1948): Empathy Is Crucial

              the-bicycle-thief-movie-poster-1949-1020503553

                For the more intellectual filmgoer, The Bicycle Thief is an enduring comment on winner-take-all mentality. Made in post-World War II Italy, this film follows a father and son as their only bicycle is stolen. Unable to work, this father must find a way to provide for his son. A direct comment on overly valuing competition in society, this film has each of us thinking of a better way to do things.

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                8. Man On Wire, France (2008): Anything Is Possible

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                  A moving documentary about Phillip Petit, Man On Wire examines the famous tightrope walker’s desire to tightrope walk between the twin towers in New York. Technically illegal, the film follows Phillip and his team in the 80‘s as they struggle to achieve this dream. Man On Wire is an inspiring foreign movie, encouraging audience members to pursue their passion.

                  9. A Prophet, France (2009): Desperation Is Powerful

                  a-prophet-poster

                    This quickly paced French film follows a barely-legal Arab young man as he first enters the harsh world of adult prison. He is torn between gangs, eventually forced to serve the Mafia. Too young to stand up for himself, the man doesn’t know what else to do but cooperate. An exciting crime film, A Prophet examines the massive effects of a few simple wrong turns.

                    10. Nobody Knows, Japan (2005): Human Rights Matter

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                      This touching Japanese film follows unkempt single mother Keiko. When Keiko leaves with her new boyfriend indefinitely, the kids are forced to survive on their own, all while staying away from authorities who may split them up. A heart breaking look at poverty, Nobody Knows certainly effects an audiences outlook on the way we treat others.

                      11. Breathless, France (1960): Carpe Diem

                      À bout de souffle (1960) UK poster

                        No list on impactful foreign films is complete without the quintessential French film, Breathless. A classic foreign film, this movie follows an impulsive criminal who can’t stop pursuing his love interest despite police closing in on him. The film exudes French joi de vivre, and this complicated tale will have anyone more thirsty for life.

                        12. The Wave, Germany (2008): Think Before You Act

                        the wave film

                          A thoughtful and well done German film, The Wave introduces audiences to a high school teacher whose methods are out of the box. In an effort to teach his students about WWII, this teacher forms a social unit with his class that soon shows terrifying signs of control and corruption. A truly compelling look at Hitler’s rise to power, The Wave makes several points that will have each viewer examining their own lives.

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                          Alicia Prince

                          A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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                          Last Updated on November 9, 2020

                          10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

                          10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

                          Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

                          Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

                          Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

                          If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

                          Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

                          1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

                          Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

                          Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

                          Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

                          2. No Motivation

                          Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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                          This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

                          If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

                          3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

                          Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

                          A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

                          A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

                          The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

                          4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

                          One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

                          We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

                          Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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                          You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

                          5. Upward Comparisons

                          Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

                          The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

                          These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

                          Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

                          6. No Alternative

                          This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

                          Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

                          Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

                          Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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                          7. Stress

                          As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

                          When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

                          We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

                          If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

                          8. Sense of Failure

                          People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

                          Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

                          Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

                          If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

                          9. The Need to Be All-New

                          People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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                          These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

                          10. Force of Habit

                          Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

                          Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

                          These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

                          Final Thoughts

                          These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

                          There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

                          More on Breaking Bad Habits

                          Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

                          Reference

                          [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
                          [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
                          [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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