Foreign Language watches to transport you abroad when flight prices are sky-high

Travel can be expensive at the moment, let these foreign language films whisk you away instead...

multiple writers
2nd March 2023

Before Sunrise

Two weeks ago, my pals and I spent galentine’s day crafting heart-shaped pizzas and baking red velvet cake before heading to Vienna (via Tyneside) in what could be described as one of the best romantic dramas of the last few decades.

After meeting on a train as they sit reading opposite each other (does it get more romantic than that?), Before Sunrise follows two strangers as they spontaneously decide to spend the day together in the Austrian capital. 

Both new to the city, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) visit famous landmarks and stroll along the river, meeting friendly yet eccentric strangers who, through poetry and palm readings, bring them closer together. Although they wander this grandiose city at night, there’s no sense of danger as they discuss everything from childhood to religion to love, and by the end of their time together, when they both have to jet off to their respective countries, it’s clear they’ve fallen in love. 

Whilst it’s undoubtedly a beautiful love story between two strangers, it’s also an ode to Vienna itself, with its majestic buildings and gentle, slow-paced ambience. Set during the summer, the couple look out over the sunlit city at the top of a ferris wheel, drink stolen wine together in a park, rest on a fountain as the sun rises – it’s a realistic depiction of how real people would actually explore a city, inhabiting the spaces in between landmarks, narrow streets and secluded cafes. It’s in this way that the film is quintessentially European, and it left with an overwhelming desire to hop on the next train out of England.

The Mess You Left Behind

Everybody has heard of Money Heist, right? The 2017 debut that won a global audience alongside drug fuelled Escobar classic, Narcos, changed the Spanish-language streaming game. As a languages student studying Spanish here at Newcastle I’m constantly on the lookout for new series and films to get stuck into, and it’s fair to say that Netflix has upped its game considerably in recent months with a number of new gripping storylines set across Spain and Latin America arriving at our screens.

One of my favourites has to be The Mess You Left Behind (El Desorden que Dejas) set in Galicia in North West Spain and based on the winner of the literary Primavera Award in 2016. With a landscape not that unlike the UK, the region's sprawling mountain ranges and forests offer up the perfect backdrop for one of Netflix’s freshest and darkest dramas. Rare is it that the popular media’s portrayals of Spain stray beyond beaches, sangria and fiestas fuelled by scorching Mediterranean sun, but quite frankly this only represents a fraction of what the country has to offer.

When Raquel leaves her old life behind to teach in one of Galicia’s most prestigious schools she learns a dark truth beneath the facade. In a town where everyone knows each other and protects one another she has to grapple with intense personalities, drama, but most of all, overwhelming tragedy set in one of Spain’s most beautiful yet underappreciated backdrops.

Spanish screenwriting giant, Carlos Montero takes audiences on an unconventional yet gripping crime investigation and features fan favourite Aron Piper from hit series Elite (another good Spanish binge) of which he is also the writer. The series content is a little more heavy than that of Piper’s previous work in high schooled based series, but he shines in this new role and captivates us from the first episode. I can only advise that you grab a cup of tea and sink your teeth into this ode to the Galician landscape.

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