IndieWire’s 35 Disturbing Foreign Films to Watch

IndieWire’s 35 Disturbing Foreign Films to Watch's icon

Created by mcmakattack.

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World cinema has given us plenty of auteurs hell-bent on creating the most disturbing experience possible, from Pier Paolo Pasolini to Catherine Breillat, Gaspar Noe, and Takashi Miike. Below, IndieWire highlights a selection of foreign-language films likely to keep you up at night terrified, or thinking, or both.

Leave it to any country except the U.S. to render the worst possible horrors, psychological, physical, and otherwise, onscreen in unflinching detail. While some of these films listed below are, in fact, outright horror films, others take a more psychic or spiritual approach to peeling back on society’s, and humankind’s, worst tendencies — or while querying war, faith, or sexuality.

While many of the directors highlighted here made a personal brand out of pushing the limits of extreme storytelling, consider the below just a selection (or starter kit, if you will) to prime you for further viewing.

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  1. 1 -

    Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma

    1975 — a.k.a. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, in 14 top lists Check
  2. 2 -

    Irréversible

    2002 — a.k.a. Irreversible, in 10 top lists Check
  3. 3 -

    Ang-ma-reul bo-at-da

    2010 — a.k.a. I Saw the Devil, in 3 top lists Check
  4. 4 -

    Pahanhautoja

    2022 — a.k.a. Hatching, in 0 top lists
    Check
  5. 5 -

    Sombre

    1998, in 0 top lists Check
  6. 6 -

    Titane

    2021, in 4 top lists
    Check
  7. 7 -

    Gurotesuku

    2009 — a.k.a. Grotesque, in 0 top lists Check
  8. 8 -

    Idi i smotri

    1985 — a.k.a. Come and See, in 26 top lists Check
  9. 9 -

    Kynodontas

    2009 — a.k.a. Dogtooth, in 8 top lists Check
  10. 10 -

    Tenebre

    1982 — a.k.a. Tenebrae, in 4 top lists Check
  11. 11 -

    Batoru rowaiaru

    2000 — a.k.a. Battle Royale, in 9 top lists Check
  12. 12 -

    Marebito

    2004 — a.k.a. The Stranger from Afar, in 1 top list Check
  13. 13 -

    Después de Lucía

    2012 — a.k.a. After Lucia, in 2 top lists Check
  14. 14 -

    De uskyldige

    2021 — a.k.a. The Innocents, in 2 top lists
    Check
  15. 15 -

    Ôdishon

    1999 — a.k.a. Audition, in 11 top lists Check
  16. 16 -

    You Won't Be Alone

    2022, in 0 top lists
    Check
  17. 17 -

    Cure

    1997 — a.k.a. The Cure, in 7 top lists Check
  18. 18 -

    Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol

    1964 — a.k.a. Black God, White Devil, in 10 top lists Check
  19. 19 -

    Calvaire

    2004, in 2 top lists Check
  20. 20 -

    Festen

    1998 — a.k.a. The Celebration, in 17 top lists Check
  21. 21 -

    Viskningar och rop

    1972 — a.k.a. Cries and Whispers, in 17 top lists Check
  22. 22 -

    La caduta degli dei (Götterdämmerung)

    1969 — a.k.a. The Damned, in 7 top lists Check
  23. 23 -

    À ma soeur!

    2001 — a.k.a. Fat Girl, in 4 top lists Check
  24. 24 -

    Ich seh, Ich seh

    2014 — a.k.a. Goodnight Mommy, in 1 top list Check
  25. 25 -

    Trudno byt bogom

    2013 — a.k.a. Hard to Be a God, in 3 top lists Check
  26. 26 -

    Haute tension

    2003 — a.k.a. High Tension, in 2 top lists Check
  27. 27 -

    Dans ma peau

    2002 — a.k.a. In My Skin, in 2 top lists Check
  28. 28 -

    À l'intérieur

    2007 — a.k.a. Inside, in 3 top lists Check
  29. 29 -

    C'est arrivé près de chez vous

    1992 — a.k.a. Man Bites Dog, in 12 top lists Check
  30. 30 -

    Suna no onna

    1964 — a.k.a. Woman in the Dunes, in 22 top lists Check
  31. 31 -

    Martyrs

    2008, in 7 top lists Check
  32. 32 -

    Grave

    2016 — a.k.a. Raw, in 4 top lists Check
  33. 33 -

    Der siebente Kontinent

    1989 — a.k.a. The Seventh Continent, in 5 top lists Check
  34. 34 -

    Trouble Every Day

    2001, in 6 top lists Check
  35. 35 -

    Bijitâ Q

    2001 — a.k.a. Visitor Q, in 4 top lists Check
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Last updated on Aug 31, 2022 by mcmakattack; source