Nothing captures a societies culture better than their movies. While Hollywood loves to dish out millions on high explosive CGI films the Foreign Film Industry must instead rely on great acting and good film scripts instead. Nothing quite captures the heart of Sweden like the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. If you watch Let the Right One In you get a strong feeling of the cold and darkness of the long nights of winter. It isn't just the horror of a Vampire Little Girl coming to get you in the night... it is the environment that haunts and scares you too.
In Mongol you see and feel the environments that shaped this man into the legendary ruler we read about today. The Stoning of Soraya wouldn't be the same if it was told in front of a CGI background. It's what Hollywood has lost that is gained in the foreign films of today. It's the background culture, the environment, and the people that gives a story depth not how big it's budget is.
In the film The Red Baron you really get a feel that you are in Germany during the First World War. Dead Man Running you see that the environment is the biggest hassle and not just the people. Each foreign film is a capture of what that country is like and you could never capture that experience as long as it stays in Hollywood. It is a magical wonderful journey of unexpected enlightenment that any American can capture. You want to experience what it was like right after World War 2 then there is a foreign film made just for you. Want endless days of bloodshed and violence then turn your T.V. to Django and sit back for a treat if you want something more recent then Ichi the Killer maybe more up your aisle.
So, you are more than likely wondering what foreign film I'm currently watching right now. It's the Shootout at Lockhandwala. It's from India. A tale of a countries battle with Terrorism but told from different and very much foreign eyes.
I have hundreds of foreign films tucked away. From Japan to Siberia to China and Africa. In Europe each country seems to have a different style and take. The grimy British tale is one of brutish thugs and drugs to Germany where tales seem clean and exceptionally polished. The post East block Countries seem to spin the tales of escape from the confines of communism into the hands of freedom. If you want to watch a tale of inspiration and hope then look to the once Communist East Bloc countries like Chez, Poland, and Slovakia. These countries can tell you why Communism sucks and Capitalism is great.
So if you think films are not as good as they once were then I have to ask which films are you watching? There is epic films just waiting to be watched. These are the ones that will grip you and take you to places that you have never been. They will cart you away from the crumbling ground of Hollywood and place you in a spot that is solid and different. Here the story is important not how much you will pay for the popcorn. If you haven't opened the door to the foreign film industry then I need to ask you: What are you waiting for?