Well, hello there. I didn’t see you come in. I was busy polishing my collection of rare Chinese antiquities and ancient Arabian scimitars. Please, have a seat on my French Rocco chair, but mind the South African rug; it really ties the room together. I believe you came here because you are a boorish ninny with a distinct lack of taste for the exotic and elegant. That is of no matter now, for I am here to help. You may not leave here any more intelligent than you walked in, but these films I’m about to present you will have you singing Kumbaya with the small Asian kids down the street you used to ask to do your taxes. I’ll have you in proper form faster than you can say “righty-ho!” and don’t tell me you don’t like reading subtitles you daft swine. Now put on your two monocles and don’t be a spot of bother.
The Lives of Others (2006, Germany)
Looking to impress that hipster girl who sits 2 rows down from you in finance class? Show her this film about two lovers in post WWII East Germany who are spied on by an agent of the secret police. This beautiful and moving drama, which won Best Foreign Film at the 2007 Oscars, will move you to tears and she will come to regard you as a sophisticated individual that appreciates the subtlety and inherit grace that accompanies true art. Your friends will admire your appreciation for history and culture, and all your arguments about why Transformers 2 wasn’t that bad won’t be completely dismissed any more. The Lives of Others is a period piece of the delectable sort, and one not to be missed on any account.
City of God (2002, Brazil)
Ever dreamed of journeying to beautiful Brazil, and traversing the many streets of Rio de Janeiro? After watching this film, you’ll appreciate you’re dull and dreadful life is not engulfed in poverty and copious drug wars. Once your feeble eyes have been graced by such an immaculate film, your foolhardy ways of viewing the world will be no more. The story of two boys in Rio de Janeiro that take separate paths growing up in a violent neighborhood, will have you looking to make a difference in the world by signing online petitions for a solid 5 minutes. Your acquaintances will bask in your glow once you show them such a deep sophistication in foreign cultural understanding that you acquired from observing an intricate masterpiece such as this.
The Bicycle Thief (1948, Italy)
You thought you were clever with your, “beepety-boppities” and your Mario impersonations? News flash boy-o, Italians are people too! Italians are also at their most vulnerable when their bike gets stolen in a post WWII depression era, which is exactly what happens to a father and son in this heartbreaking drama. Hard times and tough choices can break a man, but crying at the end of a film only builds character and building things is what proper men do.
Memories of Murder (2003, South Korea)
Any hoighty toighty, silly ninny can name reference OldBoy as their South Korean go to film, but it takes one of supreme stature and allure to be able to successfully reference the true magnum opus of Korean cinema, Memories of Murder. Played out much like a Korean Zodiac (though it came before that one), this film is based on the real life serial murders of women in the Hwaseong area, and follows two bumbling detectives as they try and catch the killer. An admirer for aesthetics will be in awe of the gorgeous shots that help bring the story to life, and the characters will only grow more with you over time like a fine wine; a Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti Grand Cru to be precise.
Audition (1999, Japan)
Understanding women is a key trait of any gentleman. Women can smell fear, as seen in this Takashi Miike horror film, Audition. A lonely, widowed man stages a fake audition to find a potential woman to be his wife, but she may not be what she seems. If you’re able to trust women again after this, then by God sir have a scotch on me! Such bravery can only be rewarded with the finest alcohol and a genuine tip of the cap. Good show old boy.
The Hunt (2012, Denmark)
Awww, hunting. A proper man’s game. There’s nothing quite like the rush you get when extinguishing something’s life with your bare hands, but it’s something entirely different when you find yourself becoming the hunted. This is what happens when a small Denmark community persecutes a man for pedophilia after a girl tells a small little lie. Accepting that fear and mob mentality are universal can be an important step for an uncouth tosser to change himself into a beacon for cultural humility and compassion.
Once you finish watching these fine films, your world view will be unmatched by your ignorant peers and coffee shop workers will swoon at your newly acquired Swedish scarfs and Japanese kimonos. A multicultural representative will be at your door with a specific tailor made suit of the most pristine quality, and will come with much needed accessories such as a fresh new top hat and a handlebar mustache of your liking. Congratulations, take your victory cigar and your new found appreciation of culture and sit next to that hot transfer student you fantasize about before you go to bed at night. Hand her a baguette and she’ll be sippin’ on your fine wine later that night.
You can thank me in fine french chocolate and a sporty pat on the back. I really must go, I have a polo match against the blokes from across the pond. God speed my good man!