Recommended Foreign Language Films and TV Series

Nadia de Santiago, Ana Fernández, Maggie Civantos,

I’ve reviewed a number of foreign language films and TV shows here on Old Ain’t Dead. This is a summary post helping you find them all. I’ve categorized them by language. Some of these may have gone from the various streaming services, check the date of the review if it isn’t where I say it is. Last updated 11/12/ 2018.


Arcelia Ramírez in Juana Ines

  • XXY is from Argentina. It’s the story of an intersex teen. Sensitively done.
  • The Invisible Guardian is a thriller from Spain about a police woman who returns to her hometown on a case. The crime and her life intersect.
  • The Lighthouse of the Orcas is a about a real park ranger who made friends with whales. There’s an autistic boy in the story.
  • Cable Girls is a TV series about women who worked as telephone operators in 1920s Madrid. Soapy but empowering.
  • The Time in Between is a sweeping saga of a seamstress who becomes a Spanish spy for the English in WWII.
  • Juana Ines tells the story of the famous Mexican nun. This is a fictionalized version of her life.
  • Sunday’s Illness brings unexpected pain to the reunion of an adult child with her long lost mother.
  • Thi Mai is a funny and heartfelt story about adopting a Vietnamese child.
  • Grand Hotel is a telenovela so popular the series is being remade in several countries besides Spain.
  • La Niña tells a true story about child soldiers in Columbia.
  • Morocco: Love in Times of War is about Spanish Red Cross nurses in Morocco in the 1920s.

My friend Ingrid at Second-Half Travels has a list of 20 Spanish-Language TV Shows on Netflix in March 2018, if you need more Spanish suggestions.


The Second Mother from Brazil is a story of class, motherhood, sacrifice, and modern São Paulo.

My language-learning friend at Second Half Travels has a great list of the 13 Best Brazilian Movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime.


Cécile De France and Izïa Higelin in Summertime (La belle saison)

  • Dalida is a biopic about the famous Egyptian/French singer.
  • Summertime is a lesbian love story set in the French countryside.
  • Divines is a dynamic tale about teens in a Paris suburb.
  • No Second Chance is a series based on a mystery novel by Harlan Corben.
  • The New Girlfriend is a story about grief told through a lens of sexual fluidity.
  • Queen to Play is about a French woman who becomes a champion chess player. It’s set in Corsica.
  • The Mantis is a TV series about a serial killer and her copycat.
  • The Disappearance is a TV series in the vein of The Killing.
  • Witnesses is a TV series featuring a female cop who resorts to some unorthodox methods of crime solving.
  • A few comments on Blue is the Warmest Color mixed in with some other stuff.
  • I Am Not and Easy Man gives a gender swap story some new twists.
  • From the Land of the Moon tells the story of a woman whose entire life is a fantasy.



Andreas Pietschmann in Dark

  • Phoenix is a World War II story about a woman who returns from a concentration camp. There’s a gaslighting aspect to the tale.
  • Dark is a German mystery series with a bit of supernatural, time-travel magic thrown into the excitement.
  • Babylon Berlin puts you into Berlin in 1929 with brilliant, atmospheric settings and scenes.


Detective Anna features an eager young woman who solves crimes better than the police.

Also check out the list of Best Russian TV Shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime from Second Half Travels.


Tabula Rasa deals with mental illness in a tense thriller from Belgium.


On Body and Soul is a love story that takes place in a slaughterhouse. Sounds grim, but it’s beautiful.


Ia Shugliashvili in My Happy Family

My Happy Family is about one woman’s desire for a room of her own when her family is too much with her.


  • The Innocents is in Polish, French and Russian. It’s about a group of nuns who were raped in WWII and are ready to give birth. A French doctor helps them.
  • Ultraviolet is a mystery series about a group of internet savvy folks who start solving cases for the police.
  • The Art of Loving: Story of Michalina Wislocka tells the story of Polish sexologist Michalina Wislocka.


Ida Engvoll in Rebecka Martinsson


Thelma is the story of a young woman with supernatural powers.


Pihla Viitala in Deadwind (Karppi)

Deadwind (Karppi) features a female cop in a complex Nordic noir series.


  • Dicte is a series about a female reporter who gets involved with investigating crimes.
  • Rita is a teacher and a rebel of the highest order. One of the all-time best series ever, in any language.
  • The Rain carries a virus that can kill you. Don’t get caught in the rain!


Richard Harrington and Mali Harries in Hinterland

  • Hinterland is a Welsh/English TV series about a cop living in a remote part of Wales. The version we see in the U.S. is all in English, but a Welsh version is available. It was filmed twice, once in each language.
  • Keeping Faith also has a Welsh and an English version. This series follows the mysterious disappearance of a woman’s husband.


  • Sand Storm is about a Bedouin family in Southern Israel.
  • Fatima is about a Moroccan woman struggling to make a life for herself in France. It is in both Arabic and French.


The White Helmets is a documentary about rescue workers in areas of Syrian bombing.


Usha Naik in 1000 Rupee Note

1000 Rupee Note is set in India. It is about a woman who receives a rupee note so large she can’t spend it anywhere because no one can make change.


  • Parched is about a group of Indian women who want to free themselves from the rules of the patriarchy. There’s a mix of Hindi and English.
  • Margarita, with a Straw is about an Indian girl who goes to New York to college. It is a mix of Hindi and English.


Dukhtar is set in Pakistan. Both Urdu and Pushto are spoken in this film about a woman who fights to save her young daughter from a forced marriage.


Min-hee Kim, Jung-woo Ha, Jin-woong Jo, and Tae-ri Kim in The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden is a Korean remake of Fingersmith. It’s mostly in Korean with some Japanese as well.


  • Sweet Bean is about an older woman who teaches life lessons and the trick of making bean paste. Delightfully lovely film.
  • A Whale of a Tale is a documentary about a Japanese fishing village.


Difret tells the story of a 14 year old Ethiopian girl and the young female lawyer who represents her in her struggle to be free. Based on a real court case and very inspirational.

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