How about creating a list of movies about culture?
It’ll be our little summer project.
What do you say? Will you help me?
C’mon, you know you want to.
Scroll down to see what I’ve come up with so far.
Full disclosure: Some of the films I’ve seen; some I haven’t. And some I saw so long ago that I’m not even sure they should be on this list.
Here’s the criteria:
- Culture, cultural identity, cultural exploration or travel must be central to the film’s plot.
- Only cinema films will be included. No TV movies.
- The film can be in any language but it must be available with English subtitles or voice-over.
- The film can be a fictionalized story or a documentary. An asterisk (*) denotes a documentary.
- A double asterisk (**) means the film includes negative portrayals or reinforce stereotypes about a culture or country. So take what you see and hear with a grain of salt.
- Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis (France)
- Bell Epoque (Spain)
- Bend it Like Beckham (England)
- Blue Collar and Buddha
- Born in Absurdistan
- Born in East L.A.
- Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
- Cambodian Donut Dreams
- Cinema Paradiso (Italy)
- City of God (Cidade de Deus)
- City of Joy
- Crossing Delancey
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
- The Cup
- Daughters of the Dust
- Days of Glory
- Dim Sum
- Do the Right Thing
- Double Happiness
- The Edge of Heaven (Germany & Turkey)
- East is East
- El Norte
- Eve’s Bayou
- Frida (Mexico)
- The Gods Must Be Crazy (Africa)
- Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (United States)
- Hotel Rwanda
- In America
- In the Time of Butterflies
- Joy Luck Club
- King of Masks
- Kite Runner
- Koran by Heart
- Koyaanisqatsi* – No narrative, but shots of different cultures and environments set to music
- Lean on Me
- “Like Water for Chocolate” (Mexico)
- Local Hero
- Lone Star
- Maria Full of Grace
- Memoirs of a Geisha (Japan)
- My Family (Mi Familia)
- The Milagro Beanfield War
- The Mission
- Mississippi Masala
- Monsoon Wedding
- Moscow on the Hudson
- The Motorcycle Diaries
- My Beautiful Launderette (England)
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding (United States, Greece)
- Once were Warriors
- Picture Bride
- Quinceañera(Latino, United States)
- Rabbit-proof Fence
- Raise the Red Lantern (China)
- Real Women Have Curves (Latino, United States)
- Remember the Titans (United States)
- Seven Years In Tibet
- Slumdog Millionaire (India)
- Stand and Deliver
- Strange Brew
- The 7Up series (follows a group of English children from age 7 until adulthood)
- This is England
- Tompopo (Japan)
- Tortilla Soup
- To Sir With Love
- The Story of the Weeping Camel
- The Visitor (United States)
- The Wedding Banquet
- The World’s Fastest Indian (New Zealand)
- Whale Rider (New Zealand)
- Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona (Spain)
Now It’s Your Turn
Got any other movies to recommend that give a glimpse into another culture or country? Share your ideas — add the film’s title and the culture or country it’s about (if it’s not obvious) — in the comments box, please! Bonus: If you know the year the film was released, please include that too.