You Cannot Unsee These 5 Disturbing Foreign Films
Film is a medium that is still oft misunderstood by many. Some people don’t seem to grasp that any medium of art has as much a right to offend as it does entertain. While we have seen darkness in art and heard it in music, some people just seem so put-off by darkness in film. But look around you right now. Life is dark. Sometimes escaping from bleak into something even more bleak can still feel like an escape. And not all of us find comfort in the comforting. Many of us find comfort in the disturbing. A reminder of how good and normal our own lives are by comparison. And while it could be argued there are MANY American films that both traumatized and entertain (though that is a razor thin line to try and walk) American film pales in comparison to foreign films, especially when it comes to horror and the disturbing. What is taboo HERE may very well not to be taboo somewhere else. Or even still, taboo or not, some countries produce films that are not afraid to go the deepest depths of darkness to drive their messages home. Films that stay with you like a scar you see everyday. Films that etch themselves into your being and live scuttling inside you, forever.
Here are five disturbing foreign films (mostly horror) that will take a bit of your soul away when you watch them. Be forewarned, dark territory lays ahead. This shit is NOT for the faint-of-heart.
A Serbian Film
To start this list with any foreign film but this would be a mistake. When it comes to utterly disturbing and shocking cinema, nothing I have ever seen even comes close to what you see on-screen in A Serbian film. A movie made to symbolically represent what the Serbian government allows (and even does) to its own inhabitants. To call A Serbian Film bleak is to undersell this mindfuck of a film.
What is it about, you ask?
Serbian Film is about a failing porn star who gets offered “one last job” that will take care of his family financially for the rest of their lives, so WITH HIS WIFE’S BLESSING (most shocking part of movie) he takes the role only to find out he is in the snuffiest snuff film ever made and cannot back out.
From the fucking of a body he decapitates mid-coitus to a newborn baby being raped to death, I tell people that if they like their soul, they shouldn’t watch this.
I have seen it twice.
Vinyan is a wholly different type of disturbing than the aforementioned A Serbian Film. In Vinyan a young couple loses their young son in a tsunami while on vacation abroad and in a one minute video the wife sees, she swear she sees her son in a village. She then takes it upon herself (and her husband, who is more doubtful than she) to go find their son in some island village out in the middle of nowhere. It sounds simple enough, but the pathos of the Mother begins to affect the viewer. You feel her desperation wax and wane as pretty much everything that can go wrong, does.
It is the second-half of the film that truly left a bruise in my soul. I will tell you little other than this film is visually stunning and will end with your mouth hanging open, feeling kind of sick.
Vinyan poses the idea that sometimes, we don’t want to find what we are looking for. And in searching hard enough, we may get broken in the process.
Cold Fish is a South Korean film that starts so slow and simple, it will actually make you drop your guard and THEN it beats the shit out of you.
A girl steals from a pet store and in trying to make it right, her father gets mixed up with the store owner who I will just say is THE MOST FUCKED UP HUMAN EVER and the father slowly gets dragged into the seedy underbelly of a life so grimy, he cannot pull himself to the surface again.
Like I said, first half hour you may actually get bored, but once you see what is happening and the power struggle unfolding between the two men, as well as one man’s honor at stake, watching Cold Fish is watching a man get broken and turned into a beast, and it leaves the viewer feeling slightly broken, too.
But it goes from zero to one-hundred MPH real quick, so buckle in for this one.
A Ma Soeur
This is one film that would probably fall more into the “drama” category than horror, but what we see unfold and the truth in which we see it is crippling. All I need to tell you is the name translates from French to Fat Girl and you should know this may not be pleasant.
The movie is about an overweight girl and the dichotomy between her and her beloved sister (and by beloved I mean dudes want to and do fuck her, real talk) and how the sisterly relationship disintegrates into something so troubling, you want to step into the actual film to intervene but you can’t.
You feel helpless as things get worse and worse, all building to a finale to NO ONE sees coming and no one ever forgets. Though Baise-moi would have been the more obvious choice, Fat Girl wins because of just how casually it breaches the taboo. Baise-moi tries too hard, but check that one out, too, if you just want to double-fuck your soul one weekend.
Much like all the above mentioned films, watch at your own risk.
Torture porn is weird. It is a sub-genre that flourished and then died, all within a year or two. And while many of the torture porn movies were just that, films like Hostel look like Disney movies next to the torture we witness in Imprint. Funny thing is, this was actually an episode for the Showtime horror show, Masters of Horror, but Showtime (a CABLE channel that can show anything) banned it, so it was released as a film on DVD. That tells you all you need to know.
Imprint is a story about an American journalist who falls in love with a Japanese prostitute (Geisha?) and promises to come back one day and save her. Suffice it to say, things don’t go as planned.
Flash forward, from the moment he left the woman he loved began being tortured by the utterly scary “pimp-mother” of the hooker dojo, seen in trailer above.
Imprint is very, VERY hard to get through. Unlike other torture porn movies that seem to use torture to disturb the audience, Imprint uses it like it genuinely enjoys it. Like it is getting off on it. From nails being pulled off to teeth being yanked and gums being stabbed, there are things seen in Imprint that your mind would have never even imagined and will never let go off. The running theme of the whole list, these films haunt you and stay with you, forever.
Most fucked up part, imprint is based on an old legend that is supposedly steeped in truth. A fact that makes it all even harder to swallow.
So remember, art has just as much right to sicken and offend as it does inspire and delight, and the above films push that idea to their very limits.