English language cinema is extremely dominant everywhere in the world, which means that many films not in the English language have tragically fallen by the wayside over the years. Most foreign films make little impact overseas compared to English-language films and audiences still seems to have an aversion to watching anything with subtitles.
This is enormously unfortunate, since brilliant cinema is coming from abroad all the time and a huge chunk of the greatest films ever made are foreign-language films. Essentially, if anyone is unwilling to watch foreign films they are inevitably going to miss out on many, many truly amazing movies.
Need any evidence? Check out these twenty films. They differ hugely in plot and come from many different parts of the world but they all have one thing in common: every single one of them is an absolute must-see...
20. La Dolce Vita
Plot: A paparazzi journalist drifts through his shallow, materialistic existence in Rome over the course of a week.
This famous, well-loved work from Federico Fellini is an especially memorable classic of European cinema, largely thanks to Fellini's visually superb direction, a fantastic leading performance from Marcello Mastroianni and the many surreal, terrific vignettes which make up the bulk of the film.
It has a mammoth three hour run-time but it makes those hours disappear and always holds the viewer's attention. It is very long and perhaps indulgent, but it is never, ever boring and pays off with a great conclusion as well.
This is definitely one of the key films of Italian cinema and arguably the highlight of Federico Fellini's career.