world cinema“I demand that a film express either the joy of making cinema or the agony of making cinema. I am not at all interested in anything in between.”  -François Truffaut

There’s a common misconception amongst idiots that foreign films are always good by virtue of being foreign. This is wrong, obviously, but year after year, festival after festival you’ll find hordes of film-goers laughing wildly at MicMacs or standing to applaud Paper Soldiers. A lot of them wear black turtle necks. But however misguided they may be, these people are at least barking up the correct tree. There is much to be admired in world cinema. It’s been vital to the progression of cinema since the beginning. World cinema is responsible for most of the greatest films of all time.

For every hundred The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug posters you see around the city you might see one La vie d’Adèle poster. And that’s if you’re lucky. World cinema is a tragically underrepresented division of film in the Western world. Hollywood knows it, but probably doesn’t want us to know it, because Hollywood wants us to go and see Pacific Rim. But hell, Hollywood has been importing foreign directors like Murnau since the silent era. Even Star Wars was a remake of Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress.

If there was no world cinema there would be no slow motion shots of Tony Leung smoking, no game of chess between Death and Max von Sydow and Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg would never have jumped into the Trevi Fountain. This is a list of the immortal actors and actresses of world cinema.