Here are some of the most anticipated international-language movies of 2023.
If 2022 has taught us anything, it’s that international cinema is the future. Parasite director Bong Joon-ho said it best when he stated, “When you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” And in the last year, the allure of international cinema has definitely grown for western audiences. This time, the Telugu-language movie RRR managed to become a global phenomenon, and the South Korean mystery thriller Decision to Leave certainly wowed audiences, too.
The year 2023 promises more excitement from international cinema. South Korea and India are treading similar waters, with a number of commercial blockbusters anticipated from these countries. Meanwhile, Netflix continues its plan to expand on international-language content with its first-ever Saudi Arabian feature film to release this year. There are also a number of much-anticipated releases from critically acclaimed international-language filmmakers. Here are some of the most anticipated international-language movies of 2023.
In keeping with its goals to expand international-language content, Netflix recently teased a number of movies and series aimed towards the Middle East. The movie Alkhallat+ was one of them, a Saudi Arabian comedy thriller anthology based on the popular online series Alkhallat. The original show, released in 2017, consisted of 22 episodes and received over 1.5 billion views across various streaming platforms. The movie’s trailer features a motley set of characters, each involved in a variety of unusual incidents.
A co-production of Singapore, Taiwan, and the Philippines, In My Mother’s Skin will be the only international-language movie to be featured in the Midnight section of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. The movie is set in the Philippines during World War II, where a young girl encounters a malevolent fairy while trying to take care of her dying mother. The movie features Filipino actors like Jasmine Curtis-Smith and Beauty Gonzales, and is directed by Kenneth Dagatan, who has already made a name for himself as a writer and director in the horror genre.
Sci-fi action is becoming a new playground for Korean web releases as of late, with the movie Carter gaining popularity in 2022. The South Korean movie Jung_E is releasing in the same genre, starring Kim Hyun-joo as an elite soldier whose brain is cloned and placed in a superior android body. While Carter featured a minimalistic story that allowed a greater focus on action, Jung_E promises rich characterization and visuals reminiscent of works like Ghost in the Shell. The movie also features the last film appearance of Kang Soo-yeon before her death. Soo-yeon is often recognized as Korea’s first world star.
Following a four-year hiatus, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is set to return to the big screen in 2023 with three major releases — Jawan, Dunki, and Pathaan. It’s safe to say that all three movies are greatly anticipated in India, especially since they all feature meaningful collaborations that have added to the buzz around these titles. Jawan is a much-hyped collaboration between Telugu and Bollywood filmmakers, while Dunki is being led by the legendary Bollywood filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani. Meanwhile, Pathaan introduces Khan to one of the biggest cinematic universes in Indian cinema, known as the Yash Raj Films Spy Universe. The YRF Spy Universe includes other megastars of Bollywood like Salman Khan and Hritik Roshan.
First published in 1844, the French novel The Three Musketeers has seen numerous adaptations to the screen, entertaining audiences with healthy doses of swashbuckling action and offering insight into the political scenario of its times. The 67 prior adaptations notwithstanding, the story is seeing a brand new big-screen take in a two-part movie series, shot in its original language. Audiences are genuinely excited about the 2023 adaptation as the trailers appear to promise a grittier take on the material etched out on a grand canvas.
Famed Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda is continuing a prolific run with yet another release in 2023, titled Monster. While plot details are being kept under wraps, the cast will include actors like Sakura Ando, Eita Nagayama, and Akihiro Kakuta. The recipient of many international film awards, Kore-eda is returning to the Japanese language for this movie after making his last two films in French and Korean languages respectively. Monster will also mark the first time since 1995 that Kore-eda directed a film written by someone else.
The most revered Japanese animator, Hayao Miyazaki, has been working on How Do You Live? for nearly six years, intending to create it exclusively through hand-drawn animation. After making some of the best animated films of all time, this movie is expected to be his magnum opus. He has revealed that the movie is a sort of gift he’s leaving behind for his grandson. The movie is based on an eponymous book by writer Genzaburo Yoshino, and explores the life and growth of a 15-year-old boy named Koperu.
Animal is another major Indian movie releasing in 2023 with great implications for future trends in Indian cinema. Similar to Jawan, Animal is a much-anticipated collaboration between Bollywood and Tollywood — the Telugu film industry. The movie is written and directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga from Tollywood. Ranbir Kapoor, who is the biggest current-generation star from Bollywood’s oldest film family, will be starring in this crime action movie. In keeping with the pan-Indian formula, Animal will be released simultaneously in five different Indian languages.
Indian audiences are enjoying a prolific period in cinema, as the regional South Indian film industries continue to take over the country with massive blockbusters. The Telugu film industry has maintained a clear dominance with titles like the internationally successful RRR and Pushpa: The Rise. The latter of these movies starred Allu Arjun in a crime action film about a gutsy red sandalwood smuggler. Its makers are currently working on a sequel titled Pushpa: The Rise, expected to release in 2023. The sequel will further explore the rivalry between Arjun’s lead character, Pushpa, and the compelling villain character of Bhanwar Singh, played by Fahadh Faasil.
Western audiences were introduced to South Korean actor Don Lee through the MCU feature Eternals, having also featured in Train to Busan a few years earlier. But the actor has a big fan following in his home country as an action star. The Outlaws, released in 2017, is one his biggest commercial releases. The movie follows Lee as a formidable yet easygoing police officer who commands equal respect from gangs and fellow police officers. A sequel titled The Roundup, released last year, became one of the most profitable Korean movies of all time. No Way Out will be the third movie in the franchise, and is expected to offer the same brand of Don Lee action entertainment to full effect in 2023.