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Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2015: An Introduction

In an effort to explain the criteria used to create our list of Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2015, we must first explain what we consider to be foreign. We’ve included film projects that are in the English language, either from foreign auteurs making their first foray into Anglo-Saxon territory, or those that already speak it, such as Australians, Canadians, and our friends from the United Kingdom. But we’ve also included projects that are international co-productions, films being funded through sources outside of the United States, all technically foreign bodies within the American film industry.

With the love of subtitles ever on a seemingly increased decline, we wanted to devote a complete list to these ‘foreign’ entities, titles often untethered or uninterested in discernable ‘entertainment’ value. A quick glance at our menu will show a distinct leaning toward French auteurs, given that they have a very provocative and healthy domestic film industry. But a smattering of Hungarian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, German, Dutch, South African, Argentinean, Belgian, British, Australian, Canadian, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Iranian, Israeli, Georgian, Polish, Filipino, and Czech figure into the tapestry.

Curiously, a large number of Romanian auteurs seem geared to release their next several titles in 2015, including Catalin Mitulescu, Radu Muntean, Radu Jude, Cristi Puiu, and Florin Serban (we think Cristian Mungiu and Calin Peter Netzer’s next will be 2016). We’re looking forward to seeing how these New Wave alumni continue to redefine their growing industry and what new directions they will be moving into. Among these titles, we consider a majority of them to be upcoming Cannes hopefuls, especially for those auteur films that are currently in post-production and/or began filming in Autumn of 2014. Projects were chosen mostly on the basis of the director’s previous filmography or the potential edge their newest titles may have (explaining why quite a few newer names and faces floated to the top 50). Narrative and sometimes, cast (including tech folk such as cinematographers, editors and even producers), also dictated the placement of several titles.

Within our top 100, you’ll see that Vincent Cassel, Cécile De France and Stacy Martin (from Nymphomaniac – see cropped poster one sheet above) pop up more than twice, with significant interest placed on a trio of films starring the incomparable Isabelle Huppert. Of the directors, nearly 20 of our selections are female directors, five of them appearing in our top 20. We’re hoping that Cannes 2015 will factor several of them into their main competition.

As always, there’s some guestimating involved, so several of these titles could very well end up being 2016 releases (of which we’ve tabulated a different list). And quite a few we just couldn’t budge into the top 100 of this list, including the aforementioned Florin Serban, and other greats like Giuseppe Tornatore, Isabel Coixet, Julio Medem, Julie Delpy, Andreas Dresen, Majid Majidi, Sion Sono, and Fien Troch.

Our five day countdown (or count up) begins shortly. Please share your opinions on our ranking and possible omissions (which we may have included on our 200-101 cut-off list at the click-thru below).

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Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is IONCINEMA.com's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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