The top Foreign-Language film of 2021, The Truffle Hunters, also happens to be one of the top documentaries of the year, but it’s not the only film on this list doing double duty. One of them, Flee, also appears on the list of Best Animated Movies, and there are two other films — Acasa, My Home and Sabaya — keeping The Truffle Hunters company on the Best Documentaries list. If that wasn’t enough, exactly half of the top 10 Foreign-Language films here, including festival darlings like Drive My Car and Parallel Mothers, also show up on our GTA list of Best Dramas. In other words, some of the year’s best cinema in general came from outside of Hollywood, and while they may not always be as easy to find at your local multiplex as the latest studio tentpole, they’re always worth seeking out.
The order reflects Tomatometer scores (as of December 31, 2021) after adjustment from our ranking formula, which compensates for variation in the number of reviews when comparing movies or TV shows.
#1 THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS
The Truffle Hunters explores a world most viewers will know nothing about -- with delightfully savory results.
Starring: Enrico Crippa, Carlo Gondola, Piero Botto, Sergio Cauda
Directed By: Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw
#2 QUO VADIS, AIDA?
Quo Vadis, Aida? uses one woman's heartbreaking conflict to offer a searing account of war's devastating human toll.
Starring: Jasna Đuričić, Izudin Bajrovic, Boris Ler, Dino Bajrovic
Directed By: Jasmila Zbanic
Led by Noée Abita's outstanding central performance, Slalom offers a moving account of oppression and abuse in the guise of mentorship.
Starring: Noée Abita, Jérémie Renier, Marie Denarnaud, Muriel Combeau
Directed By: Charlène Favier
#4 DRIVE MY CAR
Drive My Car's imposing runtime holds a rich, patiently engrossing drama that reckons with self-acceptance and regret.
Starring: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Toko Miura, Reika Kirishima, Yoo-rim Park
Directed By: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
Depicting the refugee experience through vivid animation, Flee pushes the boundaries of documentary filmmaking to present a moving memoir of self-discovery.
Directed By: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
#6 PARALLEL MOTHERS
A brilliant forum for Penélope Cruz's talent, Parallel Mothers reaffirms the familiar pleasures of Almodóvar's filmmaking while proving he's still capable of growth.
Starring: Penélope Cruz, Aitana Sánchez-Gijon, Milena Smit, Israel Elejalde
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar
#7 TWO OF US
A remarkable feature debut for director/co-writer Filippo Meneghetti, Two of Us tells a deceptively complex love story while presenting a rich acting showcase for its three leads.
Starring: Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier, Léa Drucker, Jérôme Varanfrain
Directed By: Filippo Meneghetti
Beautifully filmed and emotionally impactful, Luzzu uses one man's story to capture the struggles of a region at a cultural crossroads.
Starring: Jesmark Scicluna, Michela Farrugia, David Scicluna, Frida Cauchi
Directed By: Alex Camilleri
#9 ACASA, MY HOME
Acasa, My Home presents a powerful documentary portrait of one family's odyssey that illustrates bittersweet truths about freedom and society.
Directed By: Radu Ciorniciuc
Sabaya presents a scary and sobering look at human suffering -- and the efforts of those dedicated to ending it.
Directed By: Hogir Hirori