Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration
With the holiday season coming in and the pandemic still raging on, let’s take a look these 10 International Netflix series that are perfect for your next binge-fest.
The Spy (Israel)
Based on a true story, this gripping psychological drama leaves you wanting more. Leading with Sacha Baron Cohen, the series brings to light the actor’s admirable versatility. From the hilarious portrayal of a Kazakh resident, in Borat, Cohens plays the role of Eli Cohen. A Mossad spy who assumes the identity of Kamel Amin Thaabet in Syria ultimately becoming the chief adviser to the Minister of Defense.
The Spy not only is successful in conveying Eli’s exploits and where they ultimately lead him but it also convincingly exhibits the exceedingly taut foreign relations that Israel had with its Middle-Eastern neighbours, especially during the mid-1900s. With its rivetingly suspenseful storyline and scenes, this binge-worthy limited series will leave you at the edge of your seats throughout.
Samurai Gourmet (Japan)
This Japanese Netflix limited series is based on Masayuki Kusumi’s essay and the manga of the same name. The story revolves around recently retired Takeshi Kasumi played by Naoto Takenaka, a salaryman in his 60’s unsure about how to spend his spare time now that he is retired. Naoto decides to go to Tokyo on foot and try something new each day.
While the premise of the story may seem listless, each of the 20-minute episodes is a lesson in positivity. The cinematic ambience of the series is equally fascinating with smooth focused pan shots, the culinary scenes capture the essence and magic of the simple Japanese kitchen with each swirl of the broth, a slab of simmering beef, and a bowl of glistening ramen through the dewy camera filter, captivating Takeshi’s every sense transporting you to the neverland that is the Japanese culinary scene.
The story is based on the real-life case of the Bethnal Green Trio, in which three teenage girls from London met jihad recruiters at their high school and were ultimately radicalised. The series follows the lives of Fatima, a Swedish Security Service agent, Pervin, a young Swedish woman lured into Syria, and Sulle, an opinionated teenager groomed by the Islamic State/ISIL.
The plot explores and revolves around themes such as Islamic extremism, terrorism, tensions within Islam and among Muslims, women’s rights, and human rights. With sheats of male-driven dramas centred around modern-day terrorism, Caliphate uniquely portrays a female perspective into a very real and jolting reality of religious fundamentalism.
Entering the Netflix cosmos as “the other stranger things” this German Netflix drama is now being hailed as one Netflix’s all-time bests. Going on to win The Grimme-Preis award, one of the most prestigious German television awards, Dark with its Somber tone and complexly woven storyline this thriller/suspense drama its the story of a small German where two children go missing in a small, but as one of the opening lines states “ it’s not where, but when”. The series unravels deeper supernatural secrets, double lives and the fractured relationships that exist among four families in the town of Winden as they search for the kids.
Sacred Games (India)
Netflix’s first original Indian series is insanely watchable when police officer Sartaj Singh receives an anonymous tip about the location of criminal overlord Ganesh Gaitonde, he embarks on a chase around Mumbai in what becomes a dangerous cat-and-mouse game. Set in the backdrop of Indian city of Mumbai the series amalgamates important facets of Indian socio-political cosmos like political unrest, corruption, religion, terrorism, casteism that are weaved into the storyline with utmost precision.
Its picaresque, expansive storytelling ranked a scorching 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, this Netflix original is a must-watch for your holiday binge marathon.
If you relish the dystopian dramas like The Hunger Games or Dark, this Brasilian dream is right up your alley. The series is about children dwelling in Brazilian slums, who volunteer to take part in their society’s highly anticipated long-established challenges known as the “Process”. The challenges set apart the top 3% of each class, individuals who possess the “merit” to win Process’s tests to win the ultimate prize: A brand new on an offshore paradise, where the winners get to live their lives in bliss and abundance. This dystopian Hunger Game-like series will leave you wanting more with its stunning cinematography and visual appeal.
This teen drama centred on uber-rich private high schoolers from Spain is the perfect selection for your next binge-fest. The premise is cliched yet enticing: a juicy murder mystery that runs through the entire season, obscene displays of wealth, and lots and lots of sex. Apart from being a classic murder-mystery, the bewitching sets, and a stunning cast Elite also has a meaty plot and side plots deals with profound socio-economic issues, ranging from homophobia, economic inequality, xenophobia, and the stigma of HIV. Even with subtitles, you’ll have binged through this quick series before you know it.
The Governor (Nigeria)
The story of Nigeria’s first female governor Angela Ochello, the Deputy Governor of Savannah State, who with no governorship ambitions finds herself suddenly entangled in a web of political intrigue after the untimely death of the incumbent Governor.
The story of a woman who is fighting to survive in a man’s world while keeping her family together, The Governor drives home the reality that politics, especially in developing countries, is an uphill battle for the female gender. The struggle of the main lead portrayed throughout the series is a universal reality for many but also depicts the true power that she harbours within to face any struggle and emerge victoriously.
Kingdom (South Korea)
A zombie drama set in the backdrop of a medieval Korean dynasty, this lush zombie plague series is a crossover we never knew we needed. The story revolves around the Crown Prince who is at the verge of losing his throne with his pregnant stepmother, the Queen, and her father plotting against him.
The prince and public are being kept from the fact that the king is dead and has been reanimated as a zombie. If the Queen births a son, he will have a stronger claim to the throne than the Prince, but the dead king’s zombie affliction starts to spread around the empire. Now the prince must discover the truth behind the strange illness that has plagued the king and his subjects.
Watching a zombie pandemic while fearing COVID-19 is almost surreal and the perfect setting for binging this skillfully created drama.
The Rain (Denmark)
The world as we know it has come to an end, due to a rain-carried virus that wiped out nearly everybody in Scandinavia. Netflix’s first original Danish series The Rain is a perfect combination of suspenseful mystery and action-packed drama, with skillfully written and complex characters that keep you invested with their journey through the barren wasteland that now is planet earth.
One of the strongest survivalist dramas created by the streaming giant, The Rain with its well-paced storytelling and addicting story life will have you hitting play on the next episode the second credits start to roll.
Grab your popcorn and get ready embark on the best binge-fest during lockdown!