Our 15 favorite foreign films of 2021

After a year 2020 which has offered moviegoers very few new products to eat, 2021 marked the return of major Hollywood productions to our screens. If the big guns like Dune and the new James Bond delivered the goods, several less expected films also pleasantly surprised us. Here are our 15 favorites of the year.

• Read also: Our favorite Quebec films of 2021

The power of the dog

By bringing the novel to the screen The power of the dog, by author Thomas Savage, renowned New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion has created a grandiose and complex western that troubles us and inhabits us for a long time. At the top of her game, the director of The piano lesson It explores toxic masculinity and virility in a beautifully constructed narrative loaded with gripping dramatic tension. A great movie.


Frank Herbert’s literary masterpiece finally gets the grand adaptation it deserves. With an impeccable cast including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac and Rebecca Ferguson, Denis Villeneuve’s feature film is eye-catching and makes you wait impatiently for the sequel.


Intimate feature film by Chloé Zhao, Nomadland is a gem in which Frances McDormand delivers one of her best performances. Amidst the magnificent American landscapes, the actress explores the choice of nomadism and its necessity in a country ravaged by the crisis. Nomadland won five awards (including Best Picture) at the last Academy Awards.

The father

French playwright Florian Zeller delivers an eminently sensory film in which Anthony Hopkins plays a man suffering from dementia. Overwhelming love, The father is unforgettable.


French director Julia Ducournau hit hard with Titanium, his second feature film, winner of the Palme d’Or at the last Cannes Film Festival. A punchy drama that flirts at the same time with the fantastic, the horror and the dark comedy, Titanium tells the incredible story of a bloodthirsty serial killer (fascinating Agathe Rousselle) who becomes pregnant … from a Cadillac car! A work as disturbing as it is destabilizing.


Until now, Kenneth Branagh was best known for his adaptations of Shakespeare, his immersion in Thor or his Murder on the Orient Express. With Belfast, the filmmaker looks back on his Irish childhood and delivers a masterful film made of love, hope and heartbreak in which Caitríona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan and the young Jude Hill shine.

To die can wait

For his last lap in James Bond, Daniel Craig humanizes and weakens the most famous British secret agent in Hollywood. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga spares him nothing, love torments, injuries and frenzied stunts. Very beautiful work, and a “goodbye” which fills with joy.

Goodbye idiots

Mega success at the French box office, Goodbye idiots, cheerful comedy by actor and filmmaker Albert Dupontel, recounts the misadventures of a depressed civil servant who missed his suicide and of a hairdresser suffering from an incurable disease who seeks to find her son whom she has never known . In a cheerfully quirky tone, Dupontel offers a fierce and brilliant satire of a dehumanized modern society, which mercilessly rejects the marginalized and the injured in life.

Stolen doll

For her first stint behind the camera, Maggie Gyllenhaal chooses to adapt a short novel by Elena Ferrante. Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley share the lead role of this woman who, through her memories, questions herself about her motherhood and the choices she made.


As he had done five years ago with the excellent Jackie (on Jackie Kennedy), the filmmaker Pablo Larrain has deconstructed the codes of the biographical film to offer this time an intimate and disturbing foray into the life of Lady Diana. Paced by dizzying jazz music composed by Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead), Spencer is worn by an intense and skin-deep Kristen Stewart.

Don’t Look Up

Three years after the excellent Vice, the filmmaker Adam McKay amazes again with Don’t Look Up, a fierce satire that hit our screens earlier this month. Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio – aptly nominated for the next Golden Globes – have a blast, playing an astronomy student and her mentor respectively, who discover that a huge comet is heading straight for Earth, promising to exterminate the human race . The problem ? The news is received with the greatest indifference.


Recently released, this little gem of an animated film directed by French designer Aurel retraces the journey of Josep Bartoli, Catalan visual artist and anti-Franco fighter who was one of some 500,000 refugees from the Spanish Civil War to have been parked in concentration camps in France, in February 1939. In addition to paying homage to Bartoli’s work, Josep eloquently demonstrates the power of drawing as an act of resistance.


Nine years after the release of his fascinating Holy Motors, the singular French filmmaker Leos Carax (The Lovers on the Bridge) has resurfaced this year with this crazy musical with opera rock accents. Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard compose astonishing scores there in the guise of a couple of artists going through a marital crisis since the birth of their first child.

tick, tick … BOOM!

His name is forever associated with Rent, his musical that revolutionized Broadway in the mid-1990s. But Jonathan Larson was once a tormented composer, working hard to make a name for himself in the musical world. It is this story that we retrace with Tick, Tick … BOOM!, chronicle of the beginnings of an outstanding artist, who died much too early. Andrew Garfield wows there like never before, embodying with incredible accuracy the genius that was Jonathan Larson. A major work, therefore, for both Broadway insiders and music lovers of all stripes.

West Side Story

By reappropriating the 1957 musical, Steven Spielberg renews the point. Racism and gentrification of working-class neighborhoods thus take precedence over the always beautiful love story between Maria (the dazzling Rachel Zegler) and Tony (Ansel Elgort, surprisingly).

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Our 15 favorite foreign films of 2021