In 1981, a disillusioned KGB officer offers Western governments invaluable information on Soviet spy rings worldwide. Not trusting normal channels, he insists on communicating only through an acquaintance, a French engineer living in Moscow with no training or interest in espionage. Based on a true story, Farewell stars Emir Kusturica and has an 85 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
One of the few Germans to speak out against the Nazis during the Second World War was a young university student from Munich. Arrested for distributing antiwar leaflets, she was interrogated at length by the Gestapo and executed in 1943. Based on transcripts found in East German archives after reunification, Sophie Scholl: The Final Days stars Julia Jentsch and has a 76 percent rating at Metacritic.
Johnny Marco is the embodiment of the American Dream. A successful Hollywood actor, he is rich and famous, drives a Ferrari, is popular with women and gets invitations to all the best parties, but an unexpected visit from his young daughter leads him to question whether his life is really worth living. A film by Bay Area director Sofia Coppola, Somewhere has a 71 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
One of the best reviewed movies of 2007 was actually made in 1969. Set during the darkest days of the Second World War, the French Resistance fighters featured in the film are decidedly unglamorous; they struggle to carry out meaningful assignments, must execute informers in their ranks, and are dogged by Gestapo agents who always seem one step ahead of them. Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, Army of Shadows has a 97 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Helene leads a simple, meager life as a hotel maid on the island of Corsica. One day she watches a couple playing chess and develops an obsession with the game, something which baffles her friends and family and gives her an inner life she never had before. Starring Sandrine Bonnaire and Kevin Kline, Queen To Play has a 70 percent rating at Metacritic.
Martha is an extremely talented chef at a very prestigious restaurant, but her personal life is a disaster. Her employer mandated psychotherapy sessions are going nowhere - she can't stop talking about food - and she has no idea what to do with her recently orphaned eight-year-old niece. There is also the new Italian coworker, her opposite in nearly every way, who is driving her to distraction. Mostly Martha stars Martina Gedeck and has a 92 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes.