LATE SPRING (1949)

An aggressively minimalist postwar Japanese family drama from Yasujiro Ozu, about a daughter who just wants to take care of her aging father, even though everyone else wants her to get married to literally anyone.

AGUIRRE, DER ZORN GOTTES (1972)

A descent into madness with conquistadors searching fruitlessly for El Dorado, that Werner Herzog dragged a full movie crew down the Amazon to shoot.

CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (2000)

Your reader poll winner is a high-flying martial arts extravaganza that I think was the first subtitled movie I (and lots of other people) saw in a theater.

THE SILENCES OF THE PALACE (1994)

The story of women trapped and exploited in a gilded cage, the first film by a female director to come out of the Arab World.

LA NOIRE DE… (1966)

The first film from Sub-Saharan Africa to make a big splash in Europe and the US, its story about the toll of colonization is very relevant even today.

MADCHEN IN UNIFORM (1931)

Maybe the first feature film dealing with themes of homosexuality, it feels surprisingly fresh today.