Pop Culture Imports: A Tranquil Korean Reality Show, a South African Romantic-Comedy, and a Delicious Documentary on Chinese Food
15 June 2018
Yes, it’s that time again — the time when I yell at you to dive into the wealth of foreign movies and shows available to stream, and you nod your head and vaguely promise that you totally like reading subtitles. And because of the strange ways that weeks sometimes work, this is our third Pop Culture Imports for May!
This week has a wide variety of titles, from a mellow South Korean reality show, to a South African domestic drama, to an Israeli rom-com, and finally, a documentary about the Chinese restaurateur who introduced the U.S. to authentic Chinese cuisine.
So with that, let’s dive into the best foreign-language movies and shows streaming now.
Catching Feelings now on Netflix
Country: South Africa
Genre: Romantic drama/comedy
Director: Kagiso Lediga
Cast: Kagiso Lediga, Pearl Thusi, Andrew Buckland, Akin Omotoso, Precious Makgaretsa, Kate Liquorish and Tessa Jubber.
Like any comedy starring, written, and helmed by a stand-up comedian, Catching Feelings can feel somewhat like a self-indulgent stand-up routine. But star and director Kagiso Lediga proves to have a sharp eye for filmmaking, delivering a richly layered, darkly comedic romantic drama. Lediga stars as an embittered English professor suffering from writer’s block and insecurity regarding his beautiful wife Samkelo (Pearl Thusi). But the two of them live a happy life in a middle class area of Johannesburg — with Lediga occasionally rattling the cage whenever he rails against gentrification and racial politics in post-apartheid South Africa. But their urbane life is given a shock to the system when an older celebrity writer, Heiner Miller (a bombastic Andrew Buckland), enters their lives. At first resistant to Heiner’s charms, Lediga’s Max Matsane finds himself drawn into the famous writer’s hedonistic lifestyle. But soon Heiner begins encroaching on Max’s home life, moving into his home and becoming fast friends with his wife. Wracked with insecurity and paranoia, Max’s life and mental state quickly unravels.
Catching Feelings walks a tightrope between screwball comedy and deeper insights on racial tensions in South Africa — sometimes stumbling, but never anything less than entertaining.