What could possibly be more eye-catching than a beautiful love story set in a faraway land? For the upcoming Valentine’s Day I’ve curated for you, dear readers, a list of my favorite international romance movies to enjoy a few magical love stories beautifully framed with some stunning landscapes and alluring settings.
Some international romance movies were clearly created for us to dive into a parallel reality and never wanting to leave. There is nothing more magnetic than an authentic love story combined with beautiful scenery or an absorbing cultural context.
If you can´t pack your bags, grab your partner’s hand, and share one of the most romantic travel experiences around the world right now – planning a lovey-dovey movie night with an international twist is the second-best thing.
While I´ve already shared with you a list of romantic travel movies, those were mostly created by Hollywood filmmakers, but what about other countries?! I´ll take one movie per country for now and we´ll see what comes out. My hopeless romantic deep inside might occasionally take over and you might expect more specific lists of international romance movies, focused on a single country.
Moreover, I tried to pick relatively modern movies for this list, but there are also quite a few international romance classical films I love: Breakfast at Tiffany´s (1961), Casablanca (1942), Roman Holiday (1953), Last Tango in Paris (1972), The Taming of the Scoundrel (1980), The Cranes Are Flying (1957) – to name a few.
Charming international romance movies around the world
1. In the mood for love (2000) / Hong Kong
Let’s start with one of my favorite international romance movies – a sensual masterpiece, created by Wong Kar-Wai – “In the mood for love”. It is set in Hong Kong in the early 60´s. The plot rolls around two lonely neighbors and their visually captivating love story. “In the mood for love” is appealing in every possible way: leads, lighting, music… it is a movie not to watch but rather to feel.
2. Sense and Sensibility (1995) / England
You know I’m a fan of classical romance novels, right? There’s nothing more English for me than movies based on Jane Austen’s novels, rare tributes to the age of ladies and gentlemen. “Sense and Sensibility” combines elegancy, beauty, sophistication, and accuracy of the era with some matters of heart and female social struggles.
3. Love loves coincidences (2011) / Turkey
I´ve already confessed to you my recent interest in Turkish movies and TV series in my Topkapi post (they are trending in Spain right now). “Love loves coincidences” is one of my recent discoveries in the world arena of international romance movies.
“Love loves coincidences” explores the fine line between the set of coincidences that might eventually evolve into one´s destiny. Although I suggested it to my mom and she said she cried the whole evening. Yes, this movie is definitely a heart-touching one, but I love how it unveils life in modern Turkey, the actors, the music, the genuine love-story – pretty much everything about it.
4. Lunchbox (2013) / India
Another charming film on this list of international romance movies – “Lunchbox”. I’ve already briefly mentioned it on the list of books and movies about India.
An unexpected mistake of a lunchbox delivery connects two strangers in Mumbai. Both feel very lonely in the buzz of their daily lives and establish an unusual friendship through notes they send to each other. There are no action or passion scenes in “Lunchbox”, but the feelings you read between the lines are so deep and honest that you simply can´t stop watching it.
5. Palm Trees in the Snow (2015) / Spain
While the most famous Spanish love movie of recent years is definitely “3 Metros Sobre el Cielo”, “Palm Trees in the Snow” is the most visually-captivating one.
The story is based on the best-selling novel by Luz Gabas. The plot revolves around Kilian, a young Spanish man from Huesca, who returns to Guinea to join his father and brother, colonialists who raised cocoa on the island. The most captivating crux of the film is a passinate love story between Kilian and a Guinean nurse Bisila (their on-screen romance has also blossomed into real life).
6. Love me if you dare (2003) / France
“Love me if you dare” – a story that started as a childhood game, just a series of escalating dares, and turned into a longtime emotional connection and an intense attraction between the two leading characters. The fact that the actors, Marion Cotillard and Guillaume Cannet, are long-time partners and raise two kids together only proves their undeniable on-screen chemistry.
7. A walk in the clouds (1995) / The USA
I know this is supposed to be a list of international romance movies – but let me add one from the States as well. Some might say that there are hundreds of romantic American movies that are more classy, like “Gone with the wind”, or even more well-known like “The Notebook” or “Dirty Dancing”. But I´ve enjoyed “A walk in the clouds” way too much to keep it for myself.
“A walk in the clouds” is set in a California vineyard and is full of lush countryside shots and sumptuous costumes. The plot is quite simple, but seriously, this movie is a pure fairy-tale. Not to mention the characters – Keanu Reeves and Aitana Sanchez-Gijon. Honestly, “A walk in the clouds” is so visually spectacular that I´m never tired of watching it.
8. Barefoot (2005) / Germany
There’s no trendy German movie without Til Schweiger, also famous for “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”(1997) and “Keinohrhasen”(2007).
Nick, who works in a psychiatric clinic, prevents a young woman, Leila, from committing suicide at the last minute. But when he leaves that evening, the girl secretly follows him wearing a nightgown and barefoot. Their love story is a mixture of funny situations and genuine her-touching moments both share.
9. Cairo Time (2009) / Canada, Egypt
While Cairo Time (2009)is a Canadian movie, it is absolutely a love letter to the city of Cairo from its writer/director Ruba Nadda, inspired by her personal experiences.
Juliette, a fashion magazine editor in her 50s, travels to Cairo to meet her husband, a UN official working in Gaza. She arrives in Egypt for a three-week vacation, but her husband is constantly at work. Therefore he sends one of his friends, who had been his security officer for many years, to escort Juliette throughout the beautiful and exotic city of Cairo. The last thing anyone expects is that they will fall in love.