The world of entertainment has never been as accessible as it is today. Whether it’s anime, telenovelas, or Chinese action dramas, the expansion of streaming services and their mad rush to build catalogues mean a truly global selection of film and television is easier to find than ever before.

With so much choice and diversity at our fingertips, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why we’ve curated a set of movies and TV shows that you need to see from around the world. 

The Longest Day in Chang’an

Country: China
Format: Series (1 season, 48 episodes)
Genre: Action

Think 24, but set in Tang Dynasty-era China. This beautifully produced show is basically 24 but set in Chang’an. Former soldier Zhang Xiaojing is given a 24-hour reprieve from his prison sentence for murder if he can successfully foil the plot of a terrorist cell known as the Wolf Squad. They’ve infiltrated Chang’an (today’s Xi’an) on the eve of the biggest holiday of the year: the Lantern Festival. It’s part palace intrigue, part action thriller, and all Zhang Xiaojing, set over 48 gripping episodes.

Watch on: Viki, Amazon Prime, YouTube

La Casa de las Flores

Country: Mexico
Format: Series (3 seasons, 34 episodes)
Genre: Comedy/Telenovela

Telenovela is campy by definition. But La Casa de las Flores turns the camp up a couple of notches. A black comedy that both leans into and satirizes the genre, the titular “House of Flowers” is both a renowned florist studio and a drag cabaret owned by the wealthy Mexican family at the center of the show. The dysfunction of the family is on full display across the show’s three seasons — and if you’re craving more, a spin-off feature-length film premiered this year.

Watch on: Netflix

Night Is Short, Walk on Girl

Country: Japan
Format: Film (93 minutes)
Genre: Anime

Two students at Kyoto University set off on a night of bar-hopping escapades in the city’s Pontocho nightlife district. As the night unfolds, with each drink the film takes one step closer to fantasy. Directed by new anime auteur Masaaki Yuasa, Night Is Short, Walk on Girl is worth watching just for the thrilling kaleidoscope-style animations alone, but the story and eclectic cast of characters are equally as compelling.

Watch on: HBO Max, YouTube, Amazon Prime


Country: Romania
Format: Film (109 minutes)
Genre: Documentary

A haunting documentary about the aftermath of a deadly nightclub fire in Bucharest, Collective centers on burn victims and several investigative journalists who uncover an unsettling web of healthcare fraud. It’s a portrait of the evils of state corruption, and the lengths that journalists will go to expose them. It was the first Romanian film nominated for an Academy Award. 

Watch on: Hulu, YouTube, Apple TV


Country: Kenya
Format: Film (82 minutes)
Genre: Romance

A lesbian love story set amid the bustling metropolis of Nairobi, Rafiki is striking for its cotton-candy cinemtography, a lush soundtrack by Kenyan artists and, most of all, the intimate story of protagnonists Kena and Ziki falling in love. The film has received international acclaim, becoming the first Kenyan film to appear in Cannes. But at home, it’s a different story: It was only able to screen in Kenya for seven days, and that only came after the director asked the High Court of Kenya to overturn a ban.

Watch on: Hulu, Apple TV, Vudu

Ajeeb Daastaans

Country: India
Format: Film (142 minutes) 
Genre: Drama Anthology

Ajeeb Daastaans is an anthology that stitches together four short Hindi films by four different Indian directors into one epic character study: Lipakshi is stuck in a loveless marriage, Meenal is a housemaid living in the slums, Bharti is a factory worker on the verge of a promotion, and Natasha is the mother to a child who is slowly going deaf. As their stories unfold, each film includes one unexpected twist. Beyond shock value, it’s worth it for superb performances from Konkona Sen Sharma and Shefali Shah.

Watch on: Netflix


Country: Senegal
Format: Film (104 minutes)
Genre: Drama

Atlantique is a supernatural drama set in the suburbs of Dakar. Ada is caught between the man she’s promised to marry and the man she loves, Souleiman. When he and several other workers are lost at sea while traversing the Atlantic to reach Spain, strange events start to occur at night in the oceanside town. This contemporary ghost story is told through soft cinematography and eerie atmospherics. Director Mati Diop was the first Black woman in contention for the highest prize at Cannes, the Palme d’Or.

Watch on: Netflix

The Circle Brazil

Country: Brazil
Format: Series (1 season, 12 episodes)
Genre: Reality

As far as trashy reality TV goes, the Brazilian installment of Netflix’s The Circle stands out for its wild social media premise. Contestants only interact via an Instagram-type app, in which they can choose to post as themselves or catfish other players. And one by one, they’re voted off the show based on their social feeds. It’s a global franchise, but the one you want to watch is the Brazilian version: It’s full of positivity and friendship. Hey, why can’t junk food be good for you?

Watch on: Netflix


Country: South Korea
Format: Series (2 seasons, 12 episodes)
Genre: Historical / Thriller

Netflix’s first original Korean TV series being a zombie thriller might sound unoriginal. But this is as far from Train to Busan as you can get… while still involving zombies. Set in the feudal Joseon dynasty, Kingdom is centered around Crown Prince Lee Chang’s journey to find a cure for a plague that has resurrected the king and thrown the land into disarray. The series brings to life the political power plays, historical settings, and gory battle scenes from the original webcomic.

Watch on: Netflix


Country: Philippines
Format: Series (1 season, 6 episodes)
Genre: Anime

Here’s an anime from a country that you probably hadn’t thought of: the Philippines. Based on the popular comic series of the same name, Trese is a noir-style reimagining of modern Manila where creatures of Filipino folklore are secretly a part of its criminal underworld. Originally produced in Tagalog, with English and Japanese dubbed versions, it’s a great change of pace for anime lovers.

Watch on: Netflix

Gaza Surf Club

Country: Gaza
Format: Film (96 minutes)
Genre: Documentary

On the Gaza Strip, a small community of Palestinian surfing enthusiasts regularly takes to the Mediterranean sea at high tide. This documentary might center around beach bums, but uses them as a lens to view daily life in Gaza as they struggle to do things like pass surfboards through Israeli blockades. At its core, Gaza Surf Club is a story of occupation, but one told through the pockets of joy that Gaza residents have forged for themselves.

Watch on: Amazon Prime


Country: Mexico
Format: Miniseries (6 episodes)
Genre: Drama / Crime

Somos chronicles the lives of residents in the Mexican border town of Allende in the days leading up to the tragic Los Zetas massacre. The series is inspired by a true story, adapting a ProPublica investigation by journalist Ginger Thompson, which exposed the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s role in instigating the deaths of dozens of townspeople at the hands of the Los Zetas cartel. Somos is a slow-burn series examining the failures of the drug war on the U.S.-Mexican border, but told through the perspectives of the everyday residents that are often caught in the crossfire. 

Watch on: Netflix

Share your picks with us!

What are you watching that’s excellent, but which we missed here? Share your suggestions with us on Twitter.