TV/Movie gems from rest of the world

The Internet is great as it lets me watch great TV shows from all over the world all over the world. These shows teach me a thing or two about the history and culture of these places. Here are a few of my favorites:

A Very Secret Service (France)

Its a French spy TV show set in the 1960s. Its very stylish and acknowledges the sexism in the workplace openly. France and its institutions had extremely low confidence right after WW2 and the show captures this world. The spy agency and its boss grab on to all the elements of pre war colonial French institutions. The have an avid respect for the old school General (referring to de Gaulle). The public opinion in France is split on the Algerian secession. The spy agency though tries its best to defame the Algerian freedom fighters. In one episode a few agents are sent on a mission to recover an atomic bomb from Algeria. This refers to the testing of Gerboise Bleue by the French in the Algerian Sahara. There is an episode based on the Martel Affair.

The show is funny, but not a comedy. Its Tarantino like retelling of history inaccurately by design but still eye opening. Its available on Netflix.

Midnight Diner (Japan)

This is a Japanese anthology TV show. Each episode takes place in a diner that opens at midnight. The non glamorous but working class clients tell their story to Master the chef. Each episode if focused on a dish the diner orders.

I found out Japan has female cab drivers and thats considered normal. The Japanese treat the Koreans and their food as inferior. People in Japan are very rounded compared to those in America. People have strong attachments to their parents. The show is low key and makes you wish more things in life were “low key”. This is my favorite show of the list.

Available on Netflix.

Comrade Detective (Romania)

Comrade detective is a buddy cop series. The premise is that the show was ordered by the Romanian communist government in 1980s to instill communist values. The dialogue is dubbed in English and makes it farcical by design. In one of the episodes there was a huge consignment of jeans are being smuggled to Romania. This made me think that most people in the world did not have jeans till the mid 1990s.

Available on Amazon Prime video.

Death of Stalin

Death of Stalin is a comedy documentary style movie about the power struggle after Stalin’s death. I learned how big a figure was the WW2 winning general Zhukov in the Soviet politburo. His support was crucial in Kruschev toppling Beria for power. The movie captures the fear of Stalin amongst his subordinates well. Jason Isaac’s for Zhukov and Steve Buschemi for Kruschev were great casting picks.