Arts

Five International Movies to Stream Now

‘I Don’t Expect Anyone to Believe Me’

Stream it on Netflix.

Hard-core pornography, international drug mafias and a doctoral candidate’s literary explorations of critical gender theory: True to its title, this dark comedy, adapted from a novel by Juan Pablo Villalobos, involves such a bizarre mishmash of references and tones that it stretches plausibility — albeit to wonderfully entertaining ends.

The madness begins when Juan Pablo, a student in Mexico, is accepted into a Ph.D. program in Barcelona. After an unexpected call from his troublesome cousin, things take a shocking and bloody turn. Juan Pablo is still on the path to a Ph.D., but now at the mercy of a murderous gangster. He is made to follow a series of strange instructions — including changing thesis topics and attempting an affair with a lesbian classmate — whose rationale remains a mystery to our unfortunate hero (and to the viewers) until the very end.

A modern, noir-infused twist on Surrealist literature and cinema, “I Don’t Expect Anyone to Believe Me” makes less sense as a narrative than as a string of expertly constructed moments with their own internal logic. Every self-contained scene or bit — be it Juan Pablo’s mother’s recurring voice messages, full of insults veiled as love, or the friendship his girlfriend develops with an Italian vagabond — is densely packed with references, gags and deadpan performances, keeping the film balanced on the razor’s edge of irony and pathos. It all adds up to a melancholy allegory about the unpredictability of life and writers’ futile ambitions to lend it order and meaning.

‘So Much Tenderness’

Stream it on the Criterion Channel.

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