New York is one of the most diverse cities in the world. You can find any kind of food you want in town, there is a museum of everything you can name, and you can see any kind of movie or play you care to. Foreign films will give you a window into the culture of the countries that they come from. Foreign directors often have a different view of the world than that of their American counterparts.
Small independent theaters most often show foreign movies. It is a good idea to purchase tickets in advance so you do not arrive at the box office only to be disappointed. Most theaters will allow you to buy tickets online. Several theaters in town are the perfect place to see a foreign film.
Walter Reade Theater
Samuel B and David Rose Building 165 W 65th St., New York, NY 10023
A trip to New York would not be complete without a visit to the city’s posh Upper West Side. This small theater in Lincoln Center has hosted talks with some of the biggest names in film. You can see first-run foreign movies, classics, and independent films here.
The small theater has comfortable seating and shows films in 35 mm, 70mm, and Digital Cinema Package. They have an excellent mixture of foreign comedies and dramas.
Before or after the movie, you can head to the Cafe Paradiso at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. They have a special where you can enjoy dinner and a show for just $30 a person.
209 W Houston St., New York, NY 10014
This humble little non-profit theater in Greenwich Village shows foreign films that you will not see anywhere else. The facility has an annual budget of just $19,000 and features folding chairs in small screening rooms. Hence, when you attend a film here, you will literally rub elbows with new york’s artists and intellectuals as you watch independent movies from filmmakers worldwide.
You can see everything from a classic film by Jon Luc Godard to a “Spanish true crime drama” to “Queer Cinema” from directors of countries that have not yet accepted trans-gender people the way America has.
The Paris Theater
4 W 58th St., New York, NY 10019
Since its opening in 1948, the Paris Theater has been showing independent and foreign films. The 571-seat venue has always been ahead of its time. The theater is heavy on director’s cuts of classic films, both foreign and domestic.
Nothing will make you feel classier than watching a famous director’s true artistic vision of a film while munching French pastries from the concession stand in Paris Theater.
Angelika Film Center
18 W Houston St., New York, NY 10012
There’s a little something for everyone at the Angelika. The theater boasts six auditoriums Whether your sensibilities lean towards the silly or the somber, you will find something exciting to watch when you are here.
When you enter the pink and blue pastel building located in the heart of Greenwich Village, the first thing you may notice is the cafe stocked with gourmet food. You can enjoy beer and wine with your meal as well.
Films often feature talkbacks with independent directors. It is a great place to take a meetup group, as you will see some of the biggest names in foreign film at this theater.
124 S 3rd St., Brooklyn, NY 11249
Not all art theaters are located in Manhattan. The Spectacle is located in hipster-laden Williamsburg. This venue is run entirely by volunteers, and you will find some of the most obscure independent films shown here.
The theater features a weekly radio broadcast. They have a couple of ongoing series, including one devoted to horror films and another devoted to fight films. Many of the fight films come from Asia and feature martial arts stars of the 1970s.
323 6th Ave, New York, NY 10014
If you love the cinema, you will love the IFC Center. You can find everything from a weekly documentary series to midnight movies on the weekends. The theater shows more foreign movies than American. In addition to films, they often have events and film festivals. The theater has its own gift shop where you can find a t-shirt or hat proclaiming your allegiance to independent filmmakers.
IFC has its very own film school, and students from around the world will often premiere their films here. You can purchase a membership that will get you 20% off the price of theater tickets and $6 off the price at live events. You will even receive a few free boxes of popcorn. Many film festivals take place here, and if you keep your eyes open, you may see a celebrity or two. Remember to act cool. Nothing impresses a true New Yorker.