By Mark Pinkert
There was an interesting phenomenon in film this year that deserves a second look: many of the most recognizably “American” films of 2013 were directed by foreigners and, of those films, two feature almost entirely foreign casts.
First, to be clear, when I say “American” films, I’m not referring to stories that simply take place here; rather, I’m looking at films that are germane to the American narrative, to our history and cultural zeitgeist–really, Americana as opposed to just American. Films like The Great Gatsby, 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club and Captain Phillips–which bring to life classic American literature, histories, and recent events–are the best examples. (Gravity is a tough sell for this list, but does fit insofar as it deals with the space program, a prominent feature of 20th century, Cold War America.) The second criterion, then, is to have a foreign director, and all of the aforementioned films do: Baz Luhrmann (The Great Gatsbty) is Australian, Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) and Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) are English, Jean–Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) is French-Canadian, and Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity) is Mexican.