Why You Should Watch “Lupin” in Its Original Version With Subtitles

Omar Sy in “Lupin.” Photo Courtesy: Netflix

When director Bong Joon Ho accepted his Parasite Oscar in the Foreign Language Film category last year, he made a very strong case for content with subtitles. “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films,” he said through a translator.

The South Korean director would go on to win three more Oscars that night and Parasite became the first foreign-language film to win the coveted Best Picture statuette. Parasite’s historic victory raised the question of whether the time had come for Americans to embrace subtitles.

With the recent release of Part Two of the show Lupin on Netflix — its Part One became the first French show to land on the streamer’s U.S. Top 10 list and had a record 70 million households watching it in the first 28 days of being released — and with the previous international phenomenon that was Money Heist — Part Four of the Spanish TV show was watched by 65 million households — you could say international or non-English content is having a mainstream streaming moment. And while I’m not sure the barrier of subtitles has been completely overcome, watching content from different countries certainly introduces you to amazing films and TV shows.

Netflix has been one of the groundbreakers in the production of non-English language content. Not only with Lupin and Money Heist, but with other international Netflix hits as well, including Élite (Spain), Dark (Germany), Call My Agent! (France), Kingdom (South Korea), Fauda (Israel) and La casa de las flores (Mexico), to name a few. They are not alone. Last year, HBO released the critically acclaimed Veneno (Spain) and it produces My Brilliant Friend (Italy), Beforeigners (Norway), Miss Sherlock (Japan) and even experimented with the difficult-to-classify Los Espookys, which featured dialogue mainly spoken in a sort of International Spanish (featuring accents from Chile, Venezuela, El Salvador, Panama, Mexico…), shot in Chile and set in a fictional Latin American country.

Of course, international content is not a new thing and Americans have a long tradition of welcoming British (The Crown), Irish (The Fall), Canadian (Schitt’s Creek) and other productions from English-speaking countries. The novelty here is now we’re seeing international hits that need to be dubbed and subtitled.