I'm often asked about the availability of rare foreign films on DVD. Let's face it, only a small number of foreign films ever make it to DVD in the US (Region-1), and these tend to be the most popular/commercial films. So what if you're a true film buff and want to view obscure (and some not so obscure) titles by Wim Wenders, Nagisa Oshima, and others? It turns out that it's not so difficult even with a small amount of money.
1) Buy a region-free (aka multi-region) DVD player. We all know the story of how the film companies introduced region codes to protect their profits and frustrate people like you and me. The good news is the price of region-free DVD players has come down so much that it no longer matters. You can purchase a good one from one of the sites below for around $50. In addition to being region-free, make sure it will play PAL movies on an NTSC TV. This is critical for viewing movies from Europe. It will say this in the product description. Places to purchase region-free DVD players:
2) Go shopping! Now for the fun part. You'll find lots of great film titles on DVD at the following sites:
Amazon.co.uk - has a large number of foreign films distributed in the UK, all with English subtitles. For example, you can get the Wim Wenders' film ALICE IN THE CITIES.
Amazon.co.jp - many Japanese films sold in Japan have English subtitles. For example, you can purchase the rare Itami Juzo film Minbo no Onna (Minbo).
HKFlix.com - if you're into Asian cinema, check out this site. They have a great selection of DVDs from Asia, many that require region-free DVD players. They also have Asian TV dramas.
YesAsia.com - another site where you can find Asian films, and even music and games.
FacetsMovies.com - this online rental service, brought to you by Facets.org, has an "Imports" section that features imported DVDs.
Know of any more places to find rare foreign films on DVD? Post them below.