Kannathil Muthamittal (2002): a child in India discovers she's adopted, and wants desperately meet her birth mother. Her parents help her track her biological mother in Sri Lanka, all in the midst of an ethnic civil conflict.
Tracking: A Blueprint for Learning How: In the twentieth century, the US Border Patrol became the Federal government's go-to experts on tracking humans. This guide was written by one of their prominent trackers. You can start applying it almost anywhere- tracking is a skill that transfers to almost every skill that involves agents.
Throw Down (2004): a movie that packs many of the beats of 90s Hong Kong cops-and-prostitutes cinema, but as applied to people connected through a love of the sport of Judo. The conflicts are played out in a combination of low-key heist, chases associated with petty crime, and, of course, judo throws, but it's really about people coming together to make marks on the world they live in.
A Distant Mirror: Barbara Tuchman tells the story of Enguerrand de Coucy to tell the story of Western Europe of the 14th century to tell a story of the later 20th century.
Yeelen (1987): a spiteful sorceror hunts his child, who may one day supplant him. The timelessness of this story is arresting. Apparently based on a legend of the founding of one of the peoples of Mali.
The Other Side of the Mountain: Mirroring The Bear Went Over the Mountain and Fangs of the Lone Wolf which cover Russian accounts of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the Chechnyan War respectively, this covers Mujahideen accounts of missions carried out against Soviet occupation.
Ushpizin (2004): an older, childless Hasidic Jewish couple in Jerusalem run into financial trouble, get a particularly expensive Citron fruit anyway, and some unexpected guests.
I Not Stupid (2002): some kids in Singapore get placed in the underachiever track- something that significantly narrows their life prospects and would disappoint any family. It's satirical comedy, but it sure cut me deep when it came out. 20 years later and you know what, I'm not stupid.
Embrace of the Serpent (2015): Two scientists, first a German at the turn of the century, then an American in the 1940s, look for a rare and sacred entheogen by asking a shaman from an Amazonian tribe.
In Sorcery's Shadow: An anthropologist finds himself apprenticed to Songhay sorcerors in Niger.