One of the best paths to success in Hollywood these days is to direct an obscure foreign film. Angelina Jolie’s latest movie is directed by Timur Bekmambetov, whose Night Watch was seen by everyone in Russia, plus me and Tyler Cowen (though he walked out). Reuters explains:

By some measure, this is an odd time for foreign directors to gain a foothold in Hollywood. Previous waves tended to accompany an increased profile for foreign films here. But foreign-language movies at the moment couldn’t be less relevant for domestic filmgoers. Even such so-called crossover hits as “The Lives of Others” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” have struggled to reach $10 million domestically.

The result is an unusual dichotomy: Foreign movies have never had such a low profile, yet foreign-language directors have never been in such high demand. After picking up the Oscar for best foreign-language picture last week for “The Counterfeiters,” Austrian helmer Stefan Ruzowitzky could write his ticket in Hollywood, especially given that it was the No. 1 indie film at the box office in its opening week.

You might think that only native English speakers could appeal to middle America, but it looks like talent is a universal language.

P.S. Check out this story on the Three Amigos’ $100M deal. Amigo #3, Alejandro González Iñárritu, is now my favorite director in the world. (Sorry Peter Jackson).