OSCARS: Foreign-Language Films

By | Monday December 17, 2012 @ 7:00pm PST

David Mermelstein is an AwardsLine contributor.

Fairly or not, European films are widely considered more serious than their American counterparts. Certainly the movies eligible for the best foreign film Oscar this year fit the mold. Several make struggle a central theme, doing so in varied but consistently engaging ways.

Pablo Larrain’s No, from Chile, examines the 1988 plebiscite forced on General Augusto Pinochet, the result of which marked the beginning of the end of his dictatorship. In the film, a gifted marketing executive, Rene (Gael Garcia Bernal), must choose between middle-class comforts and his conscience—a choice complicated by his family’s ties to leftist politics. His boss (Alfredo Castro), who is firmly in league with the pro-Pinochet forces, plays Mephistopheles in this situation, reminding Rene, in no uncertain terms, that the creature comforts he enjoys are by no means guaranteed. Complicating matters are Rene’s shaky relationship with his politically engaged wife, Veronica (Antonia Zegers), from whom he is already separated. All of which leads to the film’s central question: What price bravery? Read More »

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OSCARS: 71 Countries Submit For Foreign-Language Film Race

By | Monday October 8, 2012 @ 11:51am PDT

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – A record 71 countries, including first-time entrant Kenya, have submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 85th Academy Awards®.

The 2012 submissions are:

Afghanistan, “The Patience Stone,” Atiq Rahimi, director;
Albania, “Pharmakon,” Joni Shanaj, director;
Algeria, “Zabana!” Said Ould Khelifa, director;
Argentina, “Clandestine Childhood,” Benjamín Ávila, director;
Armenia, “If Only Everyone,” Natalia Belyauskene, director;
Australia, “Lore,” Cate Shortland, director;
Austria, “Amour,” Michael Haneke, director;
Azerbaijan, “Buta,” Ilgar Najaf, director;
Bangladesh, “Pleasure Boy Komola,” Humayun Ahmed, director;
Belgium, “Our Children,” Joachim Lafosse, director;
Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Children of Sarajevo,” Aida Begic, director;
Brazil, “The Clown,” Selton Mello, director;
Bulgaria, “Sneakers,” Valeri Yordanov and Ivan Vladimirov, directors;
Cambodia, “Lost Loves,” Chhay Bora, director;
Canada, “War Witch,” Kim Nguyen, director;
Chile, “No,” Pablo Larraín, director;
China, “Caught in the Web,” Chen Kaige, director;
Colombia, “The Snitch Cartel,” Carlos Moreno, director;
Croatia, “Vegetarian Cannibal,” Branko Schmidt, director;
Czech Republic, “In the Shadow,” David Ondrícek, director;
Denmark, “A Royal Affair,” Nikolaj Arcel, director;
Dominican Republic, “Jaque Mate,” José María Cabral, director;
Estonia, “Mushrooming,” Toomas Hussar, director;
Finland, “Purge,” Antti J. Jokinen, director;
France, “The Intouchables,” Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors;
Georgia, “Keep Smiling,” Rusudan Chkonia, director;
Germany, “Barbara,” Christian Petzold, director;

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