List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

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Re: List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:53 am

Two more, neither of which have little chance:

Operation Red Sea (Hong Kong) 4/10

Though a Hong Kong submission this could easily be mistaken for a Chinese film as the protagonists are members of the Chinese armed forces. Basically its not different to a large scale Hollywood production with a bunch of evil Muslims trying to get hold of some 'yellowcake' and the Chinese fighting them at every turn. Much of the film is set in the Middle East and could be very easily remade in English. Like most similar Hollywood fare its all rather ho-hum, just something of a novelty seeing it played out with a Chinese/Hong Kong cast as opposed to a Caucasian cast. The ending is rather ominous with a warning to the rest of the world to stay out of Chinese waters. Anyway, if this was American it wouldn't gain single nomination so there is no reason to expect it to earn a place in this category just because its not in English.

The Family (Venezuela) 5/10

Given the on-going turmoil in Venezuela it is sort of surprising to see that people are managing to make films and this film has a sense of that turmoil that it makes no direct political references. A teenage boy commits murder against another and then is forced to go on the run by and with his father for fear of retribution. The film starts off well enough but by the end doesn't really go anywhere. Points for making film under probably extremely difficult circumstances but I didn't think the film stood out from similar themed films from Central America.
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Re: List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

Postby Precious Doll » Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:39 am

Reza wrote:These events were covered in the 1987 tv movie "Escape From Sobibór". The film won the Golden Globe as did Rutger Hauer (as Alexander Pechersky) while Alan Arkin was nominated.

The film and Arkin also won Emmy nods.


Would be interesting to see.
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Re: List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

Postby Reza » Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:38 am

Precious Doll wrote:Sobibor (Russia) 7/10

This one deals directly with the Holocaust and in a rather all over the place manner. Its at times sentimental, exploitive, artful and crude. It certainly is compulsively watchable, excessively violent and genuinely moving. One scene that takes us into the gas-chamber is truely horrific and mercifully short. I'm pretty sure walkouts would have occurred had it gone on any longer. Some of the violence in the film drew gasps of horror from the audience and the random actors of violence committed by the Nazi's was often quite shocking.

Its based on the true story of the Sobibor camp uprising and given Russia's reputation for being anti-Semitic I'm rather surprised that the film was selected but it is directed by Konstantin Khabensky, a popular Russian actor who also stars in the film who is probably best known for Night Watch (2004) and its sequel Day Watch (2006). This is his feature film debut. Christopher Lambert also stars as the commander of the camp and I didn't realise it was him until the end credits.

This will have a hard time getting selected. It's simply too visually tough and contrary to popular belief the Academy does not favour Holocaust set films in this category. A number of better films than this have been submitted over the years only to miss out to lesser frivolous films.


These events were covered in the 1987 tv movie "Escape From Sobibór". The film won the Golden Globe as did Rutger Hauer (as Alexander Pechersky) while Alan Arkin was nominated.

The film and Arkin also won Emmy nods.

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Re: List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

Postby Precious Doll » Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:03 pm

I saw two more submissions back to back, ironically both films related to the Holocaust, one directly, one abstractly.

The Waldheim Waltz (Austria) 8/10

This is a documentary film and a throwback to the style of documentary filmmaking of the 1970's & 1980's before Michael Moore and other filmmakers comes along and changed how most documentaries were traditionally made.

The film is made up entirely of archival footage from the 1970's & 1980's relating to Kurt Waldheim who was the United Nationals Secretary-General from 1972 to 1981 and then went on to become President of Austria from 1986 to 1992. The narration is of a strictly factual nature as events unfold during the Presidential campaign of 1986 and told by the director Ruth Beckermann in a dead-pan detached manner.

Basically, allegations emerged that Kurt Waldheim may have been involved in the mass deportation of Jews from the Balkans during WW2. He actually was injured and discharged from the army in 1941 and claims that he had no knowledge of the what was unfolding in Europe during the following years as he was studying law. There are major doubts raised about his claims - all archival footage.

To be honest, I'd heard of the name Kurt Waldheim but that was about it. So the film was something of an educational experience for me and is completely riveting. Given Austria's move to the right this documentary could not be more timely. There are some pretty shocking statements made by people that these days would be all over the internet.

Anyway, as fine and as deserving as this film is, I doubt it will be in the running, either in this category or the documentary category as it's style is probably considered too old fashioned but younger people who have not seen older documentaries may find it a fresh take on the documentary filmmaking styles. The Academy has shown in the past that it rarely nominates documentaries in this category.

Sobibor (Russia) 7/10

This one deals directly with the Holocaust and in a rather all over the place manner. Its at times sentimental, exploitive, artful and crude. It certainly is compulsively watchable, excessively violent and genuinely moving. One scene that takes us into the gas-chamber is truely horrific and mercifully short. I'm pretty sure walkouts would have occurred had it gone on any longer. Some of the violence in the film drew gasps of horror from the audience and the random actors of violence committed by the Nazi's was often quite shocking.

Its based on the true story of the Sobibor camp uprising and given Russia's reputation for being anti-Semitic I'm rather surprised that the film was selected but it is directed by Konstantin Khabensky, a popular Russian actor who also stars in the film who is probably best known for Night Watch (2004) and its sequel Day Watch (2006). This is his feature film debut. Christopher Lambert also stars as the commander of the camp and I didn't realise it was him until the end credits.

This will have a hard time getting selected. It's simply too visually tough and contrary to popular belief the Academy does not favour Holocaust set films in this category. A number of better films than this have been submitted over the years only to miss out to lesser frivolous films.
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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Re: List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

Postby anonymous1980 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:13 am

Two more submissions:

The Great Buddha+, Taiwan (Huang Hsin-yao) 8.5/10 - A night watchman of a factory creating the titular Great Buddha and a recyclable collector stumble upon dashcam videos of the factory owner's promiscuous exploits. This is Taiwan's entry to the Oscars Best Foreign Language Film race. The director actually did a Q&A after the screening I attended and he said it was intended to be a satire on Taiwanese society so I may not completely grasp every single nuance. But there's still plenty in this film to love and admire. It's a wonderfully twisted black comedy which manages to be both surprising and thought-provoking while also being very funny and manages not to be condescending towards the two lower-class (and not-too-bright) lead characters. This is definitely worth a look.

Will it get in? Very slim. There will be admirers of its quirkiness but not a lot will vote for it.

Cold War, Poland (Pawel Pawlikowski) 7/10 - Set right in Poland (and various parts of Europe) after World War II during the rise and height of the Cold War, a man and a woman meet and fall in love. This is director Pawel Pawlikowski's follow-up to his previous success, Ida and I must say, it is a bit of a step-down. It is a musical and actually the musical parts are the highlights of this along with the acting especially by the lead, Joanne Kulig (I made sure to take note of that name, she's a wonderful beautiful actress), not to mention the stunning black-and-white cinematography. But I guess my problem with this is that I didn't get emotionally invested with the central love story too much so it came off as a bit TOO cold. It's still an admirable film, not my favorite among the entries so far.

Will it get in? It definitely has a shot since they know Pawlikowski but it isn't a sure thing like Ida was.

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Re: List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

Postby anonymous1980 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:10 am

Shoplifters, Japan (Hirokazu Kore-eda) 9.5/10 - A ragtag group of people who made themselves sort of a makeshift family make ends meet by doing petty crimes, including shoplifting. Director Hirokazu Kore-eda is probably one of the best humanist filmmakers in world cinema today. This is yet another crown jewel in his filmography. This is an affecting human drama that will get you to fall in love with the characters yet at the same time also question their choices which are often not very good, yet never losing your empathy for them. The film finds just the right balance of humor and lightness, tackling the more serious themes tastefully without a heavy hand. Everything is beautifully acted by the ensemble cast. This is Japan's entry to the Oscars and the fifth one of the Foreign Film lineup I've seen and it is so far my favorite.

Will this get in? Very possible. I think Kore-eda is due and I think more people within the Academy are discovering him now. It's a matter of time.

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Re: List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:58 am

Girl, Belgium (Lukas Dhont) 7.5/10 - A transgender 16 year old ballerina is transitioning just as she is training to effectively dance like a female. This film is kind of an eye-opening look at what it's like to experience adolescence as a transgender female. The film's rather controversial decision to cast a cisgender male actor to portray the lead part notwithstanding, the film is filled with empathy towards both the ambition to become a ballerina and her desire to be fully female and all the hardships (and pain, this is sometimes hard to watch) that go along with both those goals. I have to say that I personally have mixed feelings about the ending which, as someone who is not transgender and the fact that I do not wish to spoil it, can't comment any further on it but feel free to comment on your thoughts on it. Otherwise, it's a fine, fine film.

Will it get in? This will get comparisons to A Fantastic Woman, which just won last year which will be detrimental to its chances. But I can see it getting some votes.

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Re: List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:59 pm

Two more films neither which are unlikely to make any inroads into the contest.

The Great Buddha (Taiwan) is an absolute delight and highly original film. It is the feature film debut of Hsin-yao Huang and goodness knows we need more talented Taiwanese voices in cinema with Ang Lee departing to the west so to speak, Tsai Ming-laing moving into documentaries and short films (he announced a couple of years ago that he wouldn't be making another feature film - but we'll see) and Hsiao-Hsien Hou hasn't made a film since the The Assassin (2015).

The film was shot by Mong-Hong Chung (billed as Nagao Nakashima) in mostly stunning black and white. There are a couple of necessarily crude colour photography from time to time. The plot is truely original with well placed humour and tension. Whilst it has been playing the festival circuit with some success its pretty removed from what the Academy typically recognises.

Champions (Spain) A watchable comedy and desperate need of a good trimming as it clocks in at just over two hours which is way too much time for such thin material. For me the most interesting aspect of the film is that it was directed by and co-written by Javier Fesser, who wrote and directed the sublime Camino back in 2008, which was a very sombre drama about a teenage girl from a Opus Dei family grappling with a terminal disease. If Camino & Champions were played on a double bill, I honestly couldn't believe that they were from the same man, so different in every respect. Though Camino did have what appeared to be some black humour though it could be my take on the subject matter.

But in the end Champions is so slight. Back in the 1990s it might have stood a chance but far less so now.
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Re: List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

Postby Precious Doll » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:45 am

I've just seen the Greek submission, Polyxeni and frankly found the film impenetrable. Really had a hard time with the film and its one of those experience akin to watching something through the bottom of a glass that I simply could make little sense of.

Really doubt this will make any headway. I'm a little surprised that Greece didn't select The Last Note the first film directed by Pantelis Voulgaris who made the truely great, Little England back in 2014. Whilst I was disappointed with The Last Note it was certainly better and more Academy friendly than Polyxeni.
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Re: List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

Postby Precious Doll » Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:47 pm

I'm so pleased you enjoyed The Heiresses so much Anonymous. I hope both yours and mine own enthusiasm will encourage others on the board to seek the film out regardless of how it fares at the Oscars. It is indeed a very special film that tells a type of story we very rarely see and with such freshness. Certainly one of the highlights of the year for me.
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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Re: List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

Postby anonymous1980 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:27 am

The Heiresses, Paraguay (Marcello Martinessi) 8/10 - After her lover is imprisoned for fraud charges, an elderly lesbian sells off some of her wealthy family's silverware and furniture as well as driving around wealthy ladies in her neighborhood. I don't think I've ever seen a film from Paraguay before. Well, that's another country down. This is a very absorbing, often even funny look into the lives of an older queer woman. It is anchored by a truly magnificent central performance by Ana Brun who, on hindsight, barely has any lines yet her face and her actions say all we need to know about her. It features a poignant ending. This is a very good film all around.

Will it get in? It has a shot. But it's no slam-dunk. It might be a little low-key. It might get lost in the shuffle.

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Re: List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

Postby Precious Doll » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:22 pm

mlrg wrote:I guess Cuaron has this in the bag


One would think so given the acclaim, however there is the hurdle of Netflix. This will probably be their breakthrough to an Oscar win.

As more and more Academy members start working for streaming services and Netflix becomes the norm, prior resistance will breakdown.
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Re: List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

Postby mlrg » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:37 am

I guess Cuaron has this in the bag

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Re: List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

Postby Precious Doll » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:34 am

Whilst it was expected the new Yimou Zhang may be China's submission, they have instead gone for a Jiang Wen film. What in hell does Zhangke Jia have to do for China to submit one of his films? Answer: make something that shows China is a pure phoney light. Ash is Purest White was unlikely to get any traction with the Academy but at least China allowed a decent release on the film on home turf as opposed to most of Jia's prior films. I suppose Jia's films just cuts too deep into a China that the Chinese Government would prefer filmmakers stayed clear of.
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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Re: List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

Postby anonymous1980 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:23 am

The official submission list:

Afghanistan, “Rona Azim’s Mother,” Jamshid Mahmoudi, director
Algeria, “Until the End of Time,” Yasmine Chouikh, director
Argentina, “El Ángel,” Luis Ortega, director
Armenia, “Spitak,” Alexander Kott, director
Australia, “Jirga,” Benjamin Gilmour, director
Austria, “The Waldheim Waltz,” Ruth Beckermann, director
Bangladesh, “No Bed of Roses,” Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, director
Belarus, “Crystal Swan,” Darya Zhuk, director
Belgium, “Girl,” Lukas Dhont, director
Bolivia, “The Goalkeeper,” Rodrigo “Gory” Patiño, director
Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Never Leave Me,” Aida Begić, director
Brazil, “The Great Mystical Circus,” Carlos Diegues, director
Bulgaria, “Omnipresent,” Ilian Djevelekov, director
Cambodia, “Graves without a Name,” Rithy Panh, director
Canada, “Family Ties,” Sophie Dupuis, director
Chile, “…And Suddenly the Dawn,” Silvio Caiozzi, director
China, “Hidden Man,” Jiang Wen, director
Colombia, “Birds of Passage,” Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra, directors
Costa Rica, “Medea,” Alexandra Latishev, director
Croatia, “The Eighth Commissioner,” Ivan Salaj, director
Czech Republic, “Winter Flies,” Olmo Omerzu, director
Denmark, “The Guilty,” Gustav Möller, director;
Dominican Republic, “Cocote,” Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias, director
Ecuador, “A Son of Man,” Jamaicanoproblem, director
Egypt, “Yomeddine,” A.B. Shawky, director
Estonia, “Take It or Leave It,” Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo, director
Finland, “Euthanizer,” Teemu Nikki, director
France, “Memoir of War,” Emmanuel Finkiel, director
Georgia, “Namme,” Zaza Khalvashi, director
Germany, “Never Look Away,” Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, director
Greece, “Polyxeni,” Dora Masklavanou, director
Hong Kong, “Operation Red Sea,” Dante Lam, director
Hungary, “Sunset,” László Nemes, director
Iceland, “Woman at War,” Benedikt Erlingsson, director
India, “Village Rockstars,” Rima Das, director
Indonesia, “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts,” Mouly Surya, director
Iran, “No Date, No Signature,” Vahid Jalilvand, director;
Iraq, “The Journey,” Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji, director;
Israel, “The Cakemaker,” Ofir Raul Graizer, director;
Italy, “Dogman,” Matteo Garrone, director;
Japan, “Shoplifters,” Hirokazu Kore-eda, director;
Kazakhstan, “Ayka,” Sergey Dvortsevoy, director;
Kenya, “Supa Modo,” Likarion Wainaina, director;
Kosovo, “The Marriage,” Blerta Zeqiri, director;
Latvia, “To Be Continued,” Ivars Seleckis, director;
Lebanon, “Capernaum,” Nadine Labaki, director;
Lithuania, “Wonderful Losers: A Different World,” Arunas Matelis, director;
Luxembourg, “Gutland,” Govinda Van Maele, director;
Macedonia, “Secret Ingredient,” Gjorce Stavreski, director;
Malawi, “The Road to Sunrise,” Shemu Joyah, director;
Mexico, “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón, director;
Montenegro, “Iskra,” Gojko Berkuljan, director;
Morocco, “Burnout,” Nour-Eddine Lakhmari, director;
Nepal, “Panchayat,” Shivam Adhikari, director;
Netherlands, “The Resistance Banker,” Joram Lürsen, director;
New Zealand, “Yellow Is Forbidden,” Pietra Brettkelly, director;
Niger, “The Wedding Ring,” Rahmatou Keïta, director;
Norway, “What Will People Say,” Iram Haq, director;
Pakistan, “Cake,” Asim Abbasi, director;
Palestine, “Ghost Hunting,” Raed Andoni, director;
Panama, “Ruben Blades Is Not My Name,” Abner Benaim, director;
Paraguay, “The Heiresses,” Marcelo Martinessi, director;
Peru, “Eternity,” Oscar Catacora, director;
Philippines, “Signal Rock,” Chito S. Roño, director;
Poland, “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski, director;
Portugal, “Pilgrimage,” João Botelho, director;
Romania, “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians,” Radu Jude, director;
Russia, “Sobibor,” Konstantin Khabensky, director;
Serbia, “Offenders,” Dejan Zecevic, director;
Singapore, “Buffalo Boys,” Mike Wiluan, director;
Slovakia, “The Interpreter,” Martin Šulík, director;
Slovenia, “Ivan,” Janez Burger, director;
South Africa, “Sew the Winter to My Skin,” Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, director;
South Korea, “Burning,” Lee Chang-dong, director;
Spain, “Champions,” Javier Fesser, director;
Sweden, “Border,” Ali Abbasi, director;
Switzerland, “Eldorado,” Markus Imhoof, director;
Taiwan, “The Great Buddha+,” Hsin-Yao Huang, director;
Thailand, “Malila The Farewell Flower,” Anucha Boonyawatana, director;
Tunisia, “Beauty and the Dogs,” Kaouther Ben Hania, director;
Turkey, “The Wild Pear Tree,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan, director;
Ukraine, “Donbass,” Sergei Loznitsa, director;
United Kingdom, “I Am Not a Witch,” Rungano Nyoni, director;
Uruguay, “Twelve-Year Night,” Álvaro Brechner, director;
Venezuela, “The Family,” Gustavo Rondón Córdova, director;
Vietnam, “The Tailor,” Buu Loc Tran, Kay Nguyen, directors;
Yemen, “10 Days before the Wedding,” Amr Gamal, director.


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