Friday, October 10, 2014

A Look at the 83 Eligible Candidates for 2015's Best Foreign Film Oscar

Scene from Ida
The Academy recently announced their candidates for next year's Best Foreign Film category this week. Among the highlights is the fact that this year's selection has surpassed last year's record breaking 76 entries with this year's 83, including films from four first time countries (Kosovo, Malta, Mauritania, and Panama). It is always exciting to have the definitive lock on what each country has, even if you are not entirely familiar with their work. It gives audiences a peek into how the process works and possibly to even pick out their own personal favorites from the list. The following is all 83 eligible films as well as a few thoughts regarding the race.

A Few Cubic Meters of Love - dir. Jamshid Mahmoudi (Afghanistan)
Wild Tales - dir. Damián Szifrón (Argentina)
Charlie’s Country - dir. Rolf de Heer (Australia)
The Dark Valley- dir. Andreas Prochaska (Austria)
Nabat - dir. Elchin Musaoglu (Azerbaijan)
Glow of the Firefly - dir. Khalid Mahmood Mithu (Bangladesh)
Two Days, One Night - dir. Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne (Belgium)
Forgotten - dir. Carlos Bolado (Bolivia)
With Mom - dir. Faruk Lončarevič (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
The Way He Looks - dir. Daniel Ribeiro (Brazil)
Bulgarian Rhapsody - dir. Ivan Nitchev(Bulgaria)
Mommy - dir. Xavier Dolan (Canada)
To Kill a Man - dir. Alejandro Fernández Almendras (Chile)
The Nightingale - dir. Philippe Muyl (China)
Mateo -dir. María Gamboa (Colombia)
Red Princesses - dir. Laura Astorga Carrera(Costa Rica)
Cowboys - dir. Tomislav Mršić (Croatia)
Conducta - dir. Ernesto Daranas Serrano(Cuba)
Fair Play - dir. Andrea Sedláčková (Cazech Republic)
Sorrow and Joy - dir. Nils Malmros (Denmark)
Cristo Rey - dir. Leticia Tonos (Dominican Republic)
Silence in Dreamland - dir. Tito Molina (Ecuador)
Factory Girl - dir. Mohamed Khan (Egypt)
Tangerines - dir. Zaza Urushadze (Estonia)
Difret - dir. Zeresenay Berhane Mehari (Ethiopia)
Concrete Night - dir. Pirjo Honkasalo (Finland)
Saint Laurent - dir. Bertrand Bonello (France)
Corn Island - dir. George Ovashvili (Georgia)
Beloved Sisters - dir. Dominik Graf(Germany)
Little England - dir. Pantelis Voulgaris (Greece)
The Golden Era - dir. Ann Hui(Hong Kong)
White God - dir. Kornél Mundruczó (Hungary)
Life in a Fishbowl - dir. Baldvin Zophoníasson (Iceland)
Liar’s Dice - dir. Geetu Mohandas (India)
Soekarno - dir. Hanung Bramantyo (Indonesia)
Today - dir. Reza Mirkarimi (Iran)
Mardan - dir. Batin Ghobadi (Iraq)
The Gift - dir. Tom Collins (Ireland)
Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amsalem - dir. Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz(Israel)
Human Capital - dir. Paolo Virzì (Italy)
The Light Shines Only There - dir. Mipo O (Japan)
Three Windows and a Hanging - dir. Isa Qosja (Kosovo)
Kurmanjan Datka Queen of the Mountains - dir. Sadyk Sher-Niyaz, (Kyrgzstan)
Rocks in My Pockets - dir. Signe Baumane (Latvia)
Ghadi - dir. Amin Dora (Lebanon)
The Gambler - dir. Ignas Jonynas (Lithuania)
Never Die Young - dir. Pol Cruchten(Luxembourg)
To the Hilt - dir. Stole Popov (Macedonia)
Simshar - dir. Rebecca Cremona (Malta)
Timbuktu - dir. Abderrahmane Sissako(Mauritania)
Cantinflas - dir. Sebastián del Amo (Mexico)
The Unsaved - dir. Igor Cobileanski (Moldova)
The Kids from the Marx and Engels Street - dir. Nikola Vukčević (Montenegro)
The Red Moon - dir. Hassan Benjelloun (Morocco)
Jhola - dir. Yadav Kumar Bhattarai(Nepal)
Accused - dir. Paula van der Oest (Netherlands)
The Dead Lands - dir. Toa Fraser (New Zealand)
1001 Grams - dir. Bent Hamer (Norway)
Dukhtar - dir. Afia Nathaniel  (Pakistan)
Eyes of a Thief - dir. Najwa Najjar (Palestine)
Invasion - dir. Abner Benaim (Panama)
The Gospel of the Flesh - dir. Eduardo Mendoza (Peru)
Norte, the End of History - dir. Lav Diaz (Philippines)
Ida - dir. Paweł Pawlikowski (Poland)
What Now? Remind Me - dir. Joaquim Pinto (Portugal)
The Japanese Dog - dir. Tudor Cristian Jurgiu (Romania)
Leviathan - dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev (Russia)
See You in Montevideo - dir. Dragan Bjelogrlić (Serbia)
Sayang Disayang - dir. Sanif Olek (Singapore)
A Step into the Dark - dir. Miloslav Luther (Slovakia)
Seduce Me - dir. Marko Šantić (Slovenia)
Elelwani - dir. Ntshavheni Wa Luruli (South Africa)
Haemoo - dir. Shim Sung-bo (South Korea)
Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed - dir. David Trueba(Spain)
Force Majeure - dir. Ruben Östlund (Sweden)
The Circle - dir. Stefan Haupt (Switzerland)
Ice Poison - dir. Midi Z (Taiwan)
 The Teacher’s Diary - dir. Nithiwat Tharathorn (Thailand)
 Winter Sleep - dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey)
The Guide - dir. Oles Sanin (Ukraine)
Little Happiness - dir. Nihat Seven (United Kingdom)
Mr. Kaplan - dir. Álvaro Brechner (Uruguay)
The Liberator - dir. Alberto Arvelo (Venezuela)

For starters, I want to clarify that I am not familiar with a bunch of these, easily over 2/3 of them. However, there are a handful that I have heard of and have even already written about on the site. On top of that, I also have seen one of them which already puts me ahead of last year. The remaining portion of this entry will be dedicated to discussing the films that I have heard of and what buzz I know about surrounding them.

Ida is a Polish film that is about a woman who discovers that despite spending her years as a nun, she is actually Jewish. The film is sparse, both in running time (under 90 minutes) and in cinematography. Of the films on this list, this is one of the few that have actually been considered to actually stand a chance at making it. Personally, I really like the film and its gorgeous cinematography gives it an edge against American films of this year. If there's any other films on this list as beautiful, I do want to see them soon.

Two Days, One Night is a film that I have written about and it stars Marion Cotillard. Knowing my affection towards Rust and Bone, I have been curious to check this film out solely because it is supposed to be one of her best performances. Following her journey through a day that will determine whether or not she keeps her job, it is supposed to be heart wrenching and sad in all of the ways that foreign language version of Cotillard should deliver. Speaking as she did solid work in The Immigrant already this year, I am hoping that this is great as well.

Mommy is a film that has been getting attention. I am not entirely sure if that's because director Xavier Dolan appears to be a magnetic personality during interviews. He is under 25 and seems to be a wunderkind of sorts behind the camera. This film has been collecting buzz with him playing a son who lives with his mother in a very strange film, at least according to the trailer.

Catinflas makes sense why it is on here. It is one of the few films from Mexico to open well in America. I don't know much about the film or its subject matter, but I don't personally think that its attention has been as grabbing as other contenders on this list. It feels more like an audience film than a prestige one.

Force Majeure is from Sweden and I know next to nothing about it other than that it is supposedly about an avalanche and existentialism. It's also supposed to be very funny. Knowing the Swedish, that should be an interestingly dry and exciting selection to the list.

Winter Sleep is a film that I have already written about on the site because it was this year's Palme d'Or winner. As far as I know, it hasn't gotten any press attention since nor an American release date. I am curious to see if that actually happens. However, I do think that this stands a strong chance of getting nominated because of its previous success at various awards gigs.

The films I predict will make it, based on my limited knowledge, is: Ida, Winter Sleep, Two Days One Night, and Mommy. I don't know about the rest, though that's more because I sadly need to pay more attention to these fields.

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