A total of 59 countries have already submitted their entries to the best foreign language film category of the 84th Oscar Awards scheduled on February 26 next year at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
The Philippines—which submitted Ang Babae sa Septic Tank—is among several Asian countries which complied with the October 3 deadline for the submission.
The other Asian countries and their entries are the following: China (The Flowers of War by Zhang Yimou); Hongkong (A Simple Life by Ann Hui); India (Adaminte Makan Abu by Salim Ahamed); Japan (Postcard by Kaneto Shindo); South Korea (The Front Line by Jang Han); Singapore (Tatsumi by Eric Khoo); Taiwan (Seediq Bale by Wei Te-Sheng); Thailand (Kho han by Sarunyu ‘Tua’ Sirichanya); and Vietnam (Thang Long Aspiration by Trong Ning Luu).
We now continue with the enumeration of the official film entries submitted by the participating countries.
Albania—The Forgiveness of Blood (Joshua Marston)
The main characters of this film are Rudina, the oldest daughter, and Nik, the oldest son. Both have a pretty normal life. Rudina is an A student in high school and Nik very popular. He just fell in love with one of his fellow students. Their father earns the family’s income with a little bread delivery service. For that, he uses a short cut through the neighbor’s ground but the neighbor doesn’t necessarily like that. But the ground actually belonged to Rudina and Nik’s family once. One day, the conflict escalates and the neighbor gets killed by Rudina’s father and uncle. Because only their uncle is caught by the police and their father is able to hide, the old law of blood feud is held against the family. They cannot leave their house. Only the women are allowed to leave the house. So Rudina has to quit school and continue the bread delivery service of her father.
Bosnia and Herzegovina—Belvedere (Ahmed Imamovic)
The film deals with the tragedy of the women survivors of the Srebrenica genocide, or rather the consequences of the horrors they experienced.
It is about women whose sole purpose in life is to locate the bones of their loved ones and give them decent burials. Fifteen years later, they still want just one single thing—the truth. As a contrast, the film deals with trivialities of modern living, obsessed with different reality shows.
Brazil—Tropa de Elite 2 (Jose Padilha)
After a bloody invasion of the BOPE in the High Security Penitentiary Bangu I in Rio de Janeiro to control a rebellion of interns, Lt. Col. Roberto Nascimento and second-in-command Capt. Andre Matias are accused by the Human Rights Aid member Diego Fraga of execution of prisoners. Matias is transferred to the corrupted Military Police and Nascimento is exonerated from the BOPE by the Governor. However, due to the increasing popularity of Nascimento, the Governor invites him to team up with the intelligence area of the Secretary of Security. Along the years, Fraga, who is married with Nascimento’s former wife, is elected State Representative and Nascimento’s son Rafael has issues with his biological father. Meanwhile, Nascimento and the BOPE expel the drug dealers from several slums but another enemy arises: the militia led by Major Rocha and supported by the Governor.
Bulgaria—Tilt (Viktor Chouchkov)
Tilt is a love story set against the backdrop of the changing political and social environment in Europe in the late 80s and early 90s. Can this love survive the challenges of emigration, a violent homeland and immoral social atmosphere with the help of a gang of adventurous friends?
Canada—Monsieur Lazhar (Philippe Falardeau)
Bachir Lazhar, an Algerian immigrant, is hired to replace an elementary school teacher who died tragically. While the class goes through a long healing process, nobody in the school is aware of Bachir’s painful former life; nor that he at risk of being deported at any moment. Adapted from Evelyne de la Cheneliere’s play, Bachir Lazhar, depicts the encounter between two distant worlds and the power of self-expression. Using great sensitivity and humor, Philippe Falardeau follows a humble man who is ready to transcend his own loss in order to help children recover from the death of their former teacher.
Chile—Violeta (Andes Wood)
China—The Flowers of War (Zhang Yimou)
The Flowers of War is adapted from Geling Yan’s historical novel 13 Flowers of Nanjing. Inspired by true life events, the film tells the genuine story of hope, love and sacrifice. Set in 1937, Nanking stands at the forefront of a war between China and Japan. As the invading Japanese Imperial Army overruns China’s capital city, desperate civilians seek refuge behind the nominally protective walls of a western cathedral. Here, John Hanfran (Christian Bale), an American trapped amidst the chaos of battle and the ensuing occupation, takes shelter, joined by a group of innocent schoolgirls and 13 courtesans, equally determined to escape the horrors taking place outside the church walls.
Colombia—The Colors of the Mountain (Carlos Cesar Arbelaez)
Manuel, 9, has an old ball with which he plays football every day in the countryside. He dreams of becoming a great goalkeeper. His wishes seem set to come true when his father gives him a new ball. But an unexpected accident sends the ball flying into a minefield. Despite the danger, Manuel refuses to abandon his ball. He convinces Julian and Paco Luz, his two friends, to retrieve the ball from the minefield. Amid the adventures and kids’ games, the signs of armed conflict start to appear in the lives of the inhabitants of La Praderas.
Czech Republic—Alois Nebel (Tomas Lunak)
A train dispatcher encounters a mute stranger who appears out of nowhere and finds himself mysteriously involved with a murder in Poland.
Denmark—Super Clasico (Ole Christian Madsen)
Iceland—Volcano (Runar Runarrson)
Hanner is an old man who has grown apart from his children. Recently retired when his wife gets ill, he tries to reconcile with them to atone for his cold demeanor in the past.
India—Adaminte Makan Abu (Salim Ahmed)
Abu and Aisumma are an aging Muslim couple. Their aspiration is to go for Hajj and they make many sacrifices to achieve this aim. Now in their late 70s, they decide that they will go for Hajj this year. Abu, being a true Muslim, wants to go for Hajj only according to all diktats of Islam. Good-natured people try to help him by loaning the amount, but since this is against the accepted practices of the religion, he refuses take them. Finally, they are not able to go. On the dawn of the Hajj, Abu tells his wife that they will go the next year. He goes to the mosque to pray on Hajj morning.
Ireland—As If I Am Not There (Juanita Wilson)
A harsh dose of cinematic realism about a harsh time during the Bosnian War of the 1990s. Wilson’s drama is taken from true stories revealed during the International Criminal Tribunal hearing in the Hague. Semira is a modern schoolteacher who takes a job in a small country village just as the war is beginning to ramp up. When Serbian soldiers overrun the village, shoot the men and keep the women as laborers (the older ones) and sex objects (the younger ones), Semira is subjected to the basest forms of treatment imaginable. (Continued next week)
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