Mexico—Miss Bala (Gerardo Naranjo)
The story of a young woman clinging on to her dream to become a beauty contest queen in a Mexico dominated by organized crime.
Morocco—Omar Killed Me (Roschdy Zem)
The true story of a Moroccan immigrant imprisoned for murder near Cannes. The film examines a penal system in which French police and prosecutors were eager to pin the crime on a convenient suspect.
New Zealand—The Orator (Tusi Tamasese)
The film tells the story of a Samoan dwarf named Saili who must fight for his land and his pride. It was filmed on and around the islands of Upolu in Samoa. It is New Zealand’s first foreign-language Oscar entry.
Norway—Happy, Happy (Anne Sewitsky)
The story of a young married schoolteacher whose relentless optimism is challenged when a seemingly perfect family moves next door.
Peru—October (Daniel and Diego Vega Vidal)
Clemente, a moneylender of few words, is a new hope for Sofia, his single neighbor who is devoted to the October worship of our Lord of the Miracles. They are brought together over a newborn baby, fruit of Clemente’s relationship with a prostitute who is nowhere to be found. While Clemente is looking for the girl’s mother, Sofia cares for the baby and looks after the moneylender’s house. With the arrival of these beings in his life, Clemente has the opportunity to reconsider his emotional relations with people.
Romania—Magen (Marian Criscu)
Magen looks at the friendship between a Hungarian-Rumanian security guard and an illegal immigrant.
Singapore—Tatsumi (Eric Khoo)
This is an animated docu portrait of Yoshihiro Tatsumi (manga artist) from his early days as a comics artist in post-World War II Japan and includes his development of the influential gekiga (dramatic pictures) genre of manga comics, which was pivotal in bringing manga to adults.
Slovakia—Gypsy (Martin Sulik)
The film centers on a gypsy boy who tries to change his life after the death of his father and finds himself struggling against his community’s traditions and prejudices.
Slovenia—Silent Sonata (Janez Burger)
The dark silent movie concerns a circus offering mystical solutions to the problems of inhabitants of a remote windswept town.
South Africa—Beauty (Oliver Hermanus)
The film tells the story of Francois Van Heerden, a white Afrikaner-speaking family man in his mid-40s living in Bloomfontein, who has become devoid of any care or concern for his own measure of happiness, and is convinced of his ill-fated existence that he is wholly unprepared when a chance encounter unravels his clean, controlled life.
Switzerland—Summer Games (Rolando Colla)
This coming-of-age film centers on a teenage boy struggling with an abusive father and dealing with first love while on a summer holiday on Italy’s Tuscany Coast.
Thailand—Kho Hon (Sarunyu ‘Tua’ Siirichanya)
A story about conflict with Khom mask dance troupes staging rival performances of the Remakien, Thailand’s version of India’s epic poem, the Ramayana.
Turkey—Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
An intense and slow-moving drama about the search for a corpse in the grasslands of Turkish Anatolia. A doctor, a public prosecutor, a police chief and a murder suspect together comb the region’s vast steppes in what becomes a critique on bureaucracy and a meditation on guilt and responsibility.
Uruguay—The Silent House (Gustavo Hernandez)
The plot is based on a true story that happened in the late 40s in a small village in Uruguay. The film focuses on Laura who, second by second, intends to leave a house which hides an obscure secret, unharmed. Laura and her father Wilson settle down in a cottage they are to renew since the owner will soon put the house up for sale. They will spend the night there and repair the following morning. Everything seems to go smoothly until Laura hears a sound that comes from outside and gets louder and louder on the upper floor of the house. Wilson goes up to see what is going on while she remains downstairs on her own, waiting for her father to come down.
Vietnam—Thang Laong Aspiration (Trong Ninh Luu)
The film depicts the life of King Ly Thai To, the ruler who moved the capital to what is now Hanoi (and was then called Thang Long or Rising Dragon). It focuses on a war between brothers in the 19th century.
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