The prestigious film magazine The Hollywood Reporter listed Bwakaw, our entry to the best foreign language film category of next year’s Oscar Awards, as one of 10 film entries regarded as major threats to the five films tagged as front runners.
The Hollywood Reporter writer Scott Feinberg made his fearless forecast in the latest issue of the film magazine even as three sub-committees of AMPAS are now viewing the record 71 entries submitted to the best foreign language film category.
Nine films will be shortlisted in mid-January, 2013 and the five final nominees will be announced on January 24. The 85th Oscar Awards night is scheduled on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2013.
Hereunder are the predictions of Feinberg:
Amour, written and directed by Michael Haneke The life of retired octogenarian music teachers—Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva)—who have been married for decades is jolted when the wife suffers a debilitating stroke. Eva (Isabelle Huppert), their fiftyish daughter, returns to share her parents’ emotional crisis. The film was screened at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme d’Or. At the 2012 European Film Awards, it has been nominated in six categories.
A Royal Affair, directed by Nikolaj Arcel
The story—set in the 18th century at the court of the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark—focuses on the romance between the queen and the royal physician. In the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival, Mikel Folsgaard won as best actor while Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg won for their script).
The Intouchables, directed by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache
The drama-comedy film focuses on the friendship between Philippe (Francois Cluzet) a wealthy aristocrat who became a paraplegic after a tragic accident and his young troubled caregiver Driss (Omar Sy). The plot of the film is inspired by the true story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his carer Abdel Sellou, discovered by the directors in A la vie, à la mort, a documentary film. Nine weeks after its release in France on 2 November 2011, it became the second biggest all-time box office hit in France, selling nearly three times as many tickets world-wide as The Artist.
Fill the Void, directed by Rama Burshtein
The film focuses on the life of the ultra-Orthodox Haredim Jewish community in Tel Aviv. The wealthy family of Rabbi Aharon grieves over the death of a daughter in childbirth. A younger sister is pressured by her mother to marry her deceased sister’s widower. Hadas Yaron Volps Cup won the best actress award during the 69th Venice International Film Festival.
Sister, directed by Ursula Meier
The film tells the story of a 12-year-old boy who lives with his older sister in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The boy—as they struggle to make ends meet—goes to the extent of stealing ski equipment from wealthy tourists and re-selling them to teens in the valley. The film won the Special Award Silver Bear during the 62nd Berlin IFF.
After the five front runners, Feinberg listed 10 films which may give the five above-mentioned films a stiff battle for the nominations.
The films regarded as major threats are the following:
Beyond the Hills, directed by Cristian Mungiuf
The story of two girls who are reunited after one returns home to Romania from Germany to rekindle her relationship with her childhood friend. They are Alina (Cristina Flutur) and Voichita (Cosmina Stratan). While one girl was away, her friend has found God and joined the local monastery as a novitiate. The film is based on Deadly Confession and Judges’ Book, two non-fiction novels by Tatiana Niculescu Bran, documenting the case of a young member of a monastery in Moldavia, who died in 2005 after an exorcism ritual. The film premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, where Mungiuf won the award for Best Screenplay, and Flutur and Stratan shared the award for Best Actress.
Pieta, directed by Kim Ki-duk
The story of a heartless man who has no living family members and whose job is to threaten debtors to repay his clients. One day, he receives a visit from a strange, middle-aged woman claiming she is his long-lost mother. It made its world premiere in the competition line-up of the 69th Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion. It is the first Korean film to win the top prize at one of the three major international film festivals — Venice, Cannes and Berlin.
Barbara, directed by Christian Petzold
The film tells the story of Barbara Nina Hoss), a female physician living in East Germany in the 1980s. Unhappy with the constant intrusions by Stasi officials, Barbara makes plans to leave for West Germany to be with her lover, but of course meets complications that make her second guess her desires. The director won the silver bear for best director during the 62nd Berlin IFF
War Witch, directed by Kim Nguyen
Shot entirely on location in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the film depicts the brutal reality of child soldiers. Rachel Mwanza won two best actress awards—the silver bear during the 2012 Berlin IFF and during the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. Nguyen became the first Canadian director in 13 years to have a film selected for the main competition.
No, directed by Pablo Larrain
After 15 years of military rule in Chile, the public is asked to vote in the plebiscite of 1988 whether Gen. Pinochet should stay in power. The film’s hero, an advertising man, works as part of a team to create upbeat films and promotional materials to encourage the public to vote No to Pinochet leading the nation for another eight years while their advertising agency boss works for a Yes campaign. Larrain won the Art Cinema award (top prize Directors’ Fortnight ) during the 2012 Cannes International Film Festival.
Lore, directed by Cate Shortland
A German-set, German-language World War II survival story about five children whose Nazi parents are taken by the Allies. They endure a 500-mile trek to the safety of their grandmother’s house in Hosum Bay in the dying days of the Third Reich. It had its Australian premiere at the 2012 Sydney Film Festival.
Our Children, directed by Joachim Lafosse
The film is based on a real-life incident involving a woman—Murielle (Emilie Dequenne)—who killed her five children. Dequenne won as best actress of Un Certain Regard category of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “In one of her strongest leading roles to date, Dequenne does a remarkable job depicting Murielle’s wavering psychological states as she heads for oblivion, and an extended sequence-shot where she drives home while singing a Julien Clerc song is particularly unforgettable.
Bwakaw, directed by Juan Robles Lana
An octogenarian gay man feels he is growing old alone with a stray dog he took under his care. As he waits for the day of his death, he is shocked when it is his dog who gets ill and dies ahead of him. But the pet’s death makes a difference as his master finds a new appreciation for life. The film has been included by Time Magazine in the 10 must-see films during the last New York Film Festival.
Kauwboy, directed by Noudemiju Koole
The film is about a precocious 10-year-old boy with a difficult home life under a volatile father and an absentee mother. He finds solace in an abandoned baby jackdaw. Through the special friendship he builds with the bird, the boy brings down the wall between him and his father.
Our Homeland, Directed by Yong-hi Yang
Sent to North Korea as a teen by his fervently North-supporting father, a man returns to Tokyo for medical treatment after 25 years and finds it difficult to open up to his family, including his passionately anti-North sister.
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