Oct 02
13 MORE FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMS IN OSCAR by Jose N. Carreon  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Wed, Oct 2, 2013

As the October 1 deadline for the submission in the 86th Oscar Awards best foreign language film category expired, it might still turn out that this year’s entries might exceed or fall short of last year’s record total of 71 films by
just one film.

But a record of sort has already been achieved by the Philippines when Tagalog was listed as one of the languages in three films submitted to the category. The three films included our entry this year, Transit by Hannah Espia which was shot in Israel; Metro Manila, a film by British director Sean Ellis shot entirely in the country; and Ilo-ilo by , submitted Singaporean director Anthony Chen which features a yaya from Iloilo as one of the major characters.

A three-month period to campaign for the entries will now follow until a shortlist of eight films will be announced in January 2014. The final five nominees will be culled from the shortlist.

Here are thirteen more film entries submitted to the Oscars:

Iceland—Of Horses and Men by Benedikt Erlisson
Set in a remote Icelandic community of horse-breeders and small holders, the film is a a tale of the sex life and death life of horses, where the animals perform roles in dramatic terms almost equivalent to the human characters. The Icelandic Film Center describes it is as “a country romance about the human streak in the horse and the horse in the human,” where “love and death become interlaced…with immense consequences.”

This is the 34th submission of Iceland.

India—The Good Road by Gyan Correa
The film is told in a structure where several stories are intertwined as each unfolds on a highway in the rural lands of Gujarat near the town of Kachch. Pappu is a truck driver who is unable to support his ailing parents and extended family. He sets up a fake accident where he crashed his truck on the highway and pretends to die. The insurance payments his family will receive will be enough for them to live off of. David and Kiran, a middle class urban couple, and their son Aditya, are on a holiday. The boy is accidentally separated from his parents during a brief halt at a dhaba on the side of the highway. Poonam is an 11-year old child from the city who is searching for her grandmother, who lives in a house at the end of the highway. She stops at a small clothes dying unit on the side of the highway to rest and find food.

This is the 46th submission of India and it had three nominated films already, namely, 1957’s Mother India by Mehboob Khan, 1988’s Salaam Bombay! by Mira Nair and 2001’s Lagaan by Ashatosh Gowariker.

Lebanon—Ghadi by Amin Dora
The film focuses on Leba, a music instructor in a traditional neighborhood of a small Lebanese coastal town. Social pressure leads him to get married and have children. To the dismay of his family, neighbors, and friends, his first two children are both girls. His wife Lara, a French literature teacher, is pregnant for the third time and yes, it’s a BOY! However, medical tests show that the boy will have special needs. Expect strange phenomenon to affect the behavior, and beliefs of that little town’s population. This is Lebanon’s 10th submission with no nomination.

Mexico—Heli by Amat Escalante
The film tells the story of a seventeen-year-old boy working in a car assemble factory; he lives with his father who also works there, his wife Sabrina, his baby son and his sister Estela. His sister Estela is in a relationship with Alberto, a 17 years old cadet who is tired of the hard life of the army and wants to have sexual relationships with the girl. Alberto proposes to marry her and to run away with her. To do so, plans to sell some stolen cocaine packages that a corrupt general secretly drew from a cache the army confiscated and burned in an official event, and hides the drugs in Heli´s house with Estela’s consent until the sale. However, Heli discovers the affair and decides to scold and put an eye on his sister after secretly disposing of the drugs in an isolate water pit for cattle. This leads them to dire consequences.

This is Mexico’s 46th submission. It already received 8 nominations, including four since the year 2000, namely Amores Perros by Aljenadro Gonzalez Inarritu in 2000; El Crimen del Padre Amaro by Carlos Carrera in 2002; Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro in 2006 and Biutiful by Inarritu in 2010.

Norway—I Am Yours by Iram Haq
The film tells the stry of Mina, a young single mother living in Oslo with her 6-year-old son Felix. She is an Norwegian Pakistani with a troublesome relationship with her family. Mina is constantly looking for love and has relations with different men though none of the relationships bears any hope of lasting very long. So when Mina meets Jesper, a Swedish film director, she falls head over heels in love.

This is Norway’s 35th submission with five nominations for the following films:1957’s Nine Lives by Arne Skouen; 1987’s The Pathfinder by Nils Gaup; 1996’s The Other Side of Sunday by Berit Nesheim; 2001’s Elling by Petter Naes; and 2012’s Kon Tiki by Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg.

Poland—Wałęsa by Andrzej Wajda
This is a bioflick of Lech Wałęsa, an electrician at the Gdańsk shipyards, who participated in 1970’s local demonstrations. While he keeps the bloody aftermath in mind, he concentrates on day-to-day duties. Yet ten years later a new uprising takes place and he happens to become an unexpected and charismatic leader of Polish dockworkers. This is the beginning of a new movement that successfully stands up to the communistic regime. Wałęsa is pushed into representing the working population of Poland. The Polish example of solidarity triggers hope all over Eastern Europe and causes a domino effect. People in Eastern Germany follow the Polish example, eventually start demonstrating for freedom and then achieve the German reunification by a peaceful revolution. The Soviet Union dissolves and so does its former satellite state Yugoslavia. Lech Wałęsa is elected the first president of the new Polish democracy. But now people start to think that Wałęsa has it too good. Suchlike propelled they start to seek for ways to diminish him until they finally accomplish to dig deep enough to disclose equivocal decisions he made when he still was an electrician who temporarily felt overstrained while carrying all the hopes and expectations his country had heaped on him.

This is the 45th submission of Poland which has so far garnered nine nominations. Its last two nominations were Katyri by Andrzej Wajda in 2007 and In Darkness by Agnieszka Holland in 2011.

Russia—Stalingrad by Fedor Bondarchuk
The film is a dramatic love story against the backdrop of a grand battle. The action takes place in 1942 when the German troops occupied the bank of the Volga river. Having failed while attempting to cross the Volga to launch a counteroffensive on the German Army, the Soviet troops were forced to retreat. However, a few soldiers managed to get to the shore on the enemy’s side. They remained hidden in a coastal house where they meet a girl. The Germans had occupied her home, and she did not have time to leave the front lines. Against this backdrop, a love story unfolds.

Slovakia—My Dog Killer by Mira Fornay
The film takes place during one day when 18-year-old Marek, whose best friend is his dog, is hanging out with his racist, hooligan mates and discovers a terrible secret about his friend. This is Slovakia’s 17th submission with no nomination.

South Africa—Four Corners by Ian Gabriel
The film revolves around a 13-year-old chess whiz drawn into the Cape Town’s well-known child-gang culture. Touted as the first film to delve into the 100-year-old war between South Africa’s so-called Number gangs, the 26 and the 28, it blends the Sabela, Tsotsi-taal and Cape Afrikaans dialects. “Four Corners” is South African prison slang for the four corners of a prison cell.

This is South Africa’s 10th submission and it already won an Oscar trophy for 2005’s Tsotsi by Gavin Hood. It got a nomination in 2004 for Yesterday by Darrel Rood and got into the shortlist in 2010 for Life, AboveAll for Oliver Schmitz.

Slovenia—Class Enemy by Rok Bicek
The film is based on a true story about a class. The relations between the students and the new teacher of German are extremely tense. When one female student commits suicide, her schoolmates blame the teacher for her death. An awareness that things are not quite so black and white comes too late. This is Slovenia’s 17th submission with no nomination.

Spain—15 years and One Day by Gracia Querejeta
The film focuses on an orphan, Jon, who lives with his wannabe-actress mother Margo. After Jon poisons the neighbor’s dog and is expelled from school, Margo sends the troubled teen to live with his grandfather Max, a strict ex-soldier, with the hope that Jon will learn a bit of discipline when Max introduces Jon to serious student Toni. However, Jon falls in with a local gang of ne’er-do-wells led by Nelson. Following Nelson’s death after a fight on the beach, which also leaves Jon in a coma, Max decides to find out whether the killer is Jon or Toni, a turn that feels like an attempt to inject some easy suspense. This is the 56th submission of Spain which already boasts of winning four best foreign language film trophies and 14 nominations. The Oscar-winning films were 1982’s Begin the Beguine by Jose Luis Garci, 1993’s Belle Epoque by Fernando Trueba, 1999’s All About My Mother by Pedro Almodovar and 2004’s The Sea Inside by Pedro Amenobar.

Switzerland—More than Honey by Markus Imhoof
More than Honey is a 2012 Swiss documentary film directed by Markus Imhoof. This is the 41st submission of Switzerland which already won two times for Dangerous Moves by Richard Dembo in 1984 and Journey of Hope by Xavier Koller in 1990. It also has three nominations for First Love by Maximillian Schell (1970); L’Invitation by Claude Goretta in 1973 and The Boat is Full by Markus Imhoof. It also made the January shortlist for Vitus by Fredi Murer in 2006 and Sister by Ursula Meier in 2012.

Thailand—Countdown by Nattawut Poonpiriya
The film is about a trio of young Thai hipsters in New York who are trapped in their apartment and terrorized on New Year’s Eve by an unhinged drug dealer named Jesus. This is Thailand’s 20th submission with no nomination.

(Next week: Last Foreign Language Film Submissions to the Oscars)

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