List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

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Re: List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:21 am

Reza wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:
The Original BJ wrote:. (Was I supposed to be shocked that Muslims and Christians in that region of the world have conflict with each other based on actual historical traumas instead of simply mere bigotry?)


It's not about Muslims and Christians, but never mind, I will explain another time.


Lol


Sometimes it's our fault if we don't understand a certain movie :)

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Re: List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

Postby Reza » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:29 am

ITALIANO wrote:
The Original BJ wrote:. (Was I supposed to be shocked that Muslims and Christians in that region of the world have conflict with each other based on actual historical traumas instead of simply mere bigotry?)


It's not about Muslims and Christians, but never mind, I will explain another time.


Lol

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Re: List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:48 am

Caught up with On Body and Soul, and I feel like I might be on the same page as Precious Doll -- "silly" strikes me as a good word to describe it. Well, that's probably not entirely fair -- I thought it started off compellingly enough. The premise is definitely interesting, as a man and woman who work at the same slaughterhouse learn they are having the same dreams, and make a connection with each other based on trying to figure out what exactly is going on with them. And there's some beautiful filmmaking along the way -- the sequences with the deer are certainly visually intriguing (though I think the movie draws out the mystery of how these connect to the narrative longer than necessary). But I thought it dipped toward the ridiculous in the last reel, first with a huge swerve toward melodrama, and then with a climax that felt like a totally reductive resolution to the film's central conflict. Although I found certain individual moments compelling along the way, as the movie explored the loneliness of the two leads and how that draws them to one another, I ultimately wasn't sure what idea the film was supposed to be leaving me with at its conclusion.

I'll discuss the win chances of the five in another thread, but after seeing the nominees, I'd have to say that I think BPM would have been a far more impressive nominee than either The Insult or On Body and Soul.

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Re: List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

Postby danfrank » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:51 pm

I'm sorry for your loss, Tee. I heard a news piece about it. Apparently lots of New Yorkers are upset about losing this important film venue. I truly hope that the films that otherwise would be shown there find their way to other theatres. I watch a fair number of films on my television screen and, however much I may enjoy them, it's never the same experience as watching them in a theatre.

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Re: List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

Postby ITALIANO » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:05 pm

The Original BJ wrote:. (Was I supposed to be shocked that Muslims and Christians in that region of the world have conflict with each other based on actual historical traumas instead of simply mere bigotry?)


It's not about Muslims and Christians, but never mind, I will explain another time.

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Re: List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

Postby The Original BJ » Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:20 pm

I went to the Lincoln Plaza Theatre once -- when I was visiting colleges in 2003 and saw Nowhere in Africa. I'm very sorry this venue has closed for you and other New Yorkers, Mister Tee.

I saw The Insult this weekend as well, and I co-sign a lot of what you wrote. I was engaged for much of the first portion of the film, as it sets up an almost Asghar Farhadi-like premise, with a simple insult over a construction dispute snowballing into greater disasters for both the individuals involved and their country. But I, too, thought some of the twists along the way were a little weak. The reveal of the lawyers' identity struck me as mostly irrelevant -- it never amounted to much beyond the surprise of the twist. And then the big third-act plot turn was the kind of "revelation" that the movie obviously thought was a huge game-changer, but which didn't feel like it was telling me that much I didn't already know. (Was I supposed to be shocked that Muslims and Christians in that region of the world have conflict with each other based on actual historical traumas instead of simply mere bigotry?) The ending is probably the clearest sign you're not in Farhadi territory -- he'd have followed this story to a more naturally tragic conclusion, rather than ending on uplift. (And yes, it's a little bittersweet, but the hero is basically smiling in his last shot, which felt like an odd way to wrap-up after everything the characters have endured.)

Of the four Foreign Language nominees I've seen (On Body and Soul remains the one I have left) this is the weakest for me.

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Re: List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

Postby ITALIANO » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:46 pm

Mister Tee wrote:
And then, in the end, the film tells us both sides have a point, they'd all get along if they just listened to one another -- and seems to feel this us a big discovery on their part; like no one else has ever noted this before.



Because, sadly, no one - or almost no one - says this in that part of the world. (The director was even arrested in Lebanon - for another movie, but basically for his views). What seems obvious here is much more complicated there (and guess what? It's NOT obvious and it IS complicated).

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Re: List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

Postby Greg » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:37 pm

Mister Tee wrote:I had to say goodbye to a theatre last weekend: the Lincoln Plaza Theatre, an underground sixplex which has sat opposite Lincoln Center since 1981.


The only time in my adult life when I went to New York City was when I attended an American Chemical Society convention that was held in the Jacob Javits Convention Center and I stayed at the West Side YMCA, which was right by Lincoln Center. One time I got a take-out dinner from a Chinese diner there and ate outside in the Center area. I don't remember ever seeing the Lincoln Plaza Theater or a sign for it, so I must've overlooked it.
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Re: List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:20 pm

Seemingly tangential, but I'll eventually bring this around to the thread topic:

I had to say goodbye to a theatre last weekend: the Lincoln Plaza Theatre, an underground sixplex which has sat opposite Lincoln Center since 1981. The first movie I saw there was My Dinner with Andre. Over the next three decades-plus, I must have seen hundreds of films there. It's had its share of big boppers (12 Years a Slave, Boyhood, and Manchester by the Sea, in recent years), but it's been most notable over the years as the showcase spot for prominent non-American films -- Oscar winners like Crouching Tiger, Son of Saul, and The Salesman, but also less publicized titles, like Reprise or After the Storm -- as well as most documentaries. Any Friday I went to see something there, I'd run into a line of (it must be acknowledged) older Upper West Siders, buying tickets to whatever foreign effort had been reviewed in the Times that morning.

The theatre is closing, allegedly, so structural work can be done on the surface building, but no one really believes it's about that -- it's far more likely part of the landlord greed that has afflicted the neighborhood in recent years, shutting down long-established businesses in favor of another bank or Duane Reade. I'm not sure where even the biggest foreign films are going to go now. There's a far smaller complex of 2-3 theatres on 65th Street, and I see A Fantastic Woman is opening at one of them on Friday. But the loss of 6 venues has to be devastating to the niche; the fear is these films'll now only be viewable at home. Losing this theatre is like having a beloved restaurant shut down.

Anyway, to finally get back to the thread topic: my final visit to the theatre, last Friday, was to make my first dip into this year's foreign film race and see The Insult. I can't say I was terribly impressed. The film is a lively enough watch, but it struck me as quite shallow. The central event -- an argument/insult/minor assault that escalates into a nationwide media frenzy -- clearly wants to be a metaphor/allegory for the general situation in Lebanon (or, by extension, the entire Middle East), but the characters' actions/words are so blunt, I felt I was listening to the Lebanese equivalent of Fox News/MSNBC in alternate ears, everyone shouting tired old arguments to the point I wanted to shut them all up. There are occasional flashes of people offering shades of gray (usually one guy's wife disagreeing with him), but they're wedged in in such ham-handed fashion that even the nuances feel didactic.

The film also has a number of borderline ridiculous plot developments, that seem thrown in at intervals to prevent us getting bored. You'll never guess who the public defender turns out to be! Guess what the defendant did 35 years ago! One guy overworks himself to such a state that his pregnant wife... (I won't finish that sentence, because SPOILER -- but, at that moment, I found myself recalling Thelma Ritter's "Everything but the hounds yapping at her rear-end"). I also had a big problem with the scenes inside the courtroom, where everybody seems to speak at random with no admonishment from the judge. Either the writer/director have no awareness of courtroom procedure, or the Lebanese judicial system is screwed up beyond redemption. (If it's the latter, I wish the film had made something of that.)

And then, in the end, the film tells us both sides have a point, they'd all get along if they just listened to one another -- and seems to feel this is a big discovery on their part; like no one else has ever noted this before. This wrap-up feels gooey sentimental, which is kind of insulting after two hours of didacticism. There's actually a brief moment -- involving a stalled car -- that touches on this idea in a less-head-pounding way, but the film holds the moment a bit too long, making it, too, excessively sentimental. I thought to myself, I'd love to see this same scene played with a touch more bite, or even irony -- but that amounted to asking for a different filmmaker.

I'm otherwise unexposed to this year's nominees -- I hope to get to at least The Square and A Fantastic Woman prior to the Oscars -- but if this should win, it'd be one of the weaker choices of recent times.
Last edited by Mister Tee on Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:24 am

I have no interest in the Angelina Jolie film. I only saw Unbroken because it earned a couple of Oscar nominations and that film alone convinced me that I didn't need to watch anymore of her work. However, I did see By the Sea in the hope of a disastrous Burton/Taylor like production (bar Virginia Woolf of course) and I wasn't disappointed as it fulfilled that criteria to a tee, but it was a waste of 2 hours of my life that I'll never get back. I was relieved that First They Killed My Father didn't make the shortlist which will keep it off the list of 'catch-up' films when the Oscars are announced later in the month.

I saw The Wound during the week which was a pretty interesting film in that it deals with subject matter that I have never seen depicted in cinema before and director/co-writer John Trengrove handles his material with an assured hand. However, I can't see it making the final five though a place would no be undeserved.

I saw In the Fade without knowing very much about it and was really shocked at what direction it headed into. I still after all that time don't know what to make of that ending but it certainly packed a punch.
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Re: List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:46 am

I take no issue with the fact that First They Killed My Father was bounced from the competition already. Aside from its questionable qualifications for this category (it's an American film by an American director, eligible because of Jolie's dual Cambodian citizenship), it's the weakest of any of the submitted entries I've seen. This isn't to say that Jolie is without skill as a director -- this is definitely a visually impressive film, full of beautifully shot and horrifyingly gripping images, and it's hard not to be moved by the obviously devastating sights and sounds. But, as in all of her features so far, she has yet to display the talent of a great storyteller, and as narrative, I found much of this film static and repetitive. Though I have enormous sympathy for the fact that the real-life protagonist endured the ordeals she did (and that she has no idea what became of some of her family members), the film just doesn't find a compelling enough take on these events to justify the film's purpose as art rather than mere docudrama.

I found In the Fade a fairly engaging, quick-moving thriller -- by the end, I was actually surprised it was over, as it had moved through the various segments of its story (grief drama, court-room mystery, vigilante thriller) quite efficiently. And yet, it's the kind of movie that, had it been in English, seems like it just wouldn't be seen as artful enough to contend for awards. The last third, especially, goes full bore into Liam Neeson revenge movie territory, and though I think the film explores some of the same moral questions as Three Billboards (namely, how far should you go to avenge violence when the system fails you?), I'm not sure the movie's storytelling is nimble enough to provide as complex answers as I might have liked. The finale, in particular, while unexpected, just feels rather simple as a conclusion to this story. It's easy to see why Diane Kruger snagged the Cannes prize, though -- although her work in American films (Inglourious Basterds excepted) hasn't been especially noteworthy, you'd have to imagine that if she gave a performance this attention-grabbing in an English-language movie, she could definitely find herself in the Oscar conversation at some point down the road.

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Re: List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

Postby Precious Doll » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:56 am

For all the ho-ha about a record number of films directed by women being submitted in this category only one (Ildikó Enyedi) made the nine. Summer 1993 & Spoor were certainly worthy enough though the latter a bit too tough for Academy tastes.
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Re: List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

Postby ITALIANO » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:39 am

Mister Tee wrote:Lebanon, “The Insult,” Ziad Doueiri, director



See? :)

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Re: List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

Postby Precious Doll » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:27 am

Okri wrote:BPM remains my favourite film of the year and I'm rather disappointed it didn't make it.


It's not all that surprising that 120 BPM missed out. I looked at what I had written in an earlier thread where I noted that gay themed films don't do well in this category. On the other hand A Fantastic Woman & The Wound have made the shortlist so maybe three gay films was a step to far for the selectors.

I think A Fantastic Woman has this pretty much locked in with a possible upset by either Foxtrot or On Body and Soul.

If Toni Erdmann couldn't win last year The Square is not winning this year. Interesting to speculate on what three films the 'committee' added to the initial six. My guesses would be The Square, Loveless and On Body and Soul.
Last edited by Precious Doll on Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (coming soon)

Postby Okri » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:30 pm

BPM remains my favourite film of the year and I'm rather disappointed it didn't make it.


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