Reza wrote:Finally caught up with Spain's first foreign film Oscar winner - "Volver a empezar". Johann Pachelbel's "Canon in D Major" & Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine" are both to this film what "Lara's Theme" is to Dr Zhivago. Was it the music that won over Academy members because the film is such a minor piece of fluff? And deathly slow. Jarring comic scenes clash with the warm but bittersweet sequences depicting an old man's return to his hometown after years as he connects with an old flame and an old buddy. Antonio Ferrandis as the old man is extremely good though.
I haven't seen three of the other nominees for that year (1982) but the french entry - Bertrand Tavernier's "Coup de Torchon" - is a way better film with wonderful performances by Philippe Noiret, Isabelle Huppert and Stéphane Audran.
Very weak line-up, though it is surprising in retrospect that the Academy didn't award the Tavernier film. I do remember seeing To Begin Again, released in cinemas because of its win and thinking WTF - how did that win. I would have voted for Alsino and the Condor, a crudely made but rather topical film in its day. Flight of the Eagle is very minor Troell and though I found Private Life rather dull it had it admirers back in its day.
I'm now down to 'only' ten films from the Foreign Language category to see:
1958 - Arms and the Man (Germany)
1959 - Paw (Denmark)
1967 - El Amor Brujo (Bewitched Love) (Spain)
1967 - Portrait of Chieko (Japan)
1970 - Hoa-Binh (France)
1970 - Paix sur les Champs (Peace in the Fields) (Belgium)
1974 - The Truce (Argentina)
1975 - Sandakan No. 8 (Japan)
1984 - Double Feature (Spain)
1987 - Course Completed (Spain)