Best Foreign Language Film Finalists

ITALIANO
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Postby ITALIANO » Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:24 am

In the meantime, Italians are only slightly more distracted this year counting Berlusconi's lolitas - not distracted enough, though, to completely ignore our new failure at the Oscars and to avoid finding a scapegoat.

They've easily picked Luca Guadagnino, a young director of mostly dreadful movies who suprised everyone here when his movie I Am Love - totally overlooked by the Italian critics and a box-office flop - for some reason was warmly receveid the US and England. Guadagnino isn't the nicest person in the world, I admit it - a clever publicity-seeker, he has become over the years Tilda Swinton's number 1 fan and self-proclaimed best friend; the dynamic duo had previously made a (terrible) movie and a documentary (which I havent seen) totally devoted to the Swinton cult; Guadagnino without Swinton then had the brilliant idea of directing the film version of an almost pornographic bestseller written by a smart and equally ambitious Italian teenage girl called Melissa P. (both her name and the title of the movie) - whose inventive sexual acts must have inspired Berlusconi's real life activities. Anyway, the movie was supposed to become a big hit, but it was so boring (a major crime for anything about sex) that after a strong first weekend it quickly faded into obscurity, thus once again destroying Guadagnino's dreams of glory. Luckily for him, his best friend was still there and their next collaboration, I Am Love - carefully prepared and with an obvious eye to the international market - finally hit the target.
After Melissa P. Italians were probably too prejudiced - the more innocent Americans praised it more than it deserved, but at the same time the reviews here had been too negative, because at least the acting in it - not only Swinton's - is very good. And one can understand that Guadagnino expected to represent Italy at the Oscars and must have been very disappointed when the committee chose another movie. At the same time, if the Foreign Film entry had to fully represent this - or any - country, it had to be one that SOME had seen and liked - and Paolo Virzi's The First Beautiful Thing had been at least a box-office hit. Guadagnino didnt take it well - he's Italian after all - and some of his comments to the American press are said to have heavily compromised Virzi's chances.

The truth, of course, is that The First Beautiful Thing was the wrong movie, just another in the long line of mistakes (we do make very good movies, I swear) that the committee has done in recent years. One can only hope that they have finally learned their lesson, for the future.

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Postby Cinemanolis » Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:33 pm

mlrg wrote:once again, Portugal will hold it's record for the country with most submissions without ever being nominated

It's Eurovision Song Contest all over again

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Postby mlrg » Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:12 pm

Precious Doll wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:
mlrg wrote:once again, Portugal will hold it's record for the country with most submissions without ever being nominated

I actually thought Portugal had a shot this year. At least your language is represented by past nominations for Brazil. :;):

To Die Like a Man from Portugal had no chance whatsoever. There was just no way that the Academy was ever going to consider this grungy 138 minutes of trannie angst, as brilliant as the film is.

I know

And we still have the oldest living director still working. At 102, Manoel de Oliveira has a movie coming out and a new one in the works! Amazing

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Postby Precious Doll » Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:17 pm

Big Magilla wrote:
mlrg wrote:once again, Portugal will hold it's record for the country with most submissions without ever being nominated

I actually thought Portugal had a shot this year. At least your language is represented by past nominations for Brazil. :;):

To Die Like a Man from Portugal had no chance whatsoever. There was just no way that the Academy was ever going to consider this grungy 138 minutes of trannie angst, as brilliant as the film is.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Postby ITALIANO » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:34 pm

I actually thought that Undertow, which I also saw and liked, could have been, if not into the final five, at least in these nine. It's a simple movie, even naive I'd say, but very true, very honest. I guess the gay element - which is very seriously presented in the story, despite its deceptively light, surreal context - proved once again a bit too daring for a certain part of the Academy.

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Postby rolotomasi99 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:18 am

Wow, I am so ashamed. The only foreign film I have seen this year was Peru's entry to the Oscars, UNDERTOW. It was a wonderful film. Just when I thought I had seen enough coming-out stories, this hauntingly beautiful film showed me there is still an interesting way to tell an old story.

I was very happy Peru selected it for their submission to the Oscars. I guess it also fell through the cracks of being too gay for the older crowd, and too conventional for the younger voters.

After all the praise around here, I really want to see DOGTOOTH.
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Postby Big Magilla » Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:58 am

mlrg wrote:once again, Portugal will hold it's record for the country with most submissions without ever being nominated

I actually thought Portugal had a shot this year. At least your language is represented by past nominations for Brazil. :;):

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Postby mlrg » Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:42 am

once again, Portugal will hold it's record for the country with most submissions without ever being nominated

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Postby OscarGuy » Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:09 am

Ok. Well, I guess I should read "Full Synopsis" on imdb instead of just the main page "The Plot" listing. Which says "The story of Christopher Columbus" and when I pulled that, it didn't have pictures, so I had little reason to doubt the film's plot.
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Postby Precious Doll » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:00 am

I'm surprised that Aftershocks and Of Gods and Men failed to make the shortlist, though pleasantly surprised to see Dogtooth and Confessions included.

Aside from those two and Incedies and Outside the Law, which I believe are very good, the remainder of the films are an unappealing bunch.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Postby HarryGoldfarb » Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:48 pm

OscarGuy wrote:When I made my original predictions, I put Lluvia in there and that it made it all the way hopefully means I was on to something. It's an epic about Christopher Columbus, so it reminds me a bit of the Kazakhstani entry from 2007: Mongol.

No, it is not...

*SPOILERS*

[color=white]It is about a Spanish filmmaker (Gale García Bernal) that travels to Bolivia in order to film a picture about the experiences of both Bartolomé de las Casas y Antonio de Montesinos during and immediately after Columbus first voyage and their experiences dealing with the hard treatment of the natives. While in the process of filming, social protests starts when the government tried to privatize the water company and then the two worlds(the filmed one and the "real" one) collides...
[/color]
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Postby Kova » Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:03 pm

Dogtooth and Confessions are almost certainly picks from the special committee. There's a chance one of them could make the final five since Biutiful has been divisive and, by all accounts, the Swedish film is terrible (though being terrible hasn't always precluded nominations in the past).

The Canadian, Danish, and South African films seem like the surest bets to me. Algeria and Spain's entries look uninteresting, at best, but they've fallen for Bouchareb before.

I'll go with:

Algeria, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, South Africa

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Postby OscarGuy » Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:39 pm

I ended up picking Dogtooth for one and the other Tambien la Lluvia. When I made my original predictions, I put Lluvia in there and that it made it all the way hopefully means I was on to something. It's an epic about Christopher Columbus, so it reminds me a bit of the Kazakhstani entry from 2007: Mongol. It wasn't an incredibly well reviewed movie, but it was an epic picture, which may appeal to those older voters that made films like Out of Africa such big things back in the '80s.
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Postby ITALIANO » Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:12 pm

I'm more disappointed for France's exclusion than Italy's. The Italian movie wasn't more than nice; France had sent a strong - though maybe not exactly entertaining - movie with a powerful message.

I'd say that now Denmark, Canada and Mexico should easily be nominated. Have no idea about the two other available spots.

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Postby rain Bard » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:38 pm

Mister Tee wrote:Cannes Film Festival -- what's that?

Competition, I've long thought.

What point would the Academy see in honoring films that have already recieved arguably the only award that might be considered by a large number of observers to be as prestigious (or more presitgious) as an Oscar?

Truth is, before the recent nominations of the White Ribbon and the Class, the top Cannes prizewinners had rarely recieved so much as a nomination from the Academy, unless they were in English (Pulp Fiction, Secrets & Lies, the Pianist, Fahrenheit 911). Before 2009, the last Palme d'or winner to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film was Farewell My Concubine in 1994, and the only one to have won was Pelle The Conqueror in 1989.

How many of you have seen Uncle Boonmee I wonder? It's only slightly more accessible (in a strangely Tim Burton-esque way) than any of Apichatpong's other feature films. I picked it as a long-shot for a nomination (just as I did Dogtooth) but while the Greek film is unforgiving and transgressive in ways I don't think much of the Academy will appreciate, at least it has a clear narrative purpose, in an almost Haneke-esque way. Most people, even some of those who claim to love it, find Uncle Boonmee baffling.


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