9 Great Movies Compete for Best Foreign Language Film 86th Oscars Race

Posted 10 years ago by myetvmedia

One of the most exciting categories in the Oscar Race is the Best Foreign Language Film. Entries come from all over the world and bring stories told in languages and from cultures far from the Hollywood reality. Here is a look at the 9 left out of an original 76 contenders. Internationally acclaimed actors, directors and filmmakers include:

1. Hong Kong’s martial arts drama “The Grandmaster” by Chinese Wong Kar-Wai;
2. Cambodian director Rithy Panh’s documentary “The Missing Picture” of The Khmer Rouge genocides;
3. Felix van Groeningen’s Belgium melodramatic love story The Broken Circle Breakdown;
4. Denmark’s The Hunt, by Thomas Vinterberg tracks the destructive force of rumour;
5. Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Danis Tanovic tells a dark, damning tale of the contemporary society “An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker”;
6. “Two Lives” by Georg Maas revisits WW2 German Lebensborn war crimes; Italy’s, 7. “The Great Beauty“, Paolo Sorrentino’s tale of extravagance;
8. Hungary, “The Notebook,” Le Grand Cahier by Janos Szasz is a Grimm’s fairy tale that meticulously details two 13-year old boys forcible confinement during WW2.
9. Palestine’s geopolitical thriller, “Omar” by Hany Abu-Assad, is set in one of the most turbulent places in the Middle East, seen through the eyes of those living it every day.

Synopsis & Trailers:

1. Hong Kong, “The Grandmaster,” directed by Wong Kar-Wai

“The Grandmaster” (Hong Kong) from internationally acclaimed Chinese director Wong Kar-Wai is one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year. It has already received international acclaim, winning many film awards including Best Actor Ziyi Zhang, Best Cinematography, Philippe Le Sourd, Audience Choice Award, Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, Best Costume & Make-up Design, Best supporting Actor Qingxiang Wang among many other awards. It is the story of Bruce Lee’s martial arts teacher, the master Ip Man (Tony Leung Chiu Wai). Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi) – “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000), “Rush Hour 2″ (2001), “House of Flying Daggers” (2004), and “Memoirs of a Geisha” (2005) – has already gained a place as an extraordinary actress. The film sound track includes “Rivers Of Blood” by The Wu-Tang Clan.


2. Cambodia, “The Missing Picture,” Directed by Rithy Panh

Rithy Panh is an internationally celebrated documentary filmmaker best known for his remarkable movie S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (1989) about his personal experiences with Cambodian Refugees, of which he was one. His new movie “The Missing Picture,” uses clay figures, archival footage, and narration by Randal Douc, to recreate the atrocities Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge committed between 1975 and 1979. Panh was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia but at the age of eleven (1975) he was held in the dreadful “Khmers Rouges” rehabilitation camps. He escaped to Thailand at fifteen in 1979 and arrived in Paris a year later where he took up studies at the French National Cinema School. This new documentary has already won international acclaim was screened at the 51st NYFF, Cannes 2013 winner Un Certain Regard Prize. It deals with the horrible reality of genocide. Over 2 million people were eliminated in Cambodia. Panh recreates a past of which no picture record was kept, using hand made, paited clay miniature figurines, which stand for the regime’s victims. ‘People say, that their souls will wander all over the earth.’


3. Belgium, “The Broken Circle Breakdown,” directed by Felix van Groeningen

Belgium’s entry, “The Broken Circle Breakdown” Flemish with English subtitles, is a love story, a melodrama which asks “Can Love conquer all?” This is director Felix van Groeningen’s 4th feature. He gained recognition at Cannes in 2009 with The Misfortunates, which went on to be an indie hit in France and the Netherlands. The film is based on a play by Johan Heldenbergh, who also stars as Didier in the film. Didier is a banjo player in a popular bluegrass band. Elise played by Veerle Baetens is a tattoo artist who is also a singer. The country music soundtrack of the film is central to the telling of the story and is available from itunes “Will The Circle Be Broken”. Belgium’s last Oscar nominee (2012) was “Bullhead” starring Matthias Schoenaerts.


4. Denmark, “The Hunt,” directed by Thomas Vinterberg

Mads Mikkelsen stars in “The Hunt” directed by Thomas Vinterberg who also co-wrote the script with Tobias Lindholm. The audience can experience first hand what it feels like to be falsely accused of a terrible crime, which is further fueled by innuendo and rumor. @TheHuntTheMovie The Hunt is nominated for a Golden Globe, won the Best International Film BAFTA, Mads Mikkelsen won Cannes 2012 Best Actor, won the Ecumenical Jury Prize, the Vulcain Prize for the Technical Artist, and Thomas Vinterberg was nominated for the Palme d’Or. It has been nominated or won countless other international awards. myETVmedia reviewed the film at TIFF @TIFF_NET

MyETVmedia review


5. Bosnia and Herzegovina, “An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker,” directed by Danis Tanovic

Bosnia and Herzegovina entry comes from director Danis Tanovic, “An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker”. Danis Tanovic first gained international attention with his movie “Cirkus Columbia”, premiered in 2010 at the Venice Film Festival. The movie presented a nostalgic look at an era that is ‘completely forgotten in Bosnia: the pre-war years.’ His new film “An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker,” has won the Berlinale 2013 Jury Grand Prix (Silver Bear) and the Award for Best Actor (Nazif Mujic). It is a dark tale of struggle, heartbreak, and determination as Nazif and Senada desperately try to provide for themselves and their young family while battling the grim realities of present day Bosnia and Herzegovina society.


6. Germany, “Two Lives” Zwei Leben, directed by Georg Maas

“Two Lives” is a Golden Globe nominee and has already won critical international acclaim on its way to the Oscar race. This haunting spy thriller is a complicated story that covers four generations. Katrine (Juliane Kohler) was a ‘war love child’ of the 1940’s, her father was a WW2 German Nazi occupation soldier and her mother, Norwegian. She will discover she was one of the Lebensborn, children carefully selected, forcibly and cruelly removed from their mothers to be raised as Aryans in East German orphanages. Katrine was finally allowed to go back to her mother in the ‘70’s. After the Berlin Wall came down in 1990 there was an international investigation into the German culpability for war crimes involving the Lebensborn. Katrine who has been living a very happy life in Norway for the last 20 years is about to find her world crumble when her past and the generational secrets that have been suppressed since the war become exposed as a result of the investigations. The horrors she knew as a child and hoped to escape come around to shatter life. Her own integrity will be questioned. Who is she? Was she one of the instruments of the German Stasi carefully tutored to infiltrate Norway as a spy? Stars Liv Ullmann, Ken Duken


7. Italy, “The Great Beauty,” La Grande Bellezza, directed by Paolo Sorrentino

Paolo Sorrentino’s penetrating tale “The Great Beauty” provides a deeply personal snapshot of Rome, through the eyes of one of the powerful elites of the city. Jep Gamberdella (Toni Servillo) now 65 looks back at his extravagant life and the secrets it holds, with wisdom, to evaluate if it was the path to happiness. This film is already a winner of significant European Awards and nominated for BAFTA’s Best International Independent Film as well as a Golden Globe among other awards.

MyETVmedia review


8. Hungary, “The Notebook” Le Grand Cahier, Directed by Janos Szasz

Grimm’s fairy tales could not have created a story such as the one revealed in “The Notebook” Le Grand Cahier from internationally acclaimed Hungarian director Janos Szasz. The story is based on a Agota Kristof’s French language book of the same name that is an international best seller. The difference is that the film interprets the book in a much more palatable manor. Winning the Karlovy Vary Chrystal Globe 2013 brought notoriety to the film and now winning a spot in the Oscar race will bring this powerful and deeply moving story to the world’s attention. The terrible emotional and mental scars that war creates and leaves is poignantly displayed. The twisting and changing of the human spirit to the point that there is no redemption on either side, there are no winners, leaves us to wonder how war is so deeply engrained in the human condition and reality.


9. Palestine, “Omar,” directed by Hany Abu-Assad

This gripping thriller, winner of the Un Certain Regard Award, Cannes, by Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad is a revelation about circumstances in the explosive geopolitical war zone claimed by Palestine and Israel in the Middle East. In interviews about the Palestinian issues covered in the film “Omar”, Abu-Assad talked about the deliberate and cruel division of Palestinian cities by the Israelis so that walls divide families and friends and create ghettos. Refugee camps and villages are divided arbitrarily. People live under extreme conditions of poverty, constant occupation, war and destruction. The system pits people against each other and builds distrust and fear. Neither the Palestinian Authority, the RAMI or the Egyptian government are respected or trusted in this geopolitical war zone where families live out their existence. Social unrest is at a boiling point in a place in the world were many political agenda’s seems to have a stake. This movie is a record of an historical point this region of the world is going through, told powerfully through the eyes of the people living it.

Moira Romano

Note: Ref for Lebensborn


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