If France worries about such thing -- which they probably don't given their justifiable pride in their celluloid history -- they'd probably be frustrated by now that that 10th Oscar win for Best Foreign Language Film continues to elude them. It's now been 19 years since they've managed a win (Indochine) in the Oscar category they once owned. Their best shot since then (Amélie) suffered a surprise loss. Their best nominated film in many years (Un Prophete) had the misfortune of arriving in an atypically strong year for the category. Then just last year they missed what most expected was an easy-get nomination for the international hit Of Gods and Men. It all adds up to a strange golden drought given their much-statued history; they've received the most Best Foreign Language Film Nominations in history (36) but Italy still surpasses them in wins (10).
Oh yes, the news...
France announced this morning that they will submit La Guerre est déclarée (which I've heard translated as both "War is Declared" and "Declaration of War" for international title purposes) for this year's Oscar race. It's a true story medical drama about a couple who fought to save their two year old son from a brain tumor. Here's the interesting angle: the writer/director is the mother Valérie Donzelli of the actual child (who survived) and she and her partner Jérémie Elkaïm are the lead actors, so essentially they've made their own family's biopic even though they've fictionalized it a bit (they have different names in the movie). The title, in case you're wondering, has a double meaning. The family obviously waged a war against the tumor and on the morning of their son's first operation they awoke to news of the Iraq war being launched.
TFE reader Frédéric who send the news (merci!) says he's seen the film twice already and it only opened two weeks ago in France... though it actually premiered at Cannes. In other words, he really loved it. Here's the trailer.
The film has won many admiring reviews, Variety's among them. They wrote:
What sets "War" apart from other countless disease-of-the-week movies is that it tells its heartfelt story in a lively and energetic style. Donzelli and Elkaïm, who made the film on a small budget and with a tiny crew, not only follow in the free-spirited footsteps of New Wavers such as Truffaut (who, in "Jules and Jim," made a tragic menage a trois feel like a lighthearted romp) but also manage to cram in many small, authentic-feeling details.
In nearby and somewhat surprising news, BELGIUM is sending the crime drama Bullhead rather than the latest acclaimed Dardenne Brothers film The Kid With the The Bike. Here's the international trailer for that one which is about illegal cattle hormone trading or some such, farmers and the mafia.