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Entries in Czech Republic (9)

Saturday
Apr142018

Milos Forman (1932-2018)

by Nathaniel R

Milos Forman directing Thomas Hulce on the set of Amadeus (1984)

One of the world's most acclaimed directors has passed away at 86 years of age after a long full life and a pretty sturdy filmography. Milos Forman won two Oscars during his career for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and Amadeus (1984) began life as Jan Tomas Forman in Czechoslovakia. Like another two-time Best Director winner (Ang Lee), he was twice honored in the Foreign Language Film category before his English language Oscar wins...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul272017

New Oscar Chart ~ Foreign Hopefuls Part 1

We won't start hearing about "official submissions" for Oscar's Foreign Language Film race until September but until then, it's speculation time! The first chart is up looking at countries from Afghanistan through Ethiopia.

The most high profile film from this batch, other than possibly another Austrian submission from Michael Haneke (Happy End), is Chile's A Fantastic Woman. It's a trans drama that took three prizes at Berlinale. If it's as good as director Sebastian Lelio's previous Oscar submission (Gloria) we'll have to riot if he's passed over again. 

Other intriguing prospects include the well reviewed black and white fairy tale November from Estonia and possibly another submission from Oscar winner Jan Sverak of the Czech Republic. Sverak won the foreign film Oscar for his art house sleeper hit Kolya  (1996) about a stepfather and his little boy and his latest called Barefoot is another childhood tale set in the countryside during World War II.

Check out the chart and report back

 

Friday
Jan292016

Sundance Buzz: Short Film Winners

The Czech queer short "Peacock" won Best DirectorWith the Academy Award short nominees opening in theaters today, it's a good time to note that the Sundance short film jury handed out their awards this week. This year's jury of three was Key & Peele's Keegan-Michael Key, MTV's chief film critic Amy Nicholson, and Amazon Studio's Gina Kwon. Since Sundance is a qualifying festival for Academy Awards you might hear the name of some of these shorts again in about a year. One of last year's big winners, for example, was World of Tomorrow by Don Hertzfeldt. That's an Oscar nominee right now for Best Animated Short. 

The 2016 Short Film Winners are as follows:

 

Grand Jury Prize Thunder Road (USA, Jim Cummings) an officer eulogizes his mother. Cummings is a producer/director with some shorts under his belt.
U.S. Fiction The Procedure (USA, Calvin Lee Reeder) a horror short about a captive man. Reeder has made several horror shorts and directed one of the segments in that anthology V/H/S
International Fiction Maman(s) (France, Maïmouna Doucouré) This one is about a young girl in a Parisian suburb whose father returns from Senegal with a surprise, a second wife
Non-FictionBacon & God's Wrath (Canada, Sol Friedman)  an elderly Jewish woman cooking bacon for the first time and reflecting on her life. This short also received an honorable mention from the jury at TIFF in September so perhaps it's a legit long list contender for next year's Documentary Short competition?


AnimationEdmond (UK, Nina Gantz) see the teaser above. This short has been making the rounds for a bit now. It recently won the BIFA and it's a BAFTA nominee this year but it did not make the longlist cut to 10 finalists for the current Oscar competition
Outstanding Performance Grace Glowicki won for Her Friend Adam (Canada, Benjamin Petrie) in which her boyfriend's jealousy spirals out of control.
Special Jury Award for Best Direction: Peacock (Czech Republic, Ondřej Hudeček). Peacock bills itself as "a twisted queer romance" it's set in the 19th century and has something to do with the birth of an influential writer. The film promises "Suspense, laughter, violence, hope, nudity, sex, and a happy ending—mostly a happy ending."

 

Thursday
May282015

Tim's Toons: Sex in clay

For The Lusty Month of May, we're looking at a few sex scenes. Here's Tim...

Say "animated sex", and two things immediately leap to mind. If you’'e hung up on American cinema, it's the self-consciously edgy and smutty underground animation of the '70s - Fritz the Cat and its heirs. Or, God help you, maybe it's the legendary (and, to be fair, very much exaggerated) cult of anime tentacle porn out of Japan. We are not going to talk about either one of those things.

Though in fairness, the particular animated sex scene I have in mind isn't much less disturbing than mythological Japanese fetish porn. It's the second segment of Jan Švankmajer's 1982 short Dimensions of Dialogue, one of the most important works of Czechoslovakian animation. I promise that Czechoslovakian animation is definitely a thing.

The whole movie is available online, and it’s pretty NSFW even for totally non-sexual reasons. If you have a reasonably strong stomach for grotesque manipulations of synthetic bodies in stop-motion animation, I'd beg you to watch the whole thing, but the sex is only in the second part starting at 5:02, "Passionate Dialogue". Or "Dialog vášnivý" to the Czech speakers in the crowd.

And boy, if that still doesn't promise a totally appealing and pleasant film below the jump, I don't know what...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct232014

CIFF Foreign Film Oscar Report, Vol. 1: Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia & Uruguay

Tim here. Now that the Chicago Film Festival is all over, I can offer the rest of my thoughts on the official submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar that I was able to catch.

CZECH REPUBLIC: FAIR PLAY
A political drama about sports, or a sports drama about politics? Why not be both, says this film about a teenage track star in 1980s Czechoslovakia, who gets bullied into taking steroids by the government forces that want to show off a whole population of physically gorgeous super-athletes at the 1984 Olympics. The battle being waged over ownership of one’s body and health in a dictatorship is an interesting one, and well presented; lead actress Judit Bárdos is a bit shapeless and superficial in portraying the internal tensions of this conflict, but the film around her has been constructed with enough merciless geometry and clinical coolness that it’s surprisingly able to survive a flat central performance.

Oscar prospects: Eastern European reminiscences about the late Communist period feel like they’re some kind of Oscarbait, but not that many have actually shown up in this category. This is, to be sure, a solid example of the form, and the human interest hook is rock solid. By no means do I expect to see it on the nine-film shortlist, but it’s not going to be a “wait, how did THAT get there?” moment if it manages to do so.

Angry Finnish teens, Georgian corn farming, and Uruguayan Nazi hunters after the jump

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug082014

Breaking: The Foreign Oscar Charts Have Arrived!

I've been chart happy this week as you can see. The Oscar charts were all updated two days ago. And now the Foreign Language Film Submission Charts - all three of 'em - are up. Have to be ready when September hits, you know!? The three foreign film submission charts are now up:

 

 

You can always access the Oscar charts from the pulldown menu on the navigation bar. (But you must know that already.) Only the first chart has a lot of information (read: speculation) since only one country has officially announced. That would be Hungary's tense critically lauded allegory White God. But the charts will grow. UPDATE: Turkey and Poland have all announced. We have a race!

For now let's talk about a few random countries and films that might come into play...

CANADA (7 nominations & 1 win)
Coming off his coronation of sorts at Cannes Xavier Dolan's Mommy seems like the most obvious choice but it's not the only choice. In fact, Xavier Dolan's Tom at the Farm is also eligible; that one is damn prolific. Canada has only submitted Dolan once with I Killed My Mother but they've had a strong string of contenders and actual nominees lately. Denys Arcand, Canada's favorite son when it comes to Oscar (4 submissions, 3 nominations, 1 win) also has a new film out called An Eye For Beauty so who knows. More Canadian features are coming - there's a whole sidebar at TIFF of course.

CZECH REPUBLIC (9 nominations & 3 wins)
They have several options but the one I'm most intrigued by is called Hany. Watch this trailer [NSFW]. I'll tell you why after you do...

It was shot in a one long continuous take a la Rope (well mostly) and Russian Ark! And considering that, it looks fairly complicated, well populated, lively and ambitious. I really want it to be their submission because a) that's cool and b) then we can compare it to Birdman which is reportedly edited to look like it was all shot in one take.

 

ISRAEL (10 nominations)
From 2007 through 2011 Israel was hot-hot-hot with foreign language branch voters securing four of its ten nominations. Israel is the most nominated country never to have won the Foreign prize (Mexico & Poland are also oft-nominated without a statue to show for it). The frontrunner for their submission this year appears to be Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem starring and co-directed by Israel's awesome movie star Ronit Elkabetz (of Late Marriage, Or, and The Band's Visit fame). But when the Ophir nominations are announced in a few days we'll know more about its competition. You have to score at the Ophir Awards to be their submission.

Any guesses as to what your favorite country is submitting this year?