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Entries in foreign films (512)

Monday
Sep162019

TIFF Quickie: Crazy White Women!

by Nathaniel R

For this last batch of short TIFF reviews, let's look at three films about mysterious and/or psychologically complex female characters. The post title was glib but the films aren't. 

DISCO (Jorunn Mykelbust Syversen, Norway)
This puzzling drama centers on a champion dancer whose mom and step-dad run some kind of evangelical church. Apparently in Scandivania -- as with America -- conservative faith movements are on the rise. Syversen shows empathy for her characters but chills it with a clinically detached rhythym to the cutting. The lost protagonist Mirjam (Josefine Frida Pettersen) has mysterious physical troubles and vacant psychology that can bring flickers of Todd Haynes' Safe (1995) to mind.

Syversen's strongest skill seems to be in observational mode. In one escalating series of scene at a Jesus camp the choices in camera distance are particularly compelling. In medium shot we observe a group of boys being told to breathe quickly in and out of paper bags to drive out the demons inside them. Cut to a long shot as we watch them comically pass out as they hyperventilate. This is a followed by a not at all comical baptism that is shot more like a drowning. Despite Syverson's obvious skill and a tight running time (94 minutes), Disco is far too repetitive and its point of view remains as opaque as Mirjam's psychology. It's not enough, always, to merely observe. C

EMA (Pablo Larraín, Chile)
The first image is a startling one: a still working traffic light engulfed in flames...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep122019

"Dear Ex" adds another queer film to the International Feature Oscar Race

by Nathaniel R

UPDATED 09/17
59 films announced thus far for the Best International Feature race at the 92nd Oscars, there are yet more LGBTQ entries...

One recent gay entry is Taiwan's Dear Ex (2018). You might remember the title because it won three Golden Horse Awards last year including Best Actress for the Hsieh Ying-xuan as the widow who realizes her husband had a male lover (Roy Chiu, nominated for Best Actor). It's currently available to stream on Netflix.

The other newest arrival is Memories of My Body from Indonesia which we haven't heard much about but involves male dancers who dress as women. It's kind of a surprising selection since it's been banned in some parts of the country and is under attack by conservative groups for "LGBT propaganda". SOUNDS GREAT, WHEN CAN WE WATCH IT? 

Memories of My Body

That brings the total of LGBTQ films to seven (thus far).

  • Bolivia - I Miss You 
  • Indonesia - Memories of My Body 
  • Panama - Everybody Changes 
  • Peru - Retablo 
  • Spain - Pain & Glory 
  • Sweden - And Then We Danced 
  • Taiwan - Dear Ex 

It'll be 8 if France selects the lesbian romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire which is one of their three finalists. 

Sunday
Sep082019

Venice is a "Joker"

by Nathaniel R

Tod & Joaquin celebrated for JOKER

Film festivals are like cocoons in there way and sometimes news happening outside of that bubble takes a moment to pierce through. This was not true about the Venice awards (though our delayed share suggests it was so) which seemed tailor-made as a provocation. The Golden Lion went to the Batman spinoff by way of Scorsese 70s, Joker and if that weren't controversial enough Roman Polanski was the runner up...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep062019

Portugal's Oscar Finalists

by new contributor Claudio Alvez

a biopic on the queer 1980s singer António Variações could be Portugal's Oscar submission

In the history of the Best International Film Oscar (formerly known as Best Foreign Language Film) no country has as many failed submissions as Portugal. It’s been submitting films every year since 1980 and yet, not one of them has managed to secure a nomination. As a Portuguese cinephile and Oscar buff this has always saddened me and I doubt this Awards season will change anything. 

At the moment, there are four finalists for the Oscar submission. A special jury has selected Rage, Parque Mayer, Variações: Guardian Angel and The Domain. Following this, the Portuguese Academy of Cinema (Academia Portuguesa de Cinema) will vote on the eventual Oscar submission. The results should be known this month, perhaps around the time The Domain arrives at Portuguese cinemas. Right now, it’s the only one that hasn’t opened yet, having just been shown at the Venice Film Festival where it’s competing for the Golden Lion. It’s also the only finalist I haven’t watched, though I can give an overview of the four films...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep042019

Oscar Trivia, Weekly. A Pop Quiz!

by Eurocheese

Since Nathaniel is flying to Toronto as we speak (TIFF kicks off tomorrow and runs through Sunday, September 15th), I volunteered to handle this week's Oscar Trivia column for him. I thought it might be fun to throw out a little quiz. THE ANSWERS WILL BE AFTER THE JUMP – no peeking! -- and be honest in the comments. How many can you guess correctly?

1. The highest number of Oscar wins for a single person is a whopping 22. Name the person who won them.

2. Last year, Roma won three Oscars. That means it missed the record for the most Oscars won by a foreign language film, a record currently held by which two films?

3. Have there been more female or more African-American Director nominees in the Academy’s history? (Both are sadly too few... bonus points if you can name all of those nominees)

4. The longest screen time for an Oscar nominated performance ended up netting the performer a win. The shortest nominated performance of all time did not. Can you name these two performances?

5. Which country has won the most Best Foreign Language Film Oscars? And which country has been nominated most often in the category? 

6. Name the only actor or actress that has multiple posthumous nominations.

7. Only one person has an Olympic gold medal and an Academy Award. Name that person.

8. No film has ever won all four acting categories. Can you name the two films that came closest to that mark?

9. Name the most Oscar nominated woman in the Academy’s history.

10. How many times has a debut performance won the Best Actor Oscar?

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Monday
Sep022019

European Film Awards - Voting Now Open

by Nathaniel R

The Favourite may have lost most of its Oscar nominations but it can still win some EFAs!

The 32nd annual European Film Awards are happening this December 7th in Berlin. Voting for the People's Choice prize is now open. And -- "gay rights!"-- The Favourite still probably has another award ceremony to get through. Due to the EFA's non-calendar year eligibility as well as the complications of release patterns in multiple countries and the EFA's non-fussiness about dates you'll find that the people's choice options are a very strange mix this year from THREE calendar years worth of movies (2017-2019). 

After the jump, that odd group as well as two longlists (to give you festival prioritizing help) before the nominations are announced in early November...

Click to read more ...