Tim here, with a report from the other major U.S. film festival of October. The Chicago International Film Festival is, with reason, regarded as minor compared to the likes of Toronto and New York – no major premieres, few celebrities, only a couple of the big upcoming awards players. The flipside is that’s it’s absolutely lousy with interesting little films that won’t ever get a significant North American release, so even if it’s rough for Oscar watching, it’s hard to complain as a Midwestern cinephile.
Having said that, let’s turn to Oscar watching. I had an opportunity to see several of the films on the 76-title deep list of submissions for the Foreign Language Film Oscar, and I’d like to share my thoughts on their respective chances at making it onto the ultimate list of nominees. Let’s go alphabetically by country.
ARGENTINA – The German Doctor
In which a German-Argentine woman and her family inadvertently give aid and comfort to one of the most notorious of all escaped Nazis.
My feelings (and review): The film keeps acting like it wants to break out and be more garish and horrifying than it ever quite manages to be, and it’s probably for the best that it doesn’t. The script probably isn’t as smart as it means to be, but the fact-based story is interesting and surprisingly tense.
Oscar prognosis: “Nazi” is a magic word for this category, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see this make the nine-film longlist. It’s a little domestic and tonally off-kilter for where the category tends to live, but the subject matter is spot-on, and the Academy tends to favor Argentina more than other South American countries.