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Entries in foreign films (157)

Thursday
Dec192013

Animated Feature Contender: Rio 2096

Tim Brayton will be looking at several of the contenders for Oscar's Animated Feature race. He previously reviewedThe Wind RisesErnest & CelestineFrozen, and Letter to Momo. This week: Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury.

At times, one is reminded to despair for the English language. We have before us a certain Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury, named in the original Portuguese Uma História de Amor e Fúria, a superior title on two levels. One is that the “Rio 2096” business is an inelegant distraction. The other and more important thing is that in almost every Romantic language, the words for “story” and “history” are the same, and plenty of writers have gotten mileage out of that fact through the years. At any rate, describing Rio 2096 as something that’s both story and history at the same time is merely accurate. Whereas describing it as something that takes place in Rio de Janeiro in 2096 is accurate-ish, though it reeks of marketing to an audience that remembers when “adult animation” and “used-up future” were basically synonymous, back in the 1990s.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec192013

Interview: Asghar Farhadi on Globe Nominee "The Past"

Amir and Asghar Farhadi @ TIFFAmir here, to share with you my fantastic experience of interviewing the director of The Past, A Separation and About Elly. About a decade ago, when Asghar Farhadi made his first feature film after years of successful theatre and TV work, even the most optimistic fan of Iranian cinema could not imagine his stratospheric rise to International Auteur status in such a short span of time. It is heart-warming for an industry that has only gained international prominence in the past two decades to see one of its sons holding an Oscar statue. Farhadi’s popularity comes at a critical point for Iranian cinema, when festival presence is not as regular as it was in the nineties and several major filmmakers have had their careers stalled for political reasons.*

Farhadi's follow up to the Academy Award-winning classic A Separation, The Past will be representing Iran in the Best Foreign Film Oscar competition and was just nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. Farhadi's latest is a Paris-set melodrama starring two recognizable stars in The Artist's Berenice Bejo (Cannes Winner Best Actress) and Tahar Rahim as well as Iranian superstar Ali Mosaffa.** In the film, Bejo plays Marie, a French woman married to Ahmad (Mosaffa) who is in custody of their children after a breakup. When Ahmad receives a letter from his wife to return to Paris to finalize the divorce, he is confronted with Samir (Rahim), Marie’s new boyfriend, himself married with a son to a woman in a coma. And that’s just the beginning of the complications in this romantic triangle.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec172013

7 Things You Need to Know About the 289 Eligible Oscar Contenders

As you may no doubt have heard AMPAS released the list (included below) of 289 Feature Films which have qualified for Oscar consideration this year in all categories beyond the specialties with complex eligibility rules (documentary, animated, foreign film, shorts). Here are seven things you should know about the list. 

Most Will Come Nowhere Near a Nomination
This list is 289 pictures long but typically only 25-30 feature films each year (excluding, again, the specialty categories which play by different rules) receive nominations of any kind with a few key pictures hogging the goods. In 2012 only 22 pictures won nominations (!) with Lincoln, Life of Pi, Les Miz, and Silver Linings hogging the goods whereas the wealth was spread out more in 2011 when 32 pictures were nominated in some capacity.

Too Easy
This year five films will be nominated for the Best Animated Feature title but only 19 animated films are eligible. Can you imagine if it was that easy proportionately for features, animated or otherwise, to win Best Picture nominations? If it was we'd literally have 75 Best Picture nominees this year since 289 films qualified. Instead we'll have a more sensible number, somewhere between 5 and 10 according to current rules, the number determined by how many films can rustle up enough high ballot support in the Academy membership. MORE TRIVIA AFTER THE JUMP

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Sunday
Dec012013

Team FYC: Neighboring Sounds for Best Foreign Language Film

In this series Team Experience sounds off (individually) on their favorite fringe awards contenders. Here's Amir Soltani on Neighboring Sounds.


Since the Academy wisely overhauled its nominating process for the foreign language film award and Dogtooth nabbed that delightfully shocking nomination, pundits tend not to take any film's chances too lightly in this category. Still, a nod for Brazil's intense and quietly powerful submission would come as a major surprise. That's partly because the film ran the festival circuit last year and its buzz has been more of a hum for a few months now so it's hard to imagine the executive committee coming to its rescue. It's a real shame because Neighboring Sounds isn't just the best of the submitted films; it is quite possibly the year's best film, period.

Sounds opens with a series of black and white still photos attuned to a rousing score that provide more social context for the story in 57 seconds than most films do in 90 minutes. Kleber Mendoca Filho - on his first try at helm - paints an increasingly unsettling portrait of an affluent neighborhood in the Brazilian city of Recife that wants to remain oblivious to the poverty and corruption that engulfs it. The greatest accomplishment of the film, and its rich but anti-climactic finale, is that it creates a sense of inescapable unease in the audience, not entirely unlike what the neighborhood residents deal with routinely.

Neighboring Sounds subverts our expectations at every turn, playing games with the laguange of cinema - both in the construction of its images and, as the title suggests, sounds - to shape our understanding of characters and the film's geopolitical space. It is the rare film that builds energy through completely inconspicuous means. It is not the guns and criminals that escalate violence; it's a meditative dip in the waterfall or a casual conversation between neighbors on a rooftop. The underlying sense of discomfort is a result of the film's "guilty until proven innocent" approach toward all its characters. By the film's end, the mistrust between the neighborhood's residents has slowly creeped in on us and become impossible to shake off. This is a masterclass in crafting a suspenseful piece, given by a man whose assured control of his film betrays no sign of his inexperience. Here's hoping Academy voters take notice.

Previously on Team FYC

Saturday
Nov232013

Live Action Short Finalists

One of the most confounding things about following the non-marquee categories at the Oscars is that not every category operates by the same rules. For example they released the super long eligibility list for Best Documentary Feature but not the super long eligibility lists for the live action shorts. To further complicate matters, this doesn't seem to be the same strategy each year.

Tim recently shared the finalist list for Best Animated Short nominations and now we have the ten Live Action hopefuls from which Academy members will nominate three to five. I personally hate it when categories have a fluctuating amount of nominees. Commit AMPAS! There's no excuse for it really in short films since there are thousands made each year and certainly at least 5 of them would have to be great.

10 FINALISTS FOR BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me) Esteban Crespo (Producciones Africanauan)
The always heartwarming topic of child soldiers. I honestly can't deal with these films and is it just my imagination or is there one on this topic every year in the shorts categories? It's just too overwhelmingly tragic for me.

Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything) Xavier Legrand (KG Productions)
a woman and her kids, who have pretended to go to school, are in a desperate rush. But to where and from what?

Dva (Two) Mickey Nedimovic (Filoufilm Dani Barsch)
A Serb and a Croat step on a landmine simultaneously as they attempt to kill each other and realize their lives are now intertwined. I don't know how you sustain that for nearly half an hour but maybe they can!

Helium Anders Walter (M & M Productions)
A sick boy in Denmark hears magical stories from a hospital janitor 

Kush Shubhashish Bhutiani, director (Red Carpet Moving Pictures) 
a teacher protects her sikh student from riots on a field trip 


Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) Selma Vilhunen (Tuffi Films)
A comedy about a family who wakes up late on the morning of a wedding 

 

RECORD/PLAY from jesse atlas on Vimeo.

 

Record/Play Jesse Atlas (Collaboration Factory) - complete film embedded above
For what it's worth, Focus Features is planning to adapt this sci-fi tinged short about a mysterious walkman that can transport you to the recording into a feature length film.


Throat Song Miranda de Pencier (Northwood Productions)
This one is about an Inuit woman with an abusive husband and a circle of supportive friends she finds.
 

Tiger Boy - Official Trailer [HD] from goon films on Vimeo.

 

Tiger Boy Gabriele Mainetti (Goon Films)
a young boy won't take his favorite wrestler's mask off. 


The Voorman Problem Mark Gill (Honlodge Productions)
Martin Freeman stars as a man interviewing a prisoner (Tom Hollander) who claims to be God

WHICH DO YOU THINK HAVE THE BEST SHOT? 

UPDATED CHART
Best Shorts, Animated Feature, and Documentaries

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