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Entries in foreign films (350)

Friday
Oct072016

Review: Pablo Larraín's "Neruda" and "Jackie"

Nathaniel R reporting from the NYFF/TIFF as these films played at both fests... 

Fortieth birthdays don't get much better than this. In August Chile's most celebrated filmmaker Pablo Larraín turned the big 4-0 just after his excellent new film Neruda opened in his home country. One month later Jackie, his first English language picture, joined Neruda on the international festival circuit to even more excitement. Both are likely and deserving Oscar nominees come January. Pretty good year.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct062016

Foreign Oscar Watch: Does "Xuan Zang" Complete the Submission List? 

As we've noted many times the Official Foreign Film Submission List generally contains at least one surprise when Oscar announces it -either a switcheroo from a country who had second thoughts about their submitted film or a disqualification or a film we hadn't yet heard of.  We don't know the date but it's any time in the next week or so. At the moment the list is 86 wide (a record if it holds!) thanks to the last few films we know of to announce including Costa Rica's romantic dramedy About Us, Malaysia's autism drama Redha, and the biopic Xuan Zang from China which is about a famous monk during the Tang Dynasty. That one sure looks pretty.

If you haven't looked at the Oscar charts in a while take a gander. We'll obviously break it down in several fun ways when the official list is announced.

What You Can Watch
If you are eager to see the selections please note that Sweden's A Man Called Ove, UK's Under the Shadow, South Korea's Age of Shadows, and Israel's Sand Storm are now in select cities and Mexico's Desierto hits next Friday. The only three available to watch online right now in the US that we know of are Palestine's The Idol (for rental on Amazon), Venezuela's From Afar and Greece's Chevalier (which are both streaming on Netflix). If you know of legal options in your country to view these please let others know in the comments.

86 Submissions for 2016
Afghanistan to Finland - 27 films
France to The Netherlands - 29 films
New Zealand to Vietnam - 30 films

14 Submission Reviews Thus Far
Death in Sarajevo - Bosnia & Herzegovina
Neruda - Chile
Mother - Estonia
Elle - France
Toni Erdmann - Germany
Chevalier - Greece
Sand Storm - Israel
Fire at Sea - Italy
A Flickering Truth - New Zealand
Apprentice - Singapore
Julieta - Spain
My Life as a Courgette - Switzerland
As I Open My Eyes - Tunisia
From Afar - Venezuela 

Tuesday
Oct042016

NYFF: Everything Else

Manuel reporting from NYFF on an Adriana Barraza star vehicle.

Everything Else
Natalia Almada's Everything Else (Todo lo demás) is a portrait of a woman in the most literal sense. The movie, which runs 98 minutes, has very little plot and is focused instead on observing (keenly, empathetically, near-obsessively) the life of Doña Flor. A no nonsense government worker by day with very little life outside the desk she occupies daily and the apartment she shares with her cat, Doña Flor (played by Babel's Oscar nominated Adriana Barraza) is not lonely, per se. But she does seem disconnected from the life around her; in Barraza's face you can see the weariness of her life without the contempt stories about childless spinsters usually inspire. Almada gives Barraza no more than 50 lines in the entire film, plunging us for stretches at a time in a silence that rattles for the very comfort it depends on. She's interested in watching Doña Flor and, in doing so, sketches out a woman perhaps like many others and yet entirely herself.

That the quiet peeks at her life are punctuated by news reports (often out of frame and unintelligible) about violence against women and close ups of the women she encounters on the train, across her desk, and at the public pool she visits, make clear that Almada's near dialogue-free project wants to think about the state of Mexican women today without doing anything more than showing (there is so little telling).

The effect is hypnotizing though whether you follow along for the ride depends on your patience for such a small scale story with such a self-consciously deployed structure. And yet, every time Barraza is on screen, you're reminded why she remains such an underutilized actress; she doesn't carry the film as much as she inhabits it, losing herself in the mundane life depicted, another face in the crowd.

Monday
Oct032016

Now Streaming: Luke Cage's Day Off - A True Story

The following titles are now streaming for your pleasure. We've freeze framed them at entirely random places and shared the first thing that came up as is our whimsical practice. Do you have any desire to see (or revisit) these based on this evidence? 

NOW STREAMING ON NETFLIX

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
LOL. Totally forgot about this sly partners in crime shopping scene. Have you seen this recently? It's so great but for every cutaway to Mickey Rooney (sigh). Nominated for five Oscars including Best Actress. (It's actually kind of a surprise that this hasn't been remade since it was originally envisioned for Marilyn Monroe and could have obviously been an entirely different sort of movie.)

seven more after the jump including Marvel's Luke Cage and a 1940s Best Picture winner...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep302016

Foreign Watch: Two Oscar Favorites Join the Fray

We've been faithfully updating the Oscar charts daily to reflect the submissions in one of our favorite categories. We'd call it our favorite but then how would Cinematography, Production Design, both Actress categories, and Costume Design feel? The deadline for submission is just a few days away so in a week or two the Academy will make the list official. Generally speaking, there are one or two surprises from our charts once they do -- a sudden addition or replacement and maybe a single disqualification. But if this list holds we are just short of the all time record number. The are currently 82 submissions, which is one shy of the record from 2014 (the Ida year).

90 year old legend Andrezj Wajda with his film trophies

Among the newly announced films are After Image, a biopic of an avant garde artist, by Andrzej Wajda for Poland and The Idol, the true story of a man who competed on "Arab Idol," from Hany Abu-Assad of Palestine. Oscar loves these two directors so they're surely threats for the finalist list. Poland has submitted films by Honorary Oscar winner Andrzej Wajda a total of nine times in their history and four of those were nominated: The Promised Land in 1975, The Maids of Wilco in 1979, Man of Iron in 1981, and Katyn in 2007. Meanwhile both of Palestine's nominations in the Best Foreign Language Film category come from Hany Abu-Assad: Paradise Now in 2005 and Omar in 2013.  Can these men work their Oscar-hooking magic again?

Updates to the charts (part 1, part 2, part 3) also include new contenders from Argentina, Bangladesh, Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Africa, and Turkey.

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