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Entries in foreign films (388)

Friday
Feb102017

Interview: 'Tanna' Directors Martin Butler and Bentley Dean on Australian Cinema, Oscar Season and Movies They Love

By Jose Solís.

At first glance Tanna might seem like another take on the Romeo and Juliet story, as we see two star-crossed lovers, living in the title South Pacific island, fight their way in a society that doesn’t understand their love. But upon giving it a closer look, the film reveals itself to be a fascinating anthropological study about the way in which ancient civilizations have been able to maintain their traditions for centuries, as the colonizers around them always seem to be on the verge of self-destruction. Watching the idyllic living of the Ni-Vanuatu people in the film makes one wish our governments also found ways to listen to everyone in the community. But even when it’s clear that not everything in the island is good, after all they’re living in a conservative patriarchal society, directors Bentley Dean and Martin Butler are able to remove all romanticism, and deliver a document that works as a love story and an insightful look at a culture we know very little about.

The gorgeously shot Tanna features wonderful acting by the locals, non-professional actors who were chosen based on qualities that best approximated the characters they would play. For example leading man Mungau Dain was chosen because everyone believed he was the most handsome man on the island, and his leading lady Marie Wawa was chosen for her strength. The film was warmly received at the 2016 Venice Film Festival where it picked up two awards, and was selected as Australia’s Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film, making the final five when nominations were announced. I spoke to the directors about the challenges of shooting the film, their love for movies, and Oscar season.

Read the interview after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb092017

Interview: Director Martin Zandvliet on the Timeliness of His Oscar Nominated 'Land of Mine'

By Jose Solís.

In Land of Mine we see the aftermath of WWII through a previously unexplored lens, that of young German POWs in Denmark, who are sent out to the Danish coast to remove the over two million landmines Germans had left in place believing D-Day would begin on that coast. The German boys work under the supervision of Danish Sergeant Carl Leopold Rasmussen (Roland Møller) who begins seeing them as utterly contemptible beings, but then find himself sympathizing with their pleas. In the film, director Martin Zandvliet asks if we can find the humanity within each other, when we’ve been taught only to see how different we are. The film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and it opens in theaters on February 10. I sat down with Zandvliet to talk about the themes in the film, actresses and how his first Oscar season is treating him.

Read the interview after the jump. 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb062017

Goya Awards and Gowns

The 31st annual Goya Awards (Spain's Oscars) were held over the weekend in Madrid and we'd be remiss if we didn't share the winners -- particularly considering we recently posted statistics about their all time favorite actresses. This year's big winners were Raúl Arévalo's revenge drama The Fury of a Patient Man (which took Best Film and 3 other prizes) and A Monster Calls (which took Best Director and swept the technical categories with 9 wins). 

Ana Alvarez, Penélope Cruz, and Belen Lopez

Spain's Oscar submission, Almodóvar's Julieta, won only Best Actress for Emma Suarez who plays the older version of the titular character. Incredibly Suarez also won Best Supporting Actress for another film (The Next Skin) so Spain really worships her this year.  (After the jump a complete list of winners as well as other gowns and tuxes...)

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan312017

Toni Erdmann and The Longest Foreign Nominees

By Dancin Dan

If you've heard one thing about Germany's Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee Toni Erdmann, other than how great it is (and you can add me to the chorus of voices showering it with praise), it's probably been that Maren Ade's shaggy-dog comedy is LONG. So, trivia hound that I am, I was naturally curious to see just how long it was in the grand scheme of Oscar.

Toni Erdmann has either the 16th or 17th longest running time of all the films nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. That confusion comes from the weirdness of different versions of films and which ones the Academy actually saw when voting...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan252017

César Nominations: Elle, Frantz, and More

France's César Awards announced their nominations this morning. As expected Elle and Divines (currently streaming on Netflix) have much reason to celebrate. Other hits with César including François Ozon's gorgeous black and white feature about Post-War relations and guilt called Frantz (which opens in the US in March), The Innocents (an arthouse hit in the US this year) and My Life as a Zucchini which was just nominated for the Animated Feature Oscar and receives 3 nominations here. 

Their foreign film category also has two Oscar players Manchester by the Sea and Toni Erdmann.

Best Film
DIVINES (on Netflix)
ELLE (now playing)
FRANTZ (opening in US in March)
LES INNOCENTES (available on blu-ray)
MA LOUTE
FROM THE LAND OF THE MOON
VICTORIA 

Ma Loute is from Bruno Dumont and is called Slack Bay in some markets. From the Land of the Moon stars Marion Cotillard among others.

Best Actress
JUDITH CHEMLA dans A WOMAN'S LIFE
MARION COTILLARD dans FROM THE LAND OF THE MOON
VIRGINIE EFIRA dans VICTORIA 
MARINA FOÏS dans IRRÉPROCHABLE
ISABELLE HUPPERTdans ELLE 
SIDSE BABETT KNUDSEN dans LA FILLE DE 
BREST SOKO dans LA DANSEUSE 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan192017

More Final Predix: Foreign, Cinematography, Makeup, Visual FX, and Editing

Final Predictions Pt 1: Picture, Director, Screenplays, Actor, Supporting Actress  
Final Predictions Pt 2: Animation, Documentary, Score, Song, Sound

Part 3: We have to wrap up final predictions tomorrow! So here's another round of last minute parsing in five categories...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan102017

Interview: Gael García Bernal on Neruda, Zorro, and Other Characters

This weekend at the Golden Globes, an unexpected but not all that surprising reunion of the best friends / stars of the Oscar nominated road trip classic Y Tu Mama Tambíen (2001) occured. Both Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna came to international fame together in the early Aughts and they're both still riding high in movies from Hollywood and outside of it.

I had the opportunity to speak with Bernal a month ago about his sturdy career, its auteurist origins, and his current busy playfulness. He's now juggling streaming television stardom (Mozart in the Jungle), occasional directing gigs, frequent producing duties, upcoming starring roles (Zorro?) and still doing what he was doing in his very first years of fame: headlining artistically ambitious Spanish language Oscar submissions. Though neither of his current films (Mexico's Desierto and Chile's Neruda) made Oscar's finalist list, Neruda did receive a well deserved Golden Globe nomination.

Gael full plate is just rewards for his sturdy talent and impressive range but it's also a very happy reminder that some mesmerizing debuts like his own in the Oscar nominated Amores Perros (2000) don't result in flash in the pan quick fades but long and beautiful careers.

NATHANIEL R: Your first movie Amores Perros was an international success and you've been busy ever since. How much of this career did you imagine for yourself back then?

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan062017

Isabelle Huppert, French Legends, and Oscar Stats

by Nathaniel R

Are you biting your nails yet? No prediction for this year's Best Actress shortlist can come without some degree of "I could be getting this very wrong!" nerves. We've been Oscar watching for a long time and it's genuinely never looked this open this late in the game (with the possible exception of 2003 but for nearly the opposite reason). If Best Actress is not a five-way lock up by now (and it often is) it's usually at least settled but for a minor battle between two women for the "just happy to be nominated" fifth spot. This year is different. Seven women remain strong and precursor supported and virtually any combination of five names seems possible as long as you include both Emma Stone (with the reliable boost of leading a Best Picture frontrunner) and Natalie Portman (with the reliable boost of Oscar's deep-deep love for mimicry).

We always believed that Isabelle Huppert was a genuine threat for a Best Actress nomination this season for her phenomenal star turn in Elle. It wasn't so much that Elle, in which she plays a video game enterpeneur who becomes obsessed with her rapist, was a a fresh look at an old star (against type) or right in Oscar's wheel house (a dark comedy about rape. LOL, no). The appeal instead is that in Elle is a suffusion of everything that's special about Huppert: her superior intellect, fascinating opacity, tortured psychology, and her daring sexuality. Oscar would be wise to pounce in a year where the media has been this celebratory about her unique place in the cinematic landscape. 'It's time!' feelings don't generally come around all that often for true iconoclasts or women of a certain age. She's both so they must act now.

Binoche, Cotillard, Adjani, Deneuve

Here's another far more superficial but still excellent reason why Isabelle Huppert needs to be nominated...

Click to read more ...

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