Friday, October 19, 2007

This year's submissions for Best Foreign Language Film

63 countries submitted films for consideration in the foreign language film category of the Academy Awards, apparently a record number. Usually the five (or is it four?) that get chosen as nominees seem as random as the tea leaves at the bottom of your cup. However, on the day of last year's winner's Hollywood debut (that would be Gavin Hood of Tsotsi and Rendition), the award has potential to catapult a director, for better or worse, to some notoriety.

The only one I have seen in the whole damn list is Hong Kong's submission (I guess 'one China, two systems' also means 'one China, two submissions') which is Johnny To most awesome Exiled, but it doesn't have a chance in hell. Lee Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine, which I just received in the mail, may have better chances, but it seems unlikely. That being said here are the films I would like to see and would root for in the nominations list:

France - Persepolis Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud
Japan - I Just Didn’t Do It Masayuki Suo
Kazakhstan - Mongol Sergei Bodrov
Mexico - Silent Light Carlos Reygadas
Poland - Katyn Andrzej Wajda
Romania - 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days Cristian Mungiu
Singapore - 881 Royston Tan
Sweden - You, the Living Roy Andersson

I would put my money on Persepolis given the popularity of the book and the fact that it is sure to screen here with an English dub. (A foreign film without those pesky subtitles!) Here's the full list for your perusal (no doubt lots of hidden gems; I wish I could see them all):

Argentina - XXY Lucia Puenzo, director
Australia - The Home Song Stories Tony Ayres
Austria - The Counterfeiters Stefan Ruzowitzky
Azerbaijan - Caucasia Farid Gumbatov
Bangladesh - On the Wings of Dreams Golam Rabbany Biplob
Belgium - Ben X Nic Balthazar
Bosnia and Herzegovina - It’s Hard to Be Nice Srdan Vuletic
Brazil - The Year My Parents Went on Vacation Cao Hamburger
Bulgaria - Warden of the Dead Ilian Simeonov
Canada - Days of Darkness Denys Arcand
Chile - Padre Nuestro Rodrigo Sepulveda
China - The Knot Yin Li
Colombia - Satanas Andi Baiz
Croatia - Armin Ognjen Svilicic
Cuba - The Silly Age Pavel Giroud
Czech Republic - I Served the King of England Jiri Menzel
Denmark - The Art of Crying Peter Schonau Fog
Egypt - In the Heliopolis Flat Mohamed Khan
Estonia - The Class Ilmar Raag
Finland - A Man’s Job Aleksi Salmenpera
France - Persepolis Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud
Georgia - The Russian Triangle Aleko Tsabadze
Germany - The Edge of Heaven Fatih Akin
Greece - Eduart Angeliki Antoniou
Hong Kong - Exiled Johnnie To
Hungary - Taxidermia Gyorgy Palfi
Iceland - Jar City Baltasar Kormakur
Indi -a Eklavya – The Royal Guard Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Indonesia - Denias, Singing on the Cloud John De Rantau
Iran - M for Mother Rasoul Mollagholipour
Iraq - Jani Gal Jamil Rostami
Ireland - Kings Tom Collins
Israel - Beaufort Joseph Cedar
Italy - The Unknown Giuseppe Tornatore
Japan - I Just Didn’t Do It Masayuki Suo
Kazakhstan - Mongol Sergei Bodrov
Korea - Secret Sunshine Chang-dong Lee
Lebanon - Caramel Nadine Labaki
Luxembourg - Little Secrets Pol Cruchten
Macedonia - Shadows Milcho Manchevski
Mexico - Silent Light Carlos Reygadas
The Netherlands - Duska Jos Stelling
Norway - Gone with the Woman Petter Naess
Peru - Crossing a Shadow Augusto Tamayo
Philippines - Donsol Adolfo Alix, Jr
Poland - Katyn Andrzej Wajda
Portugal - Belle Toujours Manoel de Oliveira
Puerto Rico - Lovesickness Carlitos Ruiz & Mariem Perez
Romania - 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days Cristian Mungiu
Russia - 12 Nikita Mikhalkov
Serbia - The Trap Srdan Golubovic
Singapore - 881 Royston Tan
Slovakia - Return of the Storks Martin Repka
Slovenia - Short Circuits Janez Lapajne
Spain - The Orphanage J.A. Bayona
Sweden - You, the Living Roy Andersson
Switzerland - Late Bloomers Bettina Oberli
Taiwan - Island Etude Chen Huai-En
Thailand - King of Fire Chatrichalerm Yukol
Turkey - A Man’s Fear of God Ozer Kiziltan
Uruguay - The Pope’s Toilet Enrique Fernandez & Cesar Charlone
Venezuela - Postcards from Leningrad Mariana Rondon
Vietnam - The White Silk Dress Luu Huynh

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