Nominees to be announced Jan. 22
Several countries have unveiled their choices for Oscar foreign-language contention with just 10 days to go before the Oct. 1 deadline for submissions.France has opted for “Persepolis,” Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s B&W animated film about the travails of girlhood in Iran. Sony Classics Pictures-distributed movie shared the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Pic was produced by Marc-Antoine Robert and Xavier Rigault of 2.4.7. Films, with Kathleen Kennedy exec producing. Dreamachine handled international sales. The committee that selected the film included Cannes artistic topper Thierry Fremaux and Unifrance prexy Margaret Menegoz. Fatih Akin’s German-Turkish love story “The Edge of Heaven” will represent Germany. Pic was selected by a jury appointed by German Films, the org that reps the country’s movie biz abroad. “Heaven” was produced by Akin’s Hamburg-based shingle Corazon Intl., German pubcaster NDR, Turkish shingle Anka Film and Dorje Film in Rome. Pic premiered at Cannes, where it won the prize for screenplay and the ecumenical jury award. The Match Factory has sold “Heaven” to more than 50 territories. Montreal helmer Denys Arcand’s “Days of Darkness” is Canada’s submission. Pic stars Quebec thesp Marc Labreche as a bored civil servant who has an elaborate fantasy life. Arcand’s “The Barbarian Invasions” won the Oscar in the same category in 2004. “Kings,” directed by Tom Collins and starring Colm Meaney, is Ireland’s entry. It’s believed to be the first Gaelic-language movie entered in the Oscar race. “Kings” is adapted from Jimmy Murphy’s play “Kings of the Kilburn High Road,” about Gaelic-speaking Irish laborers searching for an identity in a London. “A Man’s Job” is Finland’s pick. Soph effort from helmer-scripter Aleksi Salmenpera stars Tommi Korpela as an unemployed man who resorts to prostitution. Pic was produced by Tero Kaukomaa and Petri Jokiranta for Blind Spot Pictures. MDC is handling international sales. Royston Tan-helmed “881” will represent Singapore. Pic, set in the bizarre world of “getai,” a Singaporean style of music played to please seasonal ghosts, has been a smash hit. Repped in international markets by Easternlight, the Asian sales arm of Oz-U.S. sales house Arclight, movie was produced by Zhao Wei Films and MediaCorp Raintree Pictures in association with Scorpio East Pictures, the Media Development Authority of Singapore and Infinite Frameworks. The Motion Picture Producers‘ Assn. of Japan has chosen helmer Masayuki Suo’s courtroom drama “I Just Didn’t Do It.” Produced by Altamira Pictures, Fuji TV and Toho and released in Japan by Toho, pic limns the legal struggles of a man (Ryo Kase) accused of molesting a teenage girl on a train. A committee appointed by the Korean Film Council has chosen Lee Chang-dong’s “Secret Sunshine.” Pic premiered at Cannes, where it won an actress award for Jeon Do-yeon. She plays a young widow who moves from Seoul to start over in a provincial city. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will announce the nominees for foreign-language film on Jan. 22. The Oscar ceremony takes place Feb. 24. (Alison James, Christian Koehl, Brendan Kelly, Adam Dawtrey, Leo Barraclough, Patrick Frater, Mark Schilling and Darcy Paquet contributed to this report.)
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