Oct. 1 deadline has countries unloading pics
With the Oct. 1 deadline for foreign-language Oscar submissions looming, a slew of countries unveiled their choices this week.The Uli Edel-helmed terrorist drama “The Baader Meinhof Complex” will represent Germany. Pic, produced by Constantin Film’s Bernd Eichinger, concerns the left-wing Red Army Faction terrorist group, also known as the Baader-Meinhof gang after its leaders, Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof. Los Angeles-based Summit Entertainment handles international sales for the film. Canada’s choice is Montreal helmer Benoit Pilon’s “The Necessities of Life,” a French- and Innu-language film about an Inuit hunter (Natar Ungalaaq of “Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner”) with tuberculosis in 1950s Quebec. Pic world preemed at last month’s Montreal World Film Festival. The Motion Picture Producers Assn. of Japan (Eiren) has selected helmer Yojiro Takita’s “Okuribito” (Departures). Pic stars Masahiro Motoki as an out-of-work cellist who becomes a “nokanshi” — a professional who ritually washes and clothes bodies prior to the funeral. The pic, distributed by Shochiku, won the Grand Prix des Ameriques at the Montreal fest. The Singapore Film Commission selected Eric Khoo’s “My Magic,” which preemed in competition in Cannes. “Magic,” about the relationship between an alcoholic magician and his 14-year-old son, has mostly Tamil dialogue. Both “Magic” and “Departures” will play at next month’s Pusan Film Festival. Goetz Spielmann’s “Revanche” is Austria’s entry. Produced by Vienna-based Prisma Film & Fernsehen, pic follows an ex-con’s efforts to start a new life. “Revanche” has screened at more than two dozen festivals, including Telluride and Toronto. The Match Factory handles international sales. “Eldorado,” by actor-director Bouli Lanners, is Belgium’s entry. Pic is a darkly comic road movie in which car dealer Ivan (Lanners) takes pity on a man he finds burgling his home and agrees to drive him to the French-Belgian border. “Eldorado” was produced by Liege-based Versus Prod.; international sales are handled by Films Distribution. Selected for the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes this year, it picked up the Fipresci international critics’ prize. Bruno Barreto’s “Last Stop 174,” distribbed by Paramount, is Brazil’s contender. Pic, the true story of a street kid who hijacks a bus, world preemed at Toronto and will open the Rio Film Festival on Sept. 25. The Croatian Society of Film Workers has picked “Niciji Sin” (No One’s Son). Pic, helmed by Arsen Anton Ostojic, concerns a disillusioned veteran of the Balkans War who uncovers a dark family secret. Sweden’s entry is Jan Troell’s “Everlasting Moments.” Pic, which world preemed at Toronto, centers on Sweden’s first female photographer, who was the grandmother of Troell’s wife. Dome Karukoski’s “Home of the Dark Butterflies,” a meller about boys in a reformatory, will represent Finland. The pic is produced by Solar Films and sold by Trust Film Sales/Nordisk. The Academy has invited 96 countries to submit films for foreign-language Oscar consideration. Nominations will be announced Jan. 22, and the 81st awards ceremony takes place Feb. 22. (Colin Graham in Belgrade, Ed Meza in Berlin, Ian Mundell in Brussels, Antti Selkokari in Helsinki, Marcus Lim in Hong Kong, Marcelo Cajueiro in Rio de Janeiro, Gunnar Rehlin in Stockholm and Mark Schilling in Tokyo contributed to this report.)
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