'World,' 'Here,' 'Nephew' included

Backgammon as a metaphor for life’s travails takes a central role in Bulgarian director Stephan Komandarev’s “The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner,” one of five pics chosen to represent Eastern European countries vying for a nomination in Oscar’s foreign language category.

Film won best Bulgarian feature last year at the Sofia Film Festival.

Serbia’s choice, helmer Darko Lungulov’s “Here and There,” took awards at New York’s Tribeca Festival for new narrative filmmaker and New York film for his tale of romance and desperation that transcend the very different worlds of Serbia and America.

Armenia’s choice is “A Magician’s Nephew,” a documentary about screenwriter Tonino Guera, a friend of Federico Fellini, directed by Ruben and Vahe Gevorkyants. Doc won an award in the history and culture category at last year’s 12th Russian Golden Drum television and film festival in Siberia.

Other nominations for Eastern Europe are yet to gain wider recognition, including Lithuania’s “Waterhole,” by Gytas Luksas, about the Soviet period in Lithuania as seen through the eyes of a boy in a small village; and Slovenia’s “Landscape No. 2,” by Vinko Moderndorfer, about two art thieves who steal a mysterious document that unleashes diabolical powers from the past.

The closing date for submissions to the foreign language category is Oct. 1. Nominations will be announced Feb. 2 and the Academy Awards take place on March 7.

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