Venezuela, Taiwan, Japan vie for Oscar

'Hermanos,' 'Monga,' 'Confessions' to run in race

Venezuela, Taiwan and Japan have entered pics for the foreign-language Oscar.

Venezuela has selected Marcel Rasquin’s feature debut “Hermanos” (Brothers).

Set against the backdrop of a slum in Caracas, the pic tracks two brothers who aspire to become soccer pros.

It was a triple-prize winner at Moscow, where it took home the film, critics and audience awards. It also won the aud award at the L.A. Latino Film Fest last month.

Since its debut in Venezuela two months ago, pic has been a box office draw with more than 250,000 admissions to date, better than average for a local pic.

Niu Cheng-tse’s violent and hugely popular gangster movie “Monga” will rep Taiwan.

Pic, which stars Ethan Ruan and Mark Chao, is about gang warfare in the Wanhua district of Taipei during the 1980s. It grossed NTD200 million ($6.25 million) B.O. in the self-ruled island, but its graphic violence and gangster subject-matter meant it did not get a release on the Mainland.

Pic replaces the original candidate, “Hear Me,” which was spiked as its release date was two months too early to be eligible to compete for the Oscar.

Tetsuya Nakashima’s dark mystery/thriller “Confessions” is Japan’s entry.

Released in June, the pic has earned nearly $40 million to date. Takako Matsu plays a junior high teacher whose 3-year-old daughter is killed by two of her students. Once she learns their identities, she tells her entire class she will get her revenge — and proceeds to do so.

Mark Schilling contributed to this report.

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