The list of who's who in the foreign lingo Oscar race
Foreign language Oscar submissions 2010:Albania
“East, West, East”
An amateur Albanian cycling squad competes in France during the collapse of their nation’s Communist regime.
Sales: High Point Media Group Algeria
“Outside the Law”
A saga that traces three Algerian brothers who live disparate lives in exile until the wave of revolution in Algeria brings them together in Paris.
Distributor: Cohen Media Group Argentina
Ricardo Darin stars as a lawyer for a corrupt traffic accident victim firm trying to get out of the shady business while falling in love with an overworked ER doctor.
Distributor: Strand Releasing Austria
(Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel)
The matron of a humble family circus discovers an abandoned toddler and tries to find its mother.
Awards: Cannes (Label Europa Cinemas award); Gijon festival (actress, Grand Prix Asturias); Valdivia festival (film, audience award); Kiev festival (film, Ecumenical Jury award, young actor)
Sales: Films Distribution Azerbaijan
A photographer torn between marriage and a lucrative job offer ends up in a police station, where his traumatic past catches up with him.
Production: Narimanfilm Bangladesh
“Third Person Singular Number”
(Mostofa Sarwar Farooki)
A single woman attempts to carve an independent life for herself in a regimented, male-dominated society.
Awards: Dhalia festival (director).
Production: Impress Telefilm Belgium
A Russian mother working illegally in Belgium endures subhuman treatment in a dreadful immigration detention center.
Sales: Films Distribution Bosnia and Herzegovina
Oscar winner Tanovic’s satirical film about a man, full of cash in his pocket, returning from Germany to Bosnia and Herzogovina on the eve of civil war.
Awards: Sarajevo festival (audience award)
Sales: The Match Factory Brazil
“Lula, the Son of Brazil”
Years before he becomes his country’s president, a poor lad rises through the ranks of a Brazilian union to take his first leadership role.
Production: LC Barreto/Filmes do Equador/Intervideo Digital/Globo Filmes/Costa Films Bulgaria
An estranged older brother crosses paths with his younger brother, who’s being lured into a skinhead gang in Sofia.
Awards: Tokyo festival (film, director, actor); Warsaw festival (film); Sofia festival (best Bulgarian feature); Trieste festival (Central European Initiative award); Mons festival (film); Angers festival (grand jury prize); Las Palmas festival (best debut)
Sales: Memento Films Canada
In this adaptation of Wajdi Mouawad’s play, a deceased Canadian emigre’s unusual will sends her two children on a life-changing quest to the Middle East, where they learn shattering truths about their past.
Awards: Toronto festival (best Canadian film), Venice Days/Venice festival (film)
Distribution: Sony Pictures Classics Chile
“The Life of Fish”
A man about to go on an extended business trip engages in a heart-to-heart encounter with his past lover at a birthday party.
Sales: Figa Films China
The biggest blockbuster in Chinese history depicts the devastating 1976 Tangshan earthquake and its aftermath when a mother must make a fateful decision that threatens to divide her young family.
Production: Huayi Brothers Media Corp. Colombia
(Oscar Ruiz Navia)
A stranger’s search for a friend lands him in a coastal fishing village where he encounters some colorful characters.
Awards: Berlin festival (Fipresci prize); Havana festival (special jury prize); Fribourg festival (E-Changer award); Las Palmas festival (best debut)
Distributor: Outsider Pictures Costa Rica
“Of Love and Other Demons”
In this adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel, a 13-year-old girl bitten by a rabid dog becomes the victim of religious-based abuse and the lover of a sympathetic priest.
Sales: Latido Croatia
(Goran Devic and Zvonimir Juric)
A death squad prepares for a mission to retrieve dead comrades and sabotage the enemy just as a ceasefire is declared.
Awards: Pula festival (director, supporting actor, sound); Motovun festival (Bauer prize); Linz Crossing Europe festival (best European film); Belgrade festival (film); Cottbus festival (director, Fipresci award); Ljubljana festival (Kingfisher award)
Sales: Kinorama Czech Republic
The reputation of a former Communist era dissident is tarnished during the making of a TV doc.
Awards: Berlin festival (CICAE Award, Ecunemical prize); Plzen festival (film, audience award)
Distributor: Menemsha Films Denmark
“In a Better World”
Two fathers, one a doctor in Kenya and the other in rural Denmark, deal with their sons and violent conditions in the latest from Oscar-nominated “After the Wedding”director Susanne Bier.
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics Egypt
“Messages from the Sea”
(Daoud Abdel Sayed)
Returning to Alexandria to take care of his late mother’s affairs, a man encounters a radically transformed city.
Sales: Al-Arabia Cinema Production & Distribution Estonia
“The Temptation of St. Tony”
After a prosperous middle manager buries his father, a bizarre series of events leads to the unraveling of his orderly life.
Distributor: Olive Films Ethiopia
(Davey Frankel and Rasselas Lakew)
The highs and lows in the life of Ethiopia’s first Olympics gold medal-winning marathon runner Abebe Bikila play out dramatically and through archival footage.
Awards: CinemaAfrica festival (film); Rotterdam (Lions Award); Tarifa African film festival (audience special award)
Distributor: Arrow Releasing Finland
“Steam of Life”
(Joonas Berghall and Mika Hotakainen)
Men sit in saunas and tell frequently emotional life stories in this documentary.
Awards: IDA Documentary Awards (distinguished feature nominee)
Sales: Films Transit France
“Of Gods and Men”
Eight Cistercian monks in rural Algeria, led by a friar played by Lambert Wilson, are confronted with a mortal threat from Islamic militants.
Awards: Cannes (Grand Prix, Ecumenical jury award) Georgia
A heroin junkie must contend with the demands of helping support his ex-wife and son as well as local cops with nefarious plans.
Awards: Iasi film festival (film)
Sales: Intercinema Art Agency Germany
“When We Leave”
The grown daughter of a traditional Turkish family is rejected by her German-based clan when she flees her abusive husband.
Awards: Berlin film festival (Europa Cinemas Label award); Tribeca film festival (narrative film, actress)
Distributor: Olive Films Greece
The children of a dominating father live in a secluded home setting where they’ve been raised more like house pets than human beings.
Awards: Cannes (Un Certain Regard prize); Sitges film festival (jury prize, best directorial revelation); Sarajevo film festiva
l (special jury prize, actress); Montreal Festival of New Cinema (director); Dublin film festival (Critics prize for best director)
Distributor: Kino Intl. Greenland
(Otto Rosing and Torben Bech)
The first Inuit-Greenland co-production depicts a young man whose carefree life takes a stark turn when he learns he has a serious illness.
Sales: The Works Intl. Hong Kong
“Echoes of the Rainbow”
A working class family keeps its chin up during hard times in 1969 Hong Kong.
Sales: Mei Ah Entertainment Hungary
In order to gain custody of her child, a mother tells the story of her wild past three years, involving an S&M brothel and outlandish characters.
Production: Katapult Film Ltd. Iceland
(Fridrik Thor Fridriksson)
While his mother is gradually succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease, a first-time feature director struggles when his film commercially tanks.
Sales: Bavaria Film International India
Two indebted, desperately poor farmers become the object of a media frenzy when their comments are misunderstood as declarations of suicide.
Sales: UTV Indonesia
“How Funny (Our Country Is)”
A jobless college grad falls in with a circle of young thieves, and ends up being their teacher.
Production: Citra Sinema Iran
The lives of a U.S. Army deserter, a restaurant owner who clears landmines and a suicide bomber come together in Iraq.
Sales: Documentary and Experimental Film Centre Iraq
“Son of Babylon”
During the fall of Saddam Hussein, a 12-year-old Kurdish boy travels with his grandmother in search of his father.
Sales: Roissy Films Israel
“The Human Resources Manager”
A bakery’s human resources manager escorts the body of a woman killed in a bombing back to her native Russia.
Awards: Locarno film festival (audience award); Ophir Awards (film, director, screenplay, supporting actress, music) Italy
“La Prima Cosa Bella”(“The First Beautiful Thing”)
A misanthropic son returns home to say goodbye to his dying but still-exuberant mother. Co-stars Stefania Sandrelli.
Awards: David di Donatello awards (screenplay, actor, actress)
Sales: Intramovies Japan
A school teacher enacts a personal brand of revenge on two of her students whose bullying killed her daughter.
Sales: Toho Company Ltd. Kazakhstan
Stranded on a remote road, a family encounters menacing creatures capable of shape-shifting.
Production: Sataifilm Korea
“A Barefoot Dream”
A former South Korean soccer player finds renewed faith in the game when he coaches poor East Timorese kids to victory.
Sales: Showbox/Mediaplex Kyrgyzstan
“The Light Thief”
(Aktan Arym Kubat)
The man who runs a town’s electrical power grid befriends his poor neighbors and clashes with authorities while being courted by nefarious developers.
Sales: The Match Factory Latvia
“Hong Kong Confidential”
A woman meets a charming Englishman in Hong Kong, triggering many changes in her life.
Sales: House of Film Macedonia
This three-part film profiles a child trying to report an incident to the police; a filmmaking crew encountering women in a near-abandoned village; and mothers killed by a psychopath.
Sales: Cine Sud Promotion Mexico
(Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)
Javier Bardem plays a Barcelona man juggling grim family and work trouble who discovers that he’s dying from an incurable illness.
Awards: Cannes (actor)
Distributor: Liddell The Netherlands
(Rudolf van den Berg)
Shattered at the news of his daughter’s disappearance in Namibia, a hard-drinking father goes in search of her with the aid of a child prostitute.
Awards: Golden Calf awards (director, editing) Nicaragua
A tough woman resists being drawn into the gang lifestyle by training as a boxer and eventually getting out of Managua.
Awards: Guadalajara film festival (best first film, actress); Cartagena film festival (actress, supporting actor); Malaga film festival (jury prize, actress); Havana film festival (jury mention for first film)
Sales: Botnia Film Norway
A young single mother battles heroin addiction while dealing with her problematic mother, a widow abused by an old boyfriend.
Awards: Goteborg film festival (Nordic film–audience award); Haugesund film festival (People’s Choice award, supporting actress); Talinn Black Nights film festival (actress)
Sales: TrustNordisk Peru
A newlywed fisherman is expecting his first child, but an accident forces him to confront his hidden affair with a gay lover.
Awards: San Sebastian film festival (Sebastian award); Miami film festival (audience award); Sundance film festival (World Cinema Dramatic audience award)
Distributor: Wolfe Releasing Philippines
(Dondon S. Santos and Rodel Nacianceno)
A young man earns money for his poor family by making a doc on a major contender for the Filipino presidency.
Production: CineMedia Films Inc. Poland
“All That I Love”
Buddies struggle for success as a punk rock band during the Solidarity workers protest movement.
Awards: Gdynia film festival (audience award, production design); Festroia film festival (Art Cinema Award, Fipresci prize)
Sales: Wide Management Portugal
“To Die Like a Man”
(Joao Pedro Rodrigues)
Surrounded by a circle of difficult lovers and relations, a famed Lisbon drag performer is dying from her leaking breast implants.
Awards: Buenos Aires film festival (film); Mezipatra film festival (film)
Distributor: Strand Releasing Puerto Rico
This psychological thriller depicts an introverted artist who experiences life’s wild side with his best friend and a mysterious lover.
Awards: Havana film festival, New York (director)
Sales: Ondamax Romania
“If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle”
A teen boy about to be released from a prison-like reform school stages a kidnapping and escapes.
Awards: Berlin film festival (jury grand prize, Alfred Bauer award)
Distributor: Film Movement Russia
A veteran railroad driver in a Siberian village encounters a homeless German girl who allies with him against hostile locals.
Production: Teleshow/Rock Films Serbia
During World War I, a Serbian man joins the war effort and leaves his Slovenian wife in the care of a trusted Albanian school custodian.
Production: Film House Slovakia
Slemence, a village directly on the Czech-Slovak border, is profiled in this documentary detailing the inhabitants’ everyday difficulties living in their divided town.
Production: Leon Productions Slovenia
A police inspector’s investigation of a suicide begins to consume him, until he takes on the dead p
Awards: Slovenian film festival (film, director, screenplay, actor, supporting actress)
Sales: Insomnia South Africa
“Life, Above All”
A young girl in a rural community supports her family, beset by AIDS, alcoholism and the rejection of her neighbors.
Awards: Cannes (Francois Chalias prize)
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics Spain
“Even the Rain”
Gael Garcia Bernal stars as a filmmaker preparing a movie in Bolivia in 2000 just as anti-government protests break out.
Sales: Wild Bunch
The Aspergers syndrome-affected brother of a guy depressed from a recent breakup aims to find him a new girlfriend.
Sales: Swedish Film Institute Switzerland
“La Petite Chambre”
(Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond)
An elderly man refuses to move to a retirement home, and at first rejects the aid of his home care nurse.
Producers: Iris/Vega Taiwan
A fledgling gang of young upstarts is caught in a battle between veteran triad leaders and a new gang of gun-wielding thugs.
Sales: Distribution Workshop Thailand
“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”
A tamarind farmer, dying of kidney disease, experiences the return of the ghosts and transformed bodies of loved ones.
Awards: Cannes (Palme d’Or)
Distributor: Strand Releasing Turkey
The young son of a beekeeper beset with a bee colony’s collapse suddenly stops speaking, and ends up searching for his father in the nearby forest.
Awards: Berlin film festival (Golden Bear, Ecumenical jury prize)
Distributor: Olive Films Uruguay
“La Vida Util”
A programmer at the shuttering Cinemateca Uruguaya finds himself jobless and attracted to a woman, whom he pursues.
Awards: San Sebastian film festival (special mention–New Directors); Valdivia film festival (director); Warsaw film festival (jury special mention)
Production: Cinekdoque Venzuela
Tragedy affects two aspiring soccer players just as they’re being invited to try out for Caracas’ top team.
Awards: Moscow film festival (audience award); Los Angeles Latino film festival (audience award)
Sales: Europacorp RELATED ARTICLES:
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