A quartet of countries have unveiled their submissions for consideration in Oscar’s foreign language film race.
Norway has selected helmer Anne Sewitsky’s dramedy “Happy, Happy,” Bela Tarr’s “The Turin Horse” is Hungary’s submission, South Korea picked Jang Hun’s “The Frontline” and Karl Markovics’ “Breathing” flies the flag for Austria.
“Happy, Happy” won the narrative World Cinema Jury award at the Sundance Film Festival. Agnes Kittelsen stars as a sexually frustrated teacher who embarks on an affair with a neighbor.
Pic, produced by Synnove Horsdal for Maipo Film, was picked up in the U.S. by Magnolia Pictures, which will release it on Sept. 16. TrustNordisk is handling foreign sales.
The other films on the Norwegian shortlist were Jens Lien’s “Sons of Norway” and Joachim Trier’s “Oslo, August 31.”
The 2 1/2 hour, black-and-white “Turin Horse” is virtually dialogue free. It is set around an apocryphal story of a horse seen beaten in public by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. The film won the Jury Grand Prize and Fipresci Prize at the Berlin Film Festival, and gets its North American premiere this month at the Toronto Film Festival. It will be distribbed in the U.S. by the Cinema Guild; international sales are handled by Films Boutique. Pic was produced by TT Filmmuhely.
The $9.4 million “The Frontline,” about the Korean War, has grossed $20.6 million to date. Pic was produced by Kim Hyun-chul; Showbox reps it for foreign sales.
“Breathing” is the feature helming debut of thesp Markovics, who starred in 2007 Oscar foreign-language winner “The Counterfeiters.” “Breathing” nabbed the Europa Cinemas Label for European film in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, and the Sarajevo Film Festival’s top prize. Thomas Schubert stars as a troubled teen who decides to trace his biological mother. Pic is repped internationally by Films Distribution. It was produced by Epo Film Prods.
The 84th Academy Awards will be held Feb. 26. Deadline for foreign language submissions is Oct. 1.
(Nick Holdsworth in Moscow, Han Sunhee in Seoul and Ed Meza in Berlin contributed to this report.)