Western was crowd pleaser at Mar del Plata fest

BUENOS AIRES — Fernando Spiner’s Western “Aballay, el hombre sin miedo” (Aballay, the Man Without Fear) was unveiled Monday as Argentina’s candidate for Oscar nomination in the foreign-language film category.

“Aballay” is the bloody and violent tale of a young man’s quest to avenge his father’s death at the hands of a now aging gaucho who wants to end his life of crime.

Film stars Nazareno Casero (“Buenos Aires, 1977″), Pablo Cedron (“The Aura”) and Claudio Rissi (“Nine Queens).

“Aballay” won 22 of the 69 votes cast for the Oscar runner, beating comedy “Un cuento chino,” starring Ricardo Darin, and politically charged “El estudiante” (The Student) by Santiago Mitre, a screenwriter on Pablo Trapero’s multi-laurelled “Lion’s Den” and “Carancho.”

Boya Films and KV Entertainment produced “Aballay,” which won the public’s nod in the international competition at the 2010 Mar del Plata Film Festival, the second-biggest fest in Argentina.

The 84th Academy Awards will be held Feb. 26 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

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