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Spain’s Oscar selection pushes foreign-language cavalcade toward completion

Spain’s much-anticipated selection for the foreign-language Oscar competition has arrived, and it has at least one element of this past year’s best picture winner “The Artist.”

Pablo Berger’s “Blancanieves,” a black-and-white homage to silent cinema, edged out Fernando Trueba’s “The Artist and the Model” and Alberto Rodriguez’s “Unit 7,” writes John Hopewell for Variety.

Nearly 60 films have committed to the foreign-language race at the Oscars, and only as many as a couple of handfuls realistically remain to enter before Monday’s deadline.

Recent announcements include:

Algeria: “Zabana!” Said Ould-Khelifa’s treatment of “the life of Ahmed Zabana, a 30-year-old nationalist who became a hero to
the independence movement after being executed by the French colonial
authorities in 1956.”

Georgia: “Keep Smiling,” “a deeply cynical comedy about a corrupt mom on a TV beauty and talent contest” from debut director Rusudan Chkonia.

Iceland: “The Deep,” Baltasar Kormakur’s based-on-a-true-story film about the sole survivor of a sunk fishing boat who “washes ashore,  only to find himself on a deadly lava
field.”

Indonesia: “The Dancer,” “a dramatic love story set in the country’s politically turbulent 1960s” from director Ifa Isfansyah.

CeasarItaly: “Caesar Must Die,” a film directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani and set in Rome’s
maximum-security Rebibbia penitentiary, where convicts perform
Shakespeare.

Kenya: “Nairobi Half Life,” Tosh Gitonga’s “gritty but uplifting tale of young hustlers struggling to get by in the Kenyan capital.”

Mexico: “After Lucia” (Despues de Lucia), Michel Franco’s drama “After Lucia” (and Un Certain Regard winner) about “the downward spiral of Alejandra
(Tessa Ia) brought on by the death of her mother and the brutality of
her classmates in her new home.”

Peru: “Las malas intenciones” (The Bad Intentions), Rosario Garcia Montera’s feature debut, a coming-of-age pic revolving around “a troubled 8-year-old girl who
finds solace in the heroes of Peru’s turbulent past when her mother
announces a baby brother is on the way.”

Taiwan: “Touch of the Light,” Chang Jung-Chi’s debut feature “on the life of blind Taiwanese piano prodigy Yu Hsiang, who plays himself.”

Thailand: “Headshot,” a noir thriller from Pen-ek Ratanaruang.

Turkey: “Where the Fire Burns,” an Ismail Gunes-directed “harrowing story of a father’s mission to kill his teenage
daughter after she falls pregnant, bringing shame to the family.”

Vietnam: “The Scent of Burning Grass,” a Vietnam War-themed drama from director Nguyen Huu Muoi.

 * * *

Previously announced selections appear below:

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