Belgium finds ‘Eldorado’ for Oscar

Dark comedy named country's Oscar entry

BRUSSELS — “Eldorado,” by actor-director Bouli Lanners, is Belgium’s entry in the foreign-language Oscar category.

Pic is a darkly comic road movie in which car dealer Ivan (Lanners) takes pity on a man he finds burgling his home, and agrees to drive him to the French-Belgian border.

Produced by Liege-based Versus Prod., international sales are handled by Films Distribution.

“Eldorado” is Lanners’ second outing behind the camera after “Ultranova” in 2005. Selected for the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes this year, it picked up the Fipresci international critics’ prize and the Europa Cinemas Label prize.

After choosing Dutch-language Oscar entries in 2006 and 2007, bilingual Belgium was almost certain to pick a French-language film this year.

However, it is the first time since 1996 that selectors have passed over a Dardenne brothers film, “The Silence of Lorna.” Their previous three pics have all been put forward, but never nominated.

The Academy has invited 96 countries to submit films for foreign-language Oscar consideration. Deadline for submission is Oct. 1, the nominations will be announced Jan. 22, and the 81st awards ceremony takes place Feb. 22.