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Russia unleashes ‘White Tiger’ on Oscar trail

Patriotic film is set in wartime Russia

BATUMI, GEORGIA — Russia has chosen a patriotic war film for the foreign-language film Oscar race after opting for “White Tiger.”

The film, set in wartime Russia, centers on a tank officer’s obsession with destroying a mysterious, but massive, German tank that leaves a trail of destruction in its wake.

With elements of the supernatural — a tank sergeant who survives 90% burns becomes almost clairvoyant — the film panders to a still-strong sense in Russia of the almost mystical importance of the war in the country’s popular memory.

The pic was helmed by Karen Shakhnazarov, who is chief of Mosfilm Studio.

A total of 14 votes were cast by Russia’s Oscars committee, with 11 of 30 members present (two of whom could not vote as their films were also being considered) and five proxy votes delivered.

Other contenders included Aleksandr Sokurov’s “Faust” and Andrei Zvyagintsev’s “Elena.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces its nominations on Jan. 10.

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