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South Africa Picks ‘Four Corners’ for Oscar

Naturalistic pic blends different South African dialects

South Africa has selected child-gang thriller “Four Corners” as its contender for the foreign-language Academy Award race.

Directed by Ian Gabriel, “Four Corners” revolves around a 13-year-old chess whiz drawn into the Cape Town’s well-known child-gang culture. Touted as the first film to delve into the 100-year-old war between South Africa’s so-called Number gangs, the 26 and the 28, it blends the Sabela, Tsotsi-taal and Cape Afrikaans dialects and mixes established talents with non-actors and first-time thesps from schools and communities across the Cape Flats.

“Four Corners” is South African prison slang for the four corners of a prison cell.

Pic is produced by Genevieve Hofmeyr and Cindy Gabriel, and partly funded by the National Film & Video Foundation South Africa, the Berlinale Co-Production Market and New York’s IFP No Borders.

Ian Gabriel’s previous work “Forgiveness,” influenced by the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings, screened at the Locarno fest in 2004.

The last date to submit entries for the foreign-language Academy Awards is Oct. 1.  Nominations will be announced Jan. 16 and the ceremony will be held March 2 at the Dolby Theater.

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