Switzerland Picks Petra Volpe’s ‘The Divine Order’ for Foreign-Language Oscar Race

Last year’s Swiss entry was Claude Barras' animated feature hit 'My Life as a Zucchini'

Trogen, Appenzell, Schweiz, 30. Maerz 2016
Photo: Daniel Ammann

LOCARNO — Petra Volpe’s feel-good dramedy “The Divine Order,” sold by TrustNordisk, has been selected as Switzerland’s foreign-language Oscar candidate at the 90th Academy Awards. The U.S. release of “Order” is scheduled for the end of October through Richard Lorber’s Kino Lorber.

Film agency Swiss Films made the announcement on Aug. at Switzerland’s Locarno Festival. “Order” is the third feature by screenwriter-director Volpe (“Dreamland”), who wrote the script of Alain Gsponer’ Swiss box-office hit “Heidi.”

Produced by Lucerne-based Zodiac Pictures (“Heidi,” “Dreamland”) and starring Marie Leuenberger, Max Simonischeck, Marta Zoffoli, Nicholas Ofczarek and Sofia Helin, the Swiss entry snagged the Audience and Norah Ephron awards and best actress Jury Prize (Leuenberger) at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. This very week, “Order” added two new kudos at the 13th Traverse City Film Festival.

This “cine-history lesson remains a mainstream crowd-pleaser adept at inspiring and amusing in equal measure,” Variety said in a review.

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“Order” pictures the long battle for women equality in Switzerland through the eyes of a housewife in one of the country’s out-of-the-way villages who battles in 1971 for women to be granted the right to vote in Switzerland.

Volpe’s feature was released in Switzerland by Filmcoopi on March 8’s International Women’s Day, earning $4.5 million and more than 300,000 admissions. On Aug. 3, it was released in Germany and Austria via Alamode Filmdistribution.

Switzerland’s entry last year for the foreign language Oscar was Claude Barras’ “My Life as a Zucchini,” which made the December shortlist in the foreign-language category and earned a nomination as best animated feature.