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Poland Picks Agnieszka Holland’s ‘Spoor’ as Its Foreign-Language Oscar Entry

“Spoor,” from lauded Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, will be Poland’s entry in the race for the best foreign-language film at the Academy Awards. The movie has been likened to a ‘Polish ‘Fargo.'” Holland has had three Oscar nominations, two in the best foreign-language film category.

“After long discussions the committee decided that ‘Spoor’ is the best candidate to represent Poland this year in the challenging Oscar run,” said Pawel Pawlikowski, chairman of the Polish Oscar Committee. “We considered several titles, and in our opinion Agnieszka Holland’s feature has the most traits to support its promotional campaign and subsequently increase its chances for securing an Oscar nomination.”

Poland won the foreign-language Oscar in 2015 for Pawlikowski’s own “Ida.”

Romania has also selected its entrant in the Oscar derby: Adrian Sitaru’s “The Fixer,” which won a pair of awards at the Les Arcs European Film Festival. The film follows a journalist pursuing an under-age victim of a sex trafficking ring. “Sitaru’s fourth theatrical feature is finely judged in its naturalistic portrayal of a fast-moving narrative that feels almost random as it proceeds, yet inevitable at its close,” Variety said in its review.

Poland’s “Spoor” follows a retired engineer in a remote area of Poland who starts her own investigation after finding a body. All of the deceased in what becomes a series of deaths were involved in hunting, and evidence suggests they were killed by animals, possibly in revenge. Based on Olga Tokarczuk’s 2009 novel “Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead,” the screenplay was written by Tokarczuk and Holland.

The Polish Film Institute is throwing its weight behind “Spoor,” starting in Toronto at the film festival. “It is no coincidence that we are launching the promotional campaign of Agnieszka Holland’s film at the Toronto IFF,” said institute chief Magdalena Sroka. “It is an important festival for films in the running for the Oscars. Like in previous years, the Polish Film Institute will support the Oscar campaign of the Polish candidate.”

“Spoor” is a co-production between Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Sweden. It was produced by Studio Filmowe TOR, alongside Heimatfilm (Germany), Nutprodukce (Czech Republic), Nutprodukcia (Slovakia), and Chimney (Sweden). Holland made HBO Europe original “Burning Bush,” and HBO is among the other Polish partners, as are Odra-Film, the National Audiovisual Institute, and Agora. Beta Cinema is the international sales agent.

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