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‘Loveless,’ ‘The Line,’ ‘Under the Tree’ Picked as Foreign-Language Oscar Candidates

Iceland, Russia and Slovakia have selected Gunnar Sigurdsson’s “Under the Tree,” Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Loveless” and Peter Bebjak’s “The Line,” respectively, for the foreign-language Oscar race.

Loveless” (pictured) world-premiered in competition at Cannes, where it earned critical acclaim and won the jury prize. It’s the third film directed by Zvyagintsev that has been chosen to represent Russia in the foreign-language Oscars race, following “The Return” and “Leviathan.” Co-written by Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin, “Loveless” centers on a couple going through a vicious divorce when their 12-year-old son disappears.

Sony Pictures Classics acquired North and Latin American rights to “Loveless” at Cannes. SPC previously released “Leviathan,” which won best screenplay at Cannes in 2014, best foreign-language film at the Golden Globes, and an Oscar nomination.

Under the Tree,” which world-premiered at Venice and played at Toronto, is a dark comedy set in a quiet Icelandic suburb. The film follows a man who is forced to move back in with his parents after he is accused of adultery. While fighting for custody of his young daughter, he finds himself embroiled in a dispute between his parents and their neighbors over an old and beautiful tree. Things get derailed in violent fashion.

Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights to “Under The Tree.” New Europe Films represents the film in international markets. Iceland’s Netop Films (“Rams”), Poland’s Madants, Denmark’s Profile (which also co-produced “Rams) and Berlin-based One Two Films produced “Under The Tree.”

Sigurdsson is a well-known Icelandic filmmaker whose credits include “Either Way” and “Paris of the North.” “Either Way” was remade into David Gordon Green’s “Prince Avalanche.”

“The Line,” which premiered at Karlovy Vary, is a crime drama set in the borderlands of the Slovak Republic and Ukraine prior to Slovakia’s accession to the European Union in 2007. The movie was produced by Wandal Production, Garnet International Media Group, RTVS and HomeMedia.

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