Oscars: Germany Selects ‘System Crasher’ for International Feature Film Award

System Crasher
Berlin Film Festival

Germany has chosen Nora Fingscheidt’s “System Crasher” as its entry for the newly re-branded International Feature Film award at the 92nd Academy Awards, it was announced Wednesday by promotional body German Films.

Produced by Kineo Filmproduktion and Weydemann Bros, the film won a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, where it received its world premiere in February, and has since gone on to be a fixture on the festival circuit picking up a number of other prizes. It stars Helena Zengel as nine-year-old Benni, whose untamed energy in her wild quest for love drives everyone around her to despair.

The film was chosen from a list of seven films, submitted by their producers, by the eight members of the German selection committee, which consists of representatives from eight German cinema trade associations and institutions. German Films organizes the selection procedure for the German candidate for the Oscars’ International Feature Film category each year but the umbrella organization is not itself represented in the selection committee.

“System Crasher” is Fingschiedt’s first full-length narrative feature following her feature documentary “Ohne Diese Welt.”

As well as “System Crasher,” titles submitted for consideration to the German selection committee included Marco Kreuzpaintner’s “The Collini Case”; Caroline Link’s “All About Me”; Christian Schwochow’s “The German Lesson”; Thomas Heise’s “Heimat is a Space in Time”; Jan Ole Gerster’s “Lara”; and Bernd Bohlich’s “Sealed Lips.”

Germany is the ninth country so far this year to submit a film for consideration in the category, which was renamed from best foreign language film in April.

Germany has been nominated in the Oscars’ International Feature category Oscar 11 times since its reunification in 1990, winning the award twice: for Link’s “Nowhere in Africa” in 2002 and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s “The Lives of Others” in 2006. The country scored its most recent nomination last year with von Donnersmarck’s “Never Look Away,” which lost out to Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” from Mexico.

Prior to 1990 submissions were made by West Germany, which received 13 nominations winning in 1979 with Volker Schlondorff’s “The Tin Drum,” and East Germany, which received one nomination.

The German submission follows the recent announcement that Cambodia has chosen drama “In the Life of Music,” directed by Caylee So and Sok Visal. The film tells the story of three generations of a family starting in 1976, a year after the emergence of the Khmer Rouge regime, and followed by chapters set in 1986 and 2006-2007. Cambodia was previously nominated in the category, then known as best foreign language film, in 2013 with documentary “The Missing Picture” but lost out to Italy’s “The Great Beauty.”

Earlier this week Iran chose feature documentary “Finding Farideh” as its entry. Previous submissions announced so far this year include romantic comedy “Wolkenbruch” representing Switzerland; war film “Shindisi” from Georgia; and Algerian drama “Papicha.” Other submissions include Elia Suleiman’s comedy “It Must Be Heaven,” which will represent Palestine, and Arturo Montenegro’s drama “Todos Cambiamos” from Panama.

The five eventual nominees for International Feature Film will be announced alongside other categories on Jan. 13, 2020. The 92nd Academy Awards will be held Feb. 9, 2020.