The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will soon be handing out the Oscar for best foreign language film. It’s a compelling list which will be narrowed down to 9 films. So here’s 9 films that, in our humble opinion, should be in the shortlist.
1. Transit (Philippines)
Transit is centered on various migrant Filipino workers in Israel after the country enacted a law allowing the deportation of children. First time director Hannah Espia, according to Variety, helmed a “gracefully directed and inventively edited pic” that is reflective of today’s issues on identity, migration and family.
2. The Butterfly’s Dream (Turkey)
Set in Turkey during the 1940s, The Butterfly’s Dream follows two friends who make a living out of publishing their poems at a time when World War II is affecting the world.
3. Wadjda (Saudi Arabia)
One of the films with solid Oscar buzz is Haifaa al-Mansour’s Wadjda. The film is about a young girl and her quest to raise money in order to buy a green bike. It’s a story of many firsts — it’s the first film made by a female Saudi director; and it’s Saudi Arabia’s first submission to the Oscars’ best foreign language film category. It’s also already garnered numerous awards in Film Festivals worldwide.
4. Heli (Mexico)
Winning best director at the Palm d’Or competition in this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Amat Escalante’s Heli follows “a young Mexican girl’s dreams of marrying a handsome police cadet… dashed as her family contends with drug-related gang violence.” via Rotten Tomatoes
5. Metro Manila (United Kingdom)
A story about a farming couple from the Philippine countryside moving south to its the gritty capital, Metro Manila “boasts the stock characters and situations, sentimentality, foreshadowing and melodrama of soap opera. Yet by cleverly blending these ingredients with those of an action caper, the pic presents a fresher appeal.” via Variety.
6. Stalingrad (Russia)
As per the video description: “The plot is based on “a dramatic love story against the backdrop of a grand battle”. The action takes place in 1942 when the German troops occupied the bank of the Volga river. Having failed while attempting to cross the Volga and launch a counter-offensive on the German army, the Soviet troops were forced to retreat. However, a few soldiers managed to get to the shore of the enemy. They remain in the minority, and hide in a coastal house, where they met a girl. The Germans occupied her home, and she did not have time to leave the front line. Against the backdrop of the most bloody battle in the mankind history develops a love story, and from that moment the soldiers have to protect this girl at any cost.”
Stalingrad is a war movie that is the first Russian film produced in complete 3D; and is also the first Russian and non-American film produced in IMAX format.
7. The Rocket (Australia)
The story of a boy believed to be a curse yet leads his family to a new home, The Rocket took the Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor and the Audience Award at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Spoken in Lao. It is the official entry of Australia to the Academy’s.
8. The Great Beauty (Italy)
“Jep Gambardella (the dazzling Toni Servillo, Il Divo and Gomorrah) has been a permanent fixture in Rome’s literary and social circles since the legendary success of his one and only novel. Armed with a roguish charm, he has seduced his way through the city’s lavish night life for decades, but when his 65th birthday coincides with a shock from the past, Jep finds himself unexpectedly taking stock of his life, turning his cutting wit on himself and his contemporaries, and looking past the extravagant nightclubs, parties, and cafés to find Rome in all its glory: a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty.” via Rotten Tomatoes
9. The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Award-winning Cambodian documentary filmmaker Rithy Panh crafts another masterpiece in The Missing Picture, recounting the story of his family under the regime of Pol Pot in the 1970’s. Screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival where it won the top prize, the film smartly uses clay figures and elaborate dioramas depicting life before and after Pol Pot’s reign.
Which of these films do you think will win the award? Did you have a film in mind that wasn’t on this list? Please tell us your pick in the comments section below.