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Monday
Aug 26 2019

Best International Feature: Parasite,The Whistlers,and Denmark's Hopefuls...

by Nathaniel R

Park So-dam and Choi Woo-sik as con-artist siblings in Parasite (2019)

UPDATED SEPTEMBER 4TH 11:44 AM: The titles competing at the 92nd annual Oscars for Best International Feature are coming at us fast and furious now.亚博主页In the past few days the number has climbed to an "official"31 submissions...with probably 50+ titles still to come.

SOUTH KOREA
It was widely expected that South Korea would select Cannes Palme d'Or WinnerParasiteto represent them but we've been surprised by the country's selection before (why oh why did they pass onThe Handmaidenin its year - argh!).Thankfully they didn't surprise us this year.This is Bong Joon-ho's best movie ever,give or take the also-quite-brilliant but Oscar-shunnedMother(his only other film that was submitted by South Korea) so it would be sweet to see it actually compete for the gold.

Denmark's finalists,Romania's selection,and the official submission chart updates are after the jump...


ROMANIA
Romania shares with South Korea the distinction of being a much lauded/discussed national cinema with no Oscar nominations to show for it.We have Romania to thank,though,for the category's much-improved nature,since it was the uproar about the snubbing of4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days(2007) that got the ball rolling on the executive committee style rule changes.This year they've selected the Cannes titleThe Whistlersfrom Cornelio Porumboiu.It's a heist thriller about a shady cop and a secret whistling language led by the great Romanian actor Vlad Ivanov (Snowpiercer,4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days).Porumboiu is one of Romania's most acclaimed directors.His best known features are12:08 East of Bucharest(2006),The Treasure(2015),and the previous Oscar submissionPolice,Adjective(2009).

DENMARK
They've narrowed it down to three features but won't be deciding between them until September 24th:Queen of Hearts(winner of the World Cinema Audience Award at Sundance) which stars Denmark's frequently-brilliant Trine Dyrholm as a wife having an affair with her stepson,Before the Frosta 19th century drama,andDo you see the moon,Daniel?a true story about a Danish journalist taken hostage by the Islamic State.It's tough to say which of those three it will be butDanielis a true story and it's just opening in Denmark this coming weekend and sometimes newness and trueness helps in these matters regardless of quality (we haven't seen any of the three yet so we have no idea which is most deserving...thoughQueen of Heartsdefinitely has the highest international profile).Denmark is Oscar's pet country at the moment having received 5 nominations,a win,plus two finalists that didn't quite snag a nomination...all in space of the last ten years!

SWEDEN
As previously mentioned on the blogSweden had narrowed down their titles to three featuresand while we initially thought/feared that they wouldn't go with the gay romantic dramaAnd Then We Dancedas their title,they have selected it after all.It's also onthe longlist for the European Film Awards this year.

OFFICIAL SUBMISSIONS + OSCAR CHARTS

Chart 1 -Afghanistan through Georgia

  • Algeria - Papicha (previously covered)
  • Austria - Joy
  • Belgium - Our Mothers
  • Brazil - The Invisible Life of...
  • Cambodia - In the Life of Music
  • Colombia - Monos
  • Croatia - Mali
  • Cuba - A Translator
  • Dominican Republic - The Projectionist
  • Ecuador - The Longest Night
  • Estonia - Truth and Justice
  • Finland - Stupid Young Heart
  • Georgia - Shindisi (previously covered)

  • Here's a fun bit of trivia,Estonia'sTruth or Justice,a 19th century drama about a farmer,comes from a previous Oscar nominee Tanel Toom.He was previously up for Best Short withThe Confession(2010).Truth or Justiceis his first feature so of he lept from acclaimed shorts to a nearly three hour drama.Go big or go home?

    Chart 2 - Germany through Norway

  • Germany - System Crasher
  • Hungary - Those Who Remained
  • Iran - Finding Farideh
  • Japan - Weathering With You
  • Morocco - Adam
  • The Netherlands - Instinct
  • North Macedonia - Honeyland
  • Norway - Out Stealing Horses
  • System Crasherwas the Silver Bear winner at Berlinale and is about a wild 9 year old girl that Child Protection Services can't figure out what to do with.Iran's film is about a Dutch woman who travels to Iran for the first time in search of her biological parents.Japan's is an animated feature from the director ofYour Name!

    Chart 3 - Pakistan through Yemen

  • Palestine - It Must Be Heaven
  • Panama - Everybody Changes
  • Romania - The Whistlers
  • South Korea - Parasite
  • Sweden - And Then We Danced
  • Switzerland - Wolkenbruch's Wondrous Journey Into the Arms of a Shiksa
  • Tunisia - Dear Son
  • Turkey - Commitment
  • Ukraine - Homeward
  • Urugay - The Moneychangers
  • Panama has previously only submitted documentaries to the Oscar competition but this year they went with a drama.Ukraine's title is a drama about a father and son transporting the body of their dead son/brother back to their homeland of Crimea.

    Of the 31 official submissions thus far,the titles from Germany,Palestine,Romania,and The Ukraine are also onthe 46-wide longlist of contenders for the European Film Awards.The title from North Macedonia is on the 12 wide finalist list of contendersfor the European Film Awards Documentary Prize.

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    Reader Comments (20)

    I congratulate you for making this coverage of this category for years.A big applause.

    "Panama has previously only submitted documentaries to the Oscar competition but this year they went with a drama."

    Salsipuedes and Mas que Hermanos (Beyond Brotherhood) are not documentaries,both are dramatic films.

    August 26,2019 | Unregistered Commenterharmodio

    Submitting finding farideh was quite controversial in Iran!
    And selection committee has been accused of nepotism,
    Even Saeed roustai ( thr director of another shortlisted film ) called it a coup!
    Well regardless of it's chance of being nominated or story behind it's selection i'm happy with this fact that at least somebody can hear it's name specially in iran where no one is paying attention to a documentary

    August 27,2019 | Unregistered CommenterAmirfarhang

    Of these I've only seen System Crasher (Official Selection at the Guanajuato International Film Festival),which was not an easy sit and kind of a confusing ending (in terms of what the ultimate message was,if there was one),but it's a rewarding film.

    Nat,do you happen to know if any of these are going to screen at TIFF this year?

    August 27,2019 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

    The real nail-biter is Les Miz vs.Jeune fille.

    August 27,2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

    Is ' The Farewell"eligible?And will it be the USA's first foreign language submission?

    August 27,2019 | Unregistered CommenterBette Streep

    Bette -- the US is not allowed to submit in the category so The Farewell won't be eligible.

    August 27,2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

    Quick note
    On the chart,it says Lebanon has only one nomination in its history.Actually it is two nominations - back to back actually.The Insult (Dir: Ziad Doueiri) in 2017 and Capernaum (Dir: Nadine Labaki) in 2018.Small detail but a matter of great national pride.

    August 27,2019 | Unregistered CommenterTony T

    Belgium submitted Our Mothers,it's a belgian-guatemalan movie,the director is Cesar Diaz,he also has both nationalities,he was the editor of Jayro Bustamante's Ixcanul and Temblores,this is his first feature film.

    It won the Golden Camera at Cannes,it's about the trial of the soldiers who committed a lot of crimes in the civil war of Guatemala in the 70s and 80s,eventually they were accused of genocide.The movie is in Spanish and other Mayan Languages.

    August 27,2019 | Unregistered CommenterLuiserghio

    Brazil has just announced they're going with The Invisible Life Of Eurídice Gusmão

    August 27,2019 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

    I love the Dardennes so I'm a bit sad.

    August 27,2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

    Sweden announces tomorrow according to Wikipedia so I'm crossing my fingers for And Then We Danced.

    Richter Scale - A LOT of the contenders are screening at TIFF.Of the known submissions,The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao (Brazil - if what Cal says above is true),Weathering with You (Japan),It Must Be Heaven (Palestine),The Whistlers (Romania),and South Korea (Parasite) will be there.Of possible submissions,Heroic Losers (Argentina),The Father (Bulgaria),Ema and Spider (Chile),The Painted Bird (Czech Republic),Les Miserables and Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France),La Llorona (Guatemala),The County (Iceland),Martin Eden and The Traitor (Italy),Corpus Christi (Poland),A Herdade (Portugal),Wet Season (Singapore),and While at War and Pain and Glory (Spain) will be there.

    August 27,2019 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

    Spain has also announced their shortlist,with Almodovar's ‘Pain and Glory' (expected),Alejandro Amenabar's Spanish civil war-set ‘While at war' (which won't even open in Spain for another month) and the animated film (a first from Spain,I believe) ‘Buñuel in the labyrinth of the turtles'.They'll announced the chosen film next week...one would expect it'll be Almodovar's but after what happened with ‘Talk to her' who knows?!

    August 27,2019 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

    Evan - Thank you,hopefully I can catch a few of them while I'm over there.

    By the way,Dolor y Gloria (Pain & Glory) is probably Almodóvar's best film since Volver (with the caveat that I also adore La Piel Que Habito (The Skin I Live In)).I can't wait to read what people over here think of it.

    August 27,2019 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

    Yay,Sweden have chosen And Then We Danced.<3

    Adam was also chosen by Morocco and will be at TIFF.

    August 28,2019 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

    If Norway chooses "Out stealing horses",it's not gonna stand a chance of getting nominated.Just saw the film and now I understand,why the critics gave such low points to it at Berlin film festival.

    August 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterKris

    Norway has chosen 3 finalists:
    "Barn"
    "Harajuku"
    "Out stealing horses"
    "Barn"gets it's premiere in Venice on the same day,that Norway announces it's decision,which of the three will represent at Oscars - 3rd of september.亚博主页
    Harajuku was released at the end of 2018 and Out stealing horses got it's premiere at the Berlin Film festival,where it won the cinematography award,but got lousy points in critics voting grid.

    August 30,2019 | Unregistered CommenterKris

    Finland chose "Stupid young heart"(original title "Hölmö nuori sydän") as it's representative in the international film oscar category - producers,writer and director all are female.It premiered in Toronto Film Festival last year and won crystal bear at the Berlin Film Festival as the best film for generation 14+.

    September 2,2019 | Unregistered CommenterKris

    Kris -- but critics results aren't everything.especially in this category.True,it won't be a executive committee save but still...

    September 2,2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

    Yeah,sure Nathaniel.But the norwegian film,although Stellan starred in it and the cinematography was picturesque,but the movie lacked oomph and it was boring and even generic.I find it hard to get anywhere close the nom.But you're right,sometimes the average ones get through the voting.I still doubt,that even the voters give high points to this one.
    Btw,saw the danish Queen of hearts yesterday at the local cinema.Doubt of it's chances too,although the movie ending clicked something in me.Then again,I suppose danes are going to choose "Daniel"anyway...it has more potential at least on paper.Although Trine has some star power and she acted so deep in the QoH.

    September 2,2019 | Unregistered CommenterKris

    Norway selected "Out stealing horses"as expected :(

    September 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterKris

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