International Feature Film Oscar Short List

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OscarAcademy Awards has announced short list for several categories including International Feature Film category:

“Another Round” (Denmark) – directed Thomas Vinterberg (Winner of GoE Bridging the Borders Award at 2021 Scandinavian Film Festival LA
Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg
There’s a theory that we should be born with a small amount of alcohol in our blood, and that modest inebriation opens our minds to the world around us, diminishing our problems and increasing our creativity. Heartened by that theory, Martin and three of his friends, all weary high school teachers, embark on an experiment to maintain a constant level of intoxication throughout the workday. If Churchill won WW2 in a heavy daze of alcohol, who knows what a few drops might do for them and their students? After positive initial results, the teachers’ little project turns into a genuine academic study, and the group feels alive again; . but as others go off the rails, it becomes increasingly clear that while alcohol may have fueled great results in world history, some bold acts carry consequences. “The best movie ending of the year”—New York; “An exhilarating, existentialist film about day drinking”—Vox; “One of the director’s most absorbing works”—The New Yorker

Better Days” (Hong Kong) – directed by Derek Tsang
Better Days  is a 2019 Chinese romantic crime film directed by Derek Tsang and starring Zhou Dongyu and Jackson Yee. The film is adapted from the popular Chinese YA novel In His Youth, In Her Beauty by author Jiu Yuexi. It tells a story of a bullied high school girl and a teenage street thug, how both of their lives were changed by each other.[3] The story also discussed their dreams and wishes related to their future and how they protect each other in their own way. The film was released on October 25, 2019, in China, and on November 8, 2019, in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The box office for this film is a total of 227.3 million around the globe. It was selected as the Hong Kong entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards,

“Charlatan” (Czech Republic) – directed by Agnieszka Holland
Charlatan is a 2020 Czech biographical drama directed by Agnieszka Holland. It is about the healer Jan Mikolášek, who cured hundreds of people using plant-based remedies. It was selected as the Czech entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards

Collective” (Romania) – directed by Alexander Nanau
Collective (Romanian: Colectiv) is a 2019 Romanian documentary film directed, written, produced and edited by Alexander Nanau. The film revolves around a group of investigative journalists at a Romanian newspaper in their arduous journey of uncovering public healthcare fraud, corruption and maladministration.

The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on 4 September 2019. It was released in Romania on 28 February 2020, and on 20 November 2020 in other countries, including the UK and USA. It has received critical acclaim from critics, as well as accolades, including from the European Film Awards and the National Society of Film Critics

“Dear Comrades!” (Russia) Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky
Dear Comrades is a 2020 Russian historical drama film about the Novocherkassk massacre produced, co-written and directed by Andrei Konchalovsky. It was entered in competition at the 77th Venice International Film Festival.

“I’m No Longer Here” (Mexico) – directed by Fernando Frias
I’m No Longer Here (Spanish: Ya no estoy aquí) is a 2019 Mexican Spanish-language musical drama film written and directed by Fernando Frías de la Parra. The film stars Juan Daniel Garcia Treviño and Angelina Chen in the lead roles. The script was completed in 2013 and was originally published as a short story before adapted as a full-length feature film. The film was released on 27 February 2020 and received positive reviews from critics. It was also released via Netflix on 27 May 2020 after Netflix unveiled the official trailer on 16 May 2020. The film was also screened in several film festivals including the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and received several awards and nominations in international film festivals

“Hope” (Norway) – directed by Maria Sødahl
Middle-aged couple Anja (Andrea Bræin Hovig) and Tomas (Stellan Skarsgård) have grown independent of one another over their long marriage, working at creative jobs in parallel worlds, with a large blended family of both biological children and stepchildren. But when Anja gets a terminal cancer diagnosis, their modern life breaks down and exposes its neglected love; and alone with her grief and fears, Anja realizes that she needs Tomas’ full help and support, and immediately, to ensure that her children will be able to weather the storm when she is gone. And as they are thrown into a crash course in mutual trust, Anja and Tomas discover each other anew, turning their tragedy into an unexpected love story. Based on the true-life experience of director and screenwriter Maria Sødahl — who returns to cinema after a nine-year hiatus after battling her own terminal cancer diagnosis — Hope is about a couple’s second chance in the midst of crisis, and of finding ways to love life. “Sødahl… is an artist of quiet, disciplined observance”—Screen International

“La Llorona” (Guatemala) – directed by Jayro Bustamante
La Llorona, also known as The Weeping Woman, is a 2019 Guatemalan supernatural horror drama film directed by Jayro Bustamante. It was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. In the 1980s, Guatemalan dictator Enrique Monteverde (based on Efraín Ríos Montt) orchestrated the brutal genocide of native Mayans. Decades later, after being tried and convicted, the guilty verdict is overturned because of a technicality, allowing him to return to his home. The decision is met with disgust and unrest by the public, who hold protests outside the Monteverde home. Despite this, the family lives in relative peace until Enrique’s increasingly erratic and senile behavior forces most of his staff to quit. Shortly afterward, a young woman named Alma arrives as a new worker, and supernatural activity ensues.

“The Mole Agent” (Chile) – directed by Maite Alberdi
The Mole Agent (Spanish: El agente topo) is a 2020 internationally co-produced documentary film directed by Maite Alberdi. It was screened at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition
A private investigator hires an elderly man to go undercover in a nursing home in Chile

“Night of the Kings” (Ivory Coast) – Philippe Lacôte
Night of the Kings (French: La Nuit des rois) is a drama film, directed by Philippe Lacôte and released in 2020.The film is a coproduction of companies from France, Côte d’Ivoire, Canada and Senegal. It was selected as the Ivorian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards, making the shortlist of fifteen films. The film’s cast also includes Isaka Sawadogo, Steve Tientcheu, Rasmané Ouédraogo, Abdoul Karim Konaté, Laetitia Ky and Denis Lavant. Announced in 2017 under the working title Zama King.

“Quo Vadis, Aida?” (Bosnia and Herzegovina) – directed by Jasmila Žbanić
Quo Vadis, Aida? is a 2020 internationally co-produced war drama film written and directed by Jasmila Žbanić.

It was shown in the main competition section of the 77th Venice International Film Festival. The film was selected as the Bosnian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards, making the shortlist of fifteen films. It also won the Audience Award at the 50th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Best International Film Award at the 2021 Gothenburg Film Festival

“Sun Children” (Iran) – directed by Majid Majidi
SUN CHILDREN, Iran’s Oscar entry, directed by Majid Majidi, is the story of 12-year-old ALI and his three friends. Together they work hard to survive and support their families, doing small jobs in a garage and
committing petty crimes to make fast money.

In a turn of events that seems miraculous, Ali is entrusted to find a hidden treasure underground. He recruits his gang, but first, to gain access to the tunnel, the children must enroll at the Sun School, a charitable
institution that tries to educate street kids and child laborers, close to where the treasure is located.

“Two of Us” (France) – directed by Filippo Meneghetti
Nina and Madeleine, two retired women, are secretly deeply in love for decades. From everybody’s point of view, including Madeleine’s family, they are simply neighbours living on the top floor of their building. They come and go between their two apartments, sharing the tender delights of everyday life together. Until the day their relationship is turned upside down by an unexpected event leading Madeleine’s daughter to slowly unveil the truth about them.

“A Sun” (Taiwan) – directed by Chung Mong-hong
A family of four fractures under the weight of unmet expectations, unexpected tragedy, and uncompromising pride.

“The Man Who Sold His Skin” (Tunisia)
The Man Who Sold His Skin is a 2020 internationally co-produced drama film directed by Kaouther Ben Hania. Its plot was inspired by Belgian contemporary artist Wim Delvoye’s living work Tim (2006). It was selected as the Tunisian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards, making the shortlist of fifteen films.
Raqqa fiancées Sam and Abeer are separated by the Syrian Civil War. While he seeks refuge in Lebanon, her family forces her to marry a richer man and move with him to Brussels. In the desperate pursuit of money and the needed paperwork to travel to Europe to rescue her, Sam accepts to have his back tattooed as a Schengen visa by one of the most controversial contemporary artists in the West. His own body turned into a living work of art and promptly exhibited in a museum, Sam will soon realize to have sold away more than just his skin.

Another amazing international film that won our Bridging The Borders Award at 2020 Palm Springs ShortFest and is in the Oscar shortlist for the Short Film Live Action, is The Present from Palestine directed by Farah Nabulsi.

On his wedding anniversary, Yusef and his daughter, Yasmine, set out in the West Bank to buy his wife a gift. Between the soldiers, segregated roads and checkpoints, how easy would it be to go shopping?

 

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