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Sep 9th 2012, 13:54
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offlineScottferguson
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I loathe best FL category, which has singlehandedly done more to damage the cause of subtitled film in the US than any other factor. Since most moviegoers don't see FL films, what they know comes from the Oscars. And with most of the nominees being mediocre or less films that few people have ever heard of, it adds to their disinterest.


I also loathe it because of the absurd notion that all countries get one film only to submit. It would be like the Olympics saying only Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte would be allowed to swim in any single race.


That said, the politics of the race remain interesting. And this year will feature a battle royale unseen in a long time within a single country.


France other than the US has created more great films, even more than Japan. But it has won in this category only once in the last 30 or so years, which has frustrated them for a long time. I had a meeting 15 years ago with the head of Unifrance in which he tried to get advice on how to change this - I said basically, talk to Italy, and have both countries refuse to submit films for a year. That will get attention.


Anyway, this year France will have at least two strong candidates. (Amour, also a French film, will be submitted by Austrian although not really being Austrian in any meaningful sense).


They are Rust and Bone and Intouchables.


Rust's credentials are strong - it will be in release by Sony Classics, a frequent winner in the category. It could get an acting nomination. Its director previously contender (for A Prophet, although sometimes this works against a candidate). It will be a prime contender for the Cesars (although my guess is that Amour will win; the award is only for French films).


But those for Intouchables are strong as well - a massive hit in France and worldwide ($350 million+), a reasonable success in the US ($9 million so far, bigger than last year's winner A Separation), an appeal mainly to older audiences, similar to the Academy. But the ace in the hole - France owes Harvey Weinstein, its distributor, after The Artist won so big this year, and assuming he pushes hard, that might make the difference. (This opened late last year in France, within the off-calendar year rules making it eligible).


Back on Rust and Bone's side - comedies usually don't fare well with the Academy committee, and R&B might have a better chance of being nominated. But, if nominated, against four more serious and high-quality films (a leap of faith in this category), Intouchables might be the favorite.


Of course, the battle might be intense enough that they end up finding a third film so as not to have to choose between the two.


Anyway, it's going to be interesting.                             

 

Sep 9th 2012, 13:55
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offlineScottferguson
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There have been 13 or so films already designated - if no one else does, I'll start putting them in.

 

Sep 9th 2012, 14:41
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I find it funny that to me, US movies are foreign language movies. Wink

Anyway, I think France should submit Rust & Bone. It has critical acclaim with Marion Cottilard being a front-runner for Best Actress nomination and it helps that now she's a well known international actress.

But on the other hand, Intouchables is a box office hit with good reviews. They're probably having a hard time choosing between these two great possibilities.
No, non riuscirai mai a capire cosa c'è scritto. Ma non importa.
Sep 9th 2012, 15:11
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I think France will choose "The Intouchables". France has a relatively big movie industry and this movie is their chance to say "we're here, we're relevant, audiences in other countries respond to our film-making and care about our product". This is something they can be really proud of, since it combines quality and popularity.

Also, I have to say that I hate it when people treat this category as the art-house ghetto. There is this notion that if the characters don't speak english, the movie must be inaccessible, dark and turgid to be of any quality. In my opinion, that is wrong. Foreign language movies can be good even when they're not "auteur films".
Sep 9th 2012, 15:19
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Outsider - the reason this category confirms this bias is because of the idiotic rules for choosing the movies based on national politics, irrespective of whether they've opened in the US or anyone outside their own country has ever heard of them. The average Joe is going to think, nobody knows about these movies, they're supposed to be the best out there, I'm not missing anything.


I don't like Intouchables, but I want it to be one of the five nominees. I'd like Amour, Rust and Bone, The Kid With a Bike, The Raid: Redemption to be among the contenders - all 2012 US releases, all of which had or will have audiences.

The public's reaction to documentaries turned around after the Academy cleaned up the cellpool that category had become. They need to do it now with the FL branch. 

 

Sep 9th 2012, 15:26
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offlinepacinofan
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Since many American reviewers accused "The Intouchables" of being naive, foolish and even a racist throwback I do not see it being the nominee or easily making it through the FL nomination process. I have doubts any film can beat "Amour" but hope "The Intouchables" is not the film to do so or it will join "Departures", "Tsotsi" and "The Secret in their Eyes" as examples of weak, sentimental films beating much greater ones and making the foreign language film category a continuing embarrassment.
Sep 9th 2012, 15:57
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If it is submitted, my guess is that with the three "at large" selections beyond the six from the larger committee, it would make the final nine. Making the final five is a crapshoot, although in the past the 30 voters seem to have been chosen in part to represent a more high-end, open to tougher films group. But again, if it makes the final five, where 25% of the voters might be enough to win, who knows?

Intouchables is a huge hit relatively speaking in the US - and its audience is almost entirely older, educated people who are much like Academy members, including those who vote in the final selection (200-400 members).

The French Academy (Cesars) are harder edged than the Academy. The widespread belief is the only reason it didn't win last year is the French didn't want to hurt The Artists chances at the Oscars. 

It's no more reactionary a film than The King's Speech, which did quite nicely with the Academy (they both are reactionary films, although The King's Speech is better written, Intouchables is better directed and acted).      

 

Sep 9th 2012, 15:58
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Quote by ejsalazar77
Since many American reviewers accused "The Intouchables" of being naive, foolish and even a racist throwback I do not see it being the nominee or easily making it through the FL nomination process. I have doubts any film can beat "Amour" but hope "The Intouchables" is not the film to do so or it will join "Departures", "Tsotsi" and "The Secret in their Eyes" as examples of weak, sentimental films beating much greater ones and making the foreign language film category a continuing embarrassment.
Have you seen Amour (serious question - just wondering)? Words like "sentimental," "easily digestible," or "crowd-pleasing" probably help more than they hurt considering the way these nominees are selected and given a rating.
Sep 9th 2012, 16:08
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Quote by ejsalazar77
Since many American reviewers accused "The Intouchables" of being naive, foolish and even a racist throwback I do not see it being the nominee or easily making it through the FL nomination process. I have doubts any film can beat "Amour" but hope "The Intouchables" is not the film to do so or it will join "Departures", "Tsotsi" and "The Secret in their Eyes" as examples of weak, sentimental films beating much greater ones and making the foreign language film category a continuing embarrassment.


A racist throwback? Wow, that's a bit over the top.

I'm glad to see you posting again (please don't stop, your posts have always been interesting) and I'm sorry for writing something negative, but this is the kind of mindset I hate. Reviewers think a movie in a language other than english is good only when it's an art movie that doesn't let the audience in. "The Descendants" had good reviews, but if it was in French, critics would dismiss it as slight and trite. It seems you gain more respect by being darker, weird and inaccessible.

I consider myself an average moviegoer and I guess I feel a little frustrated that if you have sentiment and relatable characters, you are considered weak and unworthy. If you don't let people in and make them want to slit their wrists at the end like "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" or "A Prophet", you are considered brilliant and important.
Sep 9th 2012, 16:08
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I have yet to see "Amour" so I am basing my post on reviews and awards from film festivals at this point. Maybe I will agree with the raves and maybe not but whether I lie it or not it is a greatly acclaimed and important film. I had chances to see "The Intouchables" but the reviews made it a DVD choice for me rather than something to see in the theatre.

Many sentimental films have been foreign film nominees and winners but most films in the category have yet to be released in the U.S. before the nominations (ex. "Departures"). In the case of "The Intouchables" it has been released in the U.S. and the reviews were good for the actors but very negative for the film itself. I cannot think of a winner for best foreign language film that has ever overcome such weak American reviews. There are many examples of little known foreign film winners beating much more universally acclaimed films (say "Mediterraneo" beating "Raise the Red Lantern") but I cannot think of a film winning after being poorly reviewed by the major critics.

Sep 9th 2012, 16:12
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Quote by outsider
Quote by ejsalazar77
Since many American reviewers accused "The Intouchables" of being naive, foolish and even a racist throwback I do not see it being the nominee or easily making it through the FL nomination process. I have doubts any film can beat "Amour" but hope "The Intouchables" is not the film to do so or it will join "Departures", "Tsotsi" and "The Secret in their Eyes" as examples of weak, sentimental films beating much greater ones and making the foreign language film category a continuing embarrassment.


A racist throwback? Wow, that's a bit over the top.

I'm glad to see you posting again (please don't stop, your posts have always been interesting) and I'm sorry for writing something negative, but this is the kind of mindset I hate. Reviewers think a movie in a language other than english is good only when it's an art movie that doesn't let the audience in. "The Descendants" had good reviews, but if it was in French, critics would dismiss it as slight and trite. It seems you gain more respect by being darker, weird and inaccessible.

I consider myself an average moviegoer and I guess I feel a little frustrated that if you have sentiment and relatable characters, you are considered weak and unworthy. If you don't let people in and make them want to slit their wrists at the end like "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" or "A Prophet", you are considered brilliant and important.


I have not seen "The Intouchables" yet so I am only addressing things I have read in various reviews and "racist throwback" certainly describes the feelings of some critics I have read. When I see the movie I will see if I agree with that assessment.
Sep 9th 2012, 18:55
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Quote by outsider
Reviewers think a movie in a language other than english is good only when it's an art movie that doesn't let the audience in. "The Descendants" had good reviews, but if it was in French, critics would dismiss it as slight and trite. It seems you gain more respect by being darker, weird and inaccessible.

I consider myself an average moviegoer and I guess I feel a little frustrated that if you have sentiment and relatable characters, you are considered weak and unworthy. If you don't let people in and make them want to slit their wrists at the end like "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" or "A Prophet", you are considered brilliant and important.


I disagree with that. How is "A Separation" unaccessible, for example? Some of Almodovar's most acclaimed films aren't dark. Critics actually aplauded when France went with "Persepolis", and that's not a challenging film. And there are many other examples of this in the past too, like say, Jacques Tati. It has nothing to do with whether it's in english or not. It's that the quality of the selections for Foreign Language films has dropped considerably, yes. Countries now go with the more sentimental and accessible choice regardless of it being a good film or not. Because this system just doesn't work.

I haven't seen "Intouchables", but I'm not interested, and it has nothing to do with populist appeal. It's the fact it doesn't seen like it does anything with it's premise that I haven't seem done before much better in dozens of superior films. I could be wrong, but nothing I've seen or read about the film has lead to expect any differently so far.
Sep 9th 2012, 21:41
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It's basically Father's Day meets Driving Miss Daisy.

It is material that was stale in the US 20 years ago. European racial attitudes, despite their protestation to the contrary, are not as advanced as ours.

It isn't really racist, but it is very retrograde.

Omar Sy gave a compelling lead performance that made his character more human, and is certainly going to be a big star (he is already), but the film is nothing new except for its setting.      

 

Sep 10th 2012, 04:55
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The official list of submissions:

Afghanistan: "The Patience Stone". Director: Atiq Rahimi. Language: Persian.

Albania: "Pharmakon". Director: Joni Shanaj. Language: Albanian.

Algeria: "Zabana!". Director: Said Ould Khefila. Languages: Arabic, French.

Argentina: "Clandestine Childhood". Director: Benjamin Aliva. Language: Spanish.

Armenia: "If Only Everyone". Director: Nataliya Belyauskene. Languages: Armenian, Russian.  

Australia: "Lore". Director: Cate Shortland. Language: German.

Austria: "Amour". Director: Michael Haneke. Language: French.

Azerbaijan: "Buta". Director: Ilgar Najaf. Language: Azeri.

Bangladesh: "Ghetoputra Amola". Director: Humayun Ahmed. Language: Bengali.

Belgium: "Our Children". Director: Joachim Lafosse. Language: French.

Bosnia and Herzegovina
: "Children of Sarajevo". Director: Aida Begić. Language: Bosnian.

Brazil: "The Clown". Director: Selton Mello. Language: Portuguese.

Bulgaria: "Sneakers". Director: Valeri Yordanov. Language: Bulgarian.

Cambodia: "Lost Loves". Director: Chhay Bora. Language: Khmer.

Canada: "War Witch". Director: Kim Nguyen. Languages: French, Lingala.

Chile: "No". Director: Pablo Larrain. Language: Spanish.

China
: "Caught in the Web". DIrector: Chen Kaige. Language: Mandarin Chinese.

Colombia
: "El Cartel de los Sapos". Director: Carlos Moreno. Language: Spanish.

Croatia: "Cannibal Vegetarian". Director: Branko Schmidt. Language: Croatian.

Czech Republic: "In the Shadows". Director: David Ondricek. Languages: Czech, German.

Denmark: "A Royal Affair". Director: Nikolaj Arcel. Language: Danish.

Dominican Republic: "Check Mate". Director: Jose Maria Cabral. Language: Spanish.

Estonia: "Mushrooming". Director: Toomas Hussar. Language: Estonian.

Finland: "Purge". Director: Antti Jokinen. Language: Finnish.

France: "The Intouchables". Directors: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano. Language: French.

Georgia: "Keep Smiling". Director: Rusudan Chkonia. Language: Georgian.

Germany: "Barbara". DIrector: Christian Petzold. Language: German.

Greece: "Unfair World". Director: Filippos Tsitos. Language: Greek.

Greenland: "Inuk". Director: Mike Magidson. Language: Greenlandic.

Hong Kong: "Life Without Principle". Director: Johnnie To. Language: Cantonese.

Hungary
: "Just the Wind". Director: Benedek Fliegauf. Language: Hungarian.

Iceland: "Deep". Director: Baltasar Kormakur. Language: Icelandic.

India: "Barfi!". Director: Anurag Basu. Language: Hindi.

Indonesia: "Tiny Dancer". Director: Ifa Isfansyah. Languages: Indonesian, Banyumasan

Israel
: "Fill the Void". Director: Rama Burshtein. Language: Hebrew.

Italy: "Caeser Must Die". Directors: Paolo & Vittorio Taviani. Language: Italian.

Japan: "Our Homeland". DIrector: Yong-hi Yang. Language: Japanese.

Kazakhstan: "Myn Bala". Director: Akan Satayev. Language: Kazahk.

Kenya: "Nairobi Half Life". Director: David 'Tosh' Gitonga. Language: Swahili.

Latvia: "Gulf Stream Under the Iceberg". Director: Yevgeni Paschkevich. Language: Russian.

Lithuania: "Ramin". Director: Audrius Stonys. Language: Georgian.

Macedonia: "The Third Half". Director: Darko Mitrevski. Languages: Macedonian, German, Bulgarian.

Mexico: "After Lucia". Director: Michel Franco. Language: Spanish.

Morocco: "Death for Sale". Director: Faouzi Bensaidi. Language: Arabic.

Netherlands: "Kauwboy". Director: Boudewijn Koole. Language: Dutch.

Norway: "Kon-Tiki". DIrectors: Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg. Language: Norwegian.

Palestinian Territories: "When I Saw You". Director: Annemarie Jacir. Language: Arabic.

Peru: "The Bad Intentions". Director: Rosario Garcia-Montero. Language: Spanish.

Philippines
: "Bwakaw". Director: Jun Lana. Language: Tagalog.

Poland: "80 Million". Director: Waldemar Krzystek. Language: Polish.

Portugal: "Blood of My Blood". Director: Joan Canijo. Language: Portuguese.

Romania: "Beyond the Hills". Director: Cristian Mungiu. Language: Romanian.

Russia: "White Tiger". Director: Karen Shakhnazarov. Language: Russian.

Serbia
: "When Day Breaks". Director: Goran Paskalijević. Language: Serbian.

Slovakia: "Made in Ash". Director: Iveta Grofova. Languages: Slovak, German, Czech.

Slovenia: "A Trip". Director: Nejc Gazvoda. Language: Slovene.

South Africa: "Little One". Director: Darrell Roodt. Language: Afrikaans.

South Korea: "Pieta". Director: Kim Ki-duk. Language: Korean.

Spain: "Blancanieves". Director: Pablo Berger. Language: no dialogue (intertitles in Spanish).

Sweden: "The Hypnotist". Director: Lasse Hallstrom. Language: Swedish.

Switzerland: "Sister". Director: Ursula Meier. Language: French.

Taiwan: "Touch of the Light". Director: Chang Rong-ji. Language: Mandarin Chinese.

Thailand: "Headshot". Director: Pen-Ek Ratanaruang. Language: Thai.

Turkey: "Where the Fire Burns". Director: Ismail Gunes. Language: Turkish.

Ukraine: "Firecrosser". Director: Mykhailo Illienko. Language: Russian.

Uruguay: "The Delay". Director: Rodrigo Pla. Language: Spanish.

Venezuela: "Rock, Paper, Sccisors". Director: Hernan Jabes. Language: Spanish.

Vietnam: "The Scent of Burning Grass". Nguyen Huu Mói. Language: Vietnamese. 

Updated on September, 22nd: Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mexico, Norway, Palestinian Territories, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea and Switzerland. 

Updated on September, 26th: Albania, Algeria, Chile, Estonia, Georgia, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Thailand, Vietnam. 

The final update: Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, China, Greenland, Latvia, Lithania, Peru, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, Uruguay. 
Sep 10th 2012, 05:06
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From these movies I saw: "80 Million" (boring), "Amour" (nothing to write home about), "Kauwboy" (lovely), "The Hypnotist" (hot mess) and "Just the Wind" (decent).