BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
- EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT
From Colombia comes a tale of Karamakate, the last survivor of his tribe.
The film focuses on two journeys he made with scientists. His first journey takes place in 1909, when Karamakate (NIlbio Torres) helps the infected Dr. Theodore Koch-Grunberg (Jan Bijvoet) find a cure in the form of the rare sacred plant the yakruna. The second journey takes place in 1940s, when a now elder Karamakate (Antonio Bolivar) helps American doctor Richard Evan Schults (Brionne Davis) find the yakruna using Koch-Grunberg’s journal.
This film seems to go for a more Apocalypse Now style of storytelling. It takes more artistic liberties to examine the psychology of the characters. The film also has a look at the effects of colonialism on native tribes.
From Turkey comes a dark tale of the need for independence in a world of religious fundamentalism.
After an innocent fling with some boys on a beach escalates into scandal, 5 orphan girls are imprisoned by their religious fundamentalist guardians determined to force them into arranged marriages. All of these sisters have a need for freedom and find ways to get around their oppressive existence. At the centre of the film is their attempts to escape their religious fundamentalist parents.
- SON OF SAUL
For his directorial debut, Poland’s Laszlo Nemes shows a heartbreaking fight for humanity in a world with none.
Saul is a prisoner in Auschwitz, who works the job of disposing of corpses in a gas chamber. When one child survives only to die a few minute later, Saul decides to give the kid a proper burial
From Jordan is a coming of age tale of a boy growing up in the wake of World War One.
Set in 1916 Wadi Rum desert, Theeb (Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat) is an orphan boy descended from a family of pilgrim guides. He survives in the desert thanks to his older brother Hussein (Hussein Salameh Al-Sweihiyeen). One night, they encounter Edward (Jack Fox), an English officer and his Arab guide Marji. They hire Hussein to guide them across the pilgrim trail to a well close to the ottoman track. Despite objections, Theeb follows them.
At first, the mischevious Theeb tries to find out what’s in Edward’s box. But when they come under threat of raiders, Theeb’s forced to grow up too early in order to survive.
- A WAR
From Denmark comes a tale of a soldiers battles in Afghanistan and his family’s journey at home. When Claus M. Pedersen returns from the battlefield, he finds himself on trial for war crimes. Is he guilty of said crime? Did he have no choice?
The film also focuses on his wife’s struggles keeping her family together. She’s especially challenged when Claus’ on trial.
Who Will Win?
It’s Son of Saul.
If there’s anything the academy loves, it’s a holocaust movie. By that, I mean a really good Holocaust movie. There’s a reason they didn’t give any awards to Jacob the Liar and The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas. It still has to deliver on the goods.
And for a directorial debut from Laszlo Nemes delivers big time on goods, not only is it getting critical appraisal and is the surefire favorite for this category, but it also one the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix; the most highly regarded movie award ever.