And The Oscar for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ goes to…

Manoj Kulkarni

Academy award’s Best International Feature Film or Best Foreign Language Film is the category where the cinema of the countries other than America/English Language keep eying up. Indian films and Indian film lovers too have a stake and interest in this award category.. although only ‘Mother India’ (1957), ‘Salaam Bombay!’ (1988) and ‘Lagaan’ (2001) could make it to the ‘Nominees’ till date. But this award category definitely gives a chance to know about the best of the contemporary cinema being made in the rest of the world. Here Manoj Kulkarni gives a brief review of the films nominated in this category. Manoj Kulkarni is a Film Critic with more than 35 years of experience in Film Journalism, and the writer-editor of ‘Chitrasrushti‘ (magazine/ blog).

’93rd Oscar’ knocking on the door and we are curious about who will win ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ Or ‘Best International Feature Film’. As usual there are five films nominated for this category. In these includes..’Better Days’ (Hong Kong), ‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’ (Bosnia and Herzegovina), ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ (Tunisia), ‘Another Round’ (Denmark) and documentary ‘Collective’ (Romania).

Hong Kong’s ‘Better Days’ (2019) is based on Chinese novel ‘In his youth, In her beauty’ by Jiu Yuexi. It’s about teenage girl who develops unlikely friendship with a mysterious young man who protects her! Lam Wing Sum, Li Yuan & Xu Yimeng wrote the screenplay of it. Famous pretty Zhou Dongyu & dancer-singer Jackson Yee played these roles. Hong Kong’s basically an actor Derek Tsang directed this film!

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s ‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’ (‘Where are you going, Aida’/2020) is a film with war backdrop. Bosnian screenwriter and filmmaker Jasmila Zbanic wrote, co-produced & directed this; which is based on the true story. It shows attempts of UN lady translator to save the lives of her people during Bosnian genocide! Serbian actress Jasna Duricic did this challenging role!

Tunisian film ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ (2020) is inspired from Belgian neo-conceptual artist’s work. It shows the story of Syrian refugee who turns his body into a living work of art and exhibits in a museum. Kaouther Ben Hania wrote-directed in this film Yahya Mahayni portrayed the protagonist!

Whereas Denmark’s Thomas Vinterberg’s film ‘Drunk’ (‘Another Round’/2020) revolves around so called teachers friends who does experiments with alcohol to improve their lives!

Then Romanian documentary ‘Colectiv’ (‘Collective‘/2019) follows efforts of newspaper journalists in investigating fraud and corruptions in health services! Alexander Nanau co-written, co-produced & directed this film!

After watching the glimpses of these films, I have my comments.. ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin‘ is just like satire and recollects Fellini kind surrealism. ‘Drunk‘s plot is very dramatic & its content is not acceptable! ‘Collective‘ is very authentic cinematic work but how come documentary comes in feature film section?

So comparatively other two films are deserving. ‘Quo Vadis, Aida?‘ focusses on the effect of war & reality of struggle for life. And Jasna Duricic portrayed female protagonist sensibly in it! On the other side ‘Better Days‘ shows the contemporary picture of youth. Their frustration, emotions & dreams. We can see such reflections in its Zhou Dongyu & Jackson Yee’s performances. I think these two films have chance to win this award. Especially for second, but on the current world scenario will this film win? However, this deserves! ‘Oscar’ ceremony will be held on 25th April! Best wishes to all these films.

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