Friday, February 02, 2007
Foreign Language Motion Picture Nominees
Nominees for the Best Motion Picture in a Foreign Language for 2006, listed by country with director:
Algeria, DAYS OF GLORY (Indigènes), Rachid Bouchareb;
Canada, WATER, Deepa Mehta;
Denmark, AFTER THE WEDDING, Susanne Bier;
Germany, THE LIVES OF OTHERS, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck;
Mexico, PAN'S LABYRINTH, Guillermo del Toro.
Other foreign-language movies that made the final cut for possible nomination but were not nominated, listed in alphabetical order by country with director:
France, AVENUE MONTAIGNE, Daniele Thompson;
Spain, VOLVER, Pedro Almodovar;
Switzerland, VITUAS, Fredi M. Murer;
The Netherlands, The Netherlands, BLACK BOOK, Paul Verhoeven.
Nominated Best Motion Picture in a Foreign Language for 2006, listed by title and with some detail:
AFTER THE WEDDING (Denmark, Efter brylluppet), Susanne Bier, director / co-writer A manager of an orphanage in Denmark is sent to Copenhagen, where he discovers a life-altering family secret.
DAYS OF GLORY (Algeria, Indigènes), Rachid Bouchareb, director / co-writer. During WWII, four North African men enlist in the French army to liberate that country from Nazi oppression, and to fight French discrimination.
PAN'S LABYRINTH (Mexico, El Laberinto del Fauno), Guillermo del Toro, director / writer / producer. A young girl travels with her pregnant mother to live with her mother's new husband in a rural area of northern Spain in 1944. Franco's fascist repression is at its height in Spain and the girl must come to terms with it through her imaginary world. This movie is NOT for children.
THE LIVES OF OTHERS (Germany, Das Leben der Anderson), Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, director / writer). This is Von Donnersmarck's debut movie, which focuses on the horrifying, sometimes unintentionally funny former East Germany, set in the 1980s.
WATER (Canada), Deepa Mehta, director / writer. The plight of a group of widows forced into poverty at a temple in the holy city of Varanasi. It focuses on a relationship between one of the widows, who wants to escape the social restrictions imposed on widows, and a man who is from a lower caste and a follower of Mahatma Gandhi.
Mimi Comments - -
LABYRINTH reminds me of Spanish director Victor Erice's THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE, (El Espíritu de la colmena, 1973) in which two young sisters, also in Franco's rural Spain of the 1940s, set out to find the Frankenstein monster after a traveling picture show visits their small town. One sister, played by Ana Torrent in her movie debut, finds only an army deserter, despite all her fantasizing about the monster Mary Shelley created within her own imagination. The late great Fernando Fernan Gomez plays Ana's detached bee-keeping father. Actually, the entire family is never seen together, leading the viewer to speculate if the family is also imaginary. If you can, rent the DVD.
I really think this category should be called Best Motion Picture in a Foreign Language. I once had a professor in film school who constantly reminded us that film is the physical material that facilitates the process of making a motion picture so that it may be exhibited. That was before video tape, digital, or computer generated images (CGI). The award IS given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, not the Academy of Film Arts and Sciences.
Furthermore, is it necessary to attach "film" to the categories? Why not Best Animated Short, Best Animated Feature, Best Live Action Short, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, etc. The use of "film" is superfluous in all the categories except, Achievement in Film Editing. That is, if anyone actually edits using film stock anymore. Think about it.