Unless you’ve been a regular at a few film festivals or happen to be from the native country, it’s pretty hard to stay on top of all the foreign film Oscar contenders before they get whittled down to the eventual five. But two more movies looking for Oscar gold have just picked up U.S. distribution, giving you a shot to check them out for yourselves.
First up, José Padilha‘s blockbuster “Elite Squad: The Enemy Within” — the highest grossing movie in Brazil of all time — will get a stateside release courtesy of Flatiron Film and Variance Films. The picture, a followup to his Golden Bear winning “Elite Squad,” has been hitting the fest circuit very hard this year, screening at Sundance, Berlin, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Miami and most recently Fantastic Fest. And while critical response has been somewhat cool, Brazil are still hoping it can gain enough traction to get Padilha into the Kodak Theater next February. This time around, the story “centers on the head of Rio’s Special Police Operations Battalion being accused of a massacre when a mission to quell a jail riot ends in the violent death of a gang leader.” ‘The Enemy Within’ will hit theaters in New York and Los Angeles on November 11th and roll out from there.
Meanwhile, up in Canada, they’ve gone with Quebec film “Monsieur Lazhar” as their Oscar hopeful. Written and directed by Philippe Falardeau, this crowd-pleasing dramedy tells the story of an Algerian refugee who lands a teaching job in an elementary school where the students are still recovering from the suicide of their previous teacher. Lessons will be learned. Music Box Films will bring the movie stateside and it will be riding a wave of praise. ‘Lazhar’ picked up the Audience Award at the Locarno Film Festival and earned best Canadian feature honors at TIFF. It will next hit the Festival Du Nouveau Cinema in Montreal, which kicks off on October 12th, before hitting theaters up north on October 28th. No release date yet scheduled in the U.S. [Variety/ScreenDaily]