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Top 12 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Submissions

Top 12 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Submissions

Those who follow our content know that the Best Foreign
Language Film race is one of the ones we follow closely, if not the closest.
Tomorrow morning the five nominees for the Academy Award in this category will
be announced bringing the months long journey to an end. The real climax will
happen once the winner is announced in February, but for the five lucky finalists, a nomination is already a miraculous feat. It has been a long road in
which many factors besides the quality of the films come into play.

The first few submissions were announced in mid-August and
from that point on dozens of countries selected a film to participate. That’s
the first cut. Each film had to compete against all the other eligible films
released in their respective country that year. In some cases the competition
might be slight, but in territories with a sizable film industry the selection process is not as clear-cut.

Once the submission deadline arrived, a total of 83 nations
had submitted an entry – a record number. Several entries came from countries
submitting for the first time. Out of those 83 films I personally managed to
watch a little over 60 via festivals, screenings, and screeners. I was able to
chat with about 30 of the films’ directors and learn about their personal stories and
how differently they each approach the filmmaking process.  Every year this is really a lesson on
artistic diversity, industry development, and political and social sensitivities
from across the globe. It’s truly amazing.

There were many great and memorable films among the entries
I was able to watch and I hope all of them get distributions deals eventually.
However, as with everything, we all have our favorites. The 12 films listed
below are some of the best cinematic works I witness in the past year overall,
not only among those in a foreign language. Several of them are among
my ten favorite films of the year and others are included in my longer year-end
list. “Timbuktu,” “Gett,” “White God,” and hopefully “Tangerines” will be among
my 2015 favorites.

It has been a great year for World Cinema. Go out there and
see these films. They are all incredible works of art each in its own right.

READ MORE: Carlos Aguilar’s Top 60 Films of 2014

READ MORE: 83 Submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award

ARGENTINA

Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes) 
Dir:
  Damián Szifrón
Language:  Spanish 
U.S Distribution:  Sony Pictures Classics 
ISA:  Film Factory Entertainment 
TRAILER
Where to Watch? The film will screen at Sundance 2015 in the Spotlight section later this month. It will open theatrically on  February 20, 2015. Wild Tales” will also be the Miami International Film Festival’s Opening Night Film on March 6, 2015. 

READ MORE: Sydney Levine’s Feature Piece on “Wild Tales”

BELGIUM

Two Days, One Night (Deux jours, une nuit)
Dir:
 Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne
Language: French/Arabic
U.S Distribution: 
Sundance Selects
ISA:  Wild Bunch
TRAILER
Where to Watch? Currently playing in NYC (opened Dec. 24, 2014) and L.A. (Opened January 9, 2015)

READ MORE: The Dardenne Brothers on “Trow Days, One Night” and Marion Cotillard

CANADA

Mommy 
Dir:
 Xavier Dolan
Language: 
French/English 
U.S Distribution: 
Roadside Attractions 
ISA: Seville International 
TRAILER
Where to Watch?
Opens Friday January 23, in L.A. and NYC

ESTONIA

Tangerines (Mandariinid)
Dir:
 Zaza Urushadze
Language: Estonian/Russian
U.S Distribution: None Yet
ISA: Cinemavault
TRAILER
Where to Watch?
The film doesn’t a U.S. distribution deal yet. Hopefully the attention given by both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards will change that soon.

HUNGARY

White God (Fehér isten)
Dir:
 Kornél Mundruczó
Language: Hungarian/English
U.S Distribution: Magnolia Pictures 
ISA: The Match Factory
TRAILER
Where to Watch?  As part of the Spotlight section the film will screen at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The theatrical release is scheduled for March 27, 2015.

READ MORE: Kornel Mundruczo on “White God”


ISRAEL

Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Gett: Le Procès de Viviane Amsalem)
Dir:
 Ronit Elkabetz & Shlomi Elkabetz
Language:  Hebrew/French/Arabic 
U.S Distribution: Music Box Films 
ISA: Films Distribution 
TRAILER
Where to Watch? Opens in L.A. and NYC on February 13, 2015

READ MORE: Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz on “Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amalem”

LATVIA

Rocks in My Pockets (Akmeņi manās kabatās)
Dir:
 Signe Baumane 
Language: Latvian
U.S Distribution: Zeitgeist Films  
ISA: New Europe Film Sales
TRAILER
Where to Watch? The film still has a few theatrical engagements around the country, which can be found on the distributor’s site. It will also be released on DVD and digital platforms on January 29, 2015.

READ MORE: Sydney Levine’s Feature Piece on “Rocks in My Pockets”

MAURITANIA

Timbuktu 
Dir:
 
Abderrahmane Sissako
Language:
 French/Arabic/Bambara/English/Songhay/Tamasheq
U.S Distribution: Cohen Media Group 
ISA: Le Pacte
TRAILER
Where to Watch?
Opens in NYC January 28, 2015 and in L.A. January 30, 2015


POLAND

Ida
Dir:
 
Pawel Pawlikowski
Language:
 Polish
U.S Distribution: Music Box Films 
ISA: Portobello Film Sales
TRAILER
Where to Watch? Available on Blu-ray/DVD and digital platforms. It’s also available for instant streaming for Netflix subscribers.

READ MORE: Pawel Pawlikowski on “Ida”

READ MORE: Review – “Ida”


RUSSIA

Leviathan (Левиафан)
Dir:
 
Andrey Zvyagintsev
Language: 
Russian
U.S Distribution: 
Sony Pictures Classics 
ISA: 
Pyramide International 
TRAILER
Where to Watch? Currently playing in NYC (Opened Dec. 25, 2014) and L.A. (Opened Dec. 31, 2014)

READ MORE: Andrey Zvyagintsev on “Leviathan”


SWEDEN

Force Majeure (Turist) 
Dir:
 Ruben Östlund
Language: Swedish/English
U.S Distribution: Magnolia Pictures 
ISA: Coproduction Office (Paris)
TRAILER
Where to Watch?
Still playing in select theaters around the country. It will be released on Blu-ray/DVD and digital platforms on February 10, 2015. 

READ MORE: Ruben Östlund and Johannes Kuhnke on “Force Majeure”

TURKEY

Winter Sleep (Kis uykusu)
Dir:
 Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Language: Turkish/English
U.S Distribution: Adopt Films 
ISA: Memento Films International
TRAILER
Where to Watch? Currently playing in NYC (Opened Dec. 19, 2014). The film opens in select theaters around the country on January 16, 2015 and in L.A. on January 23, 2015.

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