Ireland’s Spanish-language Oscar entry made it to the final nine Thursday, as the Academy revealed the shortlisted titles in the race for Best Foreign-Language Film, in yet another mark of the transnational relationships at the heart of film production—and the Academy’s complicated eligibility rules for the category. (Check out the poster for the film below.)
The tender and emotional drama, shot on location in Havana, Cuba, follows 18-year-old Jesus, a hairdresser for a troupe of drag performers, as he reunites with his father, Angel, after a 15-year absence. Despite their clashing points of view, their struggle to understand each other creates an unexpectedly strong bond, and to this “Viva” adds the texture of a place little seen by U.S. viewers in the past half century.
Directed by Paddy Breathnach and written by Mark O’Halloran, “Viva” is executive produced by Benicio del Toro. Magnolia Pictures plans to release the film in U.S. theaters February 5, 2016.