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OSCAR ODDS: The Great Beauty, Child’s Pose, The Past and Gloria

OSCAR ODDS: The Great Beauty, Child’s Pose, The Past and Gloria

Among all the national Oscar ® submissions for consideration, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) will nominate 5 on January
16, 2014 to compete for Best Foreign Language Film. One of those five films will receive the Oscar ® for Best Non-English-feature at the Oscar ® Awards March 2, 2014 in the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

Read more about all the 76 Best Foreign Language Film Submission for the 2014 Academy Awards

At this point (and I have not seen all the films yet), I predict the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar going to The Great Beauty,Child’s Pose or Gloria. Those are three of my
four favorites thus far. The Past, while worthy most likely will not repeat Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar 2011 win for A Separation.

Child’s Pose

I am amazed to see that no Romanian film ever even made it to the 5
Nominations level and yet their films are internationally acclaimed and
Child’s Pose carries on the tradition of great filmmaking that Romania has established in recent years. A scathing indictment of the
complacent bourgeois nouveau riche classes in Romania, this
film leaves no doubt in our mind of how far one can go to protect a
really ugly new
society. The very strength of the film may make it too “high-brow”
for the Academy, although it did award another “high-brow” movie when
the Oscar went to
Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation in 2011, but at that time, there were political motivations as well for awarding the Oscar to a dissident
Iranian. If Child’s Pose does not receive a nomination however, I will attribute that to my aforesaid judgement.

Child’s Pose
producer Ada Solomon gave a speech at the Berlinale Awards Ceremony
Closing Night where the film won The Golden Bear, which deserves an
award itself.
Starting with the comment that she is more used to fighting than to
winning, she pointedly thanked not only those who helped her but also
those who did not
help her whose resistance to her making this film made her stronger
and more powerful. She pointed out the great need to have equal
representation of women
in the ranks of directors and producers as well, a theme which has
been expressed repeatedly during this festival in many forms. (

Read Melissa Silverstein’s blog on the joint meeting of women’s
films festivals initiated in Berlin by The International Women’s Film
Dortmund|Cologone and the Athena Film Festival entitled “You
Cannot Be Serious”

in which women from many countries discussed the statistics and the
status of women directors and other positions in the industry and
continued the
creation of a worldwide network pushing towards a more level playing
field. Check out

The International Women’s Film Festival Network

for more information).

Child’s Pose
, good in the vein of A Separation, went head to head in Berlin with the Chilean
critic’s choice,


whose star Paulina Garcia, won the Best Actress Award. Could have
gone both ways and so it could again for the Oscar. The two older women
were both great.

By the way, Gloria was produced by


, the Chilean company of the Lorrain Brothers who produced Academy Award winner in 2012 No as well as Crystal Fairy by Sebastian Silva.

Jay Weissberg of


describes Child’s Pose best as a “dissection of monstrous motherly love” and a “razor-sharp jibe at Romania’s nouveau riche
(the type is hardly confined to one country), a class adept at
massaging truths and ensuring that the world steps aside when conflict

Regarding Asghar Farhadi’s The Past,
one of my three
favorites, it is masterful how Asghar Farhadi can take a simple
domestic drama – divorce, remarriage, children, step-parents – and based
on one simple
miss-step (a white lie in A Separation and a forwarding of emails in The Past), he weaves a surprising and suspenseful
web whose strands the audience only unravels after it has fully and seemingly effortlessly played itself out.

When I saw A Separation, the Iranian exoticism
initially carried it forward, and it was only at its final note played
that I realized a
simple lie and a few misstatements caused the greatest grief for the
most innocent player of the family’s drama. The daughter was left to
suffer from the
well-meaning white lies of adults and that was the ensuing tragedy
of the film. In this film (The Past), it is the daughter who must bear
the responsibility when things get complicated.

The story goes thus: Following a four year separation, Ahmad (Ali
Mosaffa) returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his estranged French wife
Marie (Bérénice
Bejo)’s request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure so she
can marry her new boyfriend Samir (Tahar Rahim). During his tense brief
stay, Ahmad
discovers the conflicting nature of Marie’s relationship with her
teenage daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet). Ahmad’s efforts to improve this
soon unveil a secret from their past, and the highly charged
revelations affecting every character in Mr. Farhadi’s complex
screenplay unfold with his
trademark nuance. Once again he showcases his gifts as a masterful
storyteller and director who elicits riveting performances from his

The Past,
written and directed by Asghar Farhadi and starring Bérénice Bejo,
Tahar Rahim and Ali Mosaffa opens in New York and Los Angeles on
December 20, 2013.
After playing Cannes, it went on to play at Telluride, Toronto and
AFI Film Festivals.

Not only did The Past win the Cannes Film Festival Prize for Best Actress (Bérénice Béjo), but Asghar Farhadi’s previous film A Separation won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011. For that reason alone, I do not think it will win the Award
this year even if it makes it to the 5 top nominated films.

41 year-old writer-director Asghar Farhadi graduated with a Master’s
Degree in Film Direction from Tehran University in 1998. He had won the
Berlin Film
Festival’ Golden Bear for Best Director for About Elly. The Past is his sixth feature.

Argentinian-born and Paris-based actress Bérénice Béjo was last seen in
her Academy nominated role as Peppy Miller in Best Picture Oscar winner The Artist directed by Michel Hazanavicius. Following her César-nominated breakout role in Gérard Jugnot’s Most Promising Young Actress, Béjo made her American feature film debut in Brian Helgeland’s A Knight’s Tale, starring
Heath Ledger. Béjo is currently in production on director Michel Hazanavicius’ new film, The Search.

One of French cinema’s young rising stars, Tahar Rahim is best known to
U.S. audiences for his indelible performance in Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet, for which he won both Best Actor and Best Male Newcomer Césars, as well as the European Film Award for Best Actor.

See SydneysBuzz

Review of The Past


I won’t reiterate my love for the inspirational and awesome film The Great Beauty because you can read about that in my

Interview with Paulo Sorrentino the Director of The Great Beauty

and for the fabulously self-affirming Gloria which you can read in my

Interview with Sebastian Lelio Director of ‘Gloria’ and Star Paulina Garcia


Below you can list of rights sold to all these four
great films. Note who are the smart distributors buying these art films
so that when you make such a
film, you will know who will be watching. And for more rights to more films, buy the Rights Roundup Reports by SydneysBuzz for each great festival and market HERE.

The Past

MPAA Rating: Not yet rated | Running time: 130 min.

French and Persian with English subtitles

International sales by Memento sold to

Australia-Madman Entertainment

Canada-Métropole Films Distribution

Canada-Mongrel Media Inc.

Denmark-Angel Films A/S

Finland-Cinema Mondo

France-Canal +

France-Memento Films Distribution

Germany-Camino Filmverleih Gmbh

Hong Kong (China)-Golden Scene Company Limited

Israel-Lev Films (Shani Films)

Italy-Bim Distribuzione

Korea (South)-Cac Entertainment

Netherlands-Cinéart Nl


Poland-Kino Swiat

Serbia-Soul Food Distribution

Sweden-Folkets Bio

Switzerland-Frenetic Films

Taiwan-Maison Motion, Inc.

Turkey-Mars Production

U.K.-Curzon Film World/ Artificial Eye

U.S. – SPC/ Airlines – Penny Black Media

Child’s Pose

Zeitgeist Films is handling the U.S. theatrical release of Child’s Pose by Calin Peter Netzer. The film will open at Film Forum in New
York on February 19, and at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles on February 21. A national release will follow.

Golden Bear winner at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, Calin Peter
Netzer’s sharply crafted Child’s Pose pivots on a riveting performance
by Luminita
Gheorghiu (12:08 East of Bucharest; 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days; Beyond the Hills; The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, the
role for
which Los Angeles Film Critics Association awarded her the Best
Supporting Actress award) as a steely, well-to-do Bucharest architect
determined to keep
her 30-something deadbeat son out of jail after a deadly car crash.

MPAA Rating: Not yet rated. / Running time: 112 min.

Romanian with English subtitles

International sales by
Beta Cinema sold to

Australia – Palace Films

Brazil – Imovision

Denmark – Camera Film A/S

Germany – Beta Cinema

Germany – X Verleih Ag

Greece – Seven Films

Italy – Teodora Film

So. Korea – Mediaday

Mexico – Cinemas Nueva Era

Netherlands – Contact Film

Norway – Film&Kino

Norway – Tour De Force As

Poland – Aurora Films

Poland – Transatlantyk Festival

Portugal – Alambique

Slovak Republic – Film Europe (Sk)

Spain – Golem Distribución

Switzerland – Filmcoopi Zurich Ag

Taiwan – Swallow Wings Films Co.,Ltd.

Turkey – Mor Film

The Great Beauty

140 minutes

Italian with English subtitles

International sales agent Pathe sold to

Australia Palace Films

Brazil Mares Filmes Ltda.

Canada Métropole Films Distribution

Denmark Camera Film A/S

France Canal +

Germany Dcm

Hong Kong Edko Films Ltd

Netherlands Abc – Cinemien

Norway As Fidalgo Film Distribution

Russia A-One Films

Slovak Republic Film Europe (Sk)

Switzerland Pathe Films Ag

U.K. Curzon Film World


104 minutes

Spanish with English subtitles

International sales agent Funny Balloons sold to

Australia Rialto Distribution (Australia)

Austria Thimfilm Gmbh

Brazil Imovision

Canada Métropole Films Distribution

Colombia Babilla Cine

France Funny Balloons

Germany Alamode Film

Greece Strada Films

Israel New Cinema Ltd.

Italy Lucky Red

Japan Respect

Korea (South) Pancinema

Netherlands Wild Bunch Benelux

Portugal Alambique

Sweden Atlantic Film Ab

Switzerland Filmcoopi Zurich Ag

Turkey Bir Film

U.K. Network

U.S. Roadside Attractions

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