Among the foreign-language titles on display at Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York are many titles that will wind up in the foreign Oscar race as their countries choose their final official submissions. The Germans are painstakingly narrowing their list.
The Italians and French won’t make their picks until September. Will these countries go with Nanni Moretti’s “Mia Madre,” or Jacques Audiard’s Palme d’Or-winner “Dheepan”? Will Turkey pick festival hit “Mustang” or Brazil “The Second Mother” or Colombia “The Embrace of the Serpent”?
Hungary has already picked Cannes prize-winner “Son of Saul” (Sony PIctures Classics), which is expected to play Telluride as well as Toronto and New York (trailer below). Romania’s Berlin Silver-Bear winner “Aferim!,” a 19th century drama directed by Radu Jude, is also playing TIFF. (Big World has U.S. rights.) Bosnia and Herzegovina selected Sarajevo world premiere, Ines Tanovic’s post-war drama “Our Everyday Life.” (Trailer below.)
New news: Kazakhstan has selected Yermek Tursunov’s sixth feature, “Stranger,” which has its world premiere in the Contemporary World Cinema section. Tursunov was shortlisted for Best Foreign Film in 2010 with his film “Kelin,” a dialog-less drama about the abduction of a young nomad woman.
His films, like 2012 TIFF world premiere and Oscar submission “Shal,” show how Kazakhs eke out a living on harsh steppes, close to nature. (This movie bears some resemblance to Jean-Jacques Annaud’s upcoming release “Wolf Totem,” which is also about the risks of interfering with the wild wolf population.)
With “Stranger,” Tursunov continues exploring the lives of Kazakh nomads. Ilyas (Yerzhan Nurymbet, above) survived the famine of the 30s, Stalinist deportation and World War II by hiding in a cave and living off the land, but now tries to connect with the Soviet era villagers. Produced by Kanat Torebay for Tursunov Film, “Stranger” was written by Tursunov while studying at Moscow’s leading film school VGIK. Tursunov Film is handling world sales.
A prolific novelist, writer and film director, Tursunov was born in 1961 in Kazakhstan. A graduate from the Faculty of Journalism of Kazakh National University, Tursunov won the Grand Prix in Russia’s screenwriting competition, the Golden Star prize for his script “Tell Me, Who is Your Friend” (Russia), Kazakhstan’s National Kulager Prize for Best Film in 2010 for “Kelin” and Best Director in 2012 for “Shal.”