Nine foreign-language films will emerge from the Academy’s strict rules to form the shortlist of contenders. The behind-the-scene process of getting there is the most pretzel-twisted and labyrinthine of any Oscar category.
Hannes Holm’s entertaining charmer “A Man Called Ove” is about a grumpy old man with a melting heart.
“Applause” writer-director Martin Zandvliet’s post-World War II expose broke out rugged star Roland Møller (“A Hijacking”) as a patriotic sergeant in charge of young German POWs defusing land mines.
Asghar Farhadi, who won the Oscar for “A Separation,” again explores gender dynamics; the film won Best Actor and Screenplay at Cannes as well as a Golden Globe nomination.
Auteur Kim Jee-woon (“The Good, the Bad and the Weird”) premiered this well-mounted World War II genre reinvention in Venice.
Elite Zexer’s feminist drama is playing well; it received the the Best Picture Ophir Award (the Israeli Oscars).
Maren Ade’s brilliant three-hour father-daughter dramedy, which was shockingly overlooked by the jury at Cannes, won five European film awards and was nominated for Golden Globe, but may not be a consensus title.
Pablo Larrain (“Jackie”) mixes literary and political as the great Communist poet (Luis Gnecco) is chased by a policeman (Gael Garcia Bernal) on his trail.
In this mystery-thriller starring an icy Hitchcock blonde (Emma Suárez), Pedro Almodovar goes back to the dark side after a string of comedies, and continues to focus his gaze on troubled women.