Thursday, July 25, 2024
Subscribe Now

Voice Of The Crew - Since 2002

Los Angeles, California

HomeAwardsThe Foreign Language Nominees Symposium

The Foreign Language Nominees Symposium


The 82nd Academy Awards’ Foreign Language Film nominees couldn’t be more diverse and interesting. At the Foreign Language Nominees Symposium held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, March 6, the honored filmmakers of Adjami – Israel, The Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada) – Peru, A Prophet (Un Prophete) – France, The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) – Argentina, and The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band) – Germany, gathered for a panel discussion.

This is the first year two films from South America (The Milk of Sorrows and The Secret in Their Eyes) have been nominated in the category in the same year. In fact, this is the first year Peru has had a film competing in this category at all. Claudia Llosa, who wrote and directed The Milk of Sorrows expressed her amazement over the recognition her film has received. This is her second feature and she remarked that she was just glad she was able to turn her vision into a film. “Imagine asking your producers to raise money about a girl with a potato in her vagina,” she addressed the audience with a wide grin. The Milk of Sorrows is the story of a girl who is haunted by fear and protects herself from being violated by the creative use of a potato. It is ultimately a story of healing and restoration.

The filmmakers of Adjami, Yaron Shani and Scandar Copti, a Jew and a Palestinian, respectively, were just as surprised at being nominated. They never thought they would be bestowed with such an honor; they just set out to make a film. “You do films because you have a story to tell,” Shani said. Adjami is a crime drama featuring the varied and conflicting views of Jews, Muslims and Christians. Neither Shani or Copti had directed a feature before Adjami. They had never worked together until this film. It took 11 years to make and was shot in chronological order with all inexperienced actors. There was only one professional actor and she ended up as an extra in the final cut of the film.

Michael Haneke, the filmmaker of The White Ribbon echoed the same sentiment, “You make films not to win prizes but to communicate.” The German drama communicates beautifully in black-and-white. Haneke added that none of his producers were receptive to the idea of shooting in black-and-white initially. “But I’m a stubborn individual so I got my way,” the director explained. He made a brilliant choice because The White Ribbon has already taken top honors from the American Society of Cinematographers. It is also nominated for the best cinematography Oscar.

A Prophet, by Jacques Audiard has already swept the French Cesar Awards, winning nine Cesars, including including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor. A Prophet is a crime  film that reviewers have called The Anti-Scarface. “We did not want to write about a character we had no interest in,” Audiard said, explaining that he wanted to create a multi-dimensional character that was not so easy to judge. The film’s realism is seen everywhere, even in the fine details. “The extras, almost all of them had prison experience,” Audiard added.

Juan Jose Campanella the writer and director of The Secret in Their Eyes took a different approach. He used professional actors almost exclusively. “There’s so much craft and technique,” he said about shooting a film. The poignant thriller features a remarkable 5 minute shot of a chase sequence.

The clips shown of the nominated films at the symposium are deeply evocative of emotion: a group of men trying to come to a settlement over a death in Adjami, a man walking a girl home in The Milk of Sorrow, a young man trying to adjust to the shocking realities of his new prison life in A Prophet, a police investigator so deeply moved by a man’s abiding love for his murdered wife that he tries to reopen the unsolved case in The Secret in Their Eyes, and a man launching a search for his missing son in The White Ribbon, are all poignant images focused on people and relationships. So maybe there is something the nominees have in common after all.

- Advertisment -


Beastie Boys

EMMY WATCH 2020: The Sound for the Beastie Boys Story Doc

The original experimental punk, hip hop, rap rock, alternative band of best friends Adam “MCA” Yauch, Michael “Mike D” Diamond, and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, better...