In Focus

16 Oscar-nominated films at IFFI 2018

A Draft Correspondent | Panjim

The 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will screen as many as 16 films nominated at the 91st Academy Awards of the 87 films chosen by their respective countries in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars. These films make up more than one-fifth of all the films vying for the top award. The films are listed across multiple categories at IFFI 2018.

Oscar-nominated films in Festival Kaleidoscope
One of the most popular sections, Festival Kaleidoscope carries 20 critically acclaimed international festival favourites directed by some of the most well-known and feted international filmmakers such as Jafar Panahi, Gaspar Noe, Lars Von Trier, Zia Zhangke, Jean Luc Godard, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Kim Ki Duk. Out of the 20 films, eight have been nominated for the 91st Academy Awards. These films are: The Guilty (Denmark), Yomeddine (Egypt), Woman at War (Iceland), Dogman (Italy), Shoplifters (Japan), Cold War (Poland), The Wild Pear Tree (Turkey) and Ayka (Kazakhstan).

Oscar-nominated films in World Panorama
The World Panorama section in IFFI 2018 has 67 films which are specially curated for the festival. Of these, three films are Oscar submissions from the respective countries. These films are: Birds of Passage (Colombia), Winter Flies (Czech) and The Heiresses (Paraguay).

Oscar-nominated films in International Competition
The International Competition section has 15 films out of which three films are Indian. The section itself represents films produced and co-produced by 22 countries. The only Oscar-nominated film to be competing in this section is Donbass (Ukraine) which was also the opening film in the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes this year.

ICFT prize consisting of the UNESCO Gandhi Medal
IFFI 2018 has collaborated with the International Council for Film, Audiovisual Communication (ICFT), Paris to present the prestigious ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal to a film which reflects the ideals promoted by UNESCO. This year ten films will be showcased for selection for this award, out of which three films have been nominated at the 91st Academy Award. These films are Capernaum (Lebanon), Border (Sweden) and The Interpreter (Slovakia).

Oscar-nominated Tunisan film a part of ‘Special Presentation: Tunisia’
Three Tunisian films will be showcased at IFFI 2018 as part of special presentation of films from Tunisia. The Oscar-nominated Tunisian film, Beauty and the Dogs, is a part of this section.

The Directorate of Film Festivals while commenting on these Oscar-nominated films said, “IFFI has always been about a healthy exchange of the cinema culture between countries. We are happy to have these 16 Oscar-nominated films at IFFI 2018, thereby giving the audiences a great opportunity to experience the magic of the best of world cinema on the big screen.”

The 16 Oscar-nominated films at IFFI 2018 are as follows:

The Heiresses (Spanish)
The Heiresses is a 2018 Paraguayan drama film directed by Marcelo Martinessi. Chela and Chiquita are both descended from wealthy families in Asunción and have been together for over 30 years. But recently, their financial situation has worsened and they begin selling off their inherited possessions. But when their debts lead to Chiquita being imprisoned on fraud charges, Chela is forced to face a new reality. Driving for the first time in years, she begins to provide a local taxi service to a group of elderly wealthy ladies. As Chela settles into her new life, she encounters the much younger Angy, forging a fresh and invigorating new connection. Chela finally begins to break out of her shell and engage with the world, embarking on her own personal, intimate revolution. The film was selected to compete for the Golden Bear in the main competition section at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival, where Ana Brun won the Silver Bear for Best Actress. The film was also selected as the Paraguayan entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, for the Best Iberoamerican Film at the 33rd Goya Awards and for the Best Iberoamerican Film at the 61st Ariel Awards.
Director: Marcelo Martinessi
Starring: Ana Brun, Margarita Irun, Ana Ivanova

A still from the film The Heiresses

Birds of Passage (Spanish)
Birds of Passage is a 2018 crime film directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra. The film chronicles a Wayuu family's rise and fall during the early days of illegal drug trading in Colombia. Spanning the late 60s and 70s, the film is divided into five chapters: Wild Grass, The Graves, Prosperity, The War and Limbo. It was selected to open the 50th edition of the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. It was selected as the Colombian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
Directed by: Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerr
Starring: Carmina Martínez, Natalia Reyes, José Acosta

Winter Flies (Czech)
Winter Flies is a 2018 Czech road movie drama by Slovenian director Olmo Omerzu. The film follows two boys - Mára and Heduš. Heduš runs away from home. He joins Mára who tells him that he is running away from home. They drive through countryside in a Mára's car. They meet hitchhiker Bára who joins them. Both boys dream about having sex with her but she locks herself in the car during night and boys have to sleep outside. Mára reveals to Heduš that he goes to his grandfather who is a retired military officer. Boys eventually get to Mára's grandfather who suffers a heart attack and boys get him to hospital. Mára is later arrested by 2 police officers who interrogate him. The film premiered at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on 1 July 2018. Olmo Omerzu has won a Best Director Award at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. It was selected as the Czech entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
Directed by: Olmo Omerzu
Starring: Tomáš Mrvík, Jan František Uher

The Guilty (Danish)
The Guilty is a 2018 Danish thriller film co-written and directed by Gustav Möller. The film narrates the story of an alarm dispatcher Asger Holm who answers an emergency call from a kidnapped woman. When the call is suddenly disconnected, the search for the woman and her kidnapper begins. With the phone as his only tool, Asger enters a race against time to save the endangered woman. But soon he realizes that he is dealing with a crime that is far bigger than he first thought. The Guilty was screened in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition section at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. It was selected as the Danish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
Directed by: Gustav Möller
Starring: Jakob Cedergren, Jessica Dinnage, Omar Shargawi

Yomeddine (Arabic)
Yomeddine is a 2018 Egyptian drama film directed by Abu Bakr Shawky based on friendship relations. A Coptic leper and his orphaned apprentice leave the confines of the leper colony for the first time and embark on a journey across Egypt to search for what is left of their families. The film was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. At Cannes, it won the François Chalais Prize. It was selected as the Egyptian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
Directed by: Abu Bakr Shawky
Starring: Rady Gamal, Ahmed Abdelhafiz

Woman at War (Icelandic)
Woman at War is a 2018 internationally co-produced comedy-drama thriller film written, produced and directed by Benedikt Erlingsson, and starring Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir. The film talks about Halla, a choir conductor, who wants to disrupt the operations of a Rio Tinto aluminium plant in the Icelandic highlands. She repeatedly damages pylons and wires to cut their power supply. One day, a long-forgotten application to adopt an orphan child from Ukraine is approved. At the same time, the government ramps up police and propaganda efforts in order to catch and discredit her. The film revolves around her attempts to reconcile her dangerous and illegal activism with the upcoming adoption. Following a premiere at 2018 Cannes Film Festival via the International Critics' Week, it was released on 22 May 2018. It was selected as the Icelandic entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards
Directed by: Benedikt Erlingsson
Starring: Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, Davíð Þór Jónsson, Magnús Trygvason Eliasen

Dogman (Italian)
Dogman is a 2018 Italian drama film directed by Matteo Garrone. The film revolves around Marcello, a small and gentle dog groomer, who finds himself involved in a dangerous relationship of subjugation with Simone, a former violent boxer who terrorizes the entire neighbourhood. In an effort to reaffirm his dignity, Marcello will submit to an unexpected act of vengeance. It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. At Cannes, Marcello Fonte won the award for Best Actor. It was selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
Director: Matteo Garrone
Starring: Marcello Fonte, Edoardo Pesce, Nunzia Schiano

Shoplifters (Japanese)
Shoplifters is a 2018 Japanese drama film directed, written and edited by Hirokazu Kore-eda. Starring Lily Franky and Sakura Ando, it is about a family who rely on shoplifting to cope with a life of poverty. Somewhere in Tokyo, Osamu Shibata and his wife Nobuyo live in poverty. While Osamu receives occasional employment and Nobuyo has a low-paying job, the family relies in large part on the grandmother's pension. As he is shoplifting for groceries with his son, Shota, they discover Yuri, a homeless girl. Osamu takes her home, where the family observes evidence of abuse. Despite their strained finances, they informally adopt her. The film premiered on 13 May 2018 at the Cannes Film Festival, where it went on to win the Palme d'Or. The film was released in Japan on 8 June 2018 and was a critical and commercial success.
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Starring: Kirin Kiki, Lily Franky, Moemi Katayama

Ayka (Russian)
Ayka is a 2018 Russian-Kazakhstani drama film directed by Sergey Dvortsevoy. In the center of the plot is an emigrant woman from Kyrgyzstan named Ayka. In search of earnings, she wanders the streets. Having no registration document, she is at risk of becoming the prey of corrupt police officers and cunning countrymen. The film was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. At Cannes, Samal Yeslyamova won the award for Best Actress. It was selected as the Kazakhstani entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
Director: Sergei Dvortsevoy
Starring: Samal Yeslyamova, Aleksandr Zlatopolskiy

Capernaum (Arabic)
Capernaum also known as Capharnaüm, is a 2018 Lebanese drama film written and directed by Nadine Labaki. Capernaun ("Chaos") tells the story of Zain (Zain al Rafeea), a Lebanese boy who sues his parents for the "crime" of giving him life. The film follows Zain as he journeys from gutsy, streetwise child to hardened 12-year-old "adult" fleeing his negligent parents, surviving through his wits on the streets, taking care of Ethiopian refugee Rahil and her baby son Yonas, being jailed for a violent crime, and finally, seeking justice in a courtroom. It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize. The film received a 15-minute standing ovation following its premiere at Cannes on 17 May 2018. Lebanon has selected Capharnaum as its submission for consideration in the best foreign-language film category at the 91st Academy Awards.
Director: Nadine Labaki
Starring: Zain Al Rafeea, Yordanos Shiferaw, Boluwatife Treasure Bankole

Cold War (Polish)
Cold War is a 2018 Polish drama film directed by Paweł Pawlikowski. It is a passionate love story between two people of different backgrounds and temperaments, who are fatefully mismatched and yet condemned to each other. Set against the background of the Cold War in the 1950s in Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris, the film depicts an impossible love story in impossible times. It competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. At Cannes, Pawlikowski won the award for Best Director. It also received the Golden Lions Award at the 43rd Gdynia Film Festival. The film is loosely inspired by Pawlikowski's parents' lives. It was selected as the Polish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Starring: Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc

The Interpreter (Slovak)
The Interpreter is a 2018 Slovak drama film directed by Martin Šulík. The film is about an 80-year-old Ali Ungar who comes across a book by a former SS officer describing his wartime activities in Slovakia. He realises his parents were executed by him. He sets out to take revenge but finds instead his 70-year-old son, Georg, a retired teacher. Georg, who had avoided his father all his life, decides to find out more about him and offers Ali to be his interpreter. The two old men, in everything opposite, embark on a bittersweet journey to meet surviving witnesses of the wartime tragedy. They discover a country eager to forget its past. They realise their memories are fragments mixed with their imagination and interpretation. They connect in silence and manage to discover their own identity. The film was selected as the Slovak entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
Director: Martin Sulík
Starring: Jirí Menzel, Peter Simonischek, Zuzana Mauréry

A still from the film The Interpreter

Border (Swedish)
Border  is a 2018 Swedish fantasy film directed by Ali Abbasi with a screenplay by Abbasi, Isabella Eklöf and John Ajvide Lindqvist based on the short story of the same name by Ajvide Lindqvist from his anthology Let the Old Dreams Die. It is about acustoms officer who can smell fear develops an unusual attraction to a strange traveler while aiding a police investigation which will call into question her entire existence. The film won the Un Certain Regard award at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and was selected as the Swedish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
Director: Ali Abbasi
Starring: Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff, Jörgen Thorsson

Beauty and the Dogs (Arabic)
Beauty and the Dogs is a 2017 French-Tunisian drama film directed by Kaouther Ben Hania. The film is about Mariam, a young Tunisian woman, who meets the mysterious Youssef during a student party and leaves with him. A long night will begin, during which she'll have to fight for her rights and her dignity. But how can Justice be made when it lies on the side of the tormentors? The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. It was selected as the Tunisian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
Director: Kaouther Ben Hania
Starrring: Mariam Al Ferjani, Ghanem Zrelli, Noomen Hamda

The Wild Pear Tree (Turkish)
The Wild Pear Tree is a 2018 Turkish drama film directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. He film is about an aspiring writer who returns to his native village, where his father's debts catch up to him. The film was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. It was also selected as the Turkish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Starring: Dogu Demirkol, Murat Cemcir, Bennu Yildirimlar

A still from the film The Wild Pear Tree

Donbass (Russian / Ukranian)
Donbass is a 2018 internationally co-produced drama film directed by Sergei Loznitsa. The film's thirteen segments explore the mid-2010 conflict between Ukraine and the Russian-supported Donetsk People's Republic. The film was selected as the opening film in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. At Cannes, Loznitsa won the Un Certain Regard Award for Best Director. It was selected as the Ukrainian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards. It was filmed in Kryvy Rih, 300 km of Donetsk.
Director: Sergey Loznitsa
Starring: Valeriu Andriuta, Natalya Buzko, Evgeny Chistyakov

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