Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Film Club: The Oscars 2015

Since we watched the 87th Academy Awards on Sunday night, it seems only fitting that we take a look at all the wonderful nominees for the "Best Foreign Language Film" award today. While we may already know which film took home the coveted Oscar, we still think that all of the films on this list probably deserve a spot on your "films to watch" list. They're certainly at the top of ours!

Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes) - Argentina

Wild Tales is an anthology film written and directed by Argentine filmmaker Damián Szifron that features six short films that all feature vengeance as a theme. The film's diverse settings include a wedding, a small restaurant, and a highway. It has been getting great reviews and prestigious nominations from film festivals around the globe due to its rich stories that combine elements of both comedy and drama. The Spanish-language film also counts legendary Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar and his younger brother Agustín as co-producers, so it's no surprise that film festivals have taken notice.

A depiction of Timbuktu, Mali from 1830.
Timbuktu - Mauritania

This film covers the brief occupation of the city of Timbuktu, Mali by the militant Islamist group Ansar Dine in 2012. While it features dark subject matter, Timbuktu is a beautiful French-language film complete with captivating traditional Malian music. It also features dialogue in other languages, including Arabic.

Tangerines (Mandariinid) - Estonia

Tangerines takes place during the War in Abkhazia that took place between 1992 and 1993 in the country of Georgia. It tells the story of Ivo, an Estonian man who has remained in the war-torn region to harvest his tangerine crop, who ends up taking in a man wounded in the conflict. The film, which features the use of the Estonian, Georgian, and Russian languages, may sound depressing, but it has been widely praised due to its funny and touching moments.

Leviathan (Левиафан) - Russia

Another Russian-language film, Leviathan tells the story of a man named Kolya who is fighting the demolition of his house by a corrupt mayor. It is a Russian adaptation of the story of an American man named Marvin Heemeyer, who went on a highly-publicized rampage with a bulldozer after disputes with city officials in 2004, but also features elements adapted from biblical stories. If you're interested in watching a riveting story that deals with contemporary social issues in Russia, then you'll want to view this winner of the "Best Foreign Language Film" award at this year's Golden Globe Awards.

Ida - Poland

Last, but certainly not least, we have Ida, a Polish film about a young woman about to take her vows to become a Catholic nun. However, she ends up on a journey to uncover her family's fate after learning that her parents, who left her during the Nazi occupation of World War II, were Jewish. In addition to winning the Oscar on Sunday night, Ida has also won "Best Film Not in the English Language" at the BAFTA Awards, as well as many other film accolades. It features the use of the Polish, French, and Latin languages.

Have you seen any of these great foreign language films? If so, what did you think of them? Do you think a different film should have been awarded the Oscar? Let us know in the comments below.