Luxembourg pins its hopes on Gutland for the Oscars
by Davide Abbatescianni
- Screened last year at Toronto, this "rural thriller" is a Luxembourgian-German-Belgian co-production starring Frederick Lau and Vicky Krieps
Gutland [+see also:
interview: Govinda Van Maele
film profile] has officially been selected by Luxembourg to represent the country in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 91st Academy Awards. Written and directed by 35-year-old Luxembourgian filmmaker Govinda van Maele, the film follows the story of Jens Fauser (Frederick Lau), a young German delinquent who finds refuge in a small Luxembourgian village. He asks around for work, but the farmers, suspicious to the point of hostility, are not very forthcoming. It’s only when Lucy Loschetter (Vicky Krieps), the mayor’s unruly daughter, takes a liking to him, that the village changes its attitude.
The story was partly inspired by the director's experience growing up in Luxembourg as the son of immigrant parents of Belgian and Sri Lankan descent. Produced by Differdange-based Les Films Fauves, Propellerfilm (Germany) and Novak Production (Belgium) with the support of Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles and Film Fund Luxembourg, van Maele's feature debut was shot in various Oesling villages and on the Gutland plateau.
The world premiere took place in September 2017 at Toronto International Film Festival and was followed by a number of prestigious festival selections at Tokyo, Cairo, Palm Springs, Rotterdam, Santa Barbara, Galway and Angers. Paris-based distribution firm Stray Dogs is currently handling the film’s international sales.
As of 2018, 15 Luxembourgish films have been submitted for the Best Foreign Language Film, but none have yet to be included in the final shortlist. Nevertheless, a Luxembourgian-Canadian-Irish co-production, Nora Twomey's The Breadwinner [+see also:
film profile], was nominated in the best animation category last year, but lost out to Lee Unkrich's Coco, released by Walt Disney Pictures.
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