The thing from another world
Foreign, not alien: This is the title of an interesting article published in the New York Times on the Academy Awards. In it, Caryn James, writes about the senseless and anachronistic segregation of non-English language films into a single category, at a time when films all over the world are dealing with the same subject matter and speaking the same universal language.
What is Paradise Now [+see also:
film profile] if not the other side of Steven Spielberg’s Munich? In both films, the main characters’ question is the same: "Are we doing the right thing?" And isn’t the other favourite in the statue race, Tsotsi, the latest intense reflection on violence in the urban fringes, be it Johannesburg, Paris or Los Angeles?
The message against war and cruelty in French film Merry Christmas: Joyeux Noël [+see also:
interview: Christian Carion
interview: Christophe Rossignon
film profile] and in Germany’s Sophie Scholl: The Final Days [+see also:
film profile] is the same as in many US films, while Italy’s Don’t Tell [+see also:
film profile] reconstructs a tragic story of family abuse, as do dozens of talk shows in the US and the world every day.
These are all things that do not come from another world. Some of these films have been screening for weeks in US theatres, while others will come out soon, on screens as well as on DVD and TV.
The truth is that the films nominated from 54 different countries take on shared themes, precisely like last year, when the best US and foreign films, respectively, Million Dollar Baby and The Sea Inside [+see also:
film profile], were both on euthanasia. In an increasingly globalised social and cultural landscape, films are now co-produced by more than one nation and reflect a world completely connected to the media.
Limited to a single nomination from each country, and in a category that includes only five films, world cinema is given little breathing room on Oscar night and one wonders why Michael Haneke’s Hidden [+see also:
interview: Margaret Menegoz
interview: Michael Haneke
film profile] or The Child [+see also:
interview: Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne
film profile] by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne were left out of the running.
Thus, it is better to face the evening with levity, and with some of the British spirit of Nick Park, who was nominated along with his animated characters: "So as not to be caught short on Oscar night…I am practising Wallace's famous smile".
Read our articles on the 2006 Academy Awards.
(Translated from Italian)
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