Oscar Season: Best Foreign Film

The nominees in this category this year are:

– Amour, Austria

– Kon-Tiki, Norway

– No, Chile

– A Royal Affair, Denmark

– War Witch, Canada

There is no doubt (or not much doubt) that Amour is going to bag this one. The story of an octogenarian couple who used to be music teachers. The wife suffers a stroke and it’s about the trials that they face as a consequence. The reason I say Amour has this in the bag is because it has been nominated in 3 other categories – Best Film, Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay, however, it’s not going to win any of those, for sure. While it is a good movie, it really depressed me. Old people depress me and you add old people to sickness and the fact that they have to look after themselves – my god! I cannot take it! While Amour is going to be Best Foreign Film, let’s look at the other films because I thought they were all pretty great.

Kon Tiki was the most light-hearted of the lot. It’s the true story of Norwegian explorer/adventurer – Thor Heyerdahl. First of all, this taught me something about history that I wasn’t aware of. This man, Thor Heyerdahl, sailed with a crew of 5 for a 100 days from Peru to Polynesia (across the Pacific) in 1947 on a raft (the raft was named Kon Tiki). That’s something! There should honestly be more movies celebrating explorers. Such movies are inspiring, have fairly happy endings and have great cinematographic scope. Plus, who doesn’t love a good adventure movie! Kon Tiki is worth watching for it’s adventure and good cinematography.

“No” by Pablo Larrain is interesting. It seems that Gael Garcia Bernal is a good luck charm to get a Oscar nomination (Read as: Motorcycle Diaries, Y Tu Mama Tambien and Amores Perros). “No” follows the story of ad guys whose campaign lead to General Pinochet’s election loss in Chile. Once again, an insight into history! Pablo Larrain gives the film an old, grainy feel so it seems like it was made in the 80s. People say there is a lot of wit in the movie which I didn’t get, probably because I forced myself to try and understand the dialogue and not rely on subtitles.

A Royal Affair is the story of Queen Caroline Matilda who was married to the Danish King Christian VII and had an affair with his physician/advisor – Johaan Fredrich Struensee. Yet another historical work. I liked this movie because while it is quite long and slow you don’t get impatient watching it. Plus, I felt terribly sorry for King Christian VII. Watch this movie for Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen plays Johaan Struensee) and if you like all those poofy dresses and costumes of the late 18th century.

Finally, War Witch. I really liked this movie. I think everyone should watch it because child soldiers still exist and this really gives you a view into the kind of things children of ages 12 – 14 (maybe even younger)  face in some parts of Africa. War Witch follows the two years of the life of Komona, a 12 year recruited to a rebel group headed by “Great Tiger”.

My Choice: I cannot choose a winner for this category. I could eliminate one or two but I thought they were all really good movies in totally different aspects,  much better than some of the mainstream garbage that was out there in 2012.


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