Thursday, December 28, 2006

2007 PSIFF—Foreign Language Submissions to the Academy Awards

The Palm Springs International Film Festival has announced their 2007 program online. What first caught my attention about PSIFF was their reputation for screening all of the official submissions for Academy Award consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category. They have announced (and will be screening) the following 55 submissions, which I've hyperlinked to the festival's capsule reviews, which incorporate their own links to the film's official websites:

9th Company (9 Rota) / Russia / Fyodor Bondarchuk
After the Wedding (Efter Brylluppet) / Denmark / Susanne Bier
Ahimsa: Stop to Run (Ahingsa-Jikko mee gam) / Thailand / Kittikorn Liasirikun
American Visa / Bolivia / Juan Carlos Valdivia
Avenue Montaigne—Orchestra Seats (Avenue Montaigne—Fauteuils d'orchestre) / France / Danièle Thompson
Banquet, The (Ye Yan) / Hong Kong / Feng Xiaogang
Before Flying Back To Earth (Pries Parskrendant i Zeme) / Lithuania / Arunas Matelis
El Benny / Cuba / Jorge Luis Sánchez
Black Book (Zwartboek) / Netherlands / Paul Verhoeven
Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros, The (Ang pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros) / Philippines / Auraeus Solito
Blue Cha Cha (Shen Hai) / Taiwan / Wen-Tang Cheng
Border Café (Café Transit) / Iran / Kambuzia Partovi
Bosta / Lebanon / Philippe Aractingi
Chariton's Choir (I Horodia tou Haritona) / Greece / Grigoris Karantinakis
Children (Börn) / Iceland / Ragnar Bragason
Cinema, Aspirin & Vultures (Cinema, aspirinas e urubus) / Brazil / Marcelo Gomes
Curse of the Golden Flower (Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia) / China / Zhang Yimou
Days of Glory (Indigènes) / Algeria / Rachid Bouchareb
Dreams (Ahlaam) / Iraq / Mohamed Al-Daradji
Falkenberg, Farewell (Farväl Falkenberg) / Sweden / Jesper Gansladt
Family Law (Derecho de familia) / Argentina / Daniel Burman
Forever Flows (Nirontor) / Bangladesh / Abu Sayeed
Golden Door, The (Nuovomondo) Italy / Emanuele Crialese
Gravehopping (Odgrobadogroba) / Slovenia / Jan Cvitkovic
Grbavica / Bosnia-Herzegovina / Jasmilla Zbanic
Hula Girls (Hula Gâru) / Japan / Sang-il Lee
Ice Cream, I Scream (Dondurman Gaymak) / Turkey / Yüksel Aksu
In Bed (En la Cama) / Chile / Matias Bize
King and the Clown (Wang-ui namja) / South Korea / Lee Jun-ik
Kontakt / Macedonia / Sergej Stanojkovski
Libertas / Croatia / Veljko Bulajic
Lives of Others, The (Das Leben der Anderen) / Germany / Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Love for Share (Berbagi Suami) / Indonesia / Nia di Nata
Lunacy (Sílení) / Czech Republic / Jan Svankmajer
Madeinusa / Peru / Claudia Llosa
Maroa / Venezuela / Solveig Hoogestejn
Migration (Basain) / Nepal / Subash Prasad Gajurel
Monkeys in Winter (Maimuni prez zimata) / Bulgaria / Milena Andonova
Nomad the Warrior (Kochevnik) / Kazakhstan / Sergei Bodrov, Ivan Passer, Talgat Temenov
Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno) / Mexico / Guillermo del Toro
Rang De Basanti / India / Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Retrieval (Z Odzysku) / Poland / Slawomir Fabicki
Someone Else's Happiness (Een Ander zijn Geluk) / Belgium / Fien Troch
Ten Canoes / Australia / Rolf de Heer, Peter Djigirr
Thieves and Liars (Ladrones y mentirosos) / Puerto Rico / Ricardo Mendez Matta, Poli Marichal
Tomorrow Morning (Sutra Ujutru) / Serbia / Oleg Novkovic
Ton of Luck, A (Soñar no cuesta nada) / Rodrigo Triana
Vitus / Switzerland / Fredi M. Murer
Volver / Spain / Pedro Almodóvar
Water / Canada / Deepa Mehta
Way I Spent the End of the World, The (Cum Mi-am Petrecut Sfarsitul Lumii) / Romania / Catalin Mitulescu
Wedding Chest, The (Sunduk Predkov) / Kyrgyzstan / Nurbek Egen
White Palms (Fehér tenyér) / Hungary / Szabolcs Hadju
Yacoubian Building, The (Omaret Yacoubian) / Egypt / Maravan Hamed
You Bet Your Life (Spiele Leben) / Austria / Antonin Svoboda

Of those 55 I have already seen 12 (The Banquet; Cinema, Aspirin & Vultures; Curse of the Golden Flower; Days of Glory; In Bed; The Lives of Others; Lunacy; Madeinusa; Pan's Labyrinth (1, 2, and 3); Ten Canoes; Volver; and Water). I've hyperlinked those where I have either reviewed the film, interviewed the talent, or transcribed a Q&A. I might mention that in the works and soon to be published on The Evening Class are interviews with Peter Ketnath (of Cinema, Aspirin & Vultures) and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others).

Of the remaining foreign language submissions, I'm intending to see 15 of these films at the Palm Springs International: After the Wedding (on Blake's earlier recommendation); Ahimsa: Stop to Run; El Benny; Black Book (thanks for the heads-up, Brian!); The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros (finally!); Blue Cha Cha; Bosta; Family Law (unless I catch it on Comcast's On Demand first); Forever Flows; Maroa; Monkeys in Winter (really looking forward to this, Marina!); Nomad the Warrior; Rang De Basanti; Thieves and Liars; and The Yacoubian Building (on Michael Hawley's recommendation). I just want to make sure you all realize I listen to your comments and suggestions!

Along with those 15 screenings I will, of course, be catching a whole other set of films at PSIFF relating to Mexican cinema that are part of their Cine Latino series (in anticipation of a roundtable I'll be moderating with Sergio de La Mora, Johnny Ray Huston, and B. Ruby Rich on the state of Latino cinema, to be published on The Evening Class in the relatively near future; I'll keep you posted). Also at Palm Springs I'll be catching an archival screening of the Czech classic Marketa Lazarova, among various other random "must sees" here and there. You can imagine that having to choose among so many wonderful titles is near to maddening! You have to factor in competing time slots, the distance between venues, when you might get a chance to eat, a chance to sleep, a chance to visit with friends, what films you might never get a chance to see ever again, and which might achieve distribution or—at the least—an appearance in upcoming Bay Area festivals. It's grueling and I've spent nights anguishing over the schedule and I love every moment of it. I admit it; I've become a festival addict.

A few on the foreign language list I'll be catching later next month at the San Rafael Film Center's "For Your Consideration" sampling, notably Ahlaam, Kontakt, and—one I'm surprised not to see on the PSIFF list—Story of Pao from Vietnam.

Naturally, the rest I hope will be picked up at Bay Area festivals to come, namely the Asian-American International Film Festival and the San Francisco International. I've heard a few rumors but I'm not at liberty to divulge. Hunger is, after all, the best spice! Though how one can speak of hunger after a banquet such as this borders on the gluttonous.
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