Oscar foreign language nominees discuss their techniques

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Ciro Gueera always knew he wanted to shoot his film "Embrace of the Serpent" in black and white and on 35mm film, a now-scarce resource in today's digital world.

See Full Article

"We were in the blind," the Colombian filmmaker said during an event Saturday celebrating the Academy Awards' foreign language nominees. "That's so exciting. We had two takes. Everything you see in the film is either take one or take two."

"Embrace of the Serpent" is among the five films that will be vying for the foreign language Oscar at Sunday's 88th annual ceremony. It's the first Colombian film up for the honour.

Gueera told the crowd at the motion picture academy's headquarters that because of the time involved processing 35mm film, he wasn't able to see the first images from his movie about an ill German explorer lost in the Amazon until about three weeks into production.

"It reminded me when people took pictures of their families on reels, when images meant something," said Gueera. "Now, people take 17,000 images when they're on vacation and never look at them again."

Laszlo Nemes similarly fought for the stark vision of his nominated film "Son of Saul," which was also shot on 35mm film and is presented in an old-school, box-like aspect ratio instead of the now-prevalent widescreen format.

"Son of Saul" depicts a harrowing day within a crematorium at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Nemes said he and cinematographer Matya Erdely wanted to bring the horrors of the Holocaust to life on film.

"I felt I had this mission to talk to today's audiences, when their impression of the Holocaust is kind of static, as if it were in a history book or something taking place on another planet," said the Hungarian filmmaker. "What if this took place in our civilization? This feeling of hell on earth has never been communicated."

"A War" writer-director Tobias Lindholm took a very different approach to crafting his modern-day movie about a Danish military commander during the war in Afghanistan. He treated the digitally shot film like a documentary, especially when filming amateur Middle Eastern actors portraying refugees.

"If I came with a script and wanted to prove their version of reality, it would be a white man's version of something," said the Danish filmmaker. "I'm heterosexual. I'm tall. I'm blonde. I'm Scandinavian. That's pretty privileged in this world."

The other nominees competing for the foreign language Oscar are the French film "Mustang," which centres on five Turkish sisters facing prearranged marriage, and the Jordanian film "Theeb," about a Bedouin boy and his brother escorting a British officer across the desert.

"At some point, we said we don't need anyone's permission," said "Theeb" writer-director Naji Abu Nowar when asked about the difficulties of financing his movie, the film Jordanian film up for an Academy Award.

The filmmakers in this year's foreign language film category are the youngest in recent history. They're all under 40 and three are nominated for their first-ever feature film.

"Every year, I look at our five foreign nominated films and I say they're so much better than the ones that are nominated in that other category," joked Mark Johnson, chairman of the academy's foreign language film award executive committee.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Oscars look to 'La La Land,' Jimmy Kimmel for ratings boost

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- If the Oscars had doubled down on nominating films with actors named Ryan, the ceremony's chances for a ratings bounce might be as likely as host Jimmy Kimmel's Trump jokes. Saluting a blockbuster like Ryan Reynolds' "Deadpool" is the surest way to lure viewers. Source
  • Hearing in Roman Polanski's long-running case delayed

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A hearing to unseal testimony in Roman Polanski's long-running underage sex case has been delayed. The Los Angeles Superior Court sent out a notice Wednesday stating that a hearing scheduled for Friday has been delayed a new date has not yet formally been set. Source
  • Johnny Depp blames years of tax problems on ex-managers

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Johnny Depp has accused his former managers of costing him more than $6 million in tax penalties and fines as part of their ongoing legal battle. The Pirates of the Caribbean star sued bosses at The Management Group (TMG) for fraud last month , alleging they mishandled his finances by collecting $28 million in fees he never agreed to, repeatedly failing to file his taxes in a timely manner, and loaning roughly $10 million of his money without being authorised to do so. Source
  • In Oscar winners about Hollywood, undercurrents of anxiety

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Hollywood is ready for its close-up. Again. If Damien Chazelle's "La La Land" is to win best picture at Sunday's Academy Awards -- and just about everyone thinks it's going to -- it will surely go down as another in a run of movies about Hollywood to be celebrated by Hollywood. Source
  • David Bowie, George Michael honoured at Brit Awards [Photos]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LONDON — The Brit Awards recognized big international stars including Drake and Beyonce and a cross-section of home-grown talent Wednesday — but the ceremony was overshadowed by the much-missed David Bowie and George Michael. Bowie, who died in January 2016 at age 69, was crowned British male artist of the year and won British album of the year for “Blackstar,” released days before his death. Source
  • Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman' heading to Netflix

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro’s long-awaited mob movie The Irishman is heading to the small screen thanks to a distribution deal with streaming service Netflix. The longtime collaborators, whose previous hits together include Raging Bull and Goodfellas, were first linked to the biopic about real-life union official-turned-mafia hitman Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran in 2008, but production plans with Paramount Pictures executives in 2011 stalled due to scheduling issues. Source
  • Oscars 2017: Andrew Garfield reflects on trading Spider-Man for 'Hacksaw Ridge'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES – In Hollywood – if you’re lucky – when one door closes, another opens up. Just ask Oscar-nominee Andrew Garfield. The rising American-born, British star cut his teeth with dark dramas like David Fincher’s The Social Network (2010) and Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go (2010) before landing the coveted lead in the 2012 reboot of Spider-Man. Source
  • Director Kenneth Lonergan reacts to ‘Manchester by the Sea’ success

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Oscar-nominee Kenneth Lonergan reacts to the heartbreaking success of Manchester by the Sea Manchester by the Sea started life as a conversation between Matt Damon and John Krasinski. Damon took the project to award-winning playwright and filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan, who wrote a screenplay and eventually directed the movie himself. Source
  • Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams spotted singing karaoke in Calgary

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Maisie Williams, a.k.a. Arya Stark, has been spotted in Calgary and Banff over the last couple of days, apparently taking a break from shooting scenes with Alberta wolves for the seventh season of Game of Thrones. The 19-year-old actress reportedly sang karaoke at Ducky’s in Calgary and has visited various areas in Banff. Source
  • David Bowie, Emeli Sande among winners at 2017 Brit Awards

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Brit Award for album of the year has been awarded to David Bowie for Blackstar. It is the latest posthumous honor for Bowie, and the second Brit Award he won Wednesday. His son, film director Duncan Jones, accepted the award on his behalf, noting that his father died the same year Jones became a father. Source