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

  • Instagram unveils new video service in challenge to YouTube

    Entertainment CBC News
    Facebook's Instagram service is loosening its restraints on video in an attempt to lure younger viewers away from YouTube when they're looking for something to watch on their smartphones. The expansion announced Wednesday, dubbed IGTV, will increase Instagram's video time limit from one minute to 10 minutes for most users. Source
  • Kevin Spacey film Billionaire Boys Club set for release

    Entertainment CBC News
    Kevin Spacey was erased from All the Money in the World and booted from House of Cards, but a movie starring the disgraced actor is going forward with a summer release. Vertical Entertainment announced that it will release Billionaire Boys Club on video-on-demand on July 17 and in theatres August 17. Source
  • Film starring Kevin Spacey to be released in August

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Kevin Spacey was erased from "All the Money in the World" and booted from "House of Cards," but a movie starring the disgraced actor is going forward with a summer release. Vertical Entertainment announced that it will release "Billionaire Boys Club" on video-on-demand on July 17 and in theatres August 17. Source
  • National Film Board funds 35 Indigenous-led projects; says more work to be done

    Entertainment CBC News
    The National Film Board of Canada says it has made gains towards fostering Indigenous talent, but there's more work to be done. The board says it backed 35 Indigenous-directed projects, representing 10 per cent of overall production spending, in the first year of its Indigenous Action Plan. Source
  • Eva Longoria gives birth to first child, a son

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Eva Longoria is a mom. The actress and husband Jose "Pepe" Baston welcomed Santiago Enrique Baston into the world on Tuesday. They say they are so grateful "for this beautiful blessing. Source
  • Kate Spade Foundation to donate $1M for suicide prevention

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Kate Spade New York has announced plans to donate US$1 million to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness causes in tribute to the company's late founder. To start, the company said Wednesday the Kate Spade New York Foundation is giving $250,000 to the Crisis Text Line , a free, 24-hour confidential text message service for people in crisis. Source
  • Teen in 'Making a Murderer' asks high court to take his case

    Entertainment CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A teenager whose case was documented in the Netflix series "Making a Murderer" wants the Supreme Court to hear his case. Brendan Dassey confessed to joining his uncle in raping and murdering a young woman. Source
  • Fox News Channel faces backlash from Hollywood creators

    Entertainment CBC News
    Fox News Channel faces a growing backlash among Hollywood creators that intensified Tuesday following Laura Ingraham's description of "zero tolerance" detention facilities for children separated from their parents as "essentially summer camps." Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan raised the possibility of no longer working with the 20th Century Fox television studio after tweeting his disgust with Ingraham's remarks. Source
  • Disney taps Frozen, Inside Out filmmakers to replace Pixar's John Lasseter

    Entertainment CBC News
    Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn says Tuesday that Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter are taking over for former Disney animation and Pixar chief John Lasseter, who is departing Disney at the end of the year following misconduct allegations. Source
  • Disney ups Twenty-First Century Fox to more than US$70.3B

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The mouse is chasing the fox. Disney is upping the ante for Fox, making a US$70.3 billion counterbid for Fox's entertainment businesses following Comcast's $65 billion offer for the company. The battle for Twenty-First Century Fox reflects a new imperative among entertainment and telecommunications firms. Source