Is ‘Bardo’ leading the pack? Gathering of Americas Oscar contenders | Features
Nominations for the 2023 International Feature Film Oscars from the Americas bring a combination of new work from returning filmmakers alongside emerging talent whose festival gems demonstrate the region’s broader emerging presence on the global stage.
The continent enjoys a fiery profile at the Oscars, with multiple submissions over the years and a nomination pool led by Mexico in nine and seven from Argentina, which won the Oscar twice – in 1986 with Luis Puenzo from The official storyand in 2010 with Juan Jose Campanella of The secret in their eyes.
Nine years later, in 2019, Mexico won their only victory with Alfonso Cuaron Rome. Since then, the Americas have provided a handful of shortlist inclusions and while it’s fair to say that titans Argentina and Mexico are out in force again this time around, films from Colombia and Costa Rica are impressing in major festivals, while the continued emergence of film industries in Peru, Panama, Guatemala and Ecuador offers encouragement.
Winner of the Fipresci prize in Venice and the public prize in San Sebastian Argentina, 1985, of Argentina, is the last work of Santiago Mitre, whose Paulina was the winner of the Semaine de la Critique at Cannes in 2015 and The top, with Ricardo Darin, performed in Un Certain Regard two years later.
The director and the actor reunite Argentina, 1985, a retelling of the first public trial of the military leaders who subjected the country to a reign of terror during the “dirty war” of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Darin plays Julio Strassera, the chief prosecutor who clashed with the military junta in what turned out to be a historic affair. He’s the first real-life character Darin has portrayed in a storied career – with credits including The secret in their eyes, Nine Queens and Truman – which turned him into a superstar across Latin America.
Prime Video owns the worldwide rights (excluding Argentina, where Digicine was theatrically released) and gave the courtroom drama a platform release in New York ahead of a global launch on October 21. .
Made in Mexico
Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu returns with a feature film for the first time since 2015 The ghostfor which he won the Oscar for directing (a year after having done it for birdman). Bardo, false chronicle of a handful of truths premiered in Competition in Venice where it divided critics.
Daniel Gimenez Cacho anchors the hugely ambitious feature film as a journalist who reflects on life as he prepares to receive an award. Poignant for a film that explores the notions of belonging and statelessness, bardo is Inarritu’s first film to be set in Mexico since her feature debut Love Perros In 2000.
Netflix acquired global rights last spring and knows how to make a splash. His last Mexican hope, I’m not here anymore by Fernando Frias, is part of the list of 15 films selected for the Oscars 2021.
After Venice, Inarritu cut 22 minutes bardothree-hour original, and the film hit theaters in Mexico in late October, five weeks before its Netflix arc on December 16. It opened in the United States in select theaters on November 4 and – as Argentina, 1985 – is eligible for the Bafta equivalent category of non-English language films.
Meanwhile, Netflix owns the rights for the Americas (excluding Colombia and Mexico) to Colombian filmmaker Laura Mora’s second feature, the much-loved San Sebastian Golden Shell winner. The Kings of the world (Los Reyes Del Mundo).
The rest of his selection Toronto and San Sebastian 2017 kill jesus, The Kings of the world follows the street children of Medellin who search for inherited land in the jungle. It counts among its producers Cristina Gallego de Ciudad Lunar, who produced Ciro Guerra The Serpent’s Embrace and won the country’s only nomination in 2016.
Costa Rica is making a name for itself as a pool of emerging talent. Ariel Escalante Meza’s Un Certain Regard selection Domingo and the mist (Domingo and La Niebla) — about a widower who fights to protect his land from developers — continues a purple stain for the Central American country. It follows Clara Sola, the 2022 submission by Nathalie Alvarez Mesen who starred in the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs at Cannes; and the previous year land of ashes by Sofia Quiros, who also bowed out on the Croisette, at Critics’ Week.
The Bolivian hope of Alejandro Loayza Grisi utama made its Sundance debut, winning the World Cinema Drama Grand Jury Prize with its quiet meditation on climate change seen through the eyes of an elderly Quechua couple. The eco-drama – Bolivia’s 14th international submission – was released in the United States on November 4 by Kino Lorber.
from Chile Blanquita, by Fernando Guzzoni, is the latest submission from a distinguished country, having won the Oscar in 2018 with Sebastian Lelio A fantastic woman and a nomination five years earlier for Pablo Larrain Nope. Inspired by true events, Guzzoni’s fourth film debuted in Venice’s Horizons section and won Best Screenplay for its story of an 18-year-old foster child who becomes a key witness in a trial.
Brazil at the polls
Brazil submitted 52 films for the Oscars and won four nominations. Its next competitor is the Sundance premiere march one (Marte uh), directed by Gabriel Martins, which follows a lower-middle-class black family living their lives following a right-wing election victory. The film remains timely given Brazil’s recent presidential election in which populist incumbent Jair Bolsonaro narrowly lost to leftist former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
From the Dominican Republic comes the film by Ivan Herrera Bantu mother, the country’s 15th Oscar submission and a premiere at SXSW 2021. It centers on a French woman of African descent who escapes and is taken in by a group of children. Ava DuVernay’s Array Releasing picked it up for the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand, and was set to hit select screens and Netflix on November 17.
Peruvian science fiction by Aldo Salvini moon heart, about an elderly woman who befriends an ant, marks the country’s 29th submission. Peru’s only nomination came in 2010 from Claudia Llosa’s Berlinale Golden Bear winner The milk of sorrow.
Panamanian competitor birthday boy (Cumpleanero) hails from Arturo Montenegro, the prolific filmmaker behind his 2020 bid Everyone changes — and follows a memorable celebration by a man contemplating suicide.
Panama has never been nominated in the international Oscar category, but made the shortlist of 15 finalists last time out with Abner Benaim. Cathedral Square.
from Paz Encina Eami, about an indigenous woman fleeing settlers, won the Rotterdam Tiger Award this year. Paraguay hopes this will be its first Oscar nominee in six submissions.
Five submissions from the Americas region — including Bantu mother – debuted in 2021. Manuel Nieto Zas The employer and the employee starred in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes and is in the running for Uruguay’s first Oscar nomination after 20 submissions.
from Venezuela The box (The Caja), by Lorenzo Vigas, performed for the first time at Venice 2021 and follows the personal journey of a young boy against the backdrop of industrial corruption in Mexico. This is the filmmaker’s second submission to the award, following his 2016 Venice Golden Lion winner. From afar.
The drama of postpartum depression in Ecuador Lo Invisible by Javier Andrade premiered at Toronto 2021 and is trying to become the first in the country to earn a nomination in the International Feature Film category.
Anais Taracena The Silence of the Mole (El Silencio Del Topo), from Guatemala, premiered at Hot Docs 2021 before moving to Sheffield Doc/Fest, where it won the Tim Hetherington Award. The story tells the story of a journalist in the 1970s who infiltrated the government to help the resistance movement. Taracena’s compatriot Gyro Bustamante directed the 2021 Oscar shortlisted horror La Llorona.
Canada’s entry is eternal spring, the hybrid documentary film by Jason Loftus, which marks the 20th anniversary of the hijacking of Chinese state television by the banned Chinese spiritual group Falun Gong. Denys Arcand remains the country’s only winner in the category, with Barbarian invasions in 2004.