These films were in the race for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, this year. And they lost out to an absolutely brilliant Polish film, Ida. But, that doesn’t mean they are any less-watchable.
This Argentine-Spanish comedy-drama directed by Damián Szifron was a strong contender for the Academy Award. It is an anthology, comprising six standalone short films, with violence and vengeance as the main theme. This film brilliantly combines two genres – comedy and horror. In one of the stories, you see a bride taking revenge on her cheating groom on their wedding day. Also, there is a tale of a wealthy family trying to cover-up a crime by hiring a scapegoat. All the tales are equally wild, dark and funny.
This Canadian drama film, directed by the 25-year-old prodigy Xavier Dolan, talks about the relationship between a single mother and her violent, troubled son. Anne Dorval, who played the mother in I Killed My Mother, Dolan’s debut film, is the mother here as well. The narrative is intense and the emotions often turn violent. Similar to Dolan’s previous films – I Killed My Mother and Laurence Anyways – Mommy too, has rich visuals and vintage soundtrack.
This Estonian film is set in the backdrop of civil war in the region. Estonians are fleeing to their home country, but two guys, an old man and his accomplice, are staying back to harvest tangerines. They come across two wounded soldiers, who belong to two rival groups. The Estonians take care of the wounded soldiers, who have vowed to kill each other once they recover. Will the act of kindness have an impact on them?
This Russian film, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, was one of the most-talked-about in the recent times. This compelling drama about a man’s fight against the Russian government and bureaucracy is a brilliant take on corruption and other issues in contemporary Russia. What counts in this world is money and power, the film says. It daringly bashes Russian rulers who seem to tell the common man, “You are all insects.” The film boasts fine visuals.
Two Days One Night
This Belgian-French-Italian film is delightfully simple. Directed by Dardenne brothers, the film has one of the most brilliant performances by Marion Cotillard. Sandra, a wife and mother of two, is about to lose her job as her co-workers opted for a bonus in her absence. Sandra is yet to recover fully from a phase of clinical depression and now, is forced to fight for her job. She’s amply supported by her husband Manu. This film also talks about unemployment and racism in contemporary Europe. The narrative is simple and straight, like other films of Dardenne brothers.
This Georgian film, directed by Giorgi Ovashvili, is an astonishing feat. With just three characters, simple settings and hardly any conversation, this film leaves you awestruck. An old peasant and his grand daughter are trying to cultivate corn in a no man’s land, which lies in the middle of a river, in a conflict area. There are soldiers from different warring groups roaming around, firing a shot every hour. The old man has to protect the crops and the grand daughter. There are absolutely splendid visuals and a poignant ending.