Oscar Buzz rises for foreign language films

Distributors at Cannes Film Festival reveal the genre is more in demand than ever before.

It’s only the darling month of May and yet foreign films are attracting a lot of Oscar buzz. Excitement is beginning to mount after a large number of standing ovations were giving at private screenings during Cannes Film Festival which opened up a dialogue about films that are due for release in the genre. Filmmakers from all around the world attend film festivals each year, with their latest movies, hoping to secure distribution in the run up to the Oscar Deadline. During the private screenings distributors can select which films they would like to buy and display at their theatrical and digital outlets.

While It’s normally the big feature films in English that get all the spotlight, this year the discussion was generally around foreign language films and how they are selling at higher prices than ever before as the demand is soaring. The general talk amongst buyers and sellers at Cannes Film Festival was that audiences are starved for culture and education in film which is why we are seeing larger sales revenue in the genre this year. TV has delivered enormously to its audiences by large studio productions such as Game of Thrones, Homeland and House of Cards which have dominated our home screens but now it appears foreign language films are galloping through the inferno.   

While there were quite a few films that raised the bar in foreign film this year here are the top contenders set to break waves.



Spoor (Pokot) – Poland

The Polish language film is a crime-drama/mystery thriller directed by Agnieszka Holland and Kasia Adamik. The film is about Janina Duszejko, an elderly woman, who lives alone in the Klodzko Valley where a series of mysterious crimes are committed. Duszejko is convinced that she knows who or what is the murderer, but nobody believes her. The film is set to be a spine-tingler having audiences on the edge of their seats.



Penance (Aithri) – Ireland

The Irish language film, “Penance” is a period-drama directed by Tom Collins. The film is about a priest (played by Peter Coonan) who influences a young impressionable boy, Antaine to fight in the 1916 Rising. The historical film is speculated to be the best foreign language film ever made in the Irish language and is set to cater to the 70 million Irish passport holders around the world. With esteemed Producers such as Edwina Forkin and Shari O’Donnell coupled with Tom Collins previous track record, Penance is rumoured to take the lead and is currently in post-production. 



Du Forsvinder (You Disappear) – Denmark

Based on the novel by Danish writer Christian Jungersen the film’s cinematography and acting and is set to put Denmark in the spotlight. Directed and written by Peter Schønau Fog, who has 21 nominations and 4 wins under his international belt the film is also Produced by Denmark’s hottest Producer, Louise Vesth known for her outstanding achievement in films such as “Melancholia” starring Kirsten Dunst, and the critically acclaimed film “Nymphomaniac”.



A Ciambra (Young Lions of Gypsy) – Italy

Executively Produced by Martin Scorsese – set to boost writer and Director Jonas Carpignano already fine-tuned reputation as a filmmaker, this Italian film is flavour of the month.  It was screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. The film centres around Pio Amato – a 14-year-old boy who’s ready to graduate from his teenage years and figure out the world.



Es war einmal in Deutschland… – Germany

David Berman and his friends, all Holocaust survivors, have only one purpose: to go to America as soon as possible. For this they need money. Close to his aim, David is not only deprived of his savings but also overtaken by his shady past. Directed by Sam Garbarski, the film is set to be the finest of his career. The film boasts Producers such as Jani Thiltges, co-founder, partner and CEO of Samsa Film in Luxembourg with over 59 eye catching films under his reign.



Sarkar 3 – India

The third film in Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar trilogy, which chronicles the exploits of a powerful political figure. The Crime Drama has already taken in just under $2 million dollars in India and has begun its overseas theatrical release. The Film is about Annu Karkare (Yami Gautam) who conspires and attempts to avenge the death of her father, for which she blames “Sarkar”.


The question remains how will these 6 films stand up to this years official nominations, where Asghar Farhadi won for “The Salesman”. You can take a trip down memory lane and find the trailers for all the 2017’s nominees right here.

Special Op ed piece by Charles Zacaria

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