Academy Awards Preview | Foreign Language Films 2010

With all of the hype surrounding Sunday night’s Academy Awards—James Franco and Banksy already providing me two reasons to tune in—I am glad to see that the nominated Foreign Language Films reflect the excellent range of filmmaking from the past year. Having seen two of these films at the Vancouver International Film Festival already, I thought it would be worth the time to reassemble the list here with links to trailers and critical reviews for those of you wanting to check out and preview five of the most celebrated foreign films of 2010. Of course, this list only reflects a narrow range of international films selected by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (for a more comprehensive list of foreign film selections, see the Cannes Film Festival website), but for many people watching Sunday, these movies will provide a gateway to the diverse world of filmmaking beyond Hollywood. I will preview the Documentary Feature nominees tomorrow.

BIUTIFUL (Mexico):  Biutiful is the story of Uxbal, a cancer-ridden single father who struggles to reconcile fatherhood, love, spirituality, crime, guilt and mortality amidst the dangerous underworld of modern Barcelona -- all before his time is up. Official Website| Guardian Review

DOGTOOTH (Greece):  A married couple and their three young adult children, a son and two daughters, live at the outskirts of a city in a large compound with a garden and a swimming pool. A tall fence surrounds the property and the children have never been on the other side of it, for their parents have kept them unaware of the outside world. Official Website | New York Times Review

IN A BETTER WORLD (Denmark):  Anton is a doctor who commutes between his home in an idyllic town in Denmark, and his work at an African refugee camp. In these two very different worlds, he and his family are faced with conflicts that lead them to difficult choices between revenge and forgiveness. Official Website | Variety Review

INCENDIES (Canada):  Adapted from Wajdi Mouawad's play, "Scorched", Incendies follows two young adults' voyage to the core of deep-rooted hatred, never-ending wars and enduring love. Official Website | Globe and Mail Review 

OUTSIDE THE LAW (Algeria):  Taking place between 1945 and 1962, Outside the Law focuses on the lives of three Algerian brothers in France, set to the backdrop of the Algerian independence movement and the Algerian War. Official Website | New York Times Review