The Films from the South Festival brings quality films to the cinemas, and is often a rare chance to experience these at the big screen. A number of films at the year’s festival have won awards at several different festivals worldwide. Nevertheless, there is one award ceremony the probably shines brighter for many than any film festival: The Academy Awards. In the past, one “Films from the South film” has won the Academy award for best foreign language film. Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation won the prestigious award in 2011. In addition, Farhadi’s The Salesman was awarded with the same prize in 2017.
In this year’s festival six countries are represented with their respective Oscar candidates. In other words, the odds are small for a film from the festival will be represented at the red carpet when the 90th edition of the Academy Awards takes place at the 4th of March next year.
Take a closer look at the candidates below:
Chile: A Fantastic Woman
Director Sebastián Leilo is an Argentinian, but has made his directing career in the neighbouring country Chile. He received international attention with Gloria in 2013, and continues the embrace of strong female characters in A Fantastic Woman. Transsexual Marina, a young waitress and opera singer witnesses her much older boyfriend Orlando die of a stroke. In the aftermath, she is has to take care of his estate and relate to a family with a strong hatred against her, caused by her being transsexual.
Variety reviewed the film in February, drawing parallels to Pedro Almadóvar’s films and Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry. Read their review here.
Germany: In the Fade
German-Turkish Fatih Akin last film gave the international star Diane Krüger a well-deserved award for best actress at this year’s edition of Festival de Cannes.
In the Fade is an intense revenge thriller with right-wing extremism and terror in today's Europe as a backdrop. A bomb explodes outside a Kurdish shop in the center of Hamburg. Katja is coming to the scene, just to discover that Nuri - her husband and the shopkeeper - and her son Rocco are among the dead.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote this about the film.
Iraq: The Dark Wind
The Dark Wind, the Iraqi candidate for the upcoming Academy Awards, is a dearing drama. Based on a true story, it tells the story of a Yesidi woman who is kidnapped by ISIS and sold as a sex slave. In the film she is rescued by her husband-to- be, and brought back to the refugee camp where her family lives.
The film won the best fiction award at the Dubai Film Festival in 2016, and you can read Variety’s review here.
Kenya: Kati Kati
Well-known director Tom Tywker (Run, Lola, run and The International) has produced this year's Oscar contribution from Kenya, signed debutant director Mbithi Masya. In the film we meet the young woman Kaleche who walks restlessly in an empty village looking for her own identity, and whether she is dead or alive. To find out, she gets help from a ghost.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote a review on the film during the AFI Fest in 2016.
Five years after her previous feature, Annemarie Jacir returns with Wajib, a well-crafted family drama that reflects everyday life for Palestinians under Israeli rule. Jacir is well known for her actor's instruction, and in Wajib, father and son on the screen are also father and son in real life.
Screen Daily praised the film for the naturalistic acting. Read more here.
South Africa: The Wound
With The Wound, which screened at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals earlier this year, South African director John Tengrove gives us a story about masculinity and rituals. In Eastern Cape, South Africa, lives the lonely factory worker Xolani. After taking some days off work, he travels out to a remote mountain to assist in a Xhosa-circumcision, a ritual for turning boys into men. Completely isolated from women, the young men learn about the masculine codes of their culture.
Read more about the film in this review from Rogerebert.com.