Who will win Best Foreign Language Film Sunday, and join the ranks of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), 8 1/2 (1963), and Ida (2014)?
And the nominees are…
- Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia)
- Mustang (France)
- Son of Saul (Hungary)
- Theeb (Jordan)
- A War (Denmark)
Son of Saul will certainly win. Not because it already won the Golden Globe, but because it is a haunting, quietly shocking portrait of real horror. The debut film from László Nemes is critically beloved, and deserves to win the honor; the film follows Saul, a Sonderkommando in Auschwitz, who spends his day trying to give his son a proper burial. The audience follows Saul closely, usually seeing only his back, as he travels through the camp and his horrific, monotonous day. Saul was shot on 35mm with a 40mm lens, giving a shallow depth-of-field, which hides most of Saul’s horrors (but leaves the audience to rely on audio). It is visually outstanding.
…But I will cheer, relentlessly, if Mustang wins. Mustang is the story of five orphaned sisters who are suddenly under house arrest and quickly married off. Youngest sister Lale carries the film, anxious at home with little freedom and four bored sisters. Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s quiet, honest representation of what it means to be a bored teenage girl is incredible, and her work must be championed, but how do you compete with a perfect film about the horrors of the Holocaust? Mustang is a modern tragedy with a hopeful ending, and it deserves to be honored too.
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