The most prestigous ceremony in the Holywood diary is the Oscars. Preparations are under way for the showpiece awards bash in Los Angeles on Sunday.
The organisers this year have promised that competition will be fierce and the show fast paced as they bid to halt a decline in viewing figures.
Such concerns are off little worry to the directors and producers of the five foreign films shortlisted.
Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke wrote and directed the German film White Rabbit.
The story darkly depicts society and family in a northern German village just before World War I. According to Haneke, the film is about “the origin of every type of terrorism, be it of political or religious nature.”
The French film A Prophet has already scooped a host of awards on its home ground and will now compete against Ajami on the foreign short list. It was co-written and directed by an Israeli Arab and and Israeli Jew. The competiton is sometimes compared to an international soccer tournament as Director Yaron Shani explained:
“The Oscar is like a fantasy and because the way it is people feel it’s a soccer team that is representing their country but it’s not like that. Films are not football. On the other hand, it’s amazing to see how people get involved with something that was so personal to you.”
Ajami explores five different stories set in an actual impoverished Christian-and-Muslim Arab neighborhood called Ajami. The many characters played by non-professional actors lend the story the feel of a documentary. The Arab characters speak Arabic among themselves, the Jewish characters speak Hebrew among themselves.
“La Teta Asustada” was a film made in Peru. Its the first time a movie from that country has been nominated and that golden statue could have huge implications.
“I hope this will create more opportunities, that there will be a butterfly effect and encourage new filmmakers to show them it is possible to succeed,” said Claudia Llosa Director, “La Teta Asustada”
The translation of the title of the film is, “The Milk of Sorrow and deals with wartime traumas of many Peruvian women.
These five nominations for the Best foreign language film of the year maybe unknown outside their own country but a coveted oscar will propel the winner to wider recognition.