Yikes, this is sad. Yeah, you’re reading this right, there are only three nominees here and it’s because I’ve only really been able to see three foreign films this year. This is because I’ve been operating on a strict eligibility rule that only allowed films that are truly 2010 films into the running and not 2009 films that finally get released in 2010. In the past I’ve justified this saying to myself “if they wanted a chance at an award, they should have put it in my theaters on time.” But now that it’s resulted in this sad showing it’s clear to me that I can’t pretend I can use these rules anymore. I’ll use more reasonable eligibility rules next until now… bear with me.
- Dogtooth: This Greek satire envisions a household in which a domineering father has chosen isolate his children and teach them that leaving the home would mean certain death. There’s something grimly humorous about seeing the resultant behavior, but the overall reaction the film is meant to elicit is shock and disgust. What’s most shocking is that this is actually a fairly plausible scenario, and the whole thing could easily be an allegory for the way nations like North Korea are run.
- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: I probably wouldn’t have nominated this film had I had a chance to actually watch more foreign films this year. The movie is a passable potboiler with a number of flaws, but it’s enjoyable enough. Still, aI’m kind of glad I’m nominating it because it represents the kind of release that more foreign films should have (I.E. one that can be seen in a timely manner by people who don’t live in New York). Hopefully it can lead the way for other foreign films that aren’t based on bestselling books.
- I Am Love: This Italian film is a bit tricky to analyze because it takes a bit of a left turn in it’s third act which is… hard to judge. This is a film that shoots for greatness, employing top of the line set decoration, cinematography, and acting. The story is set in modern times, but it often feels like a sort of strange period piece in the way it deals with family politics and in how it seems to be set in elaborate villas. It’s a beguiling film, one that’s hard to fully appreciate in one viewing.