Foreign films clearly dominated the Golden Globe nominations this year! In addition to six nominations for “The Artist”, the best Foreign Language Film nominees included movies that were filmed all over the world: from China, to Belgium, to Iran, to Spain, and lastly, to the United States.
1. The Flowers of War (China): China’s most expensive film, adapted from a novel by Geling Yan, a bloody blockbuster about the Japanese army’s massacre of civilians in Nanjing. The film stars Christian Bale as an American mortician who tries to save Chinese women and children from rape and murder during the rampage by troops who invaded the city of Nanjing on 13 December 1937. Released just days after the anniversary of the killings, the film – directed by Zhang Yimou – looks set to stir up nationalist passions, both over the country’s historical grievances and its modern cultural ambitions.
2. In The Land of Blood and Honey (USA): Set against the backdrop of the Bosnian War that tore the Balkan region apart in the 1990s, “In the Land of Blood and Honey” tells the story of Danijel (Goran Kostić) and Ajla (Zana Marjanović), two people from different sides of a brutal ethnic conflict. Danijel, a soldier fighting for the Serbs, and Ajla, a Bosnian held captive in the camp he oversees, knew each other before the war, and could have found love with each other. But as the armed conflict takes hold of their lives, their relationship grows darker, their motives and connection to one another ambiguous, their allegiances uncertain. “In the Land of Blood and Honey” portrays the incredible emotional, moral and physical toll that the war exerts both on individuals and people as a whole, and the terrible consequences that stem from the lack of political will to intervene in a society stricken with conflict.
3. The Kid with a Bike (Belgium): Written and directed by the Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenna, stars Cecile de France and Thomas Doret. Set in Seraing, it tells the story of an 11-year-old boy, Cyril, who’s father has abandoned him. Cyril has only one plan: to find the father who left him temporarily in a children’s home. By chance he meets Samantha, who runs a hairdressing salon and agrees to let him stay with her at weekends. Cyril doesn’t recognize the love Samantha feels for him, a love he desperately needs to calm his rage
The film was produced through companies in Belgium, France and Italy. While it does not deviate from the naturalistic style of the Dardenne brothers’ earlier works, a brighter aesthetic was employed, and the screenplay had a structure inspired by fairytales. Unusual for a film by the directors, the film also uses music. It premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and won the festivals’ Grand Prix.
4. A Separation (Iran): A Separation is 2011 Iranian drama film written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, starring Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayat, and Sarina Farhadi. It focuses on an Iranian middle-class couple who separate, and the intrigues which follow when the husband hires a lower-class caretaker for his elderly father. The film received the Golden Bear for Best Film and the Silver Bears for Best Actress and Actor at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, becoming the first Iranian film to win the Golden Bear. The film is the official Iranian candidate for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.
5. The Skin I Live In (Spain): In the latest Spanish film by Pedro Almodóvar, starring Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya, is loosely based on Thierry Jonquet’s novel, Tarantula. The film was the first collaboration in 21 years between Almodóvar and his former regular cast member Banderas. The film premiered in May 2011 in competition at the 64th Cannes Film Festival.
Skin narrates a plastic surgeon’s revenge on the man who raped his daughter. Ever since his wife was burned in a car crash, Dr. Robert Ledgard, an eminent plastic surgeon, has been interested in creating a new skin with which he could have saved her. After twelve years, he manages to cultivate a skin that is a real shield against every assault. In addition to years of study and experimentation, He achieves this breakthrough with the assistance of Vera, played by Elena Anaya, a young woman he’s keeping locked up in his mansion. The only person who knows about this unusual arrangement is his maid, Marilia, played by Marisa Paredes. But his secret, as well as additional sins of the past he’s desperate to keep hidden, bubble to the surface when Marila’s criminal son shows up with a gun, forces his way into Vera’s room, and attempts to rape her. The Skin I Live In played at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.
“THE ARTIST” leads the pack with 6 nominations!
Actions speaking louder than words in Hollywood as the silent film ‘The Artist’ heads the Golden Globes with six nominations. Silent movie “The Artist” painted a pretty picture at the Golden Globe nominations December 15, awarding the film with six nominations, including best film comedy or musical in the race to Hollywood’s Oscars.
The black and white film, directed by Michel Hazanavicius, and starring Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, has already proven itself a strong awards race contender with three nominations for the SAG Awards announced this past Tuesday. The film was only beat in SAG Awards nods by The Help, which grabbed four nominations. However, the Golden Globe nominations advances The Artist with two extra film nods than The Help and one more than The Descendants with a total of six nominations.
Director Michel Hazanavicius, who lives in Paris, was at a café when he learned The Artist scored the most Globes nominations of any other film. “One of my producers, who was watching the nominations being announced on television, called and said that we had four nominations. Then he called me back and said it was actually six. Everybody was so excited, including me of course,” Hazanavicius told THR. However, Hazanavicius understands the cross-cultural acceptance and appraisal of his film. “Whether in Italy, the U.K., Spain or Germany, everywhere is the same kind of reaction, and I think that says something about the format. Silent used to be thought of as old. Now, it’s no more old or new. It’s ageless,” he told Reuters.
“I feel like a have a big, stupid smile on my face. I made this movie out of desire, and never expected this sort of response. People really love the movie, and I guess there’s something special about it for people in the United States, because it’s about your movie history,” Hazanavicius said.
Hazanavicius said it was thrilling to make a silent film. “It’s a wonderful format. It’s challenging as a director, and really works in a different way on the audience. It lets you use your imagination. And black and white is the actor’s best friend, because it gives you some mystery,” said Hazanavicius.
Along with best film musical or comedy, “The Artist” earned nods for French actor Jean Dujardin, supporting actress Berenice Bejo (Hazanavicus’s wife), director and writer Hazanavicus, and its musical score.
The Golden Globes, voted on by about 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are among the most-watched awards programs leading up to the Oscars in February.
A List of “The Artist” Nominations Below:
BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
THE ARTIST, a La Petite Reine – Studio 37 – La Classe Americaine – JD Prod- France3 Cinema – Jouror Production-uFilms coproduction; The Weinstein Company
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
JEAN DUJARDIN, The Artist
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
BERENICE BEJO, The Artist
BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE
MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS, The Artist
BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE
MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS, The Artist
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE
LUDOVIC BOURCE, The Artist
Information for this article was collected and edited by Laura Korman, a Cinema Without Borders’ News Editor.
Sources: Guardian UK, IMDB, Coming Soon, Wikipedia, Legaminauvelo Le Film, Bloody Disgusting, Fandango, GoldenGlobes.org, China Daily, Hollywood reporter, Wall street journal, LA Times and LA Times Blogs