International Films at Golden Globes 2020


Golden Glbes has announced the nominees for the Best Foreign Language Films: The Farewell, Les Misérables, Pain and GloryParasite and Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

International films also received nominations in other categorize:
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama: Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy: Awkwafina, The Farewell
Best Director – Motion Picture: Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture: Bong Joon-ho and Jin Won Han, Parasite

The Farewell
USA – Directed by Lulu Wang
Sad but not surprising, again a film made in US takes away the opportunity of an international film for a Golden Globes award, only because it is made in a language other than English!!!
Aspiring Chinese-American writer Billi maintains a close relationship with Nai Nai (a term used to mean ‘paternal grandmother’ in Mandarin) who lives in Changchun, China. After receiving a rejection letter for a Guggenheim Fellowship, Billi discovers from her parents, Haiyan and Jian, that Nai Nai has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and is predicted to have only a few months left to live.

Through deception and manipulation of medical test results, the diagnosis is kept a secret from Nai Nai herself. Nai Nai is, instead, falsely told that her recent doctor visits have only revealed benign findings. A wedding for Billi’s cousin, Hao Hao, from Japan has been planned in China, as an excuse to unite the family to spend what is expected to be one last time with Nai Nai. Fearing Billi will end up exposing the lie to her grandmother, Haiyan and Jian tell her to remain in New York City.

Billi disobeys her parents’ orders and flies to Changchun, shortly after the rest of the family arrive there. Billi assures her parents that she will not reveal the cancer diagnosis to Nai Nai. Throughout the trip, however, she clashes with the rest of the family, including the doctor treating her grandmother, over their deliberate dishonesty towards her grandmother.

Guilt-ridden, Billi expresses conflicted thoughts with her parents over the Chinese cultural beliefs that result in a family refusing to disclose such a life-threatening disease with the matriarch. One night, her uncle, Haibin, contends that the lie allows the family to bear the emotional burden of the diagnosis, rather than Nai Nai herself—a practice of collectivism that Haibin acknowledges to Billi differs from the individualistic values common in Western culture. Billi later learns that Nai Nai also told a similar lie to her husband up until his death when he was terminally ill.

On the day of the wedding, both Haibin and Hao Hao break down in tears on separate occasions but manage to proceed through the rest of the banquet as planned without raising Nai Nai’s suspicions. That night, Nai Nai gives Billi a hóngbāo, encouraging her to spend the money as she chooses. When Billi reveals to her grandmother about the Guggenheim Fellowship rejection, Nai Nai responds by encouraging Billi to continue following her dreams.

Billi keeps her promise to maintain the lie and shares a tearful goodbye with Nai Nai, as the rest of the visiting family members return to their homes in Japan and America. The credits reveal that six years after her diagnosis, the woman Nai Nai’s character was based on is still alive and remains unaware of her condition.

Les Misérables
France – Directed by: Ladj Ly
Stéphane (Damien Bonnard) has recently joined the Anti-Crime Squad in Montfermeil, in the suburbs of Paris, France, where, Victor Hugo set his famed novel “Les Miserables”. Alongside his new colleagues Chris (Alexis Manenti) and Gwada (Djebril Zonga) – both experienced members of the team – he quickly discovers tensions running high between local gangs. When the trio finds themselves overrun during the course of an arrest, a drone captures the encounter, threatening to expose the reality of everyday life. Inspired by the 2005 Paris riots, and Ladj Ly’s short film of the same name, Les Misérables is a provocative insight into the tensions between neighborhood residents and police.

Pain and Glory
Spain – directed and written by Pedro Almodóvar
The film was released in Spain on 22 March 2019 to positive reviews. It made its international debut at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where the film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or, while Banderas won the award for Best Actor and Alberto Iglesias won for Best Soundtrack. Pain and Glory has been selected as the Spanish entry for Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards. It was chosen by Time magazine as one of the ten best films of the year.

Spanish film director Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas) is in the middle of a creative crisis, afflicted with physical and mental ailments, just as an earlier film of his (Sabor, or Flavour) has been remastered and re-released to appreciative audiences. He calls in on Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandia), the lead actor from Sabor, with whom he has not spoken for 30 years due to a quarrel over the actor’s performance (referring to Almodovar’s own falling out with Banderas). Crespo introduces Salvador to heroin smoking. When taking the drug Salvador revisits some of his childhood experiences: how he moves into a whitewashed cave house with his father (Raúl Arévalo) and mother Jacinta (Penelope Cruz), where a local laborer named Eduardo (César Vicente) learns to read and write under his tutelage. Crespo brings a monologue of Salvador’s memories from 1980s Madrid to the stage, in which Salvador’s lover Federico (Leonardo Sbaraglia) is mentioned, who happens to be sitting in the audience. Federico (who has married and had children) finds Salvador’s apartment (which is in fact Almodóvar’s own home in Madrid) where the pair drink toasts to one another, reminisce and flirt briefly before parting amicably. Salvador recognizes that his struggles with heroin and drug addiction mirrors that which he witnessed in Federico during their time together and he tells his doctor that he needs treatment.

South Korea – Directed by: Bong Joon-ho
Parasite is a 2019 black comedy thriller film by Bong Joon-ho, who also wrote the film’s story and co-wrote the screenplay with Han Jin-won. The film stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik and Park So-dam, and follows the members of a poor household scheming to become the employees of a much wealthier family by posing as unrelated, highly qualified individuals.

Parasite had its world premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival on 21 May 2019, where it became the first Korean film to win the Palme d’Or, and the first film to do so with a unanimous vote since 2013’s Blue Is the Warmest Colour. It was selected as the South Korean entry for Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards, Bong’s second selection after 2009’s Mother.

The film was released in South Korea by CJ Entertainment on 30 May 2019, and in the rest of the world by Neon in late 2019. It received widespread critical acclaim and has grossed $124 million worldwide, becoming Bong’s highest-grossing release; it is currently the nineteenth highest-grossing domestic film in South Korea history. It was chosen by Time magazine as one of the top ten films of 2019.

Kim Ki-taek, his wife Chung-sook, son Ki-woo, and daughter Ki-jeong live in a small semi-basement apartment, working low-paying jobs and struggling to make ends meet. Ki-woo’s friend Min-hyuk, who is preparing to study abroad, gifts the Kim family with a scholar’s rock which is supposed to bring them wealth. He suggests that Ki-woo pose as a university student to take over Min-hyuk’s job as an English tutor for the daughter of the wealthy Park family, Da-hye. Once Ki-woo is hired, the Kims all pose as sophisticated skilled workers, unrelated to each other, and integrate themselves into the lives of the Parks: Ki-woo begins a romantic relationship with Da-hye; Ki-jeong poses as an art therapist and is hired to teach youngest son Da-song; Ki-taek is hired as a chauffeur after Mr. Park’s driver is fired when Ki-jeong frames him for having sex in the car; and Chung-sook is hired to replace the current housekeeper, Moon-gwang, after the Kims exploit her allergy to peaches, claiming that she has tuberculosis.

When the Parks leave on a camping trip, the Kims occupy the mansion, revelling in its luxuries. That night, Moon-gwang returns, claiming that she left something in the basement. She opens a secret bunker, revealing that her husband, Geun-sae, has lived there for years to hide from loan sharks. As she begs Chung-sook to keep their secret, the eavesdropping Kims accidentally stumble into view. Moon-gwang threatens to expose their scam after realizing they are a family, leading to a fight.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire
France – written and directed by Céline Sciamma
Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a 2019 historical drama film. It was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.The film won the Queer Palm at Cannes, becoming the first film directed by a woman to win the award. Sciamma also won the award for Best Screenplay at Cannes. The film was theatrically released in France on 18 September 2019.
At the end of the eighteenth century, Marianne, a young painter, is teaching painting lessons. One of her students asks her about a painting of hers, which Marianne calls “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”. Years prior, Marianne arrives on an isolated island in Brittany. She had been commissioned to paint a portrait of a young woman named Héloïse before Héloïse is married off to her dead sister’s ex-fiancé. Her sister threw herself off of a cliffside before Marianne’s arrival. Marianne is informed that Héloïse has previously refused to sit for portraits as she does not want to be married. Marianne acts as Héloïse’s hired companion to be able to paint her in secret, and accompanies her on daily walks to memorize Héloïse’s features.

Marianne finishes the first portrait, but finds herself unable to betray Héloïse’s trust and reveals her reason for arriving, along with the painting. After Héloïse criticises the result, Marianne destroys her work. Héloïse’s mother is shocked to hear that Héloïse is willing to pose for Marianne over the next few days. While her mother leaves for Italy, Héloïse and Marianne’s bond grows. One evening, Héloïse reads the story of Eurydice and Orpheus while debating the true reason why Orpheus looked behind him. The pair help Sophie, a maid, have an abortion, and later go to a gathering where women sing and dance. Héloïse’s dress briefly catches on fire and she falls to the ground. Meanwhile, Marianne is haunted throughout the house by visions of Héloïse in a wedding dress.

The next day, on their walk, Marianne and Héloïse go to a cave and share a kiss for the first time. That night, after Sophie goes to sleep, they passionately make love. Over the next few days, their romance grows stronger. However, it is cut short by the inevitable arrival of Héloïse’s mother. Marianne sketches drawings of each of them to remember each other, and bids a short farewell. As Marianne emotionally runs out of the house, she hears Héloïse say “Turn around”.

In the present, Marianne reveals that she saw Héloïse two more times. Once at an art gallery, in the form of a portrait, and another time at a theater performance. Héloïse is shown looking tearfully at the stage, as a song that Marianne once played for her is heard.


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Cinema Without Borders' reporters from around the globe search and find international cinema content for our audience. when an outside source is used, we provide you with a link to the original source at the end of the article

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