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How Middlebrow is the Foreign Oscar Branch? Very.

by Anthony Kaufman
January 17, 2008 2:55 AM
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Recently, I got some flack (yes, you Stu) after a post about dissing some of the foreign-lingo films on the Oscar short list without seeing them, namely Cao Hamburger's Brazilian entry "The Year My Parents Went on Vacation." So I went and watched the movie last night, and surprise, surprise, the film confirmed every foreign-language Oscar cliche in the book: cute little boy + old grandfather figure + Jewish + soccer + left-wing political backdrop. I accused the film of being part of the same old-formulaic contenders that the Academy always celebrates, and this couldn't be more true. It was like watching "Kolya" meets "Central Station" meets "The Grandfather" meets "Four Days in September" meets any of the sports-themed movies of recent years ("Le Joyeux Noel," "Lagaan," etc.). Forever middle-brow, the Academy's foreign language branch seems to have a very different view of quality film than the critical consensus. In his L.A. Weekly blog, a furious Scott Foundas has more.

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