Călin Peter Netzer's 'Child's Pose'
Călin Peter Netzer's 'Child's Pose'

Among all the national Oscar ® submissions for consideration, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) will nominate 5 on January 16, 2014 to compete for Best Foreign Language Film. One of those five films will receive the Oscar ® for Best Non-English-feature at the Oscar ® Awards March 2, 2014 in the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

Read more about all the 76 Best Foreign Language Film Submission for the 2014 Academy Awards

At this point (and I have not seen all the films yet), I predict the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar going to The Great Beauty,Child’s Pose or Gloria. Those are three of my four favorites thus far. The Past, while worthy most likely will not repeat Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar 2011 win for A Separation.

Child’s Pose

Child's Pose

I am amazed to see that no Romanian film ever even made it to the 5 Nominations level and yet their films are internationally acclaimed and Child’s Pose carries on the tradition of great filmmaking that Romania has established in recent years. A scathing indictment of the complacent bourgeois nouveau riche classes in Romania, this film leaves no doubt in our mind of how far one can go to protect a really ugly new society. The very strength of the film may make it too “high-brow” for the Academy, although it did award another “high-brow” movie when the Oscar went to Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation in 2011, but at that time, there were political motivations as well for awarding the Oscar to a dissident Iranian. If Child’s Pose does not receive a nomination however, I will attribute that to my aforesaid judgement.

Child’s Pose producer Ada Solomon gave a speech at the Berlinale Awards Ceremony Closing Night where the film won The Golden Bear, which deserves an award itself. Starting with the comment that she is more used to fighting than to winning, she pointedly thanked not only those who helped her but also those who did not help her whose resistance to her making this film made her stronger and more powerful. She pointed out the great need to have equal representation of women in the ranks of directors and producers as well, a theme which has been expressed repeatedly during this festival in many forms. ( Read Melissa Silverstein’s blog on the joint meeting of women's films festivals initiated in Berlin by The International Women's Film Festival Dortmund|Cologone and the Athena Film Festival entitled "You Cannot Be Serious" in which women from many countries discussed the statistics and the status of women directors and other positions in the industry and continued the creation of a worldwide network pushing towards a more level playing field. Check out The International Women's Film Festival Network for more information).

Child's Pose , good in the vein of A Separation, went head to head in Berlin with the Chilean critic's choice, Gloria whose star Paulina Garcia, won the Best Actress Award. Could have gone both ways and so it could again for the Oscar. The two older women were both great.

Gloria poster

By the way, Gloria was produced by Fabula , the Chilean company of the Lorrain Brothers who produced Academy Award winner in 2012 No as well as Crystal Fairy by Sebastian Silva.

Jay Weissberg of Variety describes Child's Pose best as a "dissection of monstrous motherly love" and a "razor-sharp jibe at Romania's nouveau riche (the type is hardly confined to one country), a class adept at massaging truths and ensuring that the world steps aside when conflict arises."

Regarding Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, one of my three favorites, it is masterful how Asghar Farhadi can take a simple domestic drama – divorce, remarriage, children, step-parents – and based on one simple miss-step (a white lie in A Separation and a forwarding of emails in The Past), he weaves a surprising and suspenseful web whose strands the audience only unravels after it has fully and seemingly effortlessly played itself out.

When I saw A Separation, the Iranian exoticism initially carried it forward, and it was only at its final note played that I realized a simple lie and a few misstatements caused the greatest grief for the most innocent player of the family’s drama. The daughter was left to suffer from the well-meaning white lies of adults and that was the ensuing tragedy of the film. In this film (The Past), it is the daughter who must bear the responsibility when things get complicated.

The story goes thus: Following a four year separation, Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his estranged French wife Marie (Bérénice Bejo)'s request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure so she can marry her new boyfriend Samir (Tahar Rahim). During his tense brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie's relationship with her teenage daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet). Ahmad's efforts to improve this relationship soon unveil a secret from their past, and the highly charged revelations affecting every character in Mr. Farhadi's complex screenplay unfold with his trademark nuance. Once again he showcases his gifts as a masterful storyteller and director who elicits riveting performances from his cast.

The Past

The Past, written and directed by Asghar Farhadi and starring Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim and Ali Mosaffa opens in New York and Los Angeles on December 20, 2013. After playing Cannes, it went on to play at Telluride, Toronto and AFI Film Festivals.

Not only did The Past win the Cannes Film Festival Prize for Best Actress (Bérénice Béjo), but Asghar Farhadi’s previous film A Separation won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011. For that reason alone, I do not think it will win the Award this year even if it makes it to the 5 top nominated films.

41 year-old writer-director Asghar Farhadi graduated with a Master’s Degree in Film Direction from Tehran University in 1998. He had won the Berlin Film Festival' Golden Bear for Best Director for About Elly. The Past is his sixth feature.

Argentinian-born and Paris-based actress Bérénice Béjo was last seen in her Academy nominated role as Peppy Miller in Best Picture Oscar winner The Artist directed by Michel Hazanavicius. Following her César-nominated breakout role in Gérard Jugnot's Most Promising Young Actress, Béjo made her American feature film debut in Brian Helgeland's A Knight's Tale, starring Heath Ledger. Béjo is currently in production on director Michel Hazanavicius' new film, The Search.

One of French cinema's young rising stars, Tahar Rahim is best known to U.S. audiences for his indelible performance in Jacques Audiard's A Prophet, for which he won both Best Actor and Best Male Newcomer Césars, as well as the European Film Award for Best Actor.

See SydneysBuzz Review of The Past .

The Great Beauty

I won’t reiterate my love for the inspirational and awesome film The Great Beauty because you can read about that in my Interview with Paulo Sorrentino the Director of The Great Beauty and for the fabulously self-affirming Gloria which you can read in my Interview with Sebastian Lelio Director of 'Gloria' and Star Paulina Garcia .

Below you can list of rights sold to all these four great films. Note who are the smart distributors buying these art films so that when you make such a film, you will know who will be watching. And for more rights to more films, buy the Rights Roundup Reports by SydneysBuzz for each great festival and market HERE.

The Past

MPAA Rating: Not yet rated | Running time: 130 min.

French and Persian with English subtitles

International sales by Memento sold to

Australia-Madman Entertainment

Canada-Métropole Films Distribution

Canada-Mongrel Media Inc.

Denmark-Angel Films A/S

Finland-Cinema Mondo

France-Canal +

France-Memento Films Distribution

Germany-Camino Filmverleih Gmbh

Hong Kong (China)-Golden Scene Company Limited

Israel-Lev Films (Shani Films)

Italy-Bim Distribuzione

Korea (South)-Cac Entertainment

Netherlands-Cinéart Nl


Poland-Kino Swiat

Serbia-Soul Food Distribution

Sweden-Folkets Bio

Switzerland-Frenetic Films

Taiwan-Maison Motion, Inc.

Turkey-Mars Production

U.K.-Curzon Film World/ Artificial Eye

U.S. – SPC/ Airlines – Penny Black Media

Child’s Pose

Zeitgeist Films is handling the U.S. theatrical release of Child’s Pose by Calin Peter Netzer. The film will open at Film Forum in New York on February 19, and at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles on February 21. A national release will follow.

Golden Bear winner at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, Calin Peter Netzer’s sharply crafted Child’s Pose pivots on a riveting performance by Luminita Gheorghiu (12:08 East of Bucharest; 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days; Beyond the Hills; The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, the role for which Los Angeles Film Critics Association awarded her the Best Supporting Actress award) as a steely, well-to-do Bucharest architect determined to keep her 30-something deadbeat son out of jail after a deadly car crash.

MPAA Rating: Not yet rated. / Running time: 112 min.

Romanian with English subtitles

International sales by Beta Cinema sold to

Australia - Palace Films

Brazil - Imovision

Denmark - Camera Film A/S

Germany - Beta Cinema

Germany - X Verleih Ag

Greece - Seven Films

Italy - Teodora Film

So. Korea - Mediaday

Mexico - Cinemas Nueva Era

Netherlands - Contact Film

Norway - Film&Kino

Norway - Tour De Force As

Poland - Aurora Films

Poland - Transatlantyk Festival

Portugal - Alambique

Slovak Republic - Film Europe (Sk)

Spain - Golem Distribución

Switzerland - Filmcoopi Zurich Ag

Taiwan - Swallow Wings Films Co.,Ltd.

Turkey - Mor Film

The Great Beauty

140 minutes

Italian with English subtitles

International sales agent Pathe sold to

Australia Palace Films

Brazil Mares Filmes Ltda.

Canada Métropole Films Distribution

Denmark Camera Film A/S

France Canal +

Germany Dcm

Hong Kong Edko Films Ltd

Netherlands Abc - Cinemien

Norway As Fidalgo Film Distribution

Russia A-One Films

Slovak Republic Film Europe (Sk)

Switzerland Pathe Films Ag

U.K. Curzon Film World


104 minutes

Spanish with English subtitles

International sales agent Funny Balloons sold to

Australia Rialto Distribution (Australia)

Austria Thimfilm Gmbh

Brazil Imovision

Canada Métropole Films Distribution

Colombia Babilla Cine

France Funny Balloons

Germany Alamode Film

Greece Strada Films

Israel New Cinema Ltd.

Italy Lucky Red

Japan Respect

Korea (South) Pancinema

Netherlands Wild Bunch Benelux

Portugal Alambique

Sweden Atlantic Film Ab

Switzerland Filmcoopi Zurich Ag

Turkey Bir Film

U.K. Network

U.S. Roadside Attractions