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    International Contenders Making Waves Ahead of Oscars Shortlist Announcement – The Music news


    Denmark

    The Promised Land

    Mads Mikkelsen stars in this Nordic Western as a low-born military man determined to tame the wild Jutland heath, whatever the costs. Touching on themes of class, racism and labor exploitation, it’s an old-fashioned period romp with stunning set pieces, plenty of romance and a satisfying villain in Simon Bennebjerg’s scene-chewing aristocrat Frederik De Schinkel.

    Finland

    Fallen Leaves

    In his first film in six years, Aki Kaurismäki serves up a slender but deeply satisfying slice of blue-collar romance. Jussi Vatanen and Alma Pöysti star as lonely souls yearning for love, kept apart by a series of obstacles both tragic and farcical. Touching, with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, this Finnish gem might be the little awards contender that could.

    Malaysia

    Tiger Stripes

    Amanda Nell Eu’s subversive story about a girl confronting the horrors of puberty could become Malaysia’s first-ever Oscar nominee. The film combines David Cronenberg-esque body horror with tropes from 1950s-era Malaysian monster movies in its story of a rebellious 12-year-old who bucks the conservative conventions of her all-girls Muslim school.

    Mongolia

    City of Wind

    Tradition clashes with modernity in this coming-of-age drama set in Ulaanbaatar that follows the budding romance between a 17-year-old Mongolian shaman and one of his skeptical customers. Avoiding Western clichés of Eastern spirituality, the film evokes the tension between the old and new without coming down firmly on one side or the other.

    Spain

    Society in the Snow

    J.A. Bayona’s real-life survival thriller took him to the frigid peaks of the Andes, where he retold the story of the 1972 Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 disaster, in which a plane carrying a team of young rugby players crashed into the mountains. The emotional and respectful tale recounts the strength and unity of those who made it through the ordeal — and the many who didn’t. 

    This story first appeared in a November standalone issue of The Music news magazine. Click here to subscribe.



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