International Oscar films cover dark topics


From Oscar winners such as “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis” and “Son of Saul” to this year’s international feature films “The Auschwitz Report” and “Dara de Jasenovac”, the horrors of the Holocaust have repeatedly explored by international filmmakers, but genocide and mass deaths in other countries don’t get as much attention.

“The Promise” (2016), starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, focused on the Armenian Genocide, but it was a rarity. However, this year, several films deal with global atrocities, including four on the international list of films selected by the Oscars: “Quo Vadis, Aida? From Bosnia and Herzegovina. “La Llarona” from Guatemala, “the collective” from Romania and “Dear comrades! From Russia!

Beyond the shortlist are “The Crying Steppe” from Kazakhistan (directed by Marina Kunarova and “Funny Boy” from Canada (Deepa Mehta), which was disqualified after being submitted for the international film category. focus on the genocide in Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka respectively.

“The tragedy of Sri Lanka, and it’s happening all over the world right now, is that it’s a very difficult country if you’re not ethnically identical to the government,” Mehta says.

Jasmila Žbanić’s “Aida” focuses on the 1995 massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims who gathered outside the UN compound to escape the Christian Serbs.

“The genocide is happening right now as we speak in many places around the world. Many genocides have taken place in silence without the presence of cameras and it is truly thanks to the filmmakers that the world discovers them in a deep and meaningful way, ”she said.

“Collectif” by Alexander Nanau is a documentary about the nightclub fire in which 27 people perished and the subsequent medical negligence which left 37 others dead.

“In 2016, the lack of trust in the establishment in many countries around the world led to the election of populists in the hope that they would care about the citizens and bring about change.” he says. “What I think I learned from observing Romanian health and political systems after years of populism is that populists always start by dismantling state institutions. They do this by manipulating the truth about their real intentions and interests, while appointing incompetent and submissive people to key positions in state institutions.

“In ‘Collective’ we have been able to capture in real time just how powerful a free and highly professional press can be when people trust it. Because of this power to expose the truth with facts, the courage of a single whistleblower who refuses to comply with a rotten system and comes forward can best influence an entire society. No wonder we are witnessing an ever-increasing attack on journalists around the world! It says a lot about where we are heading and that it takes all of our effort to stand up for the kind of society we want to live in.

” Dear friends ! by Andrey Konchalovsky covers the 1962 massacre in Novocherkassk. It was purchased for distribution in the United States by Neon after its premiere in Venice.

The massacre “was a complete blackout and banned for 30 years,” Konchalovsky said at a recent awards season event. “Every citizen of Novocherkassk had to sign an affidavit saying that he would not talk about it or that he would not risk the death penalty.”

Jayro Bustamante wanted to remove the misogyny around “Llorona” and made “the woman cry for something more relevant than a man, to mourn the suffering of all her Mayan people”.

“Thinking that someone who defends these rights deserves an insult makes us wonder if we are a country where genocide could have happened with impunity,” he said. “Knowing that the local public doesn’t want to talk about the serious issues that affect them, I looked for a more fantastic way to say it. This concept helped me to come to “La Llorona”, like a mother crying for her children. “


Darcy J. Skinner

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