'Waltz With Bashir' is in the big dance

Foreign-language nominees include the Israeli film and 'The Class,' 'Departures,' 'The Baader Meinhof Complex' and 'Revanche.'

January 23, 2009|Susan King

The five foreign-language film nominees are an eclectic group that includes the first animated movie to compete in the category. Israel's "Waltz With Bashir," which won a Golden Globe, centers on filmmaker Ari Folman's coming to terms with his experiences as a young Israeli soldier during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

"I am at my studio in Jaffa and we are drinking a glass of Champagne," Folman said Thursday. "Although [the film] is a very personal, autobiographical thing . . . it is relevant to all nations who have been involved in war. Unfortunately it is still relevant."

France's "The Class," directed by Laurent Cantet and winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes, is based on the semiautobiographical novel of the same name by Francois Begaudeau and stars the author as a literature teacher in an inner-city Parisian middle school. Cantet said the nomination is "for me the confirmation that the questions the film is asking are the same in all countries."

Germany's "The Baader Meinhof Complex," directed by Uli Edel, is based on the bestselling nonfiction book that explores the West German terrorist group Red Army Faction.

Japan's "Departures," directed by Yojiro Takita, is also based on a book -- Shinmon Aoki's memoir "Coffinman" -- about a cellist who moves to his hometown only to find his calling in an unexpected vocation.

Rounding out the field is Austria's "Revanche," written and directed by Gotz Spielmann. The graphically sexual thriller focuses on an ex-con who seeks refuge at a farm.


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