Norway announced yesterday that it would be submitting Reprise as their country's entry for the best foreign language film Oscar. The movie is about "life's realities intruding on youthful assumptions." It joins Sweden's entry Falkenberg Farewell and Denmark's After the Wedding, which were announced earlier in the week.
The foreign language film category in the Oscars often feels tacked on haphazardly, and is frequently paid little attention. Which is exactly how I treated foreign films until I took a cinema history course in college. That was probably the first time I watched a film with subtitles (I think it was Raise the Red Lantern), and opened my eyes to world cinema. Frequently, American cinema seems to be all Boobs and/or Explosions IV at the box office, while films with real stories and characters go unnoticed.
Foreign films are almost always lower in budget than our mid-range films, yet they have more heart and story than our films do. Why is that? U.S. big-budget blockbusters usually perform very well overseas, so if they like those types of films, why aren't they producing them? Is it a problem of budget, or of storytelling? Heck, even Shaun of the Dead was much better than the non-stop stream of bad horror movies on this side of the pond.
Anyhow, while I think about what makes foreign films so good, I'm off to go see The Guardian to put it all in perspective.