The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, April 25, 2021.
Each Friday starting in January, we will open an Oscar contender for your viewing in our Virtual Movie Palace–and hopefully, in-person at the theaters when we are safely able to!
In collaboration with our friends at Film Movement, we’re delighted to offer a special rental pass for four films in the running for this year’s best international feature film. These films include Latvia’s Blizzard of Souls, Switzerland’s My Little Sister, Sudan’sYou Will Die at Twenty, and Japan’s True Mothers.
Rent each for $10 or grab the 4-Film Pass for $30 – a $10 savings! Films in your pass will become available to view as they are released to the public.
Latvia’s Official Submission for Best International Feature
Blizzard of Souls pays stark witness to the horrors and brutality of the First World War, as seen through the eyes of an innocent 17-year-old farm-boy turned soldier. Though he is underage, and his dad, a former marksman, is overage for the army, they are both conscripted into one of Latvia’s first national battalions. The thrill of training is soon followed by reality, as shells burst around them in the endless mud. He grows up on the battlefield, fighting at the side of his father and brother, their lives are constantly in jeopardy.
Adapted from the book by Aleksandrs Grins, which was banned in the U.S.S.R., the story was based on Grins’ own war experiences in a Latvian battalion, and the film is the biggest box office success in Latvia in the past 30 years.
Presented in Latvian with English subtitles
2019. 123 minutes. Drama. NR.
Switzerland’s Official Submission for Best International Feature
Lisa, once a brilliant playwright, no longer writes. She lives with her family in Switzerland, but her heart remains in Berlin, beating in time with that of her twin brother Sven, the famous theatre actor. Since Sven has been suffering from an aggressive type of leukaemia, the relationship between them has become even closer. Lisa does not want to accept this blow of fate, she does everything in her power to bring Sven back on stage. For her soulmate she neglects everything else and even risks losing her husband. Her marriage goes awry, but Lisa only has eyes for her brother, who reflects her deepest longings and awakens in her the desire to be creative, to feel alive again.
Presented in English, German and French with English subtitles
2020. 99 minutes. Drama. NR.
Sudan’s Official Submission for Best International Feature
Winner of the Lion of the Future Award for best Debut Feature at the Venice Film Festival, YOU WILL DIE AT TWENTY is visually sumptuous “coming-of-death” fable. During her son’s naming ceremony, a Sheikh predicts that Sakina’s child will die at the age of 20. Haunted by this prophecy, Sakina becomes overly protective of her son Muzamil, who grows up knowing about his fate. As Muzamil escapes Sakina’s ever-watchful eye, he encounters friends, ideas and challenges that make him question his destiny. Sudan’s first Oscar submission, YOU WILL DIE AT TWENTY is an auspicious debut and a moving meditation on what it means to live in the present.
Presented in Arabic with English subtitles
2019. 103 minutes. Drama. NR.
Japan’s Official Submission for Best International Feature
After a long and unsuccessful struggle to get pregnant, Satoko and her husband decide to adopt a child. Over the next six years, the middle-class couple and their young son Asato settle into a comfortable, albeit routine, life. The family’s orderly existence is shattered by the arrival of Hikari, a young woman claiming to be Asato’s biological mother, demanding his return. As tensions mount, Satoko grows more and more emboldened to defend her family.
Weaving together multiple timelines and genres with a contemplative pacing and keen sense of place, hallmarks of Kawase’s work, TRUE MOTHERS “is a deeply touching celebration of women who assume duties of love, support and compassion” (Awards Watch).
Presented in Japanese with English Subtitles
2020. 140 minutes. Drama. NR.
And although it’s not part of the 4-Film Pass, we recommend:
Denmark’s Official Submission for Best International Feature
There’s a theory that we should be born with a small amount of alcohol in our blood, and that modest inebriation opens our minds to the world around us, diminishing our problems and increasing our creativity. Heartened by that theory, Martin and three of his friends, all weary high school teachers, embark on an experiment to maintain a constant level of intoxication throughout the workday. If Churchill won WW2 in a heavy daze of alcohol, who knows what a few drops might do for them and their students? Initial results are positive, and the teachers’ little project turns into a genuine academic study. Both their classes and their results continue to improve, and the group feels alive again! As the units are knocked back, some of the participants see further improvement and others go off the rails. It becomes increasingly clear that while alcohol may have fueled great results in world history, some bold acts carry consequences.
Presented in Danish and Swedish with English Subtitles
2020. 116 minutes. Comedy/Drama. NR.
Romania’s Official Submission for Best International Feature
After an explosive fire claims the lives of 27 people at Bucharest nightclub, Colectiv, officials reassure the public that surviving victims will receive care in facilities that are “better than in Germany.” Weeks later, a rising causality count leads intrepid reporters at the Sports Gazette to investigate. Just as a crucial tip exposes Hexi Pharma, a local firm’s culpability, the firm’s owner dies under mysterious circumstances and the health minister quietly resigns amid the uproar -but this is only the first chapter in a thrilling, ever- twisting exposé.
Closely tracking the efforts of the Gazette team as they methodically discover layer upon layer of fraud and criminal malfeasance, Alexander Nanau’s COLLECTIVE is a fast- paced, real-time detective story about truth, accountability, and the value of an independent press in partisan times.
Presented in Romanian with English Subtitles
109 minutes. Documentary. NR.
France’s Official Submission for Best International Feature
Two retired women, Nina (Barbara Sukowa) and Madeleine (Martine Chevallier), have been secretly in love for decades. Everybody, including Madeleine’s family, thinks they are simply neighbors, sharing the top floor of their building. They come and go between their two apartments, enjoying the affection and pleasures of daily life together, until an unforeseen event turns their relationship upside down and leads Madeleine’s daughter to gradually unravel the truth about them.
Presented in French with English Subtitles
95 minutes. Drama/Foreign. NR.