Foreign Film Symposium
A total of 53 motion pictures were submitted and approved for Golden Globe consideration
in the Foreign Language category in 2014. In order to qualify for foreign language consideration, a film must have at least 51% of its dialogue in a language other than English, it must be released in its country or countries (in case of co-production) of origin between Nov. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2014, and it must have an official screening for HFPA voting members. The HFPA also does not limit each country to just one entry per year in
the category. Below, in alphabetical order, is the list of Foreign Language Film nominees chosen from this year’s excellent field. The list compiled by the HFPA’s Ersi Danou includes a synopsis, a link to the trailer and a statement by the filmmakers.
Sweden, 120 min
Written and directed by Ruben Östlund
A picture-perfect Swedish family – businessman Tomas, beautiful wife Ebba, and their two pre-teen children – travel to a skiing resort at the French Alps for an ideal vacation. The sun is shining and the slopes are spectacular, but, during lunch at a mountainside restaurant, an avalanche turns everything upside down. Panicked diners flee in all directions as Ebba tries to protect her children. The event turns out to be harmless to the lives of the skiers, yet no less than an ‘act of God’ for familial happiness.
Perhaps unconsciously, most people expect the mother to take care of the children on a
daily basis, whereas the father has to stand up when a sudden threat is coming. Yet nowadays a man very rarely has to stand up and protect his family. He has no practical opportunity to express this kind of action, because there is so little physical danger in Western middle-class society. But everybody still expects it from him—he even expects it from himself. That interests me, this expectation, as does the fact that it is disconnected from reality – Ruben Östlund
GETT: THE TRIAL OF VIVIANE AMSALEM
Israel, 115 min
Written and directed by Ronit Elkabetz & Shlomi Elkabetz
In Israel there is neither civil marriage nor civil divorce. Only rabbis can legitimate a marriage or its dissolution. But this dissolution is only possible with full consent from the husband, who in the end has more power that the judges. Viviane Amsalem has been applying for divorce for three years. But her husband Elisha will not agree. His cold intransigence, Viviane’s determination to fight for her freedom, and the ambiguous role of the judges shape a procedure in which tragedy vies with absurdity, and everything is brought out for judgment, apart from the initial request.
Every day I was in shock working on [GETT]. It’s difficult to understand, in the democratic way we live in Israel, that this is still the law – Ronit Elkabetz
I hope [GETT] will evoke a serious conversation and of course we will be acting on it when the film is out in Israel. It will put it into people’s awareness – Shlomi Elkabetz
Poland, 80 min
Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
Written by Pawel Pawlikoski & Rebecca Lenczewski
In 1960s Poland, young Anna is about to take her vows and become a nun, when Mother Superior insists that she visit her sole relative, her aunt Wanda, a worldly and cynical Communist Party insider. Anna is shocked to learn that she is Jewish, her real name is Ida, and that her parents were murdered during the Nazi occupation. The revelation triggers a journey into the Polish countryside in search for the whole story; a story of lost identities within the haunting legacy of the Holocaust and the realities of postwar communism.
IDA is a film about identity, family, faith, guilt, socialism and music. I wanted to make a film that wouldn’t feel like a historical film – a film that is moral, but has no lessons to offer – Pawel Pawlikowski
Russia, 141 min
Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev
Written by Oleg Negin & Andrey Zvyagintsev
Kolia lives in a small fishing town near the stunning Barents Sea in Northern Russia. He owns an auto-repair shop that stands right next to the house where he lives with his young wife Lilya and his son Roma from a previous marriage. The town’s corrupt mayor Vadim is determined to take away his business and house, as well as his land for development. At first he tries to buy off Kolia, but Kolia vehemently resists giving up the right to his birthplace and its surrounding beauty. His resistance instigates the mayor’s aggression, and a cruel face off begins.
It’s a duty of everyone to combat the state and uphold liberty. Either you don’t talk about the issue at all or address it in a very frank and forthright manner – Andrey Zvyagintsev
Estonia, 87 min
Written and directed by Zaza Urushadze
Autumn of 1992. An empty village in Caucasia is left with only two Estonian villagers – Ivo, an old man, and his neighbor, Markus – both still tending to a tangerine farm despite the approaching war. The men become directly involved in battle conflict, when Ivo takes two wounded soldiers from opposite sides under his care. The tangerine harvesters must now resolve their own war, one that unfolds in their turf, threatening to destroy them, and the fragile meaning of peace.
The film is an attempt to show that even severe enemies can overcome this unnatural opposition and institutionalized slaughtering. It is about trust in the human kindness that will eventually prevail, if people are able to forgive, help and protect each other, even from their own people and at the cost of their own lives – Zaza Urushadze
Screenings of the nominated foreign language films will be held at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica during the week of January 5-9, 2015. The 2015 Golden Globe Foreign Film Symposium, a panel with the directors moderated by Mike Goodridge, is scheduled for Saturday, January 10, 2015, 1 pm, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, live streaming on YouTube, GoldenGlobes.com and HFPA.org. Both events are co-sponsored by the American Cinematheque.