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Israeli movie and Holocaust film up for Oscars

Tags: Arts

Two Jewish-themed movies were nominated for the foreign-language Oscar award on Jan. 24.

Israel’s Footnote and Poland’s In Darkness, which both screened at last September’s Toronto International Film Festival, will be in tough competition against Iran’s Golden Globe-winning, A Separation, which is considered the favourite.

Joseph Cedar’s Footnote received strong critical acclaim at last September’s festival and won best screenplay award at the Cannes film festival.

Taking place mostly at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Footnote turns on Eliezer Shkolnik, stoically played by Shlomo Bar Aba, a Talmud scholar and his son, Uriel, who has followed in his footsteps.

Footnote, The CJN reported last September, is everything a movie of superior quality should be. The dialogue sparkles, and the actors perform with energy, grace and precision.

Cedar has made four feature films, and all were chosen as Israel’s entries in the Oscar competitions. In 2007, Beaufort was among the five Academy Award finalists.

Agnieszka Holland’s In Darkness is a raw, visceral, unsettling descent into the dark maw of the Holocaust.

Based on a true story, and adapted by David Shamoon from Robert Marshall’s book In the Sewers of Lvov, In Darkness takes place over a 14-month period in Nazi-occupied Lvov, a city in Poland inhabited by Poles, Ukrainians and Jews.

As the Nazis impose their reign of terror, a Polish sewer worker stumbles upon a small group of Jews who’ve descended into the subterranean depths to save themselves in advance of the liquidation of the city’s ghetto.

Both movies are expected to be released in cinemas over the next couple of months.

Along with Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation, Footnote and In Darkness, the other movies nominated in the foreign-language category are Canada’s Monsieur Lazhar, from director Philippe Falardea, and Belgium’s Bullhead, from director Michael Roskam. The awards ceremony takes place Feb. 26.


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