Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Chance of Filmmaker Carrera.

Jose here with some Foreign Language Film Oscar analysis.

The second to last time Mexico was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, the movie was made by respected director Carlos Carrera. The film was The Crime of Father Amaro, which arguably banked in on the crush the whole world had developed with rising star Gael García Bernal and of course the controversy factor.

Mexico is counting on Carrera to get them their eighth nomination in the category with his newest film Backyard a thriller which deals with the murders of women in the bordertown of Ciudad Juárez. The "muertas of Juárez" as they've become known, have been a pressing issue for the local authorities for more than a decade now. Very little has been done to solve what amounts to more than 500 crimes (including murders and disappearances).

The film is preachy and sloppy (read my review here) but a film's quality has never been something that Academy members minded much, especially in the Foreign Language category...

With that in mind let's see the pros and cons the movie has of getting in:

  • Jimmy Smits (pictured above) has a small role as a corrupt Texan; Academy members might like seeing a recognizable face in a foreign movie (he even speaks Spanish).
  • The screenplay borrows elements from films like Maria Full of Grace, Traffic and Babel, all of which fared very well with the Academy.
  • It is based on true events (you can never go wrong with those...).
  • Goodwill from Amaro, voters will automatically assume it deserves a nomination.
  • The film's star Ana de la Reguera gives a deglam performance that will have them screaming Charlize Theron and Hilary Swank.
  • The movie feels important and will make Academy members feel guilty if they don't feel it's important.
  • The film is just not very good at all, it tries to fit into several genres only to end like a pastiche of social causes, TV thriller and telenovela.
  • The issue, sadly, hasn't been well received by the film world (does anyone remember Bordertown with J. Lo and Antonio Banderas? Yeah, I thought so) and even the movie stresses out about how it isn't even seen as a real issue by some groups.
  • Reviews have been far from stellar in its home country.
  • The subject will be too gruesome for some voters who often go for orphan kids, WWII redemption dramas and light comedic fare in this category.
Has anyone else seen it? If so, how do you think it will fare up against contenders from eighty other countries? The deadline for Foreign Language Film submissions is tomorrow.


Fernando Moss said...

I've seen it, I dind't like it at all.

I'm from Mexico but I don't wanna see this movie nominated. It's crap! And I don't want my country being nominated for another crap film (El Crime del Padre Amaro was crap too).

UncleVanya said...

I wrote a mini review (echoing my indifference) on it during the Toronto Film Festival, which was attached to a long review of "City of Life and Death"). My thoughts remain the same:

"I also saw two other films: one from the great Korean director, Hong Sang-soo (”Jal Aijido Motamyunseo”) and “El Traspatio”, the new film from the director of the Academy Award nominated, “The Crimes of Father Romero”. The former film, I need more time to digest, but the latter (which I was expecting to be Mexico’s version of such great American films on serial killers, like “Seven”, “Zodiac”, or “Silence of the Lambs”), is really nothing more than a more graphic episode of CSI."

Thus, if this is Mexico's submission for Foreign Film consideration....well, remind me to avoid all the movies they made this past year.

Anonymous said...

well, in all honesty this year Mexican academy didn't have a solid choice to represent the country at the academy awards this year. Yeah, Rudo y Cursi was also in consideration but it's a really disappointing movie (not even the Bernal-Luna tandem saved it from mediocrity)and being a b.o. success doesn't guarantee a nod

Spartak said...

Didn't like it either...You wrote it all in your review,so I have nothing to add,only that his attempt failed,numbers of murded woman stayed for me as numbers and nothing more...