The effort of having to actually read subtitles the whole way through a foreign film makes it all a bit of an ordeal but this year’s selection has really been worth taking the risk. Austrian film maker Michael Haneke’s Amour has been nominated for Best Director, Best Actress for Emmanuelle Riva, as well as best screenplay. On paper, the plot’s not riveting. It’s the story of a couple in their eighties, one of whom suffers a stroke which paralyses her on one side of her body. But it’s a beautifully stark look at love and mortality, dealing with the frail reality of life unflinchingly. It’s been hailed by many as a masterpiece and a work of art.
Another French offering is Rust and Bone, which features Inception and Dark Knight Rises star Marion Cotillard. She plays a killer whale trainer who loses her legs in a killer whale related accident, and has also got her a Best Actress nomination. It’s a great opportunity to realise how good she really is. Typical Hollywood love interest she is not.
My favourite film though has to be Untouchable but it’s been annoyingly under-nominated. Strangely it’s another French film with a paraplegic protagonist. This time we watch the relationship unfold of an aristocrat and his carer, an unlikely mec from the downtrodden suburbs of Paris. It’s absolutely hilarious and is a light-hearted but acutely relevant look at the divisions in French society. Do try out one of the foreign language films if you don’t normally watch them, you might be surprised. And no, Les Miserables doesn’t count.
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