“Bwakaw” to Represent Philippines in Oscar Race


Jun Robles Lana's Bwakaw

Welcome to The Season, the new FilmLinc.com section for year-end editorial coverage of everyone's favorite topics: awards, nominations and the best films of 2012! A whopping 50 of last year's Oscar nominations went to films that played in our festivals and theaters, and we're betting this year will be no different. So join us as we hash out all the nods, lauds, and snubs now through the end of The Season!

As submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film continue to roll in, the competition is getting fiercer by the day. Official selections from the 50th New York Film Festival are appearing time and time again—beginning with the early submissions of Michael Haneke's Amour (Austria) and Christian Petzold's Barbara (Germany), through to Christian Mungiu's Beyond the Hills (Romania), Joachim Lafosse's Our Children (Belgium), and shortlisted titles including the Taviani brothers' Caesar Must Die (Italy), Pablo Larrain's No (Chile), and Rama Burshtein's Fill the Void (Israel), which we proudly announced on Friday. This trend continues with the Film Academy of the Philippines announcement of Bwakaw as a contender for Oscar glory.

Starring renown Filipino actor Eddie Garcia and directed by Jun Robles Lana, Bwakaw is a drama-comedy that balances humor and moving truths in a story about aging alone. Following 70-year-old Rene, his stray dog, and a dramatic change in his outlook on life, Bwakaw has been critically lauded as a quiet triumph in acting and direction from an industry that has largely been overlooked in critical circles. Also an official selection of the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, the film is certainly a notable submission.

Film Society Associate Program director Scott Foundas called Bwakaw "the real discovery of the slate this year ... a totally surprising, lovely film [that] gives a sense of what life is like in this small Filipino town with quite a lot of comic relief, particularly in the form of an extravagant gay hairdresser and his transgendered companion. Nothing is overplayed and once the more dramatic strain of the film comes in, it’s handled in a very lovely fashion. It's one I think people are going to discover and like a lot."


Julia Murat's Found Memories (NDNF '12)

Since Friday, Brazil has announced its shortlist of contenders, including Julia Murat's Found Memories. A magical, thought-provoking film about generational divides and cultural traditions, Found Memories screened as part of this year's New Directors/New Films festival.

In addition to Caesar Must Die, Italy has shortlisted a variety of films that screened in this year's Open Roads festival—including Guido Lombardi's Là-bas: A Criminal Education, Ferzan Ozpetek's Magnificent Presence, and the modern tragedy Diaz: Don’t Clean Up This Blood—as potential submissions.

While the five official nominations and the ultimate Oscar recipient will be next year's surprises, the torturous wait and never-ending speculations will keep critics and New York Film Festival-goers on their toes in the months to come.

Here's a list of the films that have already been submitted for consideration:
Michael Haneke's Amour (Austria)
Cate Shortland's Lore (Australia)
Ilgar Najaf's Buta (Azerbaijan)
Joachim Lafosse's Our Children (Belgium)
Aida Begić's Children of Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Chhay Bora's Lost Loves (Cambodia)
Branko Schmidt's Cannibal Vegetarian (Croatia)
Christian Petzold's Barbara (Germany)
Filippos Tsitos' Unfair World (Greece)
Benedek Fliegauf's Just the Wind (Hungary)
Yong-hi Yang's Our Homeland (Japan)
Darko Mitrevski's The Third Half (Macedonia)
Faouzi Bensaïdi's Death for Sale (Morocco)
Boudewijn Koole's Kauwboy (Netherlands)
Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg's Kon-Tiki (Norway)
Annemarie Jacir's When I Saw You (Palestine)
Jun Robles Lana's Bwakaw (The Philippines)
Waldemar Krzystek's 80 Million (Poland)
João Canijo's Blood of My Blood (Portugal)
Cristian Mungiu's Beyond the Hills (Romania)
Goran Paskaljević's When Day Breaks (Serbia)
Nejc Gazvoda's A Trip (Slovenia)
Kim Ki-duk's Pietà (South Korea)
Lasse Hallström's The Hypnotist (Sweden)
Mykhailo Illienko's Firecrosser (Ukraine)
Hernán Jabes' Rock, Paper, Scissors (Venezuela)

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