The themes of their films are varied – but the four directors whose films were shortlisted for the Academy Award for International Feature Film all describe their films as stories about defying obstacles in their own way. the formation of essential relationships between people. Out of a total of 92 eligible films, 15 made the shortlist final.
Four of the 15 finalists joined TheWrap’s Steve Pond to discuss the inspiration behind their films. The list includes Sebastian Meise, the Austrian director of “Great Freedom;” Blerta Basholli (“Hive,” Kosovo); Fernando León de Aranoa (“Good Master”, Spain) and Maria Schrader, (“I am your man”, Germany). All four directors have also served as screenwriters or co-writers on their films, and have very personal connections to the stories on screen.
Meise’s “Great Freedom” tells the story of Hans (Franz Rogowski), who is repeatedly jailed for decades for being a homosexual. Despite the setbacks, he establishes a love relationship with his longtime cell mate, Viktor, a convicted murderer.
Meise said the story was inspired by coming across historical information about Germany’s Section 175, a provision of the penal code that criminalized all acts of homosexuality between men for decades. . “We wanted to cover the entire post-war period up until this paragraph was revised in 1969,” says Meise. “We did a series of interviews with prisoners over and over again. other, and unable to lead a normal life. Because if you ban love, I mean, your life is banned, basically. ”
Schrader’s “I’m Your Man” looks at another type of obstacle to a meaningful relationship: One of the partners isn’t human. A scientist at a museum in Berlin is persuaded to participate in a study to get money to fund her research. For three weeks, she has to live with a humanoid robot designed to be the perfect life partner for her (played by Dan Stevens). “It’s a very interesting question that needs to be answered by all of us – why can we really only share love with humans and what exactly makes us who we are?” Schrader said.
Basholli’s “Hive” is based on the true story of a war widow who led a group of similarly struggling widows who started a business to sell local honey. Through their relationship, they find healing, but must combat the cultural bias toward women who live and work independently. “When I met her, she really felt like a hero to me as a superhero, but also like a real hero,” said Basholli. “And when I asked her, do you cry – because I find it a bit hard to believe she can get through everything – she was like yes, I cried every day. And then I wiped my tears and went to work”.
The protagonist in León de Aranoa’s “The Good Boss” (played by Javier Bardem) is actually a bad boss, one whose working relationships spiral out of control as he becomes obsessed with his job. won a business award for the company he calls his family. . “I like the idea of this good boss, going too deep into the personal lives of the people who work for him, trying to fix their personal lives,” says León de Aranoa. “He will push all the boundaries necessary to get what he wants.”
To see the full video table, click here.
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