2016 Academy Awards

2016 Academy Awards – Foreign Language Films

Eighty nations entered films in the Academy Awards Foreign Language category this year. I saw 75 of the 80 films. It was a good year for South America, a strong year for Europe and a weak year for Asia.

There was one recurrent theme that caught my attention. Many of the films include male characters who try to dominate and control their wives, their sisters and/or their children. I counted 19 different films with an overbearing and manipulative male character who bullies his family. There were also three films with equally overbearing and manipulative female characters, but 19 to 3 is not a close contest.

Of the 80 films, only nine were directed by women and another four were co-directed by women. However, one of these female directors, Deniz Gamze Ergüven, was honored with a nomination (for Mustang), which is more than can be said for any women feature film directors in the United States.

I did enjoy getting to question many of the filmmakers after the screenings. I learned that the tribulations of finding funding to make films are universal and that this often takes longer than writing, shooting and editing the film itself.

Here are my comments on the five nominees and several non-nominees that deserve more attention.