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49 countries vie for foreign-language Oscar

Entries include ‘House of Flying Daggers,’ ‘Kontroll,’ ‘Nobody Knows.’
/ Source: The Associated Press

Movies from 49 countries are in competition for the foreign-language prize at February’s Academy Awards, among them the film festival hits “House of Flying Daggers,” “Nobody Knows” and “Kontroll.”

The number of entries was down from last year, when a record 56 countries submitted films for Oscar consideration. Each country is allowed to submit one film.

China’s entry, “House of Flying Daggers,” is a martial-arts historical epic from director Zhang Yimou, whose previous martial-arts tale “Hero” was nominated for the foreign-language award for 2002 and became a hit in U.S. theaters when it was released last August.

“House of Flying Daggers,” which debuted to a warm reception at May’s Cannes Film Festival, features “Hero” co-star Zhang Ziyi as a ninth-century rebel in a romantic triangle with two men whose love for her leads to tragedy.

Japan’s offering, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Nobody Knows,” earned the best actor honor at Cannes for child star Yagira Yuuya, playing a boy who must take charge of his three younger siblings after their mother leaves.

Nimrod Antal’s “Kontroll,” Hungary’s entry, was well-received at Cannes and September’s Toronto International Film Festival and won top honors at this month’s Chicago Film Festival. The comic thriller follows a motley group of Budapest subway ticket takers on the job as a killer stalks the tunnels, shoving passengers in front of speeding trains.

Oscar nominations will be announced Jan. 25 and awards will be presented Feb. 27.

Here’s the full lineup of foreign-language entries, with directors’ names:

Afghanistan, “Earth and Ashes,” Atiq Rahimi; Argentina, “A Lost Embrace,” Daniel Burman; Austria, “Antares,” Gotz Spielmann; Belgium, “The Alzheimer Case,” Erik Van Looy; Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Days and Hours,” Pjer Alica; Brazil, “Olga,” Jayme Monjardim; Bulgaria, “Mila from Mars,” Zornitsa Sophia; Canada, “Far Side of the Moon,” Robert Lapage; Chile, “Machuca,” Andrés Wood; China, “House of Flying Daggers,” Zhang Yimou;

Croatia, “Long Dark Night,” Antun Vrdoljak; Czech Republic, “Up and Down,” Jan Hrebejk; Denmark, “The Five Obstructions,” Jørgen Leth and Lars von Trier; Ecuador, “Chronicles,” Sebastián Cordero; Egypt, “I Love Cinema,” Osama Fawzy; Estonia, “Revolution of Pigs,” Karlo Funk; Finland, “Producing Adults,” Aleksi Salmenperä; France, “The Chorus,” Christophe Barratier; Germany, “Downfall,” Bernd Eichinger; Greece, “A Touch of Spice,” Tassos Boulmetis; Hungary, “Kontroll,” Nimród Antal;

Iceland, “Cold Light,” Hilmar Oddsson; India, “Shwaas,” Sandeep Sawant; Iran, “Turtles Can Fly,” Bahman Ghobadi; Israel, “Campfire,” Marek Rozenbaum; Italy, “The House Keys,” Gianni Amelio; Japan, “Nobody Knows,” Hirokazu Kore-eda; Korea, “Tae Guk Gi,” Kang Je-gyu; Macedonia, “The Great Water,” Ivo Trajikov; Malaysia, “A Legendary Love,” Saw Teong Hin; Mexico, “Innocent Voices,” Luis Mandoki; The Netherlands, “Simon,” Eddy Terstall; Norway, “Hawaii, Oslo,” Erik Poppe;

Palestine, “The Olive Harvest,” Hanna Elias; Philippines, “Crying Ladies,” Mark Meily; Poland, “The Welts,” Magdalena Piekorz; Portugal, “The Miracle According to Salome,” Mario Barroso; Romania, “Orient-Express,” Sergiu Nicolaescu; Russia, “Night Watch,” Timolir Bekmambetov; Serbia and Montenegro, “Goose Feather,” Ljubia Samardic; Slovenia, “Beneath Her Window,” Metod Pevec; South Africa, “Yesterday,” Darrell Roodt;

Spain, “The Sea Inside,” Alejandro Amenabar; Sweden, “As in Heaven,” Kay Pollak; Switzerland, “Mein Name Ist Bach,” Dominique de Rivaz; Taiwan, “20:30:40,” Sylvia Chang; Thailand, “The Overture,” Itthisoontorn Vichailak; Uruguay, “Whisky,” Juan Pablo Rebella, Pablo Stoll; Venezuela, “Punto y Raya,” Elia Schneider.