Jio MAMI 2016: Watch Oscar entries from 18 countries, including Neruda, Death in Sarajevo - Firstpost
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Jio MAMI 2016: Watch Oscar entries from 18 countries, including Neruda, Death in Sarajevo

The​​ Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival is known to bring some of the most promising films to the country. This year too, at its 18th edition, the festival will bring 12 films, submitted for the most prestigious award in the world, the Academy Award.

These films are from 18 countries and in 10 foreign languages.

Many of these are the official selection of their country for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film. From a Saudi-Arabic rom-com to a French psychological thriller; there's much to watch. Take your pick:

The Salesman
Section: World Cinema
Language: Farsi
Genre: Drama
Notable wins by the director: 
Asghar Farhadi directed A Separation (2011), which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Synopsis: The Salesman is a local rendition of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, and it revolves around a young couple, Emad and Rana, who are forced to move into a new apartment when their old flat is damaged in Tehran. An incident linked to the previous tenant begins to dramatically influence the couple's life.

Section: World Cinema
Language: Arabic
Genre: Political Drama
Notable wins by the director: Clash (Eshtebak) was selected as the Opening film of Un Certain Regard in Cannes Film Festival 2016.

Synopsis: Mohamed Diab, the director, is passionate about working around issues concerning modern Egyptian society. The film is set in Cairo, summer of 2013 - two years after the Egyptian revolution. In the wake of the ouster of Islamist president Morsi, a police truck full of detained demonstrators of divergent political and religious backgrounds roams through the violence-ridden streets of the city. Can the detainees overcome their differences to stand a chance of survival?

Section: World Cinema
Language: Spanish
Genre: Historical drama
Notable wins by the director: Director Pablo Larrain's previous film No was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards.

Synopsis: It’s 1948 and the Cold War has reached Chile. In the congress, Senator Pablo Neruda accuses the government of betraying the Communist Party and is swiftly impeached by President Gonzalez Videla. Police Prefect Oscar Peluchonneau is assigned to arrest the poet.

Neruda tries to flee the country with his wife - the painter Delia del Carril - but they are forced into hiding. Inspired by the dramatic events of his new life as a fugitive, Neruda writes his epic collection of poems Canto General. Meanwhile, in Europe, the legend of the poet hounded by the policeman grows, and artists led by Pablo Picasso clamor for Neruda’s freedom.

Barakah Meets Barakah
Section: World Cinema
Language: Arabic
Genre: Romantic comedy
Notable wins by the director: Mahmoud Sabbagh's film premiered at the Forum section of the 66th Berlin International Film Festival making it the first Saudi feature film to featuer at the festival and won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.

Synopsis: In a time when traditions walk side by side with smartphones and social medias, Barakah, a funny and improbable municipal agent responsible to enforce order in town, will meet a beautiful erratic ultra-famous Instagram video blogger. The unthinkable happens: they fall in love and will try to have a proper date against all odds.

Death in Sarajevo
Section: World Cinema
Language: Bosnian
Genre: Drama
Notable wins by the director:
It was selected to compete for the Golden Bear at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Jury Grand Prix, as well as FIPRESCI prize for films shown in competition.

Synopsis: Sarajevo's Hotel Europe is bustling in preparation for tonight‘s European Union gala for the centennial of Archduke Franz Ferdinand‘s assassination. But the disgruntled staff plans to strike because they haven‘t been paid for two months.

If this prestigious political dinner fails, the already mortgaged hotel will be shut down by the bank. However, the staff union rep soon goes missing. Dedicated and pretty chief receptionist Lamija's mother Hatidza, of the laundry room, is elected strike leader while Lamija tries to keep everything running smoothly.

Sand Storm
Section: International Competition
Language: Arabic
Genre: Romantic Drama
Notable wins by the director: Director Elite Zexer's previous films include the shorts Take Note (2008), which won the Best Fiction Film Award at the Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival, and Tasnim (2010), which participated in over 120 film festivals around the world and won several international awards.

Synopsis: As wedding festivities get underway in a Bedouin village in Israel, Jalila finds herself in the awkward position of hosting her husband Suliman's marriage to a second, much younger wife. During the celebration, Jalila stumbles across eldest daughter Layla's involvement with a boy from her university - a strictly forbidden liaison that would shame the family.

Burying the indignity of Suliman and his new bride living next door, Jalila also tries to contain Layla's situation by clamping down on her. Younger and possessed of a boundless spirit, Layla sees a different life for herself.

Letters From War
Section: World Cinema
Language: Portuguese
Genre: Historical war drama
Notable wins by the director:  It was to compete for the Golden Bear at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.

Synopsis:  Its 1971 and Antonio Lobo Antunes life is brutally interrupted when he is drafted into the Portuguese army to serve as a doctor in one of the worst zones of the Colonial war – the east of Angola, away from everything dear, he writes letters to his wife while he is immersed in an increasingly violent setting.

As he moves between several military posts he falls in love while Africa and matures politically. At his side, an entire generation struggles and despairs for the return home and in the uncertainty of war events, only the letters can make him survive.

Section: World Cinema
Language: Russian, German, French
Genre: Drama
Notable wins by the director: Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, the film was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival.

Synopsis: Paradise reflects on a twentieth century filled with great illusions buried in ruins, the dangers of hateful rhetoric and the need for mankind to use the power of love to triumph over evil.

My Life as a Courgette

Section: Rendezvous
Stop motion animated film
Notable wins by the director:  The film by Claude Barras was screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Audience Award and the film also won the Cristal for Best Feature Film at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival

Synopsis: Revolving around a ten-year-old boy nicknamed Zucchini, who is taken to live in an orphanage following his mother’s death, the movie tells the story of how he will overcome the obstacles and fit into this new environment, surrounded by a small group of children who, just like him, have been scarred by life.

Under The Shadow
Section: After Dark
Language: Farsi
Genre: Horror
Notable wins by the director: Babak Anvari's film has been bought by Netflix for streaming.

Synopsis: Tehran, 1988 is the eighth year of the Iran-Iraq war. The bombing campaigns focused on the city, coupled with the country’s bloody revolution, slowly tear a mother and daughter apart. As they struggle to stay together in the midst of these modern terrors, a mysterious evil stalks through their apartment, threatening their grip on reality.

Section: Rendezvous
Language: French
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Notable wins by the director: Paul Verhoeven's film premiered in competition for the Palme d'Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival where it received critical acclaim.

Synopsis: Michèle seems indestructible. Head of a leading video game company, she brings the same ruthless attitude to her love life as to business. Being attacked in her home by an unknown assailant changes Michèle’s life forever. When she resolutely tracks the man down, they are both drawn into a curious and thrilling game—a game that may, at any moment, spiral out of control.

Section: World Cinema
Language: Malay, English
Genre:  Drama
Notable wins by the director:Boo Junfeng's film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

Aiman is a 28-year-old Malay correctional officer who is recently transferred to the territory’s top prison. Aiman lives with his older sister Suhaila in a modest housing estate. At his new workplace, Aiman begins to take an interest in a 65-year-old sergeant named Rahim. Soon, it is revealed that the charismatic Rahim is actually the long-serving chief executioner of the prison. Rahim also takes notice of the principled and diligent Aiman.

When Rahim’s assistant suddenly quits, he asks Aiman to become his apprentice. Aiman tells Suhaila of his new job position, but Suhaila becomes upset, as their father was actually executed by Rahim. Aiman knew this all along. Can Aiman overcome his conscience and a haunted past to possibly take over as the next chief executioner?

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