South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan recently announced their submissions to the Oscars for the Best Foreign Language Film. Since 2008, when ‘Departures’ won the award, none of the later contestants has been nominated. This year though, at least the Taiwanese entry has high hopes.
The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) submitted The Throne, a Joseon-era movie concerning king Yeong Jo, who locked his son, Prince Santo, in a chest, leaving him to die from asphyxiation. Directed by Lee Joon Ik, whose 2006 costume drama, The King and the Clown was also submitted, the film features Song Kang Ho as the king. The Throne was released in Korea in September 16.
The Motion Pictures Producers Association of Japan submitted 100 Yen Love, about a slacker girl, her relationship with a boxer and her taking up of boxing. Masaharu Take directs and Sakura Ando is the main lead, in a role that has netted her Best Actress Awards from Blue Ribbon and Kinema Junpo.
China submitted Wolf Totem, about a young man living in Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution, who becomes fascinated by wolves. The french Zan Zak Ano directs, in a practice that takes place for the second consecutive year, since last years’ submission, The Nightingale, was also directed by a french, Philip Muyl.
Wolf Totem is already a commercial success, being the 10th film in the biggest gross list, with over 700 million yuan.
The Taiwanese Ministry of Culture submitted The Assassin, about a young woman in the 9th century China, who has been trained to become a deadly assassin since childhood. It is the third submission from director Hou Hsiao Hsien, after The City of Sadness in 1989 and Flowers of Shanghai in 1998.
The Assassin won the award for Best Director in the Cannes Film Festival.