Are Oscars a true representation of world Cinema ?

Of course every one loves the Oscars. And would love an Oscar too. So would I. It celebrates film as no other event does. It gives you international exposure as the whole world tunes into what is becoming a huge TV event. It increases both the profile and box office potential of the film, and of course your personal profile too.

But is it a true representation of the best in Cinema in the world ? I would argue that they are becoming less and less as the world markets look more towards their own home grown Cinema, and as International film makers explode into a new creativity that largely goes unnoticed . 85% of the world cinema in any case gets clubbed into one category. Best Foreign Language Film. Unless the film has got huge box office attention in the US market.

I have been on the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and also the London Film festival last year and have just come back from Berlin. Some of the films that I saw were absolutely explosive. Not just in the stories they tell, the use of cinema in telling these stories, but also in the performances that left you gasping. They represent a state of being that is so real that it gets into your skin without you realizing it. You do not get up applauding a performance. You just walk away with a complete understanding of the emotional psyche of the person and environment. As if it was yourself there in the film. Not through very snazzy editing techniques or the se of technology. But through the sheer simplicity of the performance, the story telling and the use of Cinema.

There are three films I would like to mention here that you absolutely should not miss if you get a chance to see them just for the sheer power of the performances :

‘Nadir and Simin, a Separation’ from Iran. which just won the Golden Bear at Berlin. Directed by Asghar Farhadi.

‘Poetry’ from Korea, directed by Lee Chang-Dong. Was in competition at Cannes

‘Screaming Man’ a film based in Chad, directed by Mahamat Saleh Haroun. Who is from Chad but lives in France. Was also in Competition at Cannes.

‘How I spent my Summer’ from Russia by Alexei Popogrebsky, which got the top prize at the London Film Festival.

Will write about the films in time,

Shekhar

12 Responses to “Are Oscars a true representation of world Cinema ?”

  1. RajuK says:

    Oscars are awarded by an academy. Potential recepients market themselves to the members of the academy by sending them their DVD’s.

    How fair is the process of awarding the Oscars?

    By definition of Foreign, it is a film not made in the English language, in reference to Oscars. Do Flimfare and other Indain functions award Hollywood films, ie do they have a Foreign language film category.

    Shekhar, thanks for recommending these festival films. Where can I watch them?

  2. Sutikshan says:

    I like oscars, as I get to know about some quality cinema without watching all movies of Hollywood…
    Will keep following ur blog for other good names 🙂

    best definition of good cinema in this entry of yours:-
    “They represent a state of being that is so real that it gets into your skin without you realizing it. You do not get up applauding a performance. You just walk away with a complete understanding of the emotional psyche of the person and environment. As if it was yourself there in the film. Not through very snazzy editing techniques or the se of technology. But through the sheer simplicity of the performance, the story telling and the use of Cinema.”

  3. KayEm says:

    I used to feel it is really a big and important event but not any more – I really don’t know why. I would like more exposure for movies and singers from varied countries so that I don’t miss out on some great ones from other parts of the world and so, thanks for those you’ve mentioned in your blog. Here are a few more worth mentioning – Kite Flier, Amelie, Pather Pancheli, King’s Speech. And here’s a song, Inspiration, by Aziza Mustafa Zadeh http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TWwfHW69Fs .

  4. Janita says:

    Oscars represent your success when you are famous….
    Could the title be” How I ended my summer” from Alexei…?
    Will go and watch this films when released…Thanks Janita

  5. kay says:

    hi shekhar, Oscar is not really the true representation of world cinema…we all like to see that glamour though.
    there are many movies around the world in different languages which represents the picture of that specific country or film industry…

    I have just watched japanese film “Confessions” and absolutely loved it…..even with subtitles!!!

    I would recommend that film, if you havent watched it yet….and also, I have e-mailed to your admin team,,for your direct e-mail…can you please send me your direct mail on jiloo123@gmail.com

    Thanks ….and please watch “confessions”…

    love, Kay

  6. Manav says:

    I agree 100% with Shekhar.. I guess the point of representation is becoming big and better than before and at the same time, Independent cinema is growing at an alarming rate. even in US, I am current student at NYFA ( New York Film Academy) and the teachers are a big fan of those cinema.

    Our classes are mostly referred to those cinema but someone said that : They don’t make cinema there.. they make deals at Hollywood” which is true.. I mean what do you really see in ” Sanctum or Green Hornet or similar stuff.. except that they are simply a 3D ride.. which are like APPU Ghar 3D shows.. I don’t see Drama and Cinema anywhere.. But yes, like any country, there is a Good cinema in True Grit, The King’s Speech and ” the fighter”

    So it is a fight and that will always be there.. not everytime, you see films like ” Social Network” by a team of people like Kevin Spacey

  7. brahmastra says:

    The Oscars and Grammys are pretty much worthless as far as their ability to judge anything of real value. There are scores of non-hollywood movies that have exponentially more talent in all areas of film-making and music that 95% of the crap that comes out of hollywood. Thanks to innovative services like Netflix and Amazon, people are finding this out first-hand.
    Coke, McDonalds, Oscars, Grammys..same deluded low-quality crap peddled through huge marketing resources.

  8. Sanjay says:

    Oscar is no less than a big corp., who had established itself a big time already. Now it has a power to say “Hey! this cola drink is better than lassi(Traditional healthy Indian drink made with yogurt)” I would say, Academy is like a huge expensive showroom, which is found with lots of hard work and investment to sell goods. And it has the power to sell even trash in a very high price. Overall its all about money , Is n’t it!
    Can you imagine non of the film made in India so far got a shelf in this showroom. Lassi remained at local market and Colas are selling all over,even in the country of Lassi.

  9. anonymous says:

    Thanks for the names of the films Mr. Kapoor. Iranian films are really one of the best (I am an Indian :)) And we do need more independent films, even in India.

  10. Chakra says:

    Film festivals like cannes/toronto tap best movies from world cinema than oscars, the main point to be debated is how many of these festivals do we have in india? Forget abt showcasing world cinema, lots of movies made in languages other than hindi disappear like a whiff. Only the state and national awards seem to recognize them.

  11. B S Kumar says:

    The Oscars have always been American, with that one window for Best Foreign Film That We Like category. The Academy is a bit cuckoo from time to time, like when Hurt Locker won ahead of Avatar for Best Picture. That is totally so that a woman could finally get a directing Oscar. Please.

  12. Aline says:

    For many years I have been missing the Oscars and solely reading up on and watching the Best Foreign Film nomination category, thinking that many of the films competing in it should have a prize in their own right at that very same Oscar platform.

    The Oscars remain however the American audience’s turf and other film festivals or awards span a larger variety of films from different nationalities, succeeding in blurring cinematic and linguistic boundaries much better.

    I am personally rooting for your participation in Cannes this year and feel very privileged to be near a festival that knows how to open a large net and offer demanding audiences what they are looking for 🙂

    All the best.

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