The 2019 Academy Awards will air next February, which means the selections are rolling in from all over the world for the Foreign Film category.

Here are the movies submitted that prominently feature stories about  that you should know about and watch ASAP. Hey, you never know which one might just nab the coveted Oscar trophy.

“Doob”- No Bed of Roses” from Bangladesh

Award-winning international actor Irrfan Khan both co-produces and stars in the film. “Doob” tells the story of a middle-aged man, Javed Hasan, who has a midlife crisis and begins an affair with his daughter’s friend. The affair becomes a full-blown scandal when it is revealed to the public because Javed is a noted filmmaker.

Interestingly, the film was once banned in Bangladesh because it may be based on the real-life revered Bangladesh author and filmmaker Humayun Ahmed, who left his wife of 27 years for an actress 33 years younger than him. The ban was lifted in October 2017 and “Doob” released in Bangladesh, India, Australia, and France. Though Bangladesh has submitted films over the years to the Oscars, they have yet to have a film nominated in the foreign film category.

“Village Rockstars” from India

Village Rockstars” is an award-winning film that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. It has had a strong run at over 70 different film festivals since then and has won four National Awards.

THe film revolves around Dhanu, a young Assamese girl who chases her dream of buying a guitar to form a rock band while poverty challenges her. The film stars Das’ niece, Bhanita as Dhanu. Das also wrote produced, edited the film as well as handled the cinematography, art direction, and costume design.

“Village Rockstars” was selected from a shortlist of 29 films which included recent hits “Padmaavat,” “Raazi,” and “Manto.” India has had selections nominated over the years such as “Mother India” in 1957, “Salaam Bombay” in 1989 and “Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India” in 2002. Last year, Rajkummar Rao’s “Newton” was the submission. However, no wins just yet in the foreign language film category.

“What Will People Say” from Norway

Pakistani-Norwegian filmmaker Iram Haq’s “What Will People Say” is Norway’s official entry to the Oscars. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. It tells the story of a 16-year-old Pakistani girl growing up in Norway. She is the crop-top wearing teen with a boyfriend at school but the salwar kameez wearing Pakistani girl at home. When her father catches her with a boy she is sent back to Pakistan to live with her extended family.

The film is the second feature by Haq and was screened at film festivals in Gotenborg, Hamburg, and Jerusalem. Norway has had five films in the past make it to the nominations round however, no wins in the foreign film category as of yet.

“Cake” from Pakistan

Pakistan’s official entry to the Oscars is director Asim Abbas’ “Cake.” The film stars Aamina Sheikh, Sanam Saeed and Adnan Malik in the lead. “Cake” is an unconventional film which depicts a fresh, realistic portrayal of family dynamics and relationships as well as how it changes over time. The story revolves around an affluent Karachi family who reunite when their aging parents fall ill.

The film delves into parent-child relations and how children always stay children for their parents, even when they grow up.

Pakistan started submitting films to the Oscars in 2013 after a long hiatus. They have yet to secure a nomination.

The 91st Academy Awards will be held Feb. 24, 2019. Stay tuned for updates on which of these films get selected and are nominated for the Best Foreign Film category. 


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