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Oscars: Czech Republic and Hungary select their movie for Foreign-Language Film category

A few weeks after Slovakia announced its selection for the Foreign-Language Film category for next year’s Academy Awards, Hungary and the Czech Republic have also made public their bid for the coveted golden statuette.

Winter Flies for the Czech Republic

The Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA) has selected Winter Flies (Vsechno bude in Czech), a poignant road trip movie directed by Slovenian-born, FAMU-educated director Olmo Omerzu to compete for the Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film. Co-produced by the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Slovenia, the movie premiered at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, where it won the award for Best director, and was also screened at the Transatlantyk Festival in Lodz, Poland. Third feature film of Olmo Omerzu, Winter Flies opened in Czech theatres earlier this month.

Olmo Omerzu debuted in 2012 with Prilis mlada noc. His second feature film, Rodinny film (2015), was nominated for two Czech Lions and won the award for Best Artistic Contribution at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

The Czech Republic has last won the Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film in 1996 with Jan Sverak’s cult-movie Kolya, and was also nominated in 2000 and 2003 for Divided we Fall and Zelary, respectively. Before 1993, two Czechoslovak movies won the prestigious statuette at the height of the country’s cinema golden age in the 1960’s : The Shop on Main Street of Jan Kadar and Elmar Klos, as well as Jiri Menzel’s masterful adaptation of Bohumil Hrabal’s novel, Closely Watched Trains.

Sunset for Hungary

Meanwhile, Hungary has selected the gripping Sunset as next year’s bid for Best Foreign-Language Film. Directed by Laszlo Nemes, who already won the Oscar in 2016 for his debut Son of Saul, the movie premiered last week at the Venice Film Festival. Set at the eve of World War I, the movie “is about a civilisation at its crossroads”, the director explained. “In the heart of Europe at the height of progress and technology, without being written in history, the personal story of a young woman becomes the reflection of the birth of the 20th century”.

Ten Hungarian movies have been nominated in the Foreign-Language Film category since its creation. Two movies won: Laszlo Nemes’ Son of Saul two years ago, and Istvan Szabo’s Mephisto in 1981.

The nominations will be announced in January next year, one month ahead of the Academy Awards ceremony to be held on February 24, in Los Angeles.

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