Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Nuestro Cine: What’s in a Name?

In the past few days we have featured the Mexican, Peruvian and Venezuelan choices for the next Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.  All of these films are intense dramas but today we will examine a more light-hearted movie from the Americas.

The animated children’s film “Anina” will represent Uruguay in the race for the top foreign film Oscar. Based on the short story “Anina Yatay Salas,” the movie’s titular character is a ten-year-old girl who is upset that her name is made up of three palindromes.  After a fight with one of her classmates, Anina is punished by her principal and given a sealed black envelope that cannot be opened for seven days.  As she tries to discover the contents of the mysterious envelope, Anina experiences numerous adventures that help her learn more about the world around her.

Though “Anina” is a co-production with Colombia, the film’s creators consider the film as “culturally Uruguayan” including depicting tradition meals, jargon and customs from the Southern Cone country.

“We recently screened ‘Anina’ in the Montevideo neighborhood of Casavalle and to see the kids applaud at the end of the film filled us with more than just pride,” said Germán Tejeira, producer of “Anina.”

Could “Anina” be the first animated movie to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film? Judge for yourselves by viewing the film’ trailer below the page break:

It may be worth noting that even though “Anina” has received critical praise at several film festivals its nomination for the Oscars has not been without controversy.

El Bella Vista” was originally chosen as Uruguay’s pick to the Oscars but the documentary’s producers were unable to convert the film fast enough to the Digital Cinema Package required for submission to the Academy prior to the October 1st deadline.  As a result, the documentary on a building that was founded as the headquarters of a small soccer club but was transformed to a transvestite brothel and then a Catholic chapel lost out to a whimsical animated film.

In mid-January, a nine-film shortlist will be chosen followed by the selection of the five finalists later in the month.  The Academy Awards will be presented on March 2nd.

Video Source – YouTube via users EstrenosBuenCine and the Film Society of Lincoln Center

Online Sources – Diario El Pais; El Observador; Diario ABC Color; The Latin Americanist

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