France’s “Mustang” and Hungary’s “Son of Saul” are among nine films that have made it onto a shortlist in the contest for the foreign-language Oscar, Academy Awards organizers said late Thursday.
The nine films — seven of them from Europe, one from Colombia and one from Jordan — were selected from 81 submissions.
“Mustang” is the first feature film by Franco-Turkish director Deniz Gamze Erguven.
Focused on five sisters living in a village in northern Turkey who are kept at home by their family when they are deemed too rebellious, it was screened at the Director’s Fortnight at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, and has received international critical acclaim.
It is the first time in decades that France is being represented by a non French-language film.
The last time was in 1960, when its Portuguese-language submission, “Black Orpheus,” won the Oscar. France last won an Oscar in 1993 with “Indochine,” starring Catherine Deneuve.
The harrowing Holocaust drama “Son of Saul”, which offers unflinching depictions of the gas chambers of Auschwitz, claimed the runner-up Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Hungarian director Laszlo Nemes has been widely acclaimed for taking audiences into a Nazi concentration camp and showing the Holocaust in a different way.
Others in the running are Belgium’s “The Brand New Testament,” Colombia’s “Embrace of the Serpent” and Denmark’s “A War.”
Finland’s “The Fencer” also made the cut, as well as Germany’s “Labyrinth of Lies,” Ireland’s “Viva” and Jordan’s “Theeb.”
The shortlist will now be whittled down to five finalists who will be announced together with all other Oscar nominations on 14 January.
The 88th Academy Awards will take place in Hollywood on 28 February.