Iceland has just announced their contender for the highly coveted best foreign-language Oscar: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson’s “Under the Tree” (“Undir trénu,” in the original Icelandic). The drama follows a domestic dispute gone violently wrong between two neighbors over a tree and its shadow. The film will compete at the 2018 Oscars next year.
“Under the Tree” premiered at the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). While in Venice, Magnolia snagged the North American distribution rights to “Under the Tree”, according to THR. New Europe Film Sales is handling the film’s worldwide sales.
Sigurdsson, the film’s director, is a well-known artist from the arthouse genre. His film debut “Either Way” was later remade in English by David Gordon Green (“Joe”) under the name “Prince Avalanche.”
According to Screen Daily, a handful of other countries have also announced their Oscar contenders for best foreign-language film. Hong Kong has recently chosen Wong Chun’s “Mad World,” and Taiwan picked Hui-Chen Huang’s “Small Talk”: the list of nominees also includes France’s “BPM” by Robin Campillo, the UK’s “My Pure Land” from first-time director Sarmad Masud, and Mexico’s “Tempestad” from Tatiana Huezo. There were 85 films entered in the category last year, which were narrowed down to a shortlist of nine entries. Five of those films then went on to official Oscar voting, with Iran’s “The Salesman” from director Asghar Farhadi winning the Oscar.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will announce the other nominees in the foreign-language film category on Jan. 23, 2018. The 90th Oscars ceremony will commence on March 4, 2018.