Oscar Foreign Language Race: The Complete List of Submissions

High-profile contenders include Germany’s “Toni Erdmann,” Iran’s “The Salesman,” Chile’s “Neruda” and Spain’s “Julieta”

Oscar Foreign Language Entries
Clockwise from top left: "My Life as a Courgette," "It's Only the End of the World," "Toni Erdmann," "Dawn"

Here are the 85 countries and films represented in the Academy’s 2016 foreign-language race.

Germany’s “Toni Erdmann,” Iran’s “The Salesman,” France’s “Elle,” Chile’s “Neruda,” Spain’s “Julieta,” Mexico’s “Desierto,” Italy’s “Fire at Sea” and Israel’s “Sand Storm” are among the highest-profile entries.

To enter the Oscar foreign-language race, a film must be submitted to the Academy by an AMPAS-accredited board in its country of origin. Each country is restricted to a single submission, though the manner of choosing can different from one country to another.

Volunteers from all branches of the Academy serve on the foreign-language “general committee,” seeing and scoring at least 18-20 of the entries. The top six films then move to a shortlist, joined by three additional films that are hand-picked by an executive committee. The final five nominees are selected from that shortlist by additional phase-two committees in Los Angeles, New York and London.

An asterisk indicates that TheWrap has seen the film; other descriptions are based on reviews, film-festival catalogs and other available materials.

Director: Bujar Alimani
This coming-of-age story about a teenage boy who works in a chromium mine premiered in Karlovy Vary in 2015. It is Alimani’s second time representing Albania in the Oscar race, following “Amnesty” in 2011.
Subtitled trailer

“The Well”
Director: Lofti Bouchouchi
Algeria has had a strong track record at the Oscars, with four nominations and one win (for “Z”) over the years. This year’s entry is set in a small village in southern Algeria, where a military siege has closed off the town and separated the villagers from their only water supply.
Subtitled trailer

“The Distinguished Citizen”
Directors: Gaston Duprat, Mariano Cohn
Argentina has opted for a crowd-pleasing dramedy starring Oscar Martinez as a Nobel Prize winner whose critiques of the small-town environment he comes from don’t sit well with the locals. The country is the only one in Latin America to win the foreign-language Oscar, which it did twice, with “An Official Story” and “The Secret in Their Eyes.”
Subtitled trailer

“Tanna” *
Directors: Bentley Dean and Martin Butler
Named for and set on an island east of Australia, “Tanna” was shot entirely with non-professional, illiterate actors who workshopped and improvised their dialogue. The film, beautifully shot on the rugged island amid a handful of tribes who keep the old ways alive, is based on the true story of two lovers who defied the custom of arranged marriages on the island in 1987. Lightyear Entertainment has given the film a small U.S. release.
Subtitled trailer

“Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe”
Director: Maria Schrader
Schrader’s drama made Germany’s eight-film Oscar shortlist but when it was passed over in favor of “Toni Erdmann,” Austria stepped in and selected the film as its own submission. The film stars Josef Hader as the Austrian writer (“The Royal Game,” “Letter From an Unknown Woman”) who fled the Nazis in 1934 for England and then the U.S. before settling in Rio de Janeiro.
Subtitled trailer

“The Unnamed”
Director: Tauquir Ahmed
The refugee crisis and human trafficking are explored in “The Unnamed,” in which the corpse in the coffin of an expatriate worker turns out not to be the person presumed dead.
Trailer (no dialogue, English title cards)

The Ardennes
“The Ardennes”

“The Ardennes” *
Director: Robin Pront
This brutal family drama about the aftermath of a robbery gone wrong stars two actors from the last two Belgian movies to receive Oscar nominations, Veerle Baetens from “The Broken Circle Breakdown” and Jeroen Perceval from “Bullhead.” As dark and muscular as “Bullhead,” the first feature from recent film-school graduate Pront won seven awards at the Ensors, Belgium’s Oscar equivalent, including picture, screenplay, actor and supporting actor.
Subtitled trailer

“Sealed Cargo”
Director: Julia Vargas-Weise
A train carrying toxic waste from the Bolivian Andes to Chile drives the action in this sometimes surreal social drama that mixes eco-awareness with a hefty amount of humor. Luis Bredow stars as the train’s driver, leader of a crew of misfits who battle government bureaucracy and stubborn locals on their journey.
Trailer (no subtitles)

Bosnia and Herzegovina
“Death in Sarajevo”
Director: Danis Tanovic
The winner of the Jury Grand Prize at the Berlin Film Festival, “Death in Sarajevo” is based on a play by French writer Bernard-Henri Levy. The film is set in a fictional hotel in Sarajevo during the war of the mid 1990s. Tanovic also directed “No Man’s Land,” which won the Oscar in 2002; this is the fourth time a film of his has represented his country in the Oscar race.
Subtitled film clip

“Little Secret”
Director: David Schurmann
In what is certain to be one of this year’s most controversial selections, the Brazilian committee bypassed Kleber Mendonca Filho’s acclaimed film “Aquarius,” which had drawn governmental ire after its cast and crew help up protest signs on the Cannes red carpet. When Marcos Petrucelli, an outspoken critic of Filho, was appointed head of the Oscar selection committee, three other filmmakers withdrew their films from consideration in protest. But “Aquarius” was bypassed in favor of this family-oriented drama, which is based on the true story of an HIV-positive girl adopted by a Brazilian family.
Subtitled trailer

Director: Ivaylo Hristov
When a group of small-town, high-school “losers,” as they call themselves, attend a big rock concert, their lives begin to change in this blend of comedy and drama from actor-director Hristov. The film won the top prize at the Moscow International Film Festival.
Subtitled trailer

“Before the Fall”
Director: Ian White
As do most of Cambodia’s Oscar entries, “Before the Fall” deals with the brutal reign of the Khmer Rouge regime — but this thriller is set in Phnom Penh in the days before the Khmer Rouge marched into the city, when the city was a chaotic, violent and paranoid place. White’s film has been described as the first Cambodian film made primarily for the overseas market.
Subtitled trailer

Its Only the End of the World
“It’s Only the End of the World”

“It’s Only the End of the World” *
Director: Xavier Dolan
One of Canada’s most celebrated filmmakers, Dolan won the grand prize (essentially, second place) in Cannes for this talky, intense and divisive drama. Made up of lengthy monologues often shot in extreme closeup during an uncomfortable family weekend, the bold film is thrilling to some and unbearable to others, and its reception with Academy voters will almost certainly depend on finding a couple of supporters on the executive committee.
Subtitled trailer

“Neruda” *
Director: Pablo Larrain
Director Larrain (the Oscar nominated “No”) calls this an “anti-biopic,” and his film about the Chilean poet and politician Pablo Neruda is a fantasia starring Luis Gnecco as Neruda, who’s been forced into exile by the anti-communist government, and Gael Garcia Bernal as a policeman trying to track him down while becoming increasingly obsessed with Neruda’s work. The film premiered in Cannes and moves with a dreamlike beauty; it will be released in the U.S. by the Orchard.
Subtitled trailer

“Xuan Zang”
Director: Huo Jianqi
This epic drama about the Buddhist monk who walked from China to India over 17 years in the seventh century was the first feature-film co-production between China and India. The film is produced by Wong Kar-wai, whose films have represented Hong Kong twice in the Oscar race, most recently with the shortlisted “The Grandmaster” in 2013.
Subtitled trailer

“Alias Maria” *
Director: Jose Luis Rugeles Gracia
The plight of child soldiers is presented in this dark and unsettling drama, which screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival in 2015 and is dedicated to the director’s mother. Its lead character is a pregnant 13-year-old soldier who is ordered to escort a guerilla commander’s newborn baby to safety, taking her on a harrowing journey through a land wracked by violence.
Subtitled trailer

Costa Rica
“About Us”
Director: Hernan Jimenez
Actor, director and standup comedian Hernan Jimenez directed, wrote and starred in this story of a man embarking on a beach vacation in an attempt to reconcile with his longtime girlfriend. Jimenez’s previous film, 2012’s “The Return,” is one of Costa Rica’s biggest homegrown hits.
Subtitled trailer

“On the Other Side”
Director: Zrinko Ogresta
Like many Oscar entries from Balkan countries in recent years, “On the Other Side” deals with echoes of the war in Bosnia in the 1990s. Its central character is a middle-aged woman whose daily routines are broken by a phone call from her long-estranged but never-divorced husband, a war criminal she hasn’t seen in decades. Ogresta is a restrained filmmaker who has won praise for the subtlety with which he tells his unsettling story.
Croatian trailer (no subtitles)

“The Companion”
Director: Pavel Giroud
In the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, Cuba sent all its HIV-positive patients to a sanitarium where each was assigned a “companion” who would report back to the government. That true story is the basis for Giroud’s film, which focuses on a patient and the disgraced former boxer who is assigned to be his companion. The film spends part of its time with the patient’s travails, part with the boxer’s attempted comeback.
Trailer (subtitles available in menu)

Lost in Munich
“Lost in Munich”

Czech Republic
“Lost in Munich”
Director: Petr Zelenka
A comedy that blends the story of a parrot who causes a diplomatic uproar with a mock documentary about a film production, “Lost in Munich” has won raves for the way it whips up a showbiz satire that also plays off lingering political resentments dating back to the pre-World War II Munich Agreement of 1938. Zelenka’s 2008 film “The Brothers Karamazov” was the Czech Oscar entry that year.
Subtitled trailer

“Land of Mine” *
Director: Martin Zandlivet
This harrowing film, which premiered in Toronto last year, turns the difficult task of making you feel for the bad guys in World War II. Two hours of serious tension, the film deals with young German soldiers who weren’t allowed to leave occupied Denmark at the end of the war until they’d defused more than a million land mine their army had planted along the coast.
Subtitled trailer

Dominican Republic
“Sugar Fields”
Director: Fernando Baez
A year after getting some buzz (but missing the Oscar shortlist) by submitting the LGBT drama “Sand Dollars,” the Dominican Republic has entered a drama about a peasant who returns to his family in a village he’d fled a year earlier after accidentally killing a soldier in dictator Raphael Trujillo’s army.
Trailer (no subtitles)

“Such Is Life in the Tropics”
Director: Sebastian Cordero
This is the fifth film Ecuador has submitted over the last 17 years, and the second from Sebastian Cordero, who also directed his country’s 2004 entry, “Chronicles.” A tragedy of sorts that centers on a land dispute, the film deals with themes running through Ecuadorian society, including poverty, corruption, power … and soccer.
Trailer (no subtitles)


“Clash” (“Eshtebak”) *
Director: Mohamed Diab
This gripping and chaotic drama is set entirely inside a police van crowded with people from varying factions who’ve been detained during a Cairo riot in the summer of 2013. The van becomes a literal and figurative pressure cooker over the course of the film, which was the opening-night attraction in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section this year.
Subtitled teaser trailer

Director: Kadri Kousaare
Two years after landing a nomination for “Tangerines,” Estonia has submitted a dark comedy about a woman who must care for her son, who withdrew a large sum of money but then slipped into a coma after being shot. The whodunit peopled with colorful small-town characters screened in Tribeca this year.
Trailer with English title cards

“The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki” *
Director: Juno Kuosmanen
In 1962, Finnish boxer Olli Maki got a title fight when he faced Davey Moore for the world featherweight championship. Kuosmanen’s amusing and touching black-and-white film builds up to that fight, but it’s more interested in exploring the character of Maki, who was never as ruthless or single-minded as those around him would have liked.
Subtitled trailer

“Elle” *
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Verhoeven’s first feature in a decade, and the Dutch director’s first French-language film ever, is a typically provocative and trangressive piece of work. Isabelle Huppert stars as a woman who appears to be brutally raped in the opening scene, but who reacts by toying and even flirting with her possible rapist. Divisive and disturbing, the film was generally seen as Verhoeven’s most substantial work in years when it premiered in Cannes.
Subtitled trailer

“House of Others”
Director: Rusudan Glurjidze
First-time director Glurjidze sets her drama in the aftermath of war in the 1990s, as a family relocates to a small, remote village. The film screened in competition at this year’s Karlovy Vary Film Festival, where it won raves for its cinematography and its haunted air of guilt and unease amidst the scars of war.
Subtitled trailer

toni erdmann
“Toni Erdmann”

“Toni Erdmann” *
Director: Maren Ade
A seamless, near three-hour blend of comedy and drama, Ade’s film was one of the best-received movies at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where it landed a deal with Sony Classics and immediately became one of the Oscar frontrunners. The film deals with a hippie-ish man who begins to play practical jokes on his corporate-minded daughter in an attempt to get her to loosen up and regain her sense of humor. While deeply touching, it also contains two uproarious sequences in its final stretch, including an all-naked birthday party.
Subtitled trailer

Director: Athuna Rachel Tsangari
A comedy about six men playing an increasingly serious game while on a luxury fishing trip, “Chevalier” finds a female director dissecting the ways in which men bond, compete and misbehave. As befits a director whose film “Attenberg” made her a part of Greek’s often-surreal new wave of filmmaking, Tsangari leaves a lot up to the viewers to interpret as they see fit.
Subtitled trailer

Hong Kong
“Port of Call”
Director: Philip Yung
A crime thriller based on the case of a teenage prostitute who was murdered and dismembered in 2008, “Port of Call” won five acting awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards in April. Director Philip Yung shifts the action between an investigating policeman, the dead girl and the killer.
Subtitled trailer

“Kills on Wheels”
Director: Attila Till
Hungary is the defending Oscar champ with the Holocaust drama “Son of Saul,” but the country goes in a different direction with this comedy that is pretty well summed up by its title. The film is about a trio of wheelchair-bound hitmen who work for a mob boss, and director Till hired non-professional, disabled actors in the lead roles.
Subtitled trailer

Director: Runar Runarsson
This drama follows a teenage boy from divorced parents who moves from his mother’s house in the city of Reykjavik to live with his father in a remote village in northern Iceland. Director Runar Runarsson was nominated for an Oscar for the short film “The Last Farm” in 2005, and his feature “Volcano” was Iceland’s Oscar submission in 2011.
Subtitled trailer

Director: Vetrimaaran
A crime drama based on the novel “Lock Up” by M. Chandrakumar, “Interrogation” has picked up some of the most positive reviews of any recent Indian Oscar entry, with particular praise going to the film’s actors. The film deals with a group of homeless workmen who are arrested and brutalized by police looking for scapegoats to help them close a high-profile case.
Subtitled trailer

“Letters From Prague”
Director: Angga Dwimas Sasongko
Repercussions from the events depicted in the Oscar-nominated documentaries “The Act of Killing” and “The Look of Silence” underline “Letters From Prague,” which focuses on students who fled Indonesia during the mass killings of communists and leftists in the mid-1960s. The film follows a group of political exiles in Prague, and makes extensive use of the songs of Indonesian singer-songwriter Glenn Fredly.
Trailer (no subtitles)

The Salesman Cannes

“The Salesman” *
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Farhadi won the Oscar for Iran for “A Separation” in 2012, so it’s no surprise that he is representing the country again with this dark drama about a couple whose life is upended by what might be an act of sexual violence. Starring Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti, the tightly-wound film builds to an uneasy and memorable confrontation.
Subtitled trailer

“El clasico”
Director: Halkawt Mustafa
This old-fashioned drama tells the story of a quest by two little people to bring a pair of Kurdish slippers to soccer star Ronaldo. Reviews out of its Dubai International Film Festival premiere and its U.S. debut in Tribeca tended to single out its cinematography and its feel-good nature.
Subtitled trailer

“Sand Storm” *
Director: Elite Zexer
The first Israeli submission entirely in Arabic, “Sand Storm” explores women struggling in a patriarchal and tradition-bound society, including a wife who watches helplessly as her husband takes a second, younger wife, and a teenage girl carrying on a secret relationship with a boy at school. The film won six Ophir Awards, making Zexer is the second woman to represent Israel in the Oscar race in the last three years, after “Gett” co-director Ronit Elkabetz in 2014.
Subtitled trailer


“Fire at Sea” (“Fuocoammare”) *
Director: Gianfranco Rossi
Italy, which won the Oscar as recently as two years ago for “The Great Beauty,” has chosen a highly uncharacteristic work: an artfully constructed cinema verite documentary set on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, which sees a steady stream of refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. The film makes the refugee crisis personal and immediate, and includes a number of indelible characters, including a doctor who treats the migrants who often arrive in bad shape and a young boy more concerned with his slingshot than with the human tragedies around him. The film won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.

“Nagasaki: Memories of My Son”
Director: Yoji Yamada
The film is set in the aftermath of World War II and focuses on a woman receiving mysterious visitations from her son, who was killed in the Nagasaki bombing in 1945. The prolific Yoji Yamada has made five films that have been submitted to the Oscars, from 1986’s “Final Take” to 2003’s “The Twlight Samurai,” the only one of his submissions to be nominated.
Trailer (no subtitles)

“3000 Nights”
Director: Mai Masri
A schoolteacher who is about to leave the West Bank for Canada is wrongly arrested and sent to a high-security Israeli prison in the ninth film by female Jordanian director Masri. Matters are complicated when the teacher finds that she is pregnant, and must give birth and raise her son behind bars.
Subtitled trailer

Director: Satybaldy Narymbetov
The Kazakh entry focuses on the country’s battle for independence from Russia in the 19th century, and its repercussions for writer and political prisoner Ermukhan Bekmakhanov 100 years later. Director Narymbetov said he wants the film to let Kazakhs understand their history and appreciate their current democratic state.
Trailer (no subtitles)

“Home Sweet Home”
Director: Faton Bajraktari
As usual with submissions from the Balkan countries, the specter of war hangs over “Home Sweet Home,” which deals with a soldier who returns to his home four years after being declared dead. His survival, though, complicates things for his wife and children, who is enjoying the benefits of being the family of a fallen hero.
Subtitled trailer

“A Father’s Will”
Director: Bakyt Mukul, Dastan Japar Uulu
A man returns to his home village in Kyrgyzstan after living in the United States for 15 years, discovering a family he never knew in the country he left. “A Father’s Will” won the award for the best first feature at the Montreal World Film Festival.
Subtitled trailer


Director: Laila Pakalnina
Based on the same story as an unfinished film by legendary Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein, “Dawn” is a drama about a fervent young communist who turns his father into the secret police in 1960s, Soviet-occupied Latvia. Director Laila Pakalnina uses the look and feel of Soviet cinema to inform her black-and-white film.
Subtitled trailer

“Very Big Shot”
Director: Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya
A movie production serves as the front for a drug-smuggling ring in the comedy “Very Big Shot,” which takes a satiric look at both the Lebanese film industry and the country’s violent culture. The film premiered in Toronto in 2015 and is already available for online viewing in the U.S.
Subtitled trailer

“Seneca’s Day”
Director: Kristijonas Vildziunas
Five years after his “Back in Your Arms” was Lithuania’s submission, former rock star turned director Kristijonas Vildziunas is back in the Oscar race with a drama about a group of friends looking back on their teenage years just before the end of Soviet rule. Although its 2015 submission “The Summer of Sangaile” was highly acclaimed, Lithuania has never been shortlisted in eight previous submissions.
Subtitled trailer

“Voices From Chernobyl”
Director: Pol Crutchen
A rare documentary in the foreign-film race, “Voices From Chernobyl” adapts stories from victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster that were collected in Nobel winner Svetlana Alexievitch’s book “Voices From Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster.” Director Pol Crutchen also represented Luxembourg in the Oscar race with “Never Die Young” in 2013 and “Little Secrets” in 2006.
Subtitled trailer

“The Liberation of Skopje”
Director: Rade Sherbedzija, Danilo Sherbedzija
Yet another film that deals with the Oscar foreign-language voters’ favorite era, World War II, “The Liberation of Skopje” is set in the town occupied by the Germans and Bulgarian armies during the war. The lead character is an 11-year-old boy whose mother falls into a relationship with a German officer.
Subtitled trailer

“Beautiful Pain”
Director: Tunku Mona Riza
Malaysia’s fourth Oscar entry deals with a family trying to cope with their son’s autism, a condition the mother accepts more readily than the father. The country started submitting films in 2004 but has done so sporadically since then; this marks the first time they have submitted films in consecutive years.
Subtitled trailer


“Desierto” *
Director: Jonas Cuaron
A lean and relentless survival story in a remote environment, “Desierto” actually served as an inspiration of sorts for “Gravity,” which Jonas Cuaron wrote with his father Alfonso. But instead of Earth orbit, the younger Cuaron’s tense, gripping cat-and-mouse game is set in the desert along the border between the U.S. and Mexico, with Gael Garcia Bernal as a migrant worker trying to get north of the border and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a gun-toting vigilante who hates what his country is becoming.
English-language trailer

“The Black Pin”
Director: Ivan Marinovic
A comedy about a priest who runs afoul of the locals while caring for his ailing mother in a Montenegrin village, Marinovic’s film focuses on superstition, ignorance and corruption. The first-time director based the film on stories he heard as a kid and based the characters on people he knew growing up.
Subtitled trailer

“A Mile in My Shoes” *
Director: Said Khallaf
A social drama about a teenager raised on the street and pushed into the criminal life, Khallaf’s film mixes occasionally melodramatic action with stark, theatrical passages and affecting footage of a social worker’s interview. The film won the grand prize at the Tangier National Film Festival.
Subtitled trailer

“The Black Hen”
Director: Min Bahadur Bham
Set in northwest Nepal during the civil war that lasted for 10 years at the turn of the century, “The Black Hen” is a drama about two childhood friends from different castes going on a journey to retrieve a missing hen. The film, the first Nepalese movie to premiere at the Venice Film Festival, won praise for mixing the details of ordinary life with the looming threat of armed conflict.
Subtitled trailer

“Tonio” *
Director: Paula van der Oest
The death of a 21-year-old man in a car accident transforms the life of his parents in this drama from the director of “Accused” and “Zus & Zo,” both Oscar entries from the Netherlands. (The latter was nominated in 2002.) The film, which moves back and forth in time to paint a shifting and affecting portrait of grief, loss and acceptance, is based on a novel by A.F.Th. van der Heijden, which he wrote after his own son was killed in an accident.
Trailer (no subtitles)

A Flickering Truth
“A Flickering Truth”

New Zealand
“A Flickering Truth” *
Director: Pietra Brettkelly
New Zealand’s entry is an immersive documentary set in Kabul and detailing the efforts to restore the Afghan Film archives in the aftermath of a Taliban order that all films be burned. Director Pietra Brettkelly spent three and a half years following Ibrahim Arify, who returned to Afghanistan from Europe to revive the archive and show restored films to a populace that had been deprived of them for years.
Subtitled trailer

“The King’s Choice”
Director: Erik Poppe
Jesper Christensen stars as Norway’s King Haakon, who faced a German invasion early in World War II and had to decide whether to surrender to the Nazis or fight back. Poppe’s previous films include “Troubled Water” and the English-language “A Thousand Times Good Night.”
Subtitled trailer

“Mah e Mir”
Director: Anjum Shazad
Anjum Shahzad’s drama begins as the story of a contemporary poet whose life is filled with troubles – but when the modern writer discovers the work of the celebrated 18th century Urdu poet Mir Taqi Mir, the film goes into flashbacks to show parallels between the two lives.
Trailer (no subtitles)

“The Idol”
Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Two of Abu-Assad’s films, both dealing with Israeli-Palestinian tensions, have been nominated for foreign-language Oscars: “Paradise Now” in 2005 and “Omar” in 2013. While those films dealt with young men on the front line of the conflict, “The Idol” is a distinct change of pace, a biopic of sorts of Mohammed Assaf, a wedding singer from a Gaza refugee camp who battled personal, professional and political obstacles to win the “Arab Idol” singing contest in 2013.
Subtitled trailer

Director: Richardo Aguilar Navarro, Manuel Rodriguez
An ode to life in the barrio of Panama City, “Salsipuedes” is loosely based on the work of Panamanian singer-songwriter-actor Ruben Blades. Samir Flores stars as a young man who returns to his home country and meets his long-incarcerated father after spending years at school in the United States.
Subtitled trailer

“Videophilia (and Other Viral Syndromes)”
Director: Juan Daniel Fernandez
Peru hasn’t been back to the Oscars since its surprise nominee “The Milk of Sorrow” in 2009, and its 2016 entry is a far cry from that gentle, mysterious rural tale. This hallucinogenic drama set in Lima follows a teenage girl whose experiments with sex and drugs lead her to a porn dealer and conspiracy theorist.
Subtitled trailer

Ma Rosa

“Ma’ Rosa” *
Director: Brilliante Mendoza
Jaclyn Jose won the best-actress award in Cannes for her portrayal of a working-class mother trying desperately to raise enough money to bribe corrupt policemen. Filipino director Mendoza has made a grimy, immersive, neorealist tour of a landscape where everything is chaotic and the poor have little chance to survive in a system stacked against them.
Subtitled trailer

Director: Andrej Wajda
No other director in this year’s foreign race has as long a history with the Academy as the Polish icon Andrej Wadja, who died at the age of 90 after this film was submitted. His films have represented his country in the Oscar race nine times, dating back to 1969; they’ve been nominated four times, and he was given an Honorary Oscar in 2000. “Afterimage” is a look at the final years of Polish avant-garde artist Wladyslaw Strzeminski, who was internationally acclaimed but who suffered from persecution at the hands of the communist government.
Subtitled trailer

“Letters From War”
Director: Ivo M. Ferreira
Ferreira’s film is based on the epistolary novel by Antonio Lobo Antunes, which took the form of a series of letters written by Lobo Antunes to his pregnant wife while serving in the early 1970s war in Angola. The film is shot in black and white and makes extensive use of voiceover readings of the letters.
Subtitled trailer

“Sieranevada” *
Director: Cristi Puiu
Puiu (“The Death of Mr. Lazarescu”) is one of the leaders of the Romanian new wave, which is beloved by arthouse aficionados but not typically embraced by the Academy. This film, which premiered in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, focuses on a middle-aged man attending a family memorial; two hours and 53 minutes long, with most of its running time taking place in a small, crowded and claustrophobic house, it is bold but agonizingly slow portrait of a family and society ripped apart by the mistrust that comes from a violent and perilous history.
Subtitled excerpt

Director: Andrei Konchalovsky
The political nature of the Russian selection process has long been controversial, but this year the committee opted for a film by the 79-year-old Konchalovsky, whose previous films include “Maria’s Lovers,” the English-language “Runaway Train” and “Tango & Cash” and 2014’s “The Postman’s White Nights,” which he withdrew from Oscar consideration because he didn’t want to compete for a Hollywood award. Set in occupied France during World War II, “Paradise” won the Silver Lion award at the Venice Film Festival this year.
Subtitled trailer

Barakah Meets Barakah
“Barakah Meets Barakah”

Saudi Arabia
“Barakah Meets Barakah”
Director: Mahmoud Sabbagh
A romantic comedy that takes place in a setting where romance (and sometimes, comedy) has to stay undercover, “Barakah Meets Barakah” is only the second Oscar entry for Saudi Arabia. The crowd-pleasing film stars Hisham Fageeh and Fatima Al Banawi as a young man and woman who must fight cultural barriers just to have a first date.
Subtitled trailer

“Train Driver’s Diary”
Director: Milos Radovic
A comedy about a subject that shouldn’t be funny, Radovic’s film tells the story of a train driver contemplating retirement after a career in which he set a lamentable record by accidentally running over 28 drunk, careless or suicidal people. But the lead character isn’t simply leaving his deadly profession, because his adopted son wants to follow in his footsteps and become a driver as well.
Subtitled trailer

Director: Boo Junfeng
Boo Junfeng’s drama about a correctional officer who becomes the apprentice to a prison’s chief executioner premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes this year. The director has said he didn’t want to make an activist film, but instead a film dealing with the death penalty from the perspective of the man who carries it out.
Subtitled trailer

“Eva Nova”
Director: Marko Skop
Slovak actress Emilia Vasaryova won raves for her performance in “Eva Nova” as an aging actress trying to revive her career after getting out of her third stay in a rehab facility. Skop was inspired to make the downbeat but understated film after interviewing French actress Annie Giradot late in her career.
Subtitled trailer

Houston We Have a Problem tribeca film festival

“Houston, We Have a Problem” *
Director: Ziga Virc
One of the most original and confounding films in the race, this “docu-fiction” film purports to show how a faltering NASA bought the Yugoslavian space program lock, stock and barrel in the early ’60s – but it’s really not about the space program as much as it’s about the way myths and conspiracies are constructed, and about why an audience will accept any tomfoolery and conspiracy the media puts in front of them. The documentary-style construction may confuse some viewers, but that’s sort of the point of this funhouse-mirror experience.
Subtitled trailer

South Africa
“Call Me Thief”
Director: Daryne Joshua
A former gang member-turned-writer is pulled back into his old lifestyle and finds himself on trial for murder in first-time feature director Daryne Joshua’s drama set in a rundown Cape Town neighborhood in the 1960s. The film is partially based on the life of John W. Fredericks, its screenwriter.
Subtitled trailer

South Korea
“The Age of Shadows” *
Director: Kim Jee-woon
An epic (and lengthy) period piece set during Korea’s fight for independence from Japan in the 1920s, “The Age of Shadows” follows a Korean cop who is working for the Japanese but has conflicted sympathies as he infiltrates a group of revolutionaries. The action scenes are striking, including a lengthy set piece on a train, and the tense thriller remains impressive and involving even as it runs through lots of twists and turns and as many false endings as “The Return of the King.”
Subtitled trailer

“Julieta” *
Director: Pedro Almodovar
The Spanish selection committee has long had a difficult relationship with Almodovar, even though he’s their best-known filmmaker and he’s directed a foreign-language winner, “All About My Mother,” and won another Oscar for writing “Talk to Her.” Based on three stories from the Alice Munro book “Runaway” and dealing with a mother in search of the daughter who vanished from her life as a teenager, “Julieta” is Almodovar in a languid, contemplative mood; it’s a meditation on parenthood and guilt that has the beauty of much of his past work without the energy that sometimes highlighted his work and occasionally threatened to capsize it.
Subtitled trailer

“A Man Called Ove” *
Director: Hannes Holm
It’s not unusual for at least one Scandinavian country to submit a comedic film to the Oscars, and this tale of a cranky old man in the aftermath of his wife’s death initially fits the bill. But Holm’s film grows more serious and touching as it follows the growing friendship between the man and a young Iranian woman who moves nearby with her family. The film received seven nominations at Sweden’s Guldbagge Awards, and could well click with the Academy’s general committee.
Subtitled trailer

My Life as a Courgette
“My Life as a Courgette”

“My Life as a Zucchini” *
Director: Claude Barras
Stop-motion animation is used to add a whimsical touch to a story that would otherwise be grim: the life in a foster home of a nine-year-old boy who accidentally caused the death of his mother. Beautifully crafted and enormously touching, the film is the first feature for its director, and a rare animated entry in the Oscar foreign-language race.
Trailer (no subtitles)

“Hang in There, Kids!”
Director: Laha Mebow
Laha Mebow’s drama about three schoolchildren who discover their teacher has hidden musical talents is set in a remote tribal village and uses children from one of Taiwan’s indigenous tribes as actors. The director herself is from the Atayal tribe.
Trailer (no subtitles)

Director: Kanittha Kwanyu
A rare Thai film from a female director, “Karma” was originally banned by Thai censors for its depiction of a young Buddhist monk whose misbehavior brings karmic retribution. A re-edited and re-titled version of the film was passed and became a box-office hit, as well as one of the few films with horror-movie elements to make it into the Oscar race.
Trailer (no subtitles)

“Cold of Kalandar”
Director: Mustafa Kara
This slow-paced, observational film follows a prospector in the Artvin mountains trying desperately to support his family, a task that comes to involve training his bull for a fight between two bulls that offers substantial prize money. The film won awards at the Tokyo, Antalya, Istanbul and Red Tulip film festivals.
Trailer (no subtitles, but very little dialogue)

Ukranian Sheriffs
“Ukranian Sheriffs”

“Ukranian Sheriffs”
Director: Roman Bondarchuk
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine forms the backdrop for this documentary, which focuses on a pair of pair of law enforcement officers trying to keep the peace in the town of Stara Zburjivka as the region passes from Ukranian to Russian control. The film won a special jury prize at last year’s Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival.
Subtitled trailer

United Kingdom
“Under the Shadow”
Director: Babak Anvari
Produced by a British company but set in Tehran in 1988s, this horror film was bought by Netflix at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It deals with a mother and daughter who believe their house is haunted during the Iran-Iraq war.
Subtitled trailer

Director: Manana Rodriguez
This drama focuses on a female lawyer who returns to her hometown in Uruguay after the end of civilian-military rule in the 1970s and ’80s. Once home, she must decide whether to live peacefully or bring a court case on behalf of women who were imprisoned and raped during the country’s 12-year dictatorship.
Trailer (no subtitles)

“From Afar”
Director: Lorenzo Vigas
First-time director Vigas’ drama about the relationship between a middle-aged man and the young man he initially approaches for sex was made with the help of a number of high-profile filmmakers, including writer Guillermo Arriaga, producer Michel Franco and executive producer Edgar Ramirez. The understated character study made its debut in competition at the Venice Film Festival last year.
Subtitled trailer

“Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass”
Director: Victor Vu
Two brothers compete for the same girl in this drama from prolific director Victor Vu, which is based on Nguyen Nhat Anh’s children’s novel “I See Yellow Flowers Upon the Green Grass.” The director was born and raised in the United States, and says this was his opportunity to tell “a very Vietnamese story.”
Subtitled trailer

“I Am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced”
Director: Khadija Al-Salami
The only country to be submitting a film to the Oscars for the first time, Yemen has chosen a film based on the 2010 autobiography of Nojoom Ali, a young girl who has become a central figure in the country’s movement to outlaw child marriage. The film is the first narrative feature from documentary filmmaker Khadija Al-Salami.
Subtitled trailer