Gyan Correa’s much publicised The Good Road is out of the race for the Foreign Language Oscars. The first list of nine films, just announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will be filtered to a short list of five. This will be announced on January 16 2014.
Correa’s directorial debut intertwines three stories – all unfolding in the hostile and remote Kutch in Gujarat – to lead to an affirming conclusion, happily without melodrama or much music. Although one of the three stories does tend to stick out like a sore thumb, unable to blend well with the rest, the movie has a rustic, native feel – something which the Academy looks for while choosing foreign language films.
Even earlier, The Good Road had a bumpy ride – when it invited the wrath of The Lunch Box team, which felt that Correa’s work stood little chance at the Oscars. Ritesh Batra’s The Lunch Box may have been brilliantly acted out (Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddique and Nimrat Kaur) and wonderfully executed. But it lacked that “Indianness”.
Some of the other movies in the list of nine include Danis Tanovic’s A Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (from Bosnia and Herzegovina) – filmed with the same men and women on whom the actual story is based. While Denmark’s The Hunt by Thomas Vinterberg is an amazing work on how a small deer hunting community begins to suspect a respectful schoolteacher of being a paedophile, Omar by Palestine’s Hany Abu-Assad engages us with a cat-and-mouse game played out by an Israeli agent and a young Palestine informer.
Germany’s Two Lives (by Georg Maas), The Grandmaster from Hong Kong (Wong Kar-wai), Hungary’s The Notebook (Janos Szasz) and The Great Beauty from Italy (Paolo Sorrentino) are some of the other contenders for the Foreign Language Oscar.