This is the second part of my list of foreign films that should have been nominated for an Academy Awards. As my previous list – 5 Foreign Films that Should Have Been Nominated for an Academy Award (Part I) – I am listing only those films that were officially submitted by their respective countries for consideration.
I. In the Mood for Love 
Directed by Wong Kar-wai (Chungking Express ), this film follows a man and a woman living in Hong Kong who find out that their spouses are having an affair. Confronted with this bizarre state of affairs, the pair also grows closer. Subtle, moving and profound, In The Mood for Love is a modern classic of a film whose score Yumeji’s Theme by Shigeru Umebayashi (first featuring in Seijun Suzuki’s film Yumeji) brings out all the nuances of Su and Chow’s unusual situation and contributes to the film’s unforgettable atmosphere.
II. The Seventh Seal 
Probably Ingmar Bergman’s greatest films, The Seventh Seal is set in the Middle Ages and follows a group of people who try to escape the plight of the majority – becoming victims of a plague sweeping the Earth. Steeped in religious nuances and symbolism, The Seventh Seal is an entrancing cinematic experience and few know that it is actually based on a play (Wood Painting) by Bergman himself who first devised this story for his acting students.
III. Nobody Knows 
Loosely based on a shocking true story of Tokyo’s child abandonment case of 1988, this film by Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda is about a twelve-year-old boy Akira who is forced to care for his siblings after their mother disappears. Heart-breaking and powerful, Nobody Knows is one of the best films about the traumas and hardship of childhood.
IV. The Story of Qiu Ju 
This tragicomedy by Chinese director Zhang Yimou is based on a novella by Yuan Bin Chen and tells of a peasant woman who seeks redress after her husband was kicked in a groin by a village chief. Starring Gong Li (Raise the Red Lantern ) in the lead role, it is a remarkable portrayal of a woman trying to navigate one tricky terrain while fighting Chinese bureaucracy.
V. Gomorrah 
Matteo Garrone directed this masterwork from the book of the same name by Roberto Saviano. The focus here is one mafia-controlled region of Italy and five individuals who come in contact with the brutal force of the Neapolitan mob. The film also stars Toni Servillo (The Great Beauty ) and its stark realism is simply remarkable.