Historical Chinese drama, Back to 1942, entered for the 86th Oscars

Historical Chinese drama, Back to 1942, entered for the 86th Oscars
Movie Poster of Feng Xiaogang's Back to 1942

The Chinese mainland has entered Feng Xiaogang's Back to 1942, a drama about a famine that killed 3 million people that year, in the competition for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards.

Feng's film unveils a dark chapter in modern Chinese history when, in 1942, a famine, war chaos and corruption drove residents of central Henan province on a devastating exodus.

The movie features Hollywood stars Adrien Brody as a US journalist and Tim Robbins as a priest.

China Lion distributed the film in the United States in January. It is the second of Feng's films to be selected to contend for the award by the State Film Bureau. The first was Aftershock, about an earthquake that hit northern China in 1976.

Another widely anticipated candidate for selection was A Touch of Sin by Jia Zhangke. But that film, currently showing at the 51st New York Film Festival, was not theatrically released in China and thus was ineligible for submission.

Eligibility for contenders in the category must have seven consecutive days of screening in their native countries' commercial theatres, in addition to technical standards such as certain sound formats and accurate English subtitles.

According to the academy's official website, a record 76 countries and regions have submitted films for consideration in the foreign-language film category for the 86th Academy Awards. Moldova and Saudi Arabia are first-time entrants. Montenegro is submitting for the first time as an independent country.

Hong Kong selected Wong Kar-wai's The Grandmaster, a poetic kung fu saga for the category. The film, starring Zhang Ziyi and Tony Leung, was released in the US on Aug 23 and grossed a decent $6.5 million.

Taiwan submitted Soul, a thriller by art house director Chung Mong-hong.

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