December 11, 2008 / 9:54 PM / 9 years ago

Foreign Golden Globe contenders grounded in reality

<p>Finnish actress Maria Heiskanen is shown in a scene from the Swedish film "Everlasting Moments" in this undated publicity photo released to Reuters December 11, 2008. "Everlasting Moments" has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in the 66th annual Golden Globe Awards, to be presented January 11, 2009. REUTERS/IFC Films/Handout</p>

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Movies grounded in real events dominated nominations in the Golden Globe Awards’ foreign film category on Thursday, even as one of those films used animation to interpret its reality.

“Waltz with Bashir” from Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman is based on conversations Folman recorded with friends and a psychologist about fighting in Lebanon in the 1980s. The recordings are played through the movie, and brought to life with often surreal animation.

Italian Mafia film “Gomorrah” is based on a book about the Neapolitan Mafia written by Roberto Saviano, who now lives under police protection for fear of retaliation from the mob.

“Everlasting Moments” tells the story of how a relative of Swedish director Jan Troell’s wife found solace in photography amid her chaotic life, and “The Baader Meinhof Complex” chronicles the violent exploits of Germany’s Red Army Faction.

The fifth nominee, French movie “I’ve Loved You So Long” from director Philippe Claudel, is fiction and follows a woman reconnecting with her sister. It earned Kristin Scott Thomas a best actress nomination for her starring role.

“Gomorrah” director Matteo Garrone said he hopes his film’s nomination will help it win over American audiences, and he admits to being curious about how it will play in the United States because it does not glorify gangsters.

<p>Actress Kristin Scott Thomas is shown in a scene from the French film "I've Loved You So Long'' in this undated publicity photo released to Reuters December 11, 2008. "I've Loved You So Long'' has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in the 66th annual Golden Globe Awards, to be presented January 11, 2009. REUTERS/Thierry Valletoux/Sony Picture Classics/Handout</p>

“It’s interesting to show how different is the real life of criminals from the stories in cinema that we have about criminals,” he said.

While a Golden Globe nomination can be a harbinger for an Oscar nod, Troell’s 1970s films “The Emigrants” and “The New Land” both won Golden Globes but lost in their Oscar bids.

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“I’ve been in the situation a couple times before, so I know that you should not be putting too much feelings into that, because even if you get nominated the chances are not so great,” said Troell, 77.

Folman said the success of his animated documentary has exceeded his expectations, but he still has high hopes for an Oscar nod.

“I think the Oscars is about filmmaking and new innovative ways of telling stories, and I think maybe we did something in that area with this film,” he said.

The Golden Globe Awards will be given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association on January 11.

Last year’s foreign film winner was French entry “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” based on a true-life memoir.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Todd Eastham

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