Taiwan has selected Chung Mong-hong’s dark drama “A Sun” as its contender for the best international feature film section of the Academy Awards, previously referred to as the Oscar for the best foreign-language film.
The selection was announced by the Ministry of Culture, which said that its special panel at the Bureau of Audiovisual and Music Industry Development had considered 18 candidate films. In a statement, the ministry praised the film for its “memorable and moving portrayal of parent-child relations.”
The film which details the pressures on a family of four that follow the younger son being sent to juvenile detention, had its premiere last year at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Shortly afterwards, it played at several of Asia’s leading festivals, Busan, Tokyo and the Golden Horse festival. In the 2019 Golden Horse awards it collected the best film best director, best film editing, best actor and supporting actor awards. It also collected the audience choice prize.
Taiwan has submitted films in the category in many years since 1957. Two titles by Ang Lee, “The Wedding Banquet,” and “Eat Drink Man Woman” received Oscars nominations in 1993 and 1994, while Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” won at the 73rd edition for films from 2000. Only one other Taiwanese film has received any Oscars attention, Wei Te-sheng’s “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale,” which made the 2011 edition’s January shortlist.
“A Sun” was a favorite with Variety reviewers. Chief critic, Peter Debruge called it a “masterful drama.. a world-cinema stunner.” He also included it in a list of the ten best films of the decade that were without U.S. distribution. The film is now available to stream on Netflix.
The Oscars ceremony will be held April 25, 2021, delayed by the coronavirus pandemic from its previously scheduled Feb. 28 date.