Australia receives its first ever Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film

Amongst a slew of nominations for two of Australia’s biggest films of the last year – Lion and Hacksaw Ridge – comes a lesser known film called Tanna, directed by Bentley Dean and Martin Butler.

The film, which is shot in the Navhal and Nafe languages of Vanuatu, premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award Pietro Barzisa and a trophy for its cinematographer. Since then, the film has gone on to have a remarkable life – winning Best Foreign Film by the African-American Film Critics Association, a Jury Commendation from BFI London Film Festival, five AACTA nominations (and one win for its score), and screenings and accolades all over the world – though it hasn’t enjoyed commercial success.

All this has led up to its nomination at the 89th Annual Academy Awards, giving Australia its first ever hope in the category (and hopefully more interest in the critically acclaimed film) – though Germany’s Toni Erdmann is looking to be the favourite to win.

Also nominated in the category are The Salesman from Iran, Land of Mine from Denmark and A Man Called Ove from Sweden.

Here’s the synopsis of the film:

On the tiny Pacific island of Tanna in the Vanuatu archipelago, the younger members of two native tribes are growing restless at the restrictions of their cultural traditions. Especially upset are Wawa and Dain, whose secret plan to wed is thwarted by rival chiefs, and rather than submit, the young couple disappears into the jungle.

If you want to watch the film, and are in Australia, New Zealand or the Pacific countries, head HERE.


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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.

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