Italy has chosen Marco Tullio Giordana's The Hundred Steps (I Cento Passi) as its official entry for the foreign-language Oscar, over both Silvio Soldini's Bread And Tulips and Giuseppe Tornatore's Malena, which had both been widely tipped.
The Hundred Steps is based on the true story of Peppino Impastato, a student during the left-wing political terrorism of the 1970s who defied his family's ties with the Sicilian Mafia. The critically-acclaimed film premiered in competition in Venice, where it won an award for Best Screenplay.
"It's a very powerful film about someone who wins a battle while he's dying," said Paola Corvino of Intra Films, the Rome-based international sales outfit which is handling the title. "I believe cinema should face social problems such as this and bring them to the surface."
Meanwhile Korea has announced that it has chosen Im Kwon-Taek's Chunhyang as its foreign-language Oscar contender and Mexico has opted for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Love's A Bitch (Amores Perros).
Chunhyang's US distributor Lot 47 lobbied the Korean Film Commission for the film to be selected. The film, a love story based on a classic Korean folk tale, screened in competition at Cannes.
Love's A Bitch, which won the Grand Prix at the Tokyo International Film Festival last week, is being handled in the US by Lions Gate Films and internationally by Lions Gate International.
These two titles join previously announced selections listed below:
CANADA: Maelstrom (Denis Villeneuve)
CROATIA Marshal Tito's Spirit (Vinko Bresan)
DENMARK: A Place Nearby (Kaspar Rostrup)
FRANCE: The Taste Of Others (Agnes Jaoui)
GERMANY: No Place To Go (Oskar Roehler)
HONG KONG: In The Mood For Love (Wong Kar-wai)
HUNGARY: Glamour (Frigyes Godros)
IRAN: A Time For Drunken Horses (Bahman Ghobadi)
JAPAN: Ame Agaru (Takashi Koizumi)
MOROCCO: Ali Zaoua (Nabil Ayouch)
NETHERLANDS: Kruimeltje (Maria Peters)
NORWAY: Odd Little Man (Stein Leikanger)
POLAND: Life As A Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease (Krzysztof Zanussi)
RUSSIA: His Wife Dairy (Alexei Uchitel)
SERBIA: Sky Hook (Ljubisa Samardzic)
SPAIN: You're The One (Jose Luis Garci)
SWEDEN: Songs From The Second Floor (Roy Andersson)
VENEZUELA: Devil Gold (Jose Ramon Novoa)