Among the 45 of the 51 Oscar submissions which screened at the 13th Palm Springs International Film Festival which wrapped Sunday (Jan 25), Japan's Isao Yukisada's coming-of-age drama Go was the pick of the FIPRESCI jury, which this year consisted of film critics from Yugoslavia, Germany, Denmark, Australia and the US.
Other titles on the jury's shortlist included Marisa Sistach's Mexican Violet Perfume (Perfume De Violetas), Michael Haneke's Austrian The Piano Teacher (La Pianiste) and Danis Tanovic's No Man's Land from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
However, among this year's record number of official entries for the Academy's Foreign Language Oscar, the unfortunate no-shows from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Turkey and Spain were missed in the Palm Springs' line-up, which did include many 'new' countries from Eastern Europe and South America.
The audience's list of favourites was topped by the Italian I Love You Eugenio, Norway's Elling and India's Lagaan.
During the festival Miramax picked up an International Distributors Award, which went well with their impressive track-record of 17 Best Foreign Language Film nominations in 13 years.
Among the other recipients of the festival's delicate glass awards, which nobody dared to pick up, were closet-Americans Michael Apted (UK), Mira Nair (India) and actor Alan Bates (UK), who had a retrospective series of his work. The always popular Cinematographer's Day, which drew more high-profile names than any other event at the festival, honoured the late John Alonzo and gave its prestigious Da Vinci Award to Amelie's Bruno Delbonnel.