With the deadline for the best foreign language film Oscar category looming at the end of this week, another three countries have unveiled their official submissions for the Academy Awards.
As widely anticipated, Brazil has chosen Fernando Meirelles' tour de force City Of God (Cidade De Deus), while Sanjay Leela Bhansali's blockbuster Devdas has been named as the Indian official entry. Sweden, meanwhile, has picked Lukas Moodysson's Lilja 4-Ever as its official entry (see separate story on Screendaily.com today).
The deadline for the foreign language category is Friday, November 1. Most of the key nations have already unveiled their official choices (see list below).
Brazilian entry City Of God - a powerful gangland drama - made its world debut in Cannes where it generated strong critical buzz.
A special selection committee voted unanimously for the film over other contenders led by Beto Brant's O Invasor, Fabio Barreto's Jacobina, Lucelia Santos' Timor Lorosae, Guel Arraes' Caramiru and Suzana Amaral's Uma Vida Em Segredo. It has been playing in Brazil since August 30 and has amassed over two million admissions to date. Distributed by Lumiere EBA on 170 screens, it already ranks among the top ten films of the year in terms of box office.
City Of God is based on a novel by Paolo Lins about the criminal youth of Rio de Janeiro's drug-stricken hilltop slums (known as favelas). Miramax owns North and South American rights and plans to release the film in the US in February next year for the run up to the Oscars.
Indian entry Devdas - an extravagant take on the classic Saratchandra Chatterjee novel - was chosen over Rajkumar Santoshi's The Legend Of Bhagat Singh, Karan Johar's Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and Mani Ratnam's Kannathil Muthamittal.
Producer Bharat Shah commented: ''We created quite a splash in the US when we released Devdas there. Now we're going to go the whole hog. We feel it has the power to appeal to a global audience.''
Shah said he is hopeful the film will bag an Oscar. ''The competition is tough. But there's a lot of attention on India. Lagaan paved the way. Hopefully Devdas will benefit.''
Entrants so far to the Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category:
Belgium The Son (Le Fils) - Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
Brazil City Of God (Cidade De Deus) - Fernando Meirelles
China Hero - Zhang Yimou
Czech Republic Wild Bees - Bohdan Slama
France 8 Women (8 Femmes) - Francois Ozon
Germany Nowhere In Africa (Nirgendwo In Afrika) - Caroline Link
Hungary Hukkle - Gyorgy Palfi
India Devdas - Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Mexico The Crime Of Father Amaro (El Crimen De Padre Amaro) - Carlos Carrera
Netherlands Zus & Zo - Paula van der Oest
Poland Edi - Piotr Trzaskalski
Portugal O Delfim - Fernando Lopes
Russia House Of Fools (Dom Durakov) - Andrei Konchalovsky
South Korea Oasis - Lee Chang-dong
Sweden Lilja 4-ever - Lukas Moodysson
Taiwan The Best Of Times - Chang Tso-Chi
Thailand Mon-rak Transistor - Pen-ek Ratanaruang