“Nayola”, “Légua” and João Canijo’s diptych go to vote on their way to the Oscars

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The films “Mal Viver”, “Viver Mal”, “Légua” and “Nayola” are the four candidates for voting at the Portuguese Film Academy, in the selection process for the 2024 Oscars, it was announced today.

According to the Portuguese Film Academy, among the 35 eligible Portuguese feature films, four have been selected and will now be voted on by the academy’s members to decide which Portuguese candidate will be nominated for the Best International Film Oscar.

The four films are “Légua”, by Filipa Reis and João Miller Guerra, the diptych “Mal Viver” and “Viver Mal”, by João Canijo, and the animated film “Nayola”, by José Miguel Ribeiro.

All have already had commercial premieres in Portuguese cinemas in recent months.

“Légua”, premiered at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, is the second feature-length fiction film by Filipa Reis and João Miller Guerra, and the story takes place in an old manor house, where the only inhabitant is the housekeeper, Emília, determined to keep everything clean and ready to welcome the owners who never go there.

In her domestic work, Emília relies on the help of Ana, who will eventually become her informal carer, due to health problems, in the unoccupied house.

The film stars actress Carla Maciel, who stars opposite non-professional actress Fátima Soares.

“Viver Mal” and “Mal Viver” are two fictions by João Canijo that are interconnected, set in a hotel run by a family.

“Mal Viver” “is the story of a family of several women from different generations, who drag a life torn by resentment and rancor, which the unexpected arrival of a granddaughter comes to shake, in the time of a weekend”, reads the synopsis.

“Living Badly” follows in parallel to that story, focusing on the guests who pass through the hotel.

The cast, predominantly female, includes Rita Blanco, Anabela Moreira, Madalena Almeida, Cleia Almeida, Vera Barreto, Filipa Areosa, Leonor Silveira, Lia Carvalho, Beatriz Batarda, Leonor Vasconcelos and Carolina Amaral, as well as Nuno Lopes and Rafael Morais.

Both films made their debut at the Berlin festival, with João Canijo receiving the Silver Bear for the jury prize for “Mal Viver”.

“Nayola” is José Miguel Ribeiro’s first animated feature film, which has collected several international awards since its first festival screenings in 2022.

With a script by Virgílio Almeida, based on a play by José Eduardo Agualusa and Mia Couto, “Nayola” contrasts the lives of three generations of women – Lelena, Nayola and Yara – with Angola’s civil war as a backdrop.

The committee that chose these four films included Ana Rocha de Sousa (director), Clara Agapito (editor), David Bonneville (director), Fátima Ribeiro (screenwriter, Frederico Serra, (producer), Isabel Abreu (actress), José António Loureiro (director of photography), Manuel Mozos (director), Miguel Guilherme (actor) and Mina Andala (actress).

The choice of the Portuguese film candidate for the Oscars will be announced by the Portuguese Film Academy on September 14.

Portugal has never had a film nominated in the Best International Film category, formerly known as Best Foreign Language Film, in a non-English language.

This year, the film “Ice Merchants”, by Portuguese director João Gonzalez, was nominated at the Oscars in the category of Best Animated Short Film.

The nominees for the 96th Oscars, the United States’ film awards, will be announced on January 23, 2024 and the ceremony is scheduled for March 10 in Los Angeles, California.

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