"Son of Saul".
The 73rd Golden Globe Awards will be televised on January 10. Perhaps the current members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) might want to bring back the Best Film for Promoting International Understanding category. It's been more than five decades since the HFPA last handed the Golden Globe in this category. Robert Mulligan's adaptation of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962) impressed the members of the press. Global conflict may be a distant memory to them, but many issues threaten world peace. And there's no need for jingoistic chants.
László Nemes's debut feature, about an Auschwitz prisoner who tried to give a proper burial to the remains of a young boy, was another different approach to Holocaust Cinema. And antisemitism isn't a thing of the past. There have been many features these past ten years that deserve recognition in this now-retired category. Don't expect these issues to go away anytime soon. For your consideration:
Kekexili: Mountain Patrol (2004) by Lu Chuan. If you think that the Wild West is all about America, then you're dead wrong. Kekexili (or Hoh Xii) is a remote region in Tibet, where the vigilante rangers abide by the masculine customs. They try to survive the harsh way of life as well. They must protect the wildlife against the poachers, without recognition. It's an admirable aspect of the Chinese culture, which the rest of the world hardly knows. The filmmaker, a native of Xinjiang, based his screenplay from a documentary. This feature strips off the politics and the romanticism, and all that is left will make moviegoers cry for help.
The Willow Tree (2005) by Majid Majidi. A university professor was blind all his life until an operation (in Paris) would restore his vision. The sights and colors of Tehran made him ecstatic at first. And then dread set in. Majidi, the first Iranian filmmaker to receive an Academy Award nomination, penned an insightful screenplay. Was the professor condemned for the rest of his life? Some viewers would point out that the sight was the most vital human sense. It could also be a moral compass, which they must decide for themselves.
Tulpan (2008) by Sergey Dvortsevoy. Asa, who was discharged from the Russian Navy, had a dream. He wanted to have his own ranch in the Kazakh steppe. But he must find a wife first. Boni, his friend (from the Navy), didn't understand his romantic aspiration. (He set his sights on the West.) Dvortsevoy was proud of Kazakhstan, as his shots of the grassland revealed paradise in the most unlikely place. Not even the arrival of a sandstorm would spoil such beauty. Some saw Asa as a fool, but he may be the wisest man.