Oscars: Taiwan Nominates 'Soul' for Foreign Language Category

Joseph Chang in "Soul"

Director Chung Mong-hong's art house horror-thriller tells the story of a young man whose body is possessed by the soul of a psychopath.

Taiwan has selected Chung Mong-hong's psychological horror-thriller Soul as its entry for next year's best foreign language film Oscar.

The film stars Joseph Chang as A-chuan, a young sous chef who falls mysteriously ill and is sent to recuperate in his hometown in rural Taiwan, where he is placed in the care of his father, Wang (played by martial arts veteran Jimmy Wong). Slowly it emerges that A-chuan's body is possessed by the soul of a psychopath -- yet Wang will go to the most morally ambiguous lengths to protect him.

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"The director, with his precise mise-en-scene, examines the mental disorder status of a human being in an isolated village. The film creates a fascinating and chilling world of the violence and the fragility of living souls in a cinematic way," said the Taiwanese selection committee in a statement.

Chung's first feature, Parking, was selected in 2008 Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard section. His second film, The Fourth Portrait, won him a best director trophy at Taiwan's 2010 Golden Horse Awards.

Soul screened last week at the Toronto Film Festival in the Vanguard section. It opened wide on Aug. 30 in Taiwan, where it is still on release. International cineastes will next get a chance to see the movie at the Vancouver, Busan and Tokyo international film festivals.

Taiwan has made the best foreign language film category shortlist of nominees on three occasions and won the Oscar in 2000 for Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.