SA's Yesterday loses out

2005-02-28 06:33
Hollywood - Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar's stormy euthanasia saga The Sea Inside netted the best foreign-language film Oscar at the 77th-annual Academy Awards on Sunday.

The film, based on the true story of Ramon Sampedro, a quadriplegic former ship mechanic who wants to commit suicide, has proved a smash hit but also provoked a massive debate in Spain about the morality of euthanasia.

Javier Bardem's portrayal of Sampedro has held millions of cinemagoers transfixed as he plays out a man's losing battle in the Spanish court system for the legal right to an assisted suicide and a dignified death.

Sampedro's three-decade struggle after an accident left him almost completely paralysed culminated in his taking his own life in 1998 at the age of 55 with the help of close associates.

The movie, uplifting despite its twin themes of illness and death, had already picked up a flurry of awards in Spain before it was shortlisted for the Oscar here alongside Sweden's As It Is In Heaven, French film The Chorus, German contender Downfall and South Africa's Yesterday.

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