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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Is Once ineligible for Best Original Song Oscar?

The Oscar-nominated song "Falling Slowly" (the only one not from "Enchanted" or "August Rush") may have been recorded for a Czech film -- and appeared on two albums in 2006, before "Once" was finished.

Not sure why this has become an issue now (does nobody at Fox Searchlight or the music branch of the Academy do any research until the last minute -- or beyond?), but Dublin film critic Paul Lynch passes along this report from his Sunday Tribune critical colleague Una Mullally:

The Sunday Tribune understands that the Academy query relates to whether the song, from the John Carney-directed movie "Once," was written specifically for the film, as the eligibility rules for the Best Original Song category demand.

"Falling Slowly" was originally recorded by the film’s co-stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova when Czech director Jan Hrebejk asked the two musicians to contribute songs to his 2006 film "Kráska v nesnázích" ("Beauty In Trouble"). Hansard and Irglova ended up recording the album "The Swell Season," of which "Falling Slowly" was a key track. That album was released in April 2006. Hansard’s band, The Frames, then rerecorded the song for their September 2006 album "The Cost. "Beauty in Trouble" was released in October 2006, with "Falling Slowly" played almost in full over the film’s trailer [above].

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Telluride: Three very different looks at sex

TELLURIDE, Colo. -- Three of the best films at this year's Telluride festival deal with unusual frankness with sex. Sally Potter's "Yes" (2005) stars Joan Allen as a scientist trapped in a loveless marriage, who begins a passionately physical affair with a Lebanese cook. Bill Condon's "Kinsey" stars Liam Neeson as Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey, whose research revolutionized conventional ideas about human sexual behavior. And Todd Solondz's "Palindromes" is a story of messy, sad teenage sexual experiences.

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