It’s mystifying why the Best Int’l Feature know-it-alls are so in the tank for Anatomy of a Fall, which is a good, talky and well-layered did-she-do-it? film…a smartly written marital mystery-slash-courtroom procedural. It is also, truth be told, a wee bit irksome by way of visual confinement (only two Grenoble locations — an A-frame home and a courtroom interior) and, at 150 minutes, is certainly a prolonged rear-end punisher. Plus I don’t like the kid.

Being what it is Justine Triet’s cerebral bad-marriage film naturally doesn’t try to deliver anything like the emotional-devotional contact high you get from Tran Ahn Hung’s The Pot-au-Feu, a sensual foodie bliss-out if I’ve ever sat through one. There’s no question which film is more seductive and pleasurable but the fix seems to be in all the same for Triet and Sandra Huller’s marathon talkfest.

Is it a political-gender-feminist preference thing? Is it because the feminist smarty-pants set is in the tank for Huller’s likely Best Actress nomination, which was recently proclaimed in a Hollywood Reporter cover story? (She’s also very good in Jonathan Glazer‘s The Zone of Interest but her character, the wife of an Auschwitz camp commander, is subdued.) Is it because The Pot-au-Feu, directed by a Vietnamese arthouse veteran, has been tagged as too much of a sensual white gentleman’s film and therefore not cool…a film that’s not just about the devotional and spiritual worship of fine French cuisine but Benoit Magimel’s idealized, classically old-fashioned, all-consuming pedestal love for Juliette Binoche?

Should HE file the necessary papers in order to be designated the official website for the Anatomy of a Fall Int’l Takedown Campaign? I don’t really want to do this as it’s clearly an intelligent and (as far as it goes) engaging film. All I know is that THE POLITICAL FIX SEEMS TO BE IN.