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With 55 films submitted so far for Oscar foreign-language film consideration, the entry pool sports the usual range of local hits (China's all-tune B.O. champ, "Aftershock"), festival highlights (Thailand's Palme d'Or winner "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives") and surprise choices.
Chief among the surprises, at least to Stateside observers, was Italy's decision to submit Paolo Virzi's locally well-liked "The First Beautiful Thing" over Luca Guadagnino's international arthouse hit "I Am Love" (one of 10 films on Italy's shortlis). It's hardly the first time an import has gotten a U.S. embrace but little love at home (Spain for …