DUBAI: One of the toughest contests at the Oscars is for the honor of Best International Feature Film. Competing with the best movies from all over the world, it is a tremendous accomplishment to be named one of the five films that make it into the final round.
This year, these Arab films have been submitted for the Oscars at the 93rd Academy Awards set to take place on April 25, 2021. From Jordan to Tunisia, here are the homegrown films to root for.
‘200 Metres’ (Jordan)
Palestinian director Ameen Nayfeh’s first feature film tells the story of a Palestinian father trapped on the other side of the separation wall who is trying to reach the hospital for his son. This is Jordan’s fourth film submission for the Oscars.
‘You Will Die at 20’ (Sudan)
The award-winning feature from Sudanese filmmaker Amjad Abu Alala was submitted as Sudan’s official nomination for the Best International Feature Film category at the 2021 Academy Awards. It is the country’s first Oscars submission.
‘Gaza Mon Amour’ (Palestine)
Palestinian filmmaking twins Tarzan and Arab Nasser’s second feature film tells the story of a 60-year-old fisherman who is secretly in love with a market dressmaker. As the story unfolds, the fisherman discovers an ancient Greek statue that troubles him. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and later screened at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival where it won the Netpac award. It will be the 13th film to represent Palestine at the Oscars.
Directed by Djaffar Gacem, the Algerian drama is based on the real-life events of May 8, 1945 where French colonial forces attacked thousands of Algerians in the city of Guelma (called Heliopolis in ancient times). If “Heliopolis” is selected, it would be Algeria’s first entry since Costa-Gavras’s 1970 film “Z,” which was also the first Arab film to win an Academy Award.
‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ (Tunisia)
Starring Monica Belluci, Kaouther Ben Hania’s film will represent Tunisia in the Oscar race for best international feature film. The movie, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival where it won the best actor award for Yahya Mahayni, tells the story of a Syrian man, who desperate to reach Europe to be with the love of his life, gets a large Schengen visa tattooed on his back by a famous artist, thus becoming a human artwork to be displayed at a Brussel’s museum. It is Ben Hania’s second film to be submitted for the Oscars.
‘Broken Keys’ (Lebanon)
On Tuesday, the Lebanese Ministry of Culture announced in a statement that award-winning filmmaker Jimmy Keyrouz’s movie has been officially selected to represent Lebanon in the foreign film category of the 93rd edition of the Oscars. The film, which was meant to premiere at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival, revolves around Karim, a young pianist who lives somewhere in Iraqi and Syrian lands occupied by Daesh terrorists, and dreams of fleeing to Europe to become a musician. If selected, it would be the third Lebanese film nominated for an Oscar following Ziad Doueiri’s “The Insult” in 2017 and Nadine Labaki’s “Capernaum” in 2018.