The Middle East films up for Best International Feature Film at Oscars 2020
It's almost time for our favourite season of the year! Winter is almost upon us and with that comes the inevitable award season build up. The Oscar nomination process has begun and the Academy Award for best international feature film — perviously known as the best foreign-language film Oscar — will go to one of 93 countries that have submitted entries this year.
The Middle East has been well represented with entries from Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine. This year, 93 countries submitted entries in the International Feature Film race for the 2020 Oscars.
All of the films will have to be watched by the Foreign-Language Film screening committee by December 2019 out of which only five will make it to the official nominations list.
So here are the contenders for the best international feature film shortlist from the region.
Egypt, Poisonous Roses, director: Ahmed Fawzi Saleh
The movie is set in an impoverished Cairo neighborhood, where the Tanneries are located and follows a brother and sister's journey in a bid to escape from their current life. The film called Ward Masmoum or Poisonous Roses is directed by Ahmed Fawzi Saleh, and is based on Ahmed Zaghloul Al-Shiti’s 1990 novel Saqr’s Poisonous Roses.
The film has already participated in dozens of film festivals across the globe, winning three awards at the 40th Cairo International Film Festival.
Lebanon, 1982, director: Oualid Mouaness
The Oscar-nominated director and the darling of last year's Cannes Film Festival, Nadine Labaki is once again hitting up your big screen but this time as an actress.
She stars in the new movie 1982, directed by filmmaker Oualid Mouanness, that follows the story of an 11-year-old boy who tries to tell a classmate he loves her but gets caught up in airstrikes that hit Beirut at the start of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. It will be screen at the Toronto Film Festival in the coming weeks.
Morocco, Adam, director: Maryam Touzani
The movie's plot follows a woman who is pregnant out of wedlock and is given sanctuary by a grieving widow. The directorial debut by Maryam Touzani played in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival.
Palestine, It Must Be Heaven, director: Elia Suleiman
According to IMDB, filmmaker Elia Suleiman travels to different cities and finds unexpected parallels to his homeland of Palestine.
Saudi Arabia, The Perfect Candidate, director: Haifaa Al Mansour
The Perfect Candidate is about a young female doctor with the dream of shattering the patriarchal expectations and restrictions put upon her by the men around her. The film follows the woman taking the task of running for municipal office in KSA. The film comes as KSA, famously super-conservative, begins to relax certain laws such as the circulation of films and the rights of women in day to day life.
Tunisia, Dear Son, director: Mohamed Ben Attia
Dear Son, directed by Mohamed Ben Attia is a drama that focuses on a middle-class Tunisian couple who want their son to be successful only to find out he has left to join ISIS in Syria.