Although 2020 has yet to come to an end, we’re already looking forward to a new year set to be jam-packed with events (back in physical form rather than digital). The Oscars, for example, is slated to take place on April 25, 2021, and whilst nominations have not been revealed yet, we know the Arab films that have just been submitted for ‘Best International Feature Film’ and it’s a pretty impressive list.
Check out the homegrown films to root for below…
1. ‘200 Metres’ (Jordan)
Ameen Nayfeh’s debut feature film 200 Metres has been selected from Jordan and it has already won a series of accolades including the BNL People’s Choice Award at Venice Days, Best Actor award for Ali Suliman at Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival and four awards at El Gouna Film Festival — so you know it’s bound to be good, regardless of an Oscars win or not.
The film tells the story of a Palestinian family whose life is torn apart by the separation wall.
2. ‘Gaza Mon Amour’ (Palestine)
Filmmaking twins Tarzan and Arab Nasser is set to represent Palestine in the upcoming Oscars with their film, Gaza Mon Amour. The film is inspired by a real-life event that happened in Gaza in 2013 and tells the story of a 60-year-old fisherman who is secretly in love with a market dressmaker. As the story unfolds, the fisherman then finds a bronze statue of the Greek god Apollo in his nets, leading him to trouble.
The film recently earned the Netpac Award at the Toronto Film Festival.
3. ‘Heliopolis’ (Algeria)
Algeria has entered the Oscars race with Heliopolis, an Algerian drama based on the real-life events of May 8, 1945 in the city of Guelma, Algeria (called Heliopolis in ancient times). Directed by Djaffar Gacem, the film tells the story of one Algerian family in the midst of when French colonial forces attacked thousands of Algerians on the same day Europeans celebrated the end of the Second World War.
If the film gets 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 Oscar.
4. ‘Broken Keys’ (Lebanon)
Award-winning filmmaker Jimmy Keyrouz has been officially selected to represent Lebanon in the foreign film category courtesy of his film, Broken Keys. Originally scheduled to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year (it got cancelled due to the pandemic), the film revolves around Karim, a young pianist who tries to escape his town because modern ways of living and music have been banned by an extremist group.
5. ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ (Tunisia)
Kaouther Ben Hania’s latest film, The Man Who Sold His Skin has officially joined the Oscar race for best international feature film and will represent Tunisia. Starring Italian actress Monica Bellucci, the movie tells the story of a Syrian man who tries to escape Europe to be with the love of his life. Inspired by a real-life story, in order to reach Europe, the Syrian has had to get a large Schengen visa tattooed on his back by a famous artist.
Also, read more about Sudan’s first Oscar’s submission.