The American Academy of Film Arts and Sciences, which awarded the Oscar, announced, on Tuesday, the shortlist of films competing for the Best Foreign Language Film Award, which included 15 films, including “The Man Who Sold His Back” by Tunisian director Kawthar Ben Haneya.
And the director wrote on her Facebook page in English: “Yes, we did it … we got to the 2021 Oscars shortlist, thanks to everyone who loved (the man who sold his back).”
The film, starring the Syrian Yahya Maheini, the French Dia Lien, the Belgian Queen Di Bau, and the Italian Monica Bellucci, and participated in 2020 in many film festivals, on the ground or virtually, including the Venice Festival in Italy, and the El Gouna Festival in Egypt.
The film deals with the story of a Syrian immigrant who left his country to escape the war to Lebanon, hoping to travel to Europe, where the girl he loves lives.
To that end, he accepts that one of the most famous contemporary artists draw a tattoo for him on his back, turning his body into a masterpiece but then realizes that he has lost his freedom again because of the decision he made.
Competition with 14 films
The Tunisian film competes in the shortlist with 14 films: “Another Tour”, Denmark, directed by Thomas Winterberg, “Better Days”, Hong Kong, directed by Derek Tsang, and “Antichrist”, the Czech Republic, directed by Aniska Holland, and ” Collective, Romania, directed by Alexander Nanao, “Dear Comrades!”, Russia, and “I’m No Longer Here,” Mexico, directed by Fernando Frias, and “Amal”, Norway, directed by Maria Soudal, and “La Llorona”, Guatemala, Directed by Jero Bustamante, “Al-Wakeel”, Chile, Directed by Maiti Bardi, “Night of Kings”, Ivory Coast, Philip Lacot, “Co Fades, Aida?”, Bosnia and Herzegovina, directed by Yasmila Shabanitch, and “Children of the Sun”, Iran, Directed by Majid Majidi, “Two of Us”, France, directed by Filippo Minghetti, and “A Sun”, Taiwan, directed by Chung Maung Hong.
Tunisian cinema and the Oscar
It is noteworthy that this nomination is the first for Tunisian cinema in the Oscar shortlists, after 6 films were nominated throughout its history for the award, none of which reached the short or final list, including Kawthar Ben Haniyeh’s “On the Edge of Imp”.
The 93rd Academy Awards will be held on April 25 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, and broadcast worldwide via the ABC television network.