The feature film “The Man Who Sold His Back”, by Tunisian director Kawthar Ben Haneya, reached the final list for the Academy Award, as the best international film, which includes five films, on Monday 15 March 2021, and the director described this achievement as a “historic event.”
The list in which the Arab film competes includes films (Another Tour) from Denmark, (Better Days) from Hong Kong, (Group Action) from Romania, and (Where are you going, Aida?) From Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the agency. Reuters.
The movie starring Syrian Yahya Mahaini, French Dia Lian, and Italian star Monica Bellucci, and in 2020 and 2021 won many awards in Arab and Western film festivals.
In this film, the director depicts the story of a young Syrian (Sam Ali), who, after being arbitrarily arrested, was forced to flee his country, Syria, which is plagued by war, leaving the girl he loves to seek refuge in Lebanon.
In order for Sam to be able to travel to Belgium to live with his sweetheart, he makes a deal with a famous artist, whereby he accepts his back tattoo and presents it as a painting in front of the public and then is sold in an auction, which makes him lose his soul and freedom.
Kawthar had said, in a previous statement to Anadolu Agency, that she wanted, through the film, to address the issue of freedom of movement suffered by Syrian refugees and others who belong to the third world, and that they are prevented from traveling simply because they possess the passport of a particular country.
She added that this situation makes anyone either agree to any work contract, or be forced to accept any strange offer of its kind even if he loses his dignity.
A celebration of the film’s success
Director Kawthar celebrated the arrival of the film “The Man Who Sold His Back” to the final Oscar award, and said from her residence in the French capital Paris that the nomination of her film “is an unprecedented historical event in Tunisian cinema.” .
The forty-year-old director and screenwriter also called on her country’s authorities to enhance interest in cinema, expressing her hope that this “distinction would constitute a catalyst for more support for cinema and surrounding filmmakers,” according to what was reported by Agence France-Presse.
Kawthar, born on August 27, 1977, belongs to Sidi Bouzid (middle Tunisia), To the generation of young Tunisian filmmakers, who brought to the big screen societal and political issues that were subject to tight censorship before the 2011 revolution and presented them in a bold proposal, contributing to the emergence of a “new cinema”.
Kawthar directed a number of short and documentary films, and her film “On the Hand of Imp” won the admiration of the public during its screening in the section “A Look” at the French Cannes Festival in 2017, as it deals with the story of a girl who was raped by police officers and struggling to file a complaint against them.
It is noteworthy that the film “The Gift” by Palestinian director Farah Nabulsi has reached the short list for the Oscar for best short film, which also includes five films, and the Oscars announcement and distribution ceremony will be held on April 25th.