Egypt has submitted Ibrahim El Batout’s lauded drama Winter of Discontent, as its official entry for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar consideration at the upcoming 86th Academy Awards.
It was one of the biggest news events of the last decade, so it was only a matter of time before films centered on the Arab Spring flooded the marketplace. We’ve covered quite a few, both fiction and non-fiction, and I’m sure there are more to come.
Here’s one of the higher-profile films that you should look out for; and maybe an Oscar nomination (assuming it’s shortlisted) will raise its profile considerably.
Winter of Discontent is set and filmed against the backdrop of the early days of the Egyptian revolution – the protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in January 2011, interweaving multiple stories including that of a political activist, a journalist and a state security officer.
The film stars Egyptian star Amr Waked (best known internationally for his performances in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Syriana) who plays the political activist.
It’s drawn some controversy because of its raw and honest handling of the sensitive and explosive subject matter it tackles.
“Audiences will get to witness first-hand the heady, often surreal atmosphere of terror and uncertainty that characterized the last days of Mubarak’s rule. In fact my first day of shooting on the movie was actually in the chaotic mayhem of Tahrir Square, on the day before Mubarak stepped down from power,” Amr Waked said.
Toronto-based sales company Double Dutch International picked up world distribution rights to Ibrahim El Batout’s film, earlier this year, shopping it at the Cannes market in May, where it screened for international buyers/distributors, although no word on its USA prospects just yet.
Star Waked also co-produced the film through his Cairo-based company Zad Communication & Production.
This is the 29th time Egypt has submitted a film for Oscar consideration. Although an Egyptian film has never made the Academy’s short list.
A taut trailer for the drama follows below, although the sound is a bit off: