A selection committee headed by film director Ahmed Maanouni has selected “Aida” to represent Morocco in the best foreign language film category at the 88th Academy Awards (Oscars).
“Aida” (not based on the Giuseppe Verdi opera) is directed by Driss Mrini, and stars Noufissa Bechahda as Aida Cohen, a music teacher living in Paris who is battling a malignant tumor. Convinced that her days are numbered, she then decides to return to Morocco to reconnect with her roots and regain forgotten childhood memories.
Morocco has submitted a total of 10 feature films (before this year) for Academy Awards consideration in the Best Foreign Language film category since 1977. However, none of the entries has gone on to be shortlisted and nominated. In fact, the country has submitted a film every year over the last 5 (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and now 2015), but no nominations – at least, non yet. Could this year be different? We’ll find out when the Academy announces the eventual 5 films that will contend for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2016.
Moroccan films which sought Academy Award consideration are as follows: “Blood Wedding” (1977), “Mektoub” (1998), “Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets” (2000), “The Moroccan Symphony” (2006), “Goodbye Mothers” (2008), “Casanegra” (2009), “Omar Killed Me” (2011), “Death for Sale” (2012), “Horses of God” (2013), the “Red Mood” (2014). Some of these are available in the USA on home video – I do know that “Horses of God” is streaming on Netflix – the only one of the group of 10.
Trailer for this year’s submission, “Aida,” follows below: