Source: Iran Times
Iran has chosen the Majid Majidi film "The Song of Sparrows" to submit for a possible Oscar nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 81st Academy Awards.
Majidi is the only Iranian director who has ever had a film actually nominated for an Oscar in the foreign language category. That was nine years ago.
"The Song of Sparrows" is a bittersweet story about the struggles of a family living in a rural village. The film stars Reza Naji, who received the Best Actor Silver Bear award at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival for his role as Karim in the film.
Karim's life in a village west of Tehran turns chaotic when an ostrich escapes his care and he is subsequently fired from his job. The film, which is described as both sentimental and humorous, explores how capitalism and technology work as corrupting forces, making Karim lose his spirituality and all-important connections to family, friends and nature.
The film was chosen by a selection board named by the Farabi Cinematic Foundation (FCF). It was comprised of the director of the FCF's International Relations Section, Amir Esfandiari, film director Mohammad Bozorgnia, screenwriter Farhad Tohidi, film critic Azizollah Haji-Mashhadi, cameraman Mohammad Davari, musician Mohammad Sarir, producer Alireza Shojanuri, filmmaker Rasul Sadr-Ameli and actress Fatemeh Motamed-Aria.
In 1999, "The Children of Heaven," Majidi's film depicting the face of poverty in an Iranian family, was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards. Majidi also directed "The Color of Paradise," which was the Grand Prize Winner at the Montreal Film Festival.
Normally, 40 to 50 countries propose films in the foreign language category. Those films are then reviewed by a board in Hollywood that nominates five of them. The members of the Academy then vote for the winner among those five. Many Iranian expatriates have won Academy Award nominations in varying fields, but Majidi's 1999 film is the only Iranian film to win a nomination.
Meanwhile in Europe, "Two Legged-Horse," a film directed by Iran's Samira Makhmalbaf-daughter of filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf-was awarded the Special Jury Prize from among 14 other films Saturday at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain. "Two-Legged Horse" is the story of an Afghan boy hired to carry around another boy who lost his legs to a mine.
Samira, 28, is the sister of Hana Makhmalbaf, whose film "Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame" won the Special Jury Prize at San Sebastian last year.
About Iran Times: The Iran Times is an independent newspaper with no affiliation with any political party or faction The Iran Times corporation was founded in Washington D.C. in 1970, in accordance with U.S. federal and local regulations: www.iran-times.com
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