Choosing from a total of 92 submissions, the US Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences announced Ziad Doueiri's The Insult among nine films shortlisted for the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar.
The Insult, a Lebanese comedy drama, is the only film from the Arab world to make it to the shortlist. Other entries include A Fantastic Woman (Chile), In the Fade, Fatih Akin (Germany), On Body and Soul (Hungary), Foxtrot (Israel), Loveless (Russia), Félicité (Senegal), The Wound (South Africa) and The Square (Sweden).
The comedy drama The Insult "deals with our deep wounds that we have not talked about since the end of the civil war in the 1990s," the director explained in an interview with Ahram Online.
"In less than two hours, The Insult sums up 40 years of deliberate blindness. The story of this film is about a clash between a Palestinian and a Christian Lebanese in Beirut. When they go to court the bitterness of the past haunts everyone.
"In this sense, the film opens the question of the impossibility of building a healthy future unless you reach real reconciliation with the past."
Since his first feature film, West Beirut, in 1998, Lebanese cinematographer, film director and writer Ziad Doueiri has secured himself a place on the international cinema scene.
West Beirut (À l'abri les enfants), a comedy drama, won a total of eight awards at numerous prestigious international festivals, among them the François Chalais Award at the Cannes Film Festival (1998), the Best Film Award at the Carthage Film Festival (1998), and the International Critics' Award (FIPRESCI) at the Toronto International Film Festival (1998), where he was praised for his “youthful, energetic and unconventional approach to human values in the midst of civil war and its tragedies.”
His next feature, crime drama Lila Says (Lila dit ça, 2004) as well as The Attack (2012), also brought him awards; the latter film causing controversy based on thematic choices, and banned in a number of Arab countries.
The Insult won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor (Kamel El-Basha) at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
Most recently, The Insult was screened within the inaugural El-Gouna Festival (22-29 September) and won Silver Star for Best Feature Narrative Film.
The final list of films that compete for the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar will be announced 23 January 2018, and the 90th Academy Awards ceremony will take place 4 March at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Centre.
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