Egypt has selected the Abu Bakr Shawky-directed Yomeddine (Judgement Day) to be submitted at the 91st Oscar Awards under the Foreign Language Film category. The 97-minute drama made its debut at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it scooped up the prestigious François Chalais Award.
The movie, which stars Rady Gamal and Ahmed Abdelhafiz, tells the story of an Egyptian leper (portrayed by a non-actor who actually lives in a leper colony) and his orphaned friend, who set out on a donkey in search of their families. Yomeddine, which is Shawky’s first feature film, was produced by Desert Highway Pictures and Film Clinic, which is also responsible for Sheikh Jackson, The Idol, and Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim.
Yomeddine is among two other Arab films competing for a nomination in the Foreign Language Film category. The movie joins The Journey, directed by Iraqi filmmaker Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji and Raed Andoni’s Ghost Hunting in the Oscar race. The 2019 Academy Awards nominations will be announced on January 22 before the winners are selected at the upcoming Oscars, which are set to unfold on February 24 next year.
This is not the first time the North African country has entered the foreign language film category of the Oscars. The first time was in 1958, with Youssef Chahine’s Cairo Station. Though the film would not earn a nomination, it would go down in history as the first African and Arab film to be submitted for consideration. In total, Egypt has submitted 33 films to the Foreign Oscar competition, but has yet to receive a nomination. However, this could all change at this year’s event, considering the diverse new class of members in the Academy, which comprises influential Arab figures across the industry, including Nadine Labaki, Sofia Boutella, Ziad Doueiri, and Feras Fayyad. Watch this space.