Tunisian film nominated for Oscars for the first time

Tunisian film nominated for Oscars for the first time
2 min read
15 March, 2021
'The Man Who Sold His Skin' is the 10th African film to be nominated in the Best International Film category.
It follows the story of Syrian refugee Sam [The Man Who Sold His Skin]
A Tunisian film has been nominated for an Oscar award in the Best International Film category for the first in history.

The North African nation has previously submitted six other films to the Academy Awards but none made the cut until Monday.

"The Man Who Sold His Skin", directed by Kaouther Ben Hania, will compete against acclaimed films from Bosnia, Romania, Denmark and Hong Kong.

The film follows Sam and Abeer, fiancees separated by the brutal Syrian war.

While separated, Abeer is forced to marry another man and move to Belgium.

Sam remains committed to being with her and takes an unorthodox route to earn the money he needs to travel to Europe - allowing a controversial artist to tattoo a European Schengen visa on his back and transform him into a living exhibition.

The film's lead, relative unknown Yahya Mahayni, won the Best Actor award at last year's Venice Film Festival for his performance. 

"The Man Who Sold His Skin" also features Italian star Monica Bellucci.

"I am very proud to represent my country, Africa and the Arab cinema. I want to thank all my team and partners and all who believed in this film," director Ben Hania told Variety.

"The Man Who Sold His Skin" was co-produced by Metafora Productions, an Istanbul-based Arab television and film production company. Metafora is part of The New Arab's media group.

The film is only the 10th African film to be nominated for an Oscar award.

Just three African films have won in the Best International Film category, previously known as the Best Foreign Language Film category. They are Algeria's "Z", the Ivory Coast's "Black and White in Color", and South Africa's "Tsotsi".

"The Present", directed by Palestinian-British Farah Nabulsi, was nominated in Best Live-Action Short Film category.

This year's Academy Awards ceremony is set to take place on 25 April.

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