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Friday, September 30, 2022
Movies

Oscars: Iran Picks ‘World War III’ as Best International Feature Submission

20220925 194232
20220925 194232

Iran has selected the winner of the Houman Seyyedi Venice Film Festival prize Third World war to represent the country in the 2023 Oscar race in the category of best international feature film.

The absurdist drama stars Mohsen Tanabandeh as a day laborer who, after losing his wife in a horrific catastrophe, finds himself unexpectedly cast as Adolf Hitler in a World War II film shot in Iran and set in Germany. Third World war premiered at the sidebar of Venice Horizons, where it won best picture and best actor honors for Seyyedi and Tanabandeh.

Iran’s selection committee said the decision to choose Seyyedi’s film was “unanimous.” In a statement, the committee said they “greet the Persian cinema family” and wish “increasing success for all artists of our beloved country.”

Iran has had considerable success at the Oscars, with five Oscar nominations and two wins: by Asghar Farhadi A seperation (2011) and The seller (2016). But the nomination comes amid a harsh crackdown on dissident directors by the hardline government of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

In July, authorities arrested three prominent directors: Mostafa Aleahmad (2009’s Poosteh), 2020 Berlin Golden Bear winner Mohammad Rasoulof (there is no evil) and Jafar Panahi, winner of the Venice Golden Lion for Dayereh (2000) and the Berlin Golden Bear for Cab (2015).

On the red carpet in Venice this year, the head of the festival’s jury, Julianne Moore, joined activists from the International Coalition of Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR) in a flash mob calling for the release of Panahi, whose latest feature film, no bearsscreened in competition at the Lido.

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The crackdown on free speech in Iran comes amid a broader government crackdown on popular protests on a range of issues, including the cost-of-living crisis, stricter dress codes for women and the government’s handling of of a fatal building collapse.


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