Oscars: Bangladesh Selects 'Jalal's Story' for Foreign-Language Category

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'Jalal's Story'

Abu Shahed Emon's directorial debut focuses on the life of an orphan found abandoned by a river.

Bangladesh has selected Jalal's Story as its entry for the 88th Academy Awards' best foreign-language film category.

Abu Shahed Emon's directorial debut chronicles the life of the titular character, an orphan found by a river. The three-part story follows his journey from one unwelcoming home to the next, as he eventually turns into a gangster. The film stars Arafat Rahman, Mosharraf Karim, Mousumi Hamid and Mohammad Emo.

After winning an Asian Cinema Fund grant at the Busan Film Festival, the film played at last year's festival in the New Currents program. Jalal's Story (or Jalal’er Golpo in the Bengali language) also played at the International Film Festival of India, Goa, the Montreal World Film Festival and Iran's Fajr International Film Festival. At Portugal's Avanca International Film Festival, it won the best film honor and best actor award for Karim.

In its review, The Hollywood Reporter said: “Though ceaselessly downbeat, writer-director Emon tackles issues ranging from women’s rights, or lack thereof, to the enduring hold that superstitions have on some parts of modern Bangladesh."

Jalal's Story reflects a new cinema sensibility in Bangladesh, away from formulaic local versions of Bollywood-inspired fare. The nascent scene has also seen the success of such titles as Mostofa Sarwar Farooki's comedic drama Television, which became the first Bangladeshi film to close Busan in 2012.

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