Oscars: Switzerland Selects 'Iraqi Odyssey' as its Foreign Language Contender

Courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival
'Iraqi Odyssey'

The documentary from Swiss-based film maker Samir looks as the history of his own family, which war has scattered across the world.

Switzerland has picked Iraqi Odyssey, a documentary by Swiss-based filmmaker Samir about his own family's history, to be its contender in the 2016 race for Best Foreign Language Oscar.

The film, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year, is an ambitious, 3-hour work that looks at the impact history – in particular the never-ending cycle of war in Iraq – has had on Samir's middle-class, well-educated family. The director travels around the world, meeting with close and distant relatives that have been displaced from their home and become part of the global diaspora.

Selecting a documentary to compete in the best foreign language category can be a risky move – few non-fiction films have ever been nominated. But the Academy appear to be more open to docs in the category. The Cambodian documentary The Missing Picture received an Oscar nom for Best Foreign Language Film in 2013, as did the animated Israeli doc Waltz With Bashir in 2008. 

Twitter: @sroxborough

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