Egypt has selected Factory Girl by auteur Mohamed Khan as its Oscar contender in the foreign-language category.
The film, a romantic melodrama set across class and gender divides in modern-day Egypt, had its world premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival last December, where its lead, Yasmin Raeis, won the best actress award.
Raeis stars as young factory worker Hiyam, who falls under the spell of new supervisor Salah (Hani Adel), hoping that their love will be able to transcend class boundaries.
Factory Girl was released across the Middle East by Egypt-based distributor Mad Solutions in April, becoming one of the few local independent films to achieve box-office success. It earned $250,000 in its domestic market, making it the year’s biggest opening for an Egyptian film released outside of the main season.
Last year, Egypt chose Arab Spring drama Winter of Discontent, directed by Ibrahim El-Batout and starring Amr Waked (Lucy, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen), as its Academy Awards contender, but the film wasn’t nominated on the final shortlist.
The country received its first-ever Oscar nomination at the previous year’s awards for The Square, Jehane Noujaim’s chronicling of the 2011 revolution and its aftermath, which made the final five in the best documentary category but lost out in the end to 20 Feet From Stardom.