Morocco has selected the drama Aida as its submission in the Oscars’ best foreign-language film category.
Directed by Driss Mrini (Labri), it is based on a screenplay from Abdelilah Hamdouchi.
The film stars Noufissa Bechahda as a Jewish music teacher living in France who is battling cancer. She decides to return to Morocco to reconnect with her roots and deal with her past.
The selection was made by a committee presided over by director Ahmed El Maanouni and included directors Fatima Boubakdy and Saad Chraibi, film critics Omar Benkhammar and Omar Al Mukhtar, and film distributor Mohamed Alaoui.
“I think the theme of the film played a key role in its choice, as it touches on Jewish-Muslim biculturalism,” said Chraibi. “It is also a very sensitive humanitarian story.”
Morocco has submitted 10 films since 1977, including Nabil Ayouch’s Horses of Gods (2013) and Hassan Benjelloun‘s The Red Moon (2014), but has never been nominated.