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Nepal has selected social drama Panchayat as its entry in the Oscars foreign-language category.
Written and directed by Shivam Adhikari, the film revolves around a girl who confronts social taboos of the Chhaupadi tradition, which prohibits Hindu women and girls from participating in normal family activities while menstruating as they are considered “impure”. Set in the seventies, the film’s title refers to Nepal’s Panchayat system of self-rule, which was abolished in 1990.
Starring Neeta Dhungana, Saroj Khanal, Rupa Rana and Ganesh Giri, Panchayat was considered a critical hit when it released in Nepal in March. The film also screened at the 2017 San Francisco International New Concept Film Festival where it bagged two awards: best foreign language feature and best actress in the foreign language category for Dhungana. The film was produced by Sushanta Shrestha and Sankhar Shrestha under their Kalawati Films banner along with NepalFlix and Hetauda Movies.
Nepal has only scored one nomination at the Oscars with 1999’s Caravan, the country’s first submission in the foreign-language category. Since then, Nepal has submitted seven other films, including last year’s White Sun, whose executive producers included Danny Glover.
The 91st Academy Awards will be held Feb. 24.
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