Oscars: Canada Selects 'Antigone' for International Feature Film Category

Antigone - TIFF - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of TIFF

Sophie Deraspe's French-language adaptation of the classic Greek tragedy portrays a young woman in Montreal defying the law to free her wrongly imprisoned brother.

Canada has selected writer-director Sophie Deraspe's refugee family drama Antigone as its official submission for the best international feature category to the 92nd Academy Awards.

The French language indie adapts Sophocles' classical Greek tragedy of the same name to tell the story of a young woman’s search for justice as Deraspe questions the treatment of immigrants in modern-day Montreal.

The ensemble cast for Antigone includes Nahema Ricci, Nour Belkhiria, Rawad El-Zein, Rachida Oussaada, Antoine Desrochers, Paul Doucet and Nathalie Tanous.

The film, which earned the best Canadian feature film at the recently concluded Toronto Film Festival, portrays a young woman, Antigone (Ricci), whose life as a Canadian refugee and immigrant is turned upside down when one of her brothers is wrongfully gunned down during a drug arrest, and another is taken into custody.

As Antigone confronts the police, and the judicial and penal system to free her unjustly jailed brother, she sees a legal vise tighten around her. That forces Antigone to defy the laws of men with her own values of love and solidarity.

“Bringing Antigone to the Oscar race is not only a huge honor. It’s also a way for me to highlight the values of empathy, artistry and integrity, which Canadian films exemplify so well,” Quebec director Deraspe said in a statement.

The choice of Antigone as Canada's Oscar contender this year was made by an industry selection committee led by Telefilm Canada.

The Oscars in recent years has provided a Hollywood launchpad for other Quebec directors like Jean-Marc Vallee, Denis Villeneuve, Kim Nguyen and Phillipe Falardeau as they now routinely direct star-driven movies and TV series stateside.

Antigone, which had a world premiere in Toronto, will be released in Quebec on Nov. 6. WaZabi Films is handling international sales.

The 92nd Academy Awards will be announced Feb. 9, 2020.