Oscars: Georgia Selects 'Scary Mother' for Foreign-Language Category

Courtesy of Studio Artizm
'Scary Mother'

Already a hit on the festival circuit, Ana Urushadze's debut is a psychological thriller of a married woman's literary bid for freedom.

Georgia has selected Ana Urushadze's ambitious debut Scary Mother as its candidate for best foreign-language film for the Oscars.

The selection committee in Tbilisi also voted to submit it as Georgia's entry for the Golden Globes.

Melding domestic drama and psychological thriller, Scary Mother is the story of a middle-aged woman's bid for emancipation through literature.

With years of domestic duty weighing heavily on her shoulders in a drab Tbilisi apartment block, Manana (Nato Murvanidze) is quietly going crazy. Her only escape is to work on a darkly erotic thriller, the contents of which she keeps from her somewhat contemptuous husband, Anri (Dimitri Tatishvili). When Manana lets Anri read an excerpt from her book, his latent fears that his wife is slipping from the comfort zone in which he keeps her, explode.

The film, which won the top prize at the Sarajevo Film Festival earlier this month, is, as The Hollywood Reporter critic Stephen Dalton notes, "unusually assured for a debut feature." Scary Mother had its international premiere at the Locarno Film Festival, where it won the First Feature award.

Urushadze is the daughter of acclaimed Georgian director Zaza Urushadze, whose 2013 feature Tangerines was shortlisted for an Oscar.

Scary Mother, like Tangerines, is a Georgia-Estonia co-production. In his Sarajevo review of the film, Dalton adds: "Scary Mother is further proof that Georgia's emergent new wave of young filmmakers still has plenty of juice in the tank. Further festival booking are highly likely, with prizes and positive reviews making a solid case for niche theatrical business."

The film was written and directed by Urushadze and produced by Lasha Khalvashi; its international sales agent is Alief LLC.

Georgia has been nominating films for the Academy Awards annually since 2008; in 2013, Giorgi Ovashvili's Corn Island made the January shortlist.