Oscars: Iran Selects 'No Date, No Signature' for Foreign-Language Category

No Date, No Signature Still 1 - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Venice Film Festival

The submission of Vahid Jalilvand's Venice 2017 award-winning film comes despite calls to boycott the Academy Awards.

Iran has selected Vahid Jalilvand's psychological drama No Date, No Signature as its submission for best foreign-language film at the Oscars.

Written and directed by Jalilvand, No Date tells a complex story of a forensic pathologist, Dr. Nariman (Amir Aghaee), who injures an 8-year-old boy in a collision with a motorcycle driven by the child's father. The doctor's offers of help are rebuffed, but soon after, at the hospital where he works, Dr. Nariman learns that the boy has been brought in for an autopsy after a suspicious death.

No Date, No Signature screened in the Horizons section at the Venice Film Festival in 2017, where it won the best director prize and best actor honors for its star, Navid Mohammadzadeh, who plays the father.

The Hollywood Reporter's Venice review said that while the pic is "lensed with great sensitivity and style and superbly acted, it has one drawback for Western audiences in its perplexing plot points based on the local culture and customs."

The decision, announced Friday by Iran's Farabi Cinema Foundation, comes despite calls from some in the country to boycott the Academy Awards over the U.S.' withdrawal from the Iran 2015 nuclear deal. The foundation, which selects Iran's Oscar entry, said the Academy should not be confused with the U.S. government, stating: "The Academy is a non-governmental institution and belongs to American cineastes."

It added: "American cinema, in particular the Academy members, in their attitude of mind, alongside the absolute majority of the U.S. press and media, are the main centers for opposition, criticism and divergence against [President Donald] Trump's populism and his racist and despotic policies."

Iran has submitted films for Oscar consideration often since 1994 and won the coveted statuette twice — for A Separation in 2011 and The Salesman in 2016, both by director Asghar Farhadi. In 1998, Majid Majid's Children of Heaven made the final shortlist, but failed to win.