Art And Culture

‘Utopia’ Afghan Entry for Oscar

‘Utopia’ Afghan Entry for Oscar‘Utopia’ Afghan Entry for Oscar

Afghan drama ‘Utopia’ directed by Hassan Nazer and produced by Malalai Zikria has been selected as Afghanistan’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards.

Iranian Homayoun Ershadi, who plays Najib, an Afghan character, said the sequences related to Najib were shot in Tajikistan, Mehr News Agency reported.

The 95-minute film is about a woman whose husband is paralyzed. She tries to have a child and struggles to make her dreams come true.

“Afghanistan produces good films. I am glad to act in a film selected as entry for the Oscars,” he added.

 Zikria, who is also the lead actress, said the movie was filmed in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India and Scotland.

“This movie is all about Afghanistan and has been nominated on behalf of all Afghans.” She hoped it would fetch an Oscar for Afghanistan and its cinema industry.

Meanwhile, the jury that selected the film, said they chose it because of its high standard and that it met international criteria.

“Utopia meets international standards in professionalism, picture and story, and that is why it was selected for the awards,” said Engineer Latif, director and former head of Afghan Film, the company that produced the film.

Pointing to his previous films, Ershadi said: “I’ve recently finished working on my latest film including ‘Ali and Nino’.” A British film directed by Asif Kapadia, it is the story of Ali and Nino, teenagers from upper-class families living in Azerbaijan just before World War I. Ali is Muslim and Nino Christian, but they love each other and marry despite opposition from their parents. The war breaks out and things turn worse.

Ershadi also has a role in ‘Mahi’, directed by Davoud Khayam, which is his first long shot movie. Ana Nemati and Mehran Ahmadi are among the cast.

Born in Isfahan, Iran, Ershadi, 68, studied architecture in Italy. He has acted in foreign productions such as Marc Forster’s critically acclaimed drama ‘The Kite Runner’ (2007), adapted from the novel by Afghan author Khaled Hosseini, Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ (2012) and ‘A Most Wanted Man’ (2014) with the late actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman.

‘Taste of Cherry’ (1997), ‘The Pear Tree’ (1998), ‘Disturbant’ (2002), ‘Portrait of a Lady Far Away’ (2005), ‘Color of Friend’ (2006), ‘Aal’ (2008),  ‘Agora’ (2009) and ‘Facing Mirrors’ (2011), are other films in which he has acted.