‘Yomeddin’: Egypt’s choice for 2019 Oscars
By: Samar El-Swaify
Sat, Sep. 15, 2018
CAIRO – 15 September 2018: The Cinematic Professions Syndicate has chosen “Yomeddine” (Judgment Day) to represent Egypt in the 2019 Oscars list for Best Foreign Language Film.
However, the movie will be screened to the public first. “Yomeddine” is directed by Abu Bakr Shawky, produced by Mohamed Hefzy and starring a real former Leprosy patient. It tells the story of “Beshay”, a former Coptic Egyptian citizen in the Leprosy colony. He was lucky enough to be cured, unlike his late wife.
After his wife’s death, he decides to leave the colony and go search for his roots and family with his friends, a donkey and a child. Beshay’s journey takes him back to the past and to the future as well, exploring how society deals with his disease and highlighting the suffering of the citizens of the Leprosy colony.
“Yomeddine” was among “Diamond’s Dust”, “Photocopy”, “Withered Green” and “Cactus Flower” in the list of potential movies to represent Egypt in the Oscars.
If “Yomeddine” was not released in Egyptian cinemas at least a week before Oct. 1, 2018, “Withered Green” will take its place, as the chosen movie needs to commercially compete with other movies first. “Yomeddine” is expected to be released in Egyptian cinemas on Sept. 26, 2018.
The Oscars will not be the first recognition “Yomeddine” gets, as it was awarded the Francois Chalais Prize at the Cannes International Film festival. The 71st Cannes Film Festival held a press conference with the Egyptian filmmakers of “Yomeddine” after its screening at the festival on May 9.
The screening was attended by many international actors, including Julianne Moore, Louise Bourgoin and Kiko Mizuhara. All the attendees praised the movie’s construction and drama line, as well as the directing technique adopted by Shawky in his debut feature.
The first Egyptian movie participating in Cannes Film Festival’s main competition managed to grab the attention of all those who watched it. International media platforms were keen to put the spotlight on “Yomeddine”, writing extremely positive reviews about the movie, which presents an innovative mixture of tragedy, comedy, and condensed shots of emotions and sentiments.
“A man who has recovered from leprosy goes in search of the father who abandoned him in a sentimental drama that infantilizes its lead character,” wrote Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian.
“Recalling about a thousand other titles, with the Lynch films ‘The Elephant Man’ and ‘The Straight Story’ definitely near the top of the list, this is a picaresque road movie about two mismatched characters, with rookie director A.B. Shawky offering a motley and not entirely smooth cocktail of drama and melodrama, a dash of social critique and insight, some chuckles and a few tugs at the heartstrings, mainly by virtue of its near-virtuoso score,” wrote Boyd van Hoeij in The Hollywood Reporter.
It is expected that the nominations for the 2019 Oscars will be released on Jan. 22, 2019 as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the ABC Television Network announced.