Posted by Larry Gleeson
By Francisco Salazar
The Black Hen has been selected to represent Nepal at the 2017 Academy Awards. The film, which won the Best Film in the Venice Film Festival’s Critics week, was directed by first time filmmakers Min Bahadur Bham. The movie also played at the Singapore and Taipei Film festivals where it also received acclaimed.
The film takes place in 2001 when a ceasefire brought a break to the small war-torn village in Northern Nepal and tells the story of two young friends who start raising a hen given to Prakash by his sister, with hopes to save money by selling her eggs. However, the hen goes missing. The film has obtained rave reviews and could surprise if the Academy is interested in taking challenges and being unpredictable.
Though Nepal’s history with the Academy is short, the country was nominated in 1999 for its first submissions Caravan. However, since then the country has not been able to pick up another nomination. Last year Nepal submitted Talakjung vs. Tulke, a film that never caught on with the Academy or with audiences worldwide.
This year represents an unusually strong year for the Foreign Language category. Among the frontrunners to be nominated are Toni Erdmann, Julieta, House of Others, Sieranevada, The Ardennes, Chevalier, and Mother. Other films that will also be strong competitors include El Classico, From Afar, and Neruda.
The Academy is known for choosing some of the most critically acclaimed films out of the festival circuit and usually nominate films from Venice, Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca and Locarno Film Festivals. Last year Hungary took home the Oscar for the Cannes favorite Son of Saul while in 2014 the Toronto Film Festival and box office hit Ida won.
The Foreign Language Film deadline to submit is Oct. 3. On Jan. 17 the Academy will announce the nine finalists from among the eligible films and on Jan. 24 nominations will be announced. The winner will be announced at the Oscar ceremony on Feb. 26.