"M for Mother", Iranian Representative for the 80th Academy Awards

A Film of another Kind

In Iran, like all other countries, selecting the country's entry for the Academy Awards ceremony has been always controversial. Every year a group of filmmakers and officials from the Culture Ministry and even the TV organization get together to select the entry from among the candidates. This year, the decision was to be made by Amir Esfandiari (Farabi Cinema Foundation's International Relations Director), Mohammad Bozorgnia, Kamal Tabrizi, Mojtaba Raee and Rassoul Sadr-Ameli (film directors), Mohammad Reza Sokout (cinematographer), Taqi Aliqolizadeh (representing the TV), Alireza Shoja-Nouri (producer) and Akbar Nabavi (film expert). At the end, they chose M for Mother, a film few would have thought of as the likely nominee. Iranian officials and filmmakers try their best to add an academy award to the catalogue of honors they have collected in the past decade. Such a success has not materialized yet. Once Majid Majidi's Children of Heaven became one of the five nominees for the best foreign-language film Oscar. But the award went to Roberto Beningni's Life is Beautiful. The international success of Abbas Kiarostami, Jafar Panahi, Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Bahman Ghobadi's films made their works the likely candidates for nomination. Or they could have sent films from the directors who made similar films. Always the final candidate was the subject of too much controversy. Last year, Kambuzia Partovi's Café Transit was an exception. But this year's choice took everybody by surprise. There were more likely candidates such as Main Line by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad and Mohsen Abdolvahab and A Few Kilos of Dates for a Funeral by Saman Salour but at the end of the day it was M for Mother that made it. This film was made by Rassoul Mollagholipour who died shortly after the film was released. He was known for his war movies. His latest film was a hit and the top officials of the Iranian Culture Ministry termed it a "national movie". It was one of the most controversial Iranian movies of last year. It is an eventful melodrama about a family that breaks down following the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. A woman has a hard time bringing up her handicapped son. She decided to give birth to him although it was evident in the early stages of her pregnancy that her baby was not going to be a healthy child. Consequently her husband left the family in poverty. Many years later he returns to find out that his wife has taken very good care of the handicapped son thanks to her strong will power.

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