Written and directed by Tunisian director and screenwriter Kaouther Ben Hania, ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ just made history. The film is the first Tunisian film to be nominated for an Oscar.
“Honoured to offer to Tunisia its first nomination for the Oscars for the best international feature. Unbelievable but real!” said Kaouther Ben Hania to announce the nomination.
The film is running in the ‘Best International Feature Film’ category against Bosnian film Quo Vadis, Aida, Another Round from Denmark, Better Days from Hong Kong, and Collective from Romania.
After premiering at the 77th Venice Film Festival, The Man Who Sold His Skin already snagged an award for Best Film, with its star Yahya Mahayni scoring the Best Actor award.
The film sees Mahyani play Sam Ali, a young Syrian man who, after escaping the war to Lebanon, dreams of a new life in Brussels to be with the love of his life. To make it happen, an impulsive Ali agrees to be tattooed by a contemporary artist. With a Schengen visa tattooed on his back, Ali becomes a piece of art, transforming himself into a piece of art to be exhibited all over the world.
“[The] notion of freedom is ultimately the subject of the film,” Ben Hania said in an interview with Cineeruopa to explain her inspiration. “What I wanted to explore is: What does it mean to be free? Geopolitical and socio-political contexts already determine our freedom of movement and even our freedom to do what we want”.