The full list of the 65 nominated countries has been released with only Morocco representing Arab language cinema in the foreign language Academy Award list
The contender is Morocco’s Casanegra by Nour-Eddine Lakhmari.
Zakaria Rmidi, on the blog Morocco Times, has this to say about the film:
It is an ordinary story that mirrors the Moroccan reality with all of its contradictions. The film also shed light on a wide range of Moroccans who look forward to a better reality, relying on day-to-day Casablanca’s slang. Thus, Noureddine Lakhmari, who gained extensive experience both as a director and actors’ manager, succeeded in making the Moroccan audience prefers to follow the film in cinemas rather than copying pirated versions and emphasizing that the Moroccan audience is attracted to movies which address its concerns.
Traditionally prolific producer’s Egypt and Lebanon, which were both represented last year, are absent from the 2009 nominations. Lebanon’s 2008 nominee Caramel was short listed for the award, building on the success it enjoyed through out the 2008 festival circuit.
Despite a number of initiatives launching to promote Arab cinema in recent years, there is yet to be any significant visible impact on international markets.
Long term programmes including film funds, awards programmes and the development of educational initiatives have yet to bear fruit for domestic film production.