Italian film featuring Senegal’s Seydou Sarr earns Oscar nod for international feature as African films get snubbed

Stephen Nartey January 24, 2024
Photo: Io Capitano (Venice)

African films, such as “The Mother of All Lies” (Morocco) and “Four Daughters” (Tunisia), made the shortlist for the Best International Feature category, but, they did not secure a final nomination as African films get snubbed ahead of the Oscars. However, both films achieved nominations in the Best Documentary category.

The Italian film “Io, Capitano,” which features Senegalese actor Seydou Sarr, received a nomination in the international feature film category. In the Best Documentary category, “Bobi Wine: The People’s President,” a documentary on the Ugandan pop star turned politician, secured a nomination. The awards ceremony is scheduled for March 10 in Los Angeles.

Senegalese actor Sarr was last year awarded the Marcello Mastroianni award for Best Young Actor for his role in “Io Capitano,” directed by Matteo Garrone. The film, which explores the journey of two young boys from Africa to Europe, also received the prestigious Golden Lion award for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival.

“Io Capitano” portrays the challenges faced by Sarr and Moussa as they navigate through the perils of detention centers in Libya and the dangers of the sea during their migration journey.

Io Capitano” draws inspiration from the real-life experiences of Mamadou Kouassi, who collaborated on the script with director Garrone.

Kouassi, who undertook a perilous journey to Italy at the age of 20, shared his personal story with Garrone, shaping the narrative of the film.

According to Kouassi, the movie authentically captures the essence of the journey as he lived it. “Io Capitano” addresses the topical issue of immigration from Africa to Europe, and its recent win at the Venice Film Festival coincides with a period of increasing political focus on the matter in Europe.

“There is the ritual counting of the living, of the dead. Over time, you get used to imagining these people as numbers and you lose sight of the fact that there is a world behind it. There are families with dreams, there are many wishes. I hope that this film can help to open a dialogue about this issue,” Garrone said. “It’s a very important issue, and it’s one that we need to talk about.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: January 24, 2024


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