‘Antigone’ chosen as Canada’s contender for international film Oscar

Film centres on immigrant teen caught between her moral code and the justice system

Director Sophie Deraspe, right, smiles alongside actress Nahema Ricci during a news conference to announce “Antigone” as Canada’s entry for the 2020 Academy Awards for the best international film in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Quebec writer-director Sophie Deraspe says she’s proud that her film has been chosen as the “Canadian ambassador” in the leadup to the 2020 Academy Awards.

Telefilm Canada announced Friday that Canada is putting forward “Antigone” to vie for a nomination in Oscars’ best international feature film category, which used to be known as best foreign language film.

Deraspe said she sees the recognition not only as an endorsement of her craft, but also of the ideal the film espouses.

“Antigone is also a film about values. Values of sympathy, integrity, love,” the Montreal filmmaker said by phone after Friday’s announcement.

“I feel proud of… campaigning not only for film, for the art of filmmaking, but also those values.”

A modern revisioning of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy, the Montreal-set drama centres on Antigone, played by newcomer Nahema Ricci, a teenager caught in a clash between her moral code and Canada’s justice system when tragedy strikes her immigrant family.

Deraspe, who wrote and directed the film, said the story represents the power of the individual to shatter the “immovable wall” of the system.

“It’s about a young woman who has no power in terms of what is power in our world … and she stands against authority because of what she believes,” said Deraspe, whose 2015 credits include the documentary “The Amina Profile” and the feature ”Les Loups.”

“That’s what the film wants to carry — that OK, there’s this big system above us, but we are those that are powerful deep inside.”

“Antigone” won the $30,000 Canada Goose Award for best Canadian feature film at the Toronto International Film Festival last Sunday.

ALSO READ: Canadians Paul Massey and Domee Shi win Oscars for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ ‘Bao’

“Antigone,” which hits theatres in Quebec on Nov. 6, is competing against films submitted by dozens of other countries, including two Canadian co-productions, in the race for an Oscars nod for international feature.

A short list of 10 films will be unveiled on Dec. 16, and the chosen five official nominees will be announced on Jan. 13.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thornhill’s future takes centre stage at June 2 public hearing

The current community plan was adopted in 1981

Class will look different at Coast Mountain College this September

The college is embracing a distributed learning model

City council considers easing food truck restriction

Food trucks limited to four hours public parking, may increase to six hours

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Facing changes together: your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

UPDATE: B.C.’s Central Kootenay issues evacuation orders for hundreds of residents due to flooding

An evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

PHOTOS: Thousands gather at Vancouver Art Gallery to protest racism

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Number of students returning is a wild card as B.C. schools reopen Monday

A common model will see other teachers work four days a week in class then the fifth remotely,

Most Read