The anticipation surrounding the 96th Oscars ceremony has surged with the recent announcement of the shortlists in 10 categories by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. As per Variety, Greta Gerwig’s inventive meta-comedy Barbie emerged as the frontrunner, securing five mentions across multiple categories, including sound, original song submissions from notable artists like Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Mark Ronson, and Andrew Wyatt, as well as an original score from the latter duo.
But it’s not just the big names that are making headlines this year, as Pakistan’s official entry for the International Feature category at the 96th Academy Awards, In Flames, is also making waves in the film industry.
Directed by Zarrar Kahn and produced by Anam Abbas, In Flames premiered at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and has since been featured in several renowned film festivals worldwide, including TIFF, Sitges, Busan, and Red Sea. The film tells a haunting tale set in Karachi, where a mother and daughter grapple with disrupted lives following the demise of their family head, tormented by both tangible and spectral entities. Their bond becomes their sole solace against the ominous forces encircling them.
Despite failing to secure a spot in the Oscars’ shortlist, In Flames has garnered critical acclaim and serves as a poignant call to action. It exposes the brutality of patriarchy while championing the resilience of communities, offering solace to the oppressed, and reaffirming the enduring power of hope.
Mohammed Ali Naqvi, Chairperson of the Pakistani Academy Selection Committee (PASC), expressed immense pride in selecting In Flames as Pakistan’s official entry for the International Feature category. Naqvi emphasized the film’s brilliance and its significance in highlighting the evolving narrative of Pakistani cinema on the global stage.
Director Zarrar Kahn conveyed his honor at the film’s recognition by Pakistan’s Oscar committee. Acknowledging the challenges faced during local distribution in Pakistan, Kahn expressed gratitude for the overwhelming response from Pakistani audiences. He emphasized the film’s representation, both in its narrative and the resilient team behind its creation.
In Flames embodies a captivating narrative and resonates as a powerful testament to Pakistan’s burgeoning cinematic prowess. It may not have cut the Oscars’ shortlist, but it has certainly made a lasting impact on the film industry.