Denmark has selected Ali Abbasi’s Cannes-winning title Holy Spider as its official submission to this year’s International Feature Oscar race.
Written by Afshin Kamran Bahrami, the film follows Rahimi, a young female journalist, who travels to the Iranian holy city of Mashhad to investigate a serial killer targeting sex workers. As she draws closer to exposing his crimes, the opportunity for justice grows harder to attain when the murderer is embraced by many as a hero.
The story is based on the real-life case of the ‘Spider Killer’ Saeed Hanaei, who claimed he was on a mission from God as he killed 16 women between 2000 and 2001.
Claus Ladegaard, CEO of the Danish Film Institute who chairs the selection committee, said: “Holy Spider shows a director with a strong artistic ambition who manages to tell an important story of misogyny while simultaneously keeping his audience in suspense.”
The film debuted in competition at this year’s Cannes film festival where Zar Amir Ebrahimi picked up the Best Actress award for her leading performance. Utopia has picked up the film for US distribution.
Holy Spider is produced by Jacob Jarek for Profile Pictures in co-production with German One Two Films by Sol Bondy. The film’s Danish theatrical release is set for 13 October.
The thriller was among three features shortlisted for the honor alongside Forever by Frelle Petersen, and As in Heaven by Tea Lindeburg.
Four Danish films have won an Oscar in the International Feature Film category: Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round in 2021, Susanne Bier’s In a Better World in 2011, Bille August’s Pelle the Conqueror in 1989, and Gabriel Axel’s Babette’s Feast in 1988.
Here are the International Oscar entries so far:
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