Boy From Heaven: Sweden’s Entry for Best International Feature Oscar

‘Boy From Heaven’: Sweden’s Entry for Best International Feature Oscar

Tarik Saleh’s Egyptian-set political thriller won best screenplay at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Sweden has selected Boy From Heaven, an Egyptian-set political thriller from director Tarik Saleh, as its contender for the 2023 Oscars in the best international feature category.

Boy from Heaven premiered in competition in Cannes this year, where it won best screenplay honors for Saleh.

Set within Cairo’s historical Al-Azhar mosque and university (though shot largely in Istanbul), Boy From Heaven follows Adam (newcomer Tawfeek Barhom) on his journey from innocent country boy to promising young Muslim scholar at the world-renowned school, who becomes a target for Ibrahim (veteran Swedish actor, and Saleh regular, Fares Fares), a corrupt state security officer tasked with spying on al-Azhar.

When the film begins, the institution’s Grand Imam has just died, leaving behind a power vacuum that the Egyptian government hopes to fill by putting its man at the head of the mosque.

The Banshees of Inisherin Still - TIFF - Publicity - H 2022
Memento International is handling world sales on Boy from Heaven.

Saleh, fresh off directing duties for the Chris Pine actioner The Contractor, had his international breakthrough with the 2017 political noir The Nile Hilton Incident, another Egyptian-set feature starring Fares.

Sweden has had impressive record, with 16 nominations in the best international features category. All three Swedish Oscar winners however, were directed by the same man: Ingmar Bergman, who won back-to-back honors for The Virgin Spring in 1960 and Through a Glass Darkly in 1961, and for Fanny and Alexander in 1983.