Typically known for his documentaries, Czech filmmaker Péter Kerekes marked his narrative feature debut with 107 Mothers, which premiered earlier this year in Venice, in their Orizzonti section. The film has since gone on to win awards and accolades and now lands a prestigious prize, one that reaffirms the power of cinema in bridging cultures.
The Czech/Slovak/Ukrainian co-production is currently competing in the International Competition at this year's Cairo International Film Festival, after winning Best Screenplay in Venice, and Best Director at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Inspired by a true story witnessed by the filmmaker, 107 Mothers features a group of incarcerated women living inside Odessa's Correctional Facility Number 74. The film blends real narratives with a documentary feel and is visually stunning, while also providing a disquieting look inside what jail feels like for a woman.
Ola Al-Sheikh, Manager of The Arab Critics’ Awards for European Films, says in a video announcing the winner: “I wanted to attend the Cairo International Film Festival this year, but due to some special circumstances, unfortunately I couldn’t. This year’s Jury witnessed 24 European films that left us in total confusion because of their good quality and the closeness in the numbers of the votes. In the end, the award went to the remarkable film 107 Mothers. I send my congratulations to the film’s creators, and my thanks to my fellow jury members for the time and effort we are exerting together for the sake of these events.”
Seventy-one film critics from 15 Arab countries selected the best European film from 26 films nominated by the member organizations of European Film Promotion, which organizes the award alongside the Arab Cinema Center.
107 Mothers has been selected as the Slovak entry for the Best International Feature Film category at the 94th Academy Awards.