Ali Abbasi’s Holy Spider has been selected as Denmark’s contender in the International Feature Film category for the 2023 Academy Awards. The film world premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival where Zar Amir Ebrahimi won the Best Actress award for her performance.
Holy Spider was chosen from a shortlist of three films. The two additional titles on the list were Forever by Frelle Petersen and As in Heaven by Tea Lindeburg.
Holy Spider by Ali Abbasi is set in Iran and is inspired by the true story of a serial killer, who in 2000-2001 “cleaned” the streets of female sex workers. At the center of the story is a female journalist who descends into the dark underworld of Mashhad, Iran’s holiest city, to investigate the murders.
Watch the official trailer for Holy Spider
Claus Ladegaard, CEO of the Danish Film Institute who chairs the committee, says: “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.
Iranian-born Ali Abbas graduated from the National Film School of Denmark in 2011. He made his feature film debut with the horror film Shelley, selected for the Berlinale. His second feature film, the Swedish-Danish fable Border, won the main prize in 2018 in Un Certain Regard at Cannes.