Bold, original and compelling, ANTIGONE has electrified audiences since it debuted at TIFF, where it was awarded the prize for Best Canadian Feature. Canada’s official submission for consideration in the foreign-language category at the Oscars and – most importantly, of course! – our opening-night selection, this fourth feature by Montreal’s Sophie Deraspe is a contemporary re-telling of the ancient Greek drama by Sophocles about a young woman who goes to extreme measures to protect her family in the wake of a tragedy. Putting a refugee family at the heart of the story is just one of the daring moves in Deraspe’s adaptation, which is fueled by Nahéma Ricci’s astonishing performance of the title character, a complex figure whose story may have very old roots but couldn’t be timelier.
One of the leading figures of new Quebec cinema, Sophie DERASPE (1973, Canada) fell in love with cinema through her Visual Arts studies in Austria and Literature studies at the University of Ottawa and Montreal. As both a filmmaker and cinematographer, she worked primarily within the realms of documentary before making her first feature, Rechercher Victor Pellerin/Missing Victor Pellerin (2006). Her second feature, Les signes vitaux/Vital Signs (2009), was in IFFR’s Tiger Competition and she won the FIPRESCI award at Torino Film Festival for Les loups (2015). The documentary Le profil Amina/A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile (2015) was selected as a World Cinema Documentary at Sundance and won the Special Jury Prize at Hot Docs. Antigone (2019) was chosen as Best Canadian Feature at the Toronto International Film Festival and it will represent Canada at the Oscars in the category Best International Feature Film.