source: Argo 2012 (Ben Affleck)
A Farsi Fan’s Overview of TIFF18’s Highlights
by Rasha Rehman, Juhi Dhingra
While the 43rd edition of TIFF has been good for Farsi co-productions and cinema, Farsi Cinema Center hopes to aid filmmakers co-produce and collaborate with international and Farsi-related film professionals and present their work to prestigious platforms. Drawing upon the vast reserves of experience of our network and resources; we aim to bring untold stories to the forefront of global cinema.
NOTE: This article contains no spoilers, so go ahead and read without any worry!
Source: The Load (Ognjen Glavonića 2018). Picture: hollywoodreporter.com
One among TIFF’s list of breakout films this year, featuring 50 international storytellers, is Ognjen Glavonić’s The Load, a co-production between production houses based in Iran (Three Garden Films), France (Cinéma Defacto), Serbia (Non-Aligned Films), and Croatia (Kinorama). “The fictional road drama with hints of a thriller, presents a grim image of the 1999 Kosovo War, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia implicitly through overpowering frames of grey plastered across each scene.”
The movie illustrates Glavonić’s pacifist views implicitly, depicted through a day in the life of a truck driver, portrayed remarkably by Leon Lučev. The writer–director’s debut fictional opens up the audience to the emotional toll and psychological effects of war covertly. The director creates an atmospheric piece that implies much more than it shows, through camera focus on his protagonist for a majority of the movie, instead of bombings in the background.
Source: 3 Faces (Jafar Panahi 2018). Picture: Variety.com
Before opening its door to TIFF, 3 Faces won the Best Scenario Prize at Cannes this year. This much-hyped follow-up to 2015 film Taxi by esteemed Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi is a meta-mockumentary that follows Panahi and Behnaz Jafari on a road trip to Iran to thwart the suicide of an aspiring actress burdened by her provincial life. What begins as a tantalizing premise soon becomes a journey riddled with colors, exploration, nostalgia, understanding, and learning. The film, a quasi-realist thinkpiece, is reminiscent of Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry and The Wind Shall Carry Us. It is the fourth feature film made by Panahi since being banned from directing films by the Iranian government. The title refers to 3 actresses – embodying the past, present, and future. Its liberating message about freedom of choice dispersed with humor critiques the attitude toward female artists in a repressive state.
Source: When Arabs Danced (Jawad Rhalib 2018). Picture: nowtoronto.com
WHEN ARABS DANCED
Jawad Rhalib’s documentary – an Iranian–Moroccan–French–Egyptian–Belgian co production starring Iran’s very own Sachil Gholamzalizad – is a celebration of beauty and freedom in art. It engages the audience in an exploration of Muslim identity with respect to artistic expression and stereotypes – drawing on the challenges Muslim artists face. As summed up by none other than TIFF, Rhalib visits several countries and documents diverse creative endeavors, each constrained by fundamentalist repression within the Muslim world and xenophobic stereotypes outside of it. The movie explores the theme of sexuality, self-expression, artistic freedom, patriarchy, Islamophobia, and oppression in a delicately wound journey of dancers.
Director Jawad Rhalib offers a bold narrative to characterizations of the Arab world in the compelling and empowering documentary When Arabs Danced. The film gives voice to Arabs worldwide who refuse to be defined by new waves of conservatism, fundamentalism, and nationalism.
Source: Orange Days (Arash Lahooti 2018). Picture: en.mehrnews.com
A part of TIFF 2018’s Discovery segment, Arash Lahooti’s Orange Days fiction-feature is an empowering story of the journey of a woman in a patriarchal society.