source: Iran:Ci –


by Azadeh M. Kangarani

Immortality – something that most of us seek to achieve in our lives in different ways. Artists may understand what I mean more than others. There is an inner voice or, to be blunt, an ‘ego’ of the artist, usually very strong, which drives the artist’s efforts during the creative process, no matter whether it is to do with fine arts, film, theater or any other type of art.

In this review, I would like to focus merely on the opening and closing ceremonies of the ÍRÁN:CI film festival, which caught my attention even more than during the previous editions.

The festival held its 8th edition in the Czech Republic in collaboration with Farsi Cinema Center between 15th – 26th January. The festival concluded last week and the festival team will soon start preparations for the 9th edition next year.

Let’s start with the idea of immortality which was the theme of the festival for this year. One of the things to be appreciated in this edition is how the festival creators highlighted the concept of immortality in the warp and woof of the constituent elements of the festival.

A good example is the opening night in Prague, when the concept of the festival was revealed to the audience. The element of immortality strongly featured in the official poster and teaser of this festival edition, both created by The Other End.

8th ÍRÁN:CI Film Festival.

8th ÍRÁN:CI Film Festival.

Moreover, the professional and charming presenters of the opening night, Helena Koutna and Sasha Michailidis, played with the idea of immortality in their sentences to settle the theme in the minds of the audience. What then completed the opening night was the choice of the film Pig by Mani Haghighi, whose main character seeks immortality throughout the film by wishing to be killed by a murderer who kills renowned film directors.

 Helena Koutna and Sasha Michailidis on the opening night

Many Haghighi on the opening night

Different elements which conveyed the concept of the festival were cleverly incorporated into the package of the opening night. It seems that the artistic director of the festival, Kaveh Daneshmand, and the executive director, Andrea Svobodova, made a great effort to build the creative concept and all the arrangements to execute their ideas before the audience.

Kaveh Daneshmand  and Andrea Svobodova on the opening night

In line with the theme of immortality, there was a film poster exhibition called Kaleidoscope in Kino Svetozor, from the start of this festival edition, that presented 57 posters of Iranian movies and productions of the Institute of Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults collected by the curator, Ali Bakhtiari.

The exhibition includes posters of films by Abbas Kiarostami; a perfect example of an immortal director not only in the minds of Iranians, but also in the memory of world cinema even though unfortunately he is not a living director anymore.

The closing night was marked by some unique differences compared to the past festival editions. The film 3 Faces by Jafar Panahi won the audience award. It is unfortunate that Jafar Panahi is a banned director not allowed to leave Iran because of his films.

The organizers managed to arrange an opportunity for Jafar Panahi to say a few words to the audience through a video message. As Panahi said, it is excruciating for a film director not to have a chance to watch his/her films with the audiences to understand whether they were into their work. He would have loved to watch his film together with the Czech audience, had he been able to travel to Prague.


Last but not least, there was the presence of Mohammad-Ali Talebi who was one of the feature film jury members this year. His film, Willow and Wind, made 25 years ago, was the festival’s closing film.

Abbas Kiarostami wrote Willow and Wind at the time when both Kiarostami and Talebi were members of the Institute of Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults.

The film was an excellent choice for the closing ceremony. The way it was scripted and directed was an excellent example not only of Iranian cinema, but also of a particular life ideology. The film narrates the story of a child who has broken a window in his classroom at school and has to fix it.

While telling this simple story, Talebi deeply engaged his audience in the journey of the child seeking to repair the broken window. It showed how a simple story can create a great experience for the audience.

It was such a profound experience that I believe that the audience will never forget the depth of these moments spent in the cinema, watching this film.

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