Looking Ahead as Summer Winds Down
by Kaveh Daneshmand
Summer has come to its end and some of the biggest feasts of cinema have wrapped up their work for the year. Cannes, Venice, TIFF, Locarno and many other international film festivals have surprised all of us with a long list of great films, many of which will find their way to cinemas and to a much larger audience very soon.
FCC takes a brief look at this summer and some of the highlights of the Farsi speaking cinema; films that shined in some of the most prestigious film festivals across the universe.
The Orphanage: The second feature film by the prodigy of Afghan cinema, Shahrbanoo Sadat, saw the light of the screen for the first time in Cannes 2019 where it was received warmly by the audience and the critics alike. The film portrays the life of a 15 year old boy who sells film tickets in the black market and is obsessed by Bollywood.
The Orphanage is not only travelling quite successfully to many film festivals across the universe but it is also now in distribution in Afghanistan where the audiences are finding their ways back to the cinemas after several years.
Another second feature film, this time from Iran, directed all the attention to one of the rising voices of Iranian cinema, Saeed Roostaee, in the 76th edition of the Venice International Film Festival.
Just 6.5 which is in distribution in Iranian cinemas and is considered one of the most successful films of the year in the local box office, premiered internationally in Venice, followed by rave reviews as well as theatrical distribution deals in various regions.
The film portrays the twisted connection between a drug lord and an aggressive and determined narcotic police in the landscapes of drug drenched Tehran where 10 tons of drugs are consumed illegally every day.
Locarno International Film Festival is perhaps one of the most difficult ‘A’ film festivals in the world when it comes to the Farsi speaking region. Although it is very well known that Abbas Kiarostami was truly discovered in Locarno with Where is the Friend’s Home many years ago, for the last decade, the festival has not included more than a handful of productions from the Farsi speaking region in its program.
In the 73rd edition of the festival this summer, Copper Notes of a Dream by Reza Farahmand was the only entry from Iran in the festival program. The film portrays the life of kids who are looking for a meaning for their lives and their future in the war torn Syria follows two siblings who wish to become musicians and attempt to hold a concert in a war wrecked stadium.
The festival summer came to its official end with Toronto International Film Festival, which showcased a variety of outstanding works of art by internationally acclaimed Farsi speaking filmmakers living in Iran, Afghanistan, France and the USA.
Our Lady of the Nile, the latest film by one of the most prominent figures of Afghan contemporary art, Atiq Rahimi, opened the Contemporary World Cinema section of the festival. An internationally established novelist and filmmaker, Atiq Rahimi is internationally acclaimed for his previous works including Patience Stone and Earth and Ashes.
A French, Belgian, Rwandese co-production, Our Lady of the Nile depicts the coming-of-age story of a group of young Rwandan girls at a boarding school. The film is inspired by the true events that would come to foreshadow the 1994 genocide during the Rwandan civil war.
With Autumn festival season taking over, Farsi Cinema Center hopes to witness a strong participation of Farsi speaking artists in some of the most important film festivals ahead such as IDFA, Jihlava and DOK Leipzig, New York, BFI London, Zurich and Busan.