Opening day of the 9th edition of ÍRÁN:CI (Source: ÍRÁN:CI)

Kicking Off 2020 With ÍRÁN:CI

by Juhi Dhingra

2020’s  film festival scene is all set to begin with the 9th edition of ÍRÁN:CI in the Czech Republic and Slovakia from January 15–31, 2020. Collaborating with teams across the Czech Republic, Iran, Slovakia, Canada, France, Lithuania, and Afghanistan, Farsi Cinema Center brings this festival dedicated to arthouse film from the Farsi-speaking region to global audiences. This year, the festival is organized across four cities; Prague from January 15–19, 2020, Brno from January 21–22, 2020, Košice from January 23–25, 2020, and Bratislava from January 30–31, 2020. The film segment of the festival will cover 24 films under five sections: Feature Film, Documentary, Short Film, Night of Afghan Cinema, and The Pioneers.

Feature Film (Competition)

Opening Night Film:
Castle of Dreams – Reza Mirkarimi, 2019 (trailer)

A still from Castle of Dreams (Source: FilmInk)

Reza Mirkarimi’s highly acclaimed, multi-award winning film Castle of Dreams is a captivating road film that deals with a man who evades all familial responsibilities but must reluctantly reconnect with his children as their terminally ill mother nears her end in the hospital.

Screenings: Prague, Brno, Košice, Bratislava

Cold Sweat – Soheil Beiraghi, 2018 (trailer)

A still from Cold Sweat (Source: Palm Springs International Film Festival)

Soheil Beiraghi’s feature Cold Sweat is based on the true story of a national athlete who is restricted from leaving  Iran to compete in the Asia Cup Finals when her manipulative and controlling husband refuses to grant her permission to travel outside the country.

Screenings: Prague, Brno, Košice, Bratislava

Tehran: City of Love – Ali Jaberansari, 2018 (trailer)

A still from Tehran: City of Love (Source: VIFF)

Ali Jaberansari’s Iranian–Dutch–UK co production, which premiered with rave reviews at Rotterdam, is a comedy-drama wherein three lonely people look for love in Tehran, against the backdrop of Iran’s oppressive politics.

Screenings: Prague

The Warden – Nima Javidi, 2019 (trailer)

A still from The Warden (Source: Hollywood Reporter)

Iranian director Nima Javidi’s critically acclaimed drama-thriller tells the tale of strait-laced Colonel Jahed (beautifully portrayed by Navid Mohammadzadeh) whose promotion is risked by the disappearance of a prison inmate.

Screenings: Prague, Brno

Fireflies – Bani Khoshnoudi, 2018 (trailer)

A still from Fireflies (Source: IFFR)

Tehran-born, Texas-raised, and Mexico City-based director Bani Khoshnoudi brings a compelling and touching piece about the harrowing consequences of exile and the perpetual feeling of otherness. The worldly film is a co production between Mexico, America, Greece, and the Domincan Republic.

Screenings: Prague

Rona, Azim’s Mother – Jamshid Mahmoudi, 2018 (trailer)

A still from Rona, Azim’s Mother (Source: IFFA)

Iranian-based Afghan director Jamshid Mahmoudi’s 2018 Busan-premiering masterstroke Rona, Azim’s Mother is a poignant tale of cultural displacement depicted through the eyes of an Afghan refugee who travels  to the extremes to keep his family and dignity intact. The film was also the recipient of the Kim Ji-seok Award at the 22nd Busan International Film Festival.

Screenings: Prague, Košice, Bratislava

Talla – Parviz Shahbazi, 2019 (trailer)

A still from Talla (Source: Persian Film Festival Australia)

Parviz Shahbazi’s Talla is an unflinching look at the lives of Tehran’s middle class, as a young man tries to build  a simple life for his ailing niece, Talla.

Screenings: Prague, Košice


Kabul, City in the Wind – Aboozar Amini, 2018 (trailer)

A still from Kabul, City in the Wind (Source: IDFA)

Aboozar Amini’s jaw dropping masterpiece,  Kabul, City in the Wind premiered at the 2018 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and took home the Special Jury Award for First Appearance. The documentary is an emotional saga of a middle-aged bus driver in war-stricken Afghanistan, and is reminiscent of some of the great works of Iranian new wave.

Screenings: Prague, Košice

Touran Khanom – Rakhshan Bani-Etemad and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, 2018 (trailer)

A still from Touran Khanom (Source: KARA Film Studio)

Based on the life of 85-year-old activist Touran Mirhadi, this film follows Mirhadi through drastic changes in the Iranian regime, against all odds, she strives to build the foundation of a just educational system.

Screenings: Prague

Filmfarsi – Ehsan Khoshbakht, 2019 (trailer)

A still from Filmfarsi (Source: IFFR)

Ehsan Khoshbakht’s Iran–UK coproduction Filmfarsi is a raw and entertaining look at the pre-1979 revolution forgotten heritage of Iranian cinema filled with ridiculous narratives, sex, drugs, and wars of honor. The film takes viewers on a joyous ride which sheds light on the revolution that changed the destiny of Iranian people forever.

Screenings: Prague

A House For You – Mehdi Bakhshi Moghaddam, 2019 (trailer)

A still from A House For You (Source: Berlinale Talents)

Mehdi Bakhshi Moghaddam’s A House For You is the poignant true story of a 30-year-old man who is forced to return to his rural hometown after being diagnosed with lymphoma. Acting out of love, the man pools together his savings to buy a plot of land where he hopes to build a house for his wife.

Screenings: Prague

Khatemeh – Hadi Zarei and Mehdi Zarei, 2019 (trailer)

A still from Khatemeh (Source: Mehr News Agency)

Following her sister’s suicide, 14-year-old Khatemeh is forced to marry her brother-in-law who beats her relentlessly. This raw documentary follows Khatemeh on the run as her family tries to track her down.

Screenings: Prague, Košice

Short Films

Shorts Block I:
Magralen (Maryam Zarei, 2019)
Zona (Toofan Nahan Ghodrati, 2017)
Funfair (Kaveh Mazaheri, 2019)
The People Smuggler (Amir Reza Jalalian, 2019)
Manicure (Arman Fayyaz, 2018)


Shorts Block II:
Reverence (Sogol Rezvani, 2019)
Chelleh (Davood Khayyam, 2015)
Fault Line (Soheil Amirsharifi, 2018)
Cover (Vahid Alvandifar, 2018)
Elephant’s Shadow (Arman Khansarian, 2018)

Night of Afghan Cinema

Rona, Azim’s Mother – Jamshid Mahmoudi, 2018 (trailer)
Kabul, City in the Wind – Aboozar Amini, 2018 (trailer)

The Pioneers

Fireworks Wednesday – Asghar Farhadi, 2006 (trailer)

A still from Fireworks Wednesday (Source: Slant Magazine)

Iranian film veteran Asghar Farhadi’s 2006 drama-mystery premiered at Locarno IFF, winning awards at Chicago IFF, Fajr, Kerala IFF, etc. The emotionally charged film chronicles the story of a housemaid embroiled in the politics and mysteries of her employers’ tumultuous relationship.

Screenings: Prague, Brno, Košice, Bratislava

 Women Without Men – Shirin Neshat, 2009 (trailer)

A still from Women Without Men (Source: Screen Daily)

Shirin Neshat’s iconic film premiered at Venice IFF, bringing to the forefront gender issues in the Islamic world through the lives of four women living in Tehran in 1953, during the CIA-backed coup that returned the Shah of Iran to power.

Screenings: Prague

Visit our website ÍRÁN:CI to read the full synopsis of each title, learn about the talented filmmakers behind them, buy tickets for your favorite screenings, and stay tuned for updates!

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