There are a number of acclaimed films to be screened at the cinematheque of the institute. One is ‘The Home’ (‘Ev’ in original Turkic which is the language of the film). It is written, directed and produced by Asghar Yousefinejad, and was released in 2017.
The story of Home starts when a man dies and his kin gather around his body. His last will is that after his death his body be given to a medical university to be used for autopsy. But his daughter, who has returned home after many years, finds it difficult to comply with his wish.
The Home was a big winner at the 35th Fajr International Film Festival in spring 2017. Participating in the main International Competition section, it won three awards including the top prize of the festival, Golden Simorgh for the best film and Silver Simorgh for best script.
The last film by late auteur Abbas Kiarostami (1940-2016) ‘24 Frames’ will also be screened at the festival.
Comprised of 24 vignettes, each four-and-a-half minutes long, ‘24 Frames’ shows a series of 23 photos, from Kiarostami’s collection taken over 40 years, and one painting by Dutch artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569), all expanded into a flowing live-action tableau, or (as the movie calls it) a ‘frame’, using copious and all-but-invisible digital technology.
Narges Abyar’s Oscar submission ‘Breath’ will also be screened. The 112-minute film is a portrait of pre-teen daydreamer Bahar and her family, in the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
Her love for books leads her into a fantasy world where frightening realities are left behind. Though the ongoing events are peripheral to her world, the revolution and war with Iraq loom larger than she can imagine. Breath has traveled across continents and entered the line-up for over 30 international events.
Written and directed by Behnam Behzadi, ‘Inversion’ is among the feature films at the Danish event. The title refers to the phenomenon in which sudden temperature changes trap pollution. With Tehran’s smog levels soaring, a single 35-year-old woman, Niloofar, is facing a dilemma; should she leave the city with her mother, who is having trouble breathing, or stay behind to continue in her job.
‘Inversion’ debuted in the Un Certain Regard section of the 69th Cannes Film Festival in May 2016 and had positive reviews. Since then it has been shown in several festivals in Vancouver, Hamburg, Cambridge and Paris and was welcomed by the public and critics.
‘Sonita,’ a documentary about an Afghan refugee musician in Tehran is another entry. It is directed by filmmaker Rokhsareh Qaem-Maqami over three years. The film follows the life of the refugee girl who dreams of becoming a famous rapper, but her mother and brother have other plans – to sell her into marriage in her war-ravaged country.
Another documentary to be screened is ‘Pakyan’ directed by Shahin Armin. He quit his job designing new cars in the US in order to create a documentary about a nearly unknown classic car. ‘Paykan’ was made in Iran since the 1960s and was famous as the national car of Iran because it was made for nearly 40 years.