“Hit the Road” and “Zalava” have been chosen to be screened in the feature films competition, while “Identibye” and “The Little Sparrow” are competing in the short films section.
Director Panah Panahi makes a striking feature debut with “Hit the Road”, a charming, sharp-witted and deeply moving comic drama.
It follows a family of four – two middle-aged parents and their sons, one a taciturn adult, the other an ebullient six-year-old – as they drive across the Iranian countryside. Over the course of the trip, they bond over memories of the past, grapple with fears of the unknown and fuss over their sick dog. Unspoken tensions arise and the film builds emotional momentum as it slowly reveals the furtive purpose of their journey.
The story of “Zalava”, winner of the grand prize at the 36th Venice International Film Critics’ Week, is set in 1978 in a small village called “Zalava”, where the villagers claim that a demon is among them.
A young sergeant who investigates the claim crosses paths with an exorcist attempting to evict the demon from the village. He arrests the exorcist on a charge of fraud, but suddenly finds himself stuck in a cursed house with his lover. The villagers, who believe they are both possessed by the demon, decide to kill them.
Director Arsalan Amiri has co-written the screenplay with Ida Panahandeh and Tahmineh Bahramalian based on a story on stories told to him by his father. “Zalava” is a brilliant examination of faith, science and tradition, and a terrifying horror film.
In “Identibye”, the protagonist must choose between his innermost feelings. He was always judged by those closest to him. Fear of these judgments fills him with doubt. He has to work against the clock to achieve his goal; he knows that one’s true identity matters most.
Written and directed by Sajjad Shahhatami was named the best foreign-language film at the 20th Route 66 Film Festival in Springfield, Illinois in the United States.
The animated film “The Little Sparrow” directed by Elaheh Fallahian is about a little blue sparrow, which flies with the movement of clouds.
The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival opened last Thursday and will run through May 19.