News Another Birth. Iranian Cinema, Here And Now

Published: April 25, 2023| 11:21 AM

The 57th KVIFF celebrates independent Iranian cinema with a selection of singular works made in the past four years. Collectively these works offer an insightful testimony of the burning creativity of Iran’s artists in face of the challenging reality. Nine mostly young filmmakers – urgent, unheard, voices – who palpably bear a spiritual connection to the previous generations of their country’s greats, tackle the current reality with a remarkable sensitivity and great inventiveness.

Melancholic dramas, comedies, war movies, sci-fis…films about love, and films within films. Together, these nine unique and intensely personal testimonies form a multi-dimensional mosaic that reflect the collective spirit and openness of Iran’s young cinema of today.

This cinema should not be read with the regular tools we use to decode most films. This cinema compels us to reinvent our tools, to reinvent how we see and interpret film, in order to engage with the intentions of these filmmakers,“ says the retrospective’s curator Lorenzo Esposito. “As the title of a poetry collection by Forough Farrokhzad read: “We present here and now another birth of Iranian cinema.”

Naden Saeivan’s Kafkaesque nightmare NO END, co-scripted and co-edited by Jafar Panahi explores, with vivid realism, the control and humiliation of the individuals by their authoritarian regimes. THE LOCUST, is a film within a film: a comic drama and a docu-fiction. The second directorial effort from Kiarostami’s protégé Faeze Azizkhani is an ingenious hybrid of a movie, anchored by the director’s authentic female perspective. ZAPATA, Danesh Eqbashavi’s rousing genre blend of comedy, detective fiction, and mockumentary was filmed with two iPhones, a small hand-held camera, a GoPro action camera, and the appreciable influence of Roger Corman.

THE SKIN, the debut from the Ark brothers, hotly anticipated since 2017 when they won a Cinéfondation prize at Cannes for their short piece AniMal, is an innovative fantasy horror flick blending genre elements with local folk legends. Negin Ahmadi is the young director and protagonist of mesmeric debut DREAM’S GATE, a soul-searching documentary that leaves Tehran to follow the lives of an all-female militia group fighting in Syrian Kurdistan. Produced by the filmmaking collective, Kamja, electrifying debut A TRIP TO THE MOON by Mohammadreza Shajan-Nejad follows the zany exploits of a man venturing to recover the sounds left to him by his partner in a bottle before leaving on a trip to the Moon.

BLACK AND WHITE RIVER by Farzin Mohammadi tells the story of the artistic crisis facing young filmmaker Amin, who is trying to recover lost time. CREATION BETWEEN TWO SURFACES, the second film by photographer and filmmaker Hossein Rajabian, is an adrenaline rush that boldly seeks wisdom in madness. Inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, the director gradually transforms film reality into a psychiatric nightmare. Vahid Vakilifar’s K9 offers an intoxicating, visionary sci-fi, which, in spite of the darkness consuming the world, remains a believer in the power of light.


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