By Ryan Keating-Lambert
Now in its 7th year, the Festival of Iranian Films is back again with some daring new titles to push the envelope of independent cinema.
The festival will take place in Prague from the 9th – 14th of January across the best independent cinemas that our city has to offer, including Kino Svetozor, Kino Lucerna, Bio OKO and Kino Pilotu.
The theme this year is ‘Don’t fear!’ (Neboj!), and will put a focus on overcoming the hurdles and challenges in independent film-making in a country that doesn’t always support it.
The main competition this year boasts some magnificent films by Iranian directors both in the country itself and also abroad. Among the titles is Inversion, a film that tells a story of misogyny and dire struggle when a young independent woman is forced to move to the countryside. Directed by Behnam Behzadi, Inversion received the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes and has been praised by both critics and crowd alike.
Also on the list this year, Amir Naderi, one of Iran’s most ground-breaking and influential directors, brings his latest project Monte to the festival. This expressive and insightful film sees a village man struggle with the consequences of tearing down a mountain to get more sun.
Nestled among the greats is newcomer Abed Abest and his debut feature Simulation, which sees three young men end up in a jail cell after a night out. It’s a fascinating and unconventional film with a reverse-chronology, and a touch of Iran’s turbulent history. Abest himself will also attend the festival for a Q&A session.
The festival will also host a number of guest directors and filmmakers this year, also including Parting director Navid Mahmoudi and Navid Danesh, director of the gorgeous Duet. For the full list of guests and accompanying workshops and seminars, make sure you check out the website.
On top of the feature and documentary film competitions, this year’s festival will introduce a short film competition into the festival, screened in sections starting with the first on opening night.
Those with a taste for authentic Persian cuisine and traditional music can also enjoy a host of side-events that the festival offers across its many venues. There will also be a number of workshops and seminars for both filmmakers and fans.
For tickets and more details, visit the festival website.
Photo: Official website