Art And Culture

Fajr Film Festival Makes Springtime Debut

Fajr Film Festival  Makes Springtime Debut
Fajr Film Festival  Makes Springtime Debut

Running for the first time in spring, the international section of the 33rd Fajr Film Festival is expected to be a turning point for not only Iran cinema but for the industry in the East, Middle East and Islamic countries.

Hojatollah Ayoubi, head of Iran Cinema Organization, made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the festival at Mellat Cineplex in Tehran on Saturday (April 25).

Iranian and foreign guests, including the jury and filmmakers, convened at the event which was held in a simple way without the usual long speeches. To give it a sense of Iranian tradition, several musical performances by folk bands were included.

Festival Secretary Alireza Rezadad ushered the participants to the cinema hall to attend the auteur Abbas Kiarostami’s workshop on his filmmaking style and watch his 2010 movie ‘Certified Copy’, screened for the first time in Iran.

The session began with a short film titled ‘Once upon a Time in Marrakesh’ made at a workshop Kiarostami and prominent American filmmaker Martin Scorsese held in Morocco.

‘Certified Copy’ was nominated for the Palme d’Or in the 2010 Cannes Film Festival where Juliette Binoche won the best actress award for her performance. It has won many more awards worldwide as well. The movie portrays the story of an encounter between a British man and a French woman who spend an afternoon together in Italy.

  Notable Screenings

Besides Kiarostamis’s film, shown in the Art and Experience Section, two other important movies were screened at Mellat Cinema: Rachid Bouchareb’s ‘Two Men in Town’ in the Eastern Panorama Section and Michel Hazanavicius’ ‘The Search’ in the Salvation Section.

‘Two Men in Town’ directed by French director of Algerian descent Bouchareb premiered in the 64th Berlin Film Festival. It tells the story of a black man, called William Garnett (played by Forest Whitaker), who has been released from prison. With the help of an idealistic parole agent and his newly-found Islamic faith, Garnett struggles to rebuild his life and overcome the violent impulses which possess him.

‘The Search’ is Hazanavicius’ latest work. The director won the best picture award at the 2011 Academy Awards for his acclaimed movie, ‘The Artist’. ‘The Search’ stars Bérénice Bejo, who has previously starred in Asghar Farhadi’s ‘The Past’ and won the best actress award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Set during the Second Chechen War in 1999, the movie recounts, on a human scale, a story of conflict told through four lives brought together by a shocking twist of fate.

Other notable 2014 films set to screen during the festival include ‘Winter Sleep’ by Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, which won the Palme d’Or and the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival; the highly respected English director Ken Loach’s latest film ‘Jimmy’s Hall’; ‘Coming Home’ by renowned Chinese director Zhang Yimou, ‘Life of Riley’ last work of the late French filmmaker Alain Resnais; and ‘Nabat’ a 2014 Azerbaijani drama directed by Elchin Musaoglu starring Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya among others.

The festival will run until May 2. This is the first time that the international section of the festival is being held separately from the national section (held in February).