Art And Culture

Women Film Directors Stand Out

Women Film Directors Stand Out Women Film Directors Stand Out

Pouran Derakhshandeh’s ‘Hush, Girls Don’t Scream’ grabbed two top awards at the 2015 Fiji International Film Festival.

The Iranian social drama won the Best Film Award and Best Actress Award (for Tannaz Tabatabaei) at the event, MNA reported.

The movie had won awards at the 2014 edition of the Irvine International Film Festival (IIFF) in the United States and was crowned as best film at the 4th London Iranian Film Festival.

It narrates the story of a young woman, who awaits trial and death sentence for murdering a complete stranger. The story unravels the mystery with focus on the restraining social conventions that place women at a disadvantage when trying to deal with such sensitive issues as sexual abuse.

Derakhshandeh is currently in the Turkish city of Ankara to showcase her 2013 cinematic production at Ankara’s first edition of the International Family Films Festival. The annual festival will also screen films from Turkey, Japan, the US, India, China and Australia until May 24.

She is one of Iran’s most successful female filmmaker having directed 12 feature-length movies and dozens of documentaries over the past four decades.

  ‘Nahid’ Praised in Cannes

Iran’s only representative at the 68th Cannes Film Festival ‘Nahid’ was screened in the ‘Uncertain Regard’ section of the festival and was followed by positive reviews from international critics.

A debut feature film by Ida Panahandeh, the movie, set in a town bordering the Caspian Sea, chronicles the travails of a divorced mother and her efforts to maintain both her freedom and the custody of her 10-year-old son.

Sareh Bayat, Pejman Bazeghi, and Navid Mohamadzadeh are the lead actors of the 2014 production.

“The film starts off rather enigmatically, with Panahandeh only revealing certain pieces of information as the stakes are slowly established,” Jordan Mintzer of the Hollywood Reporter wrote in a review on the film. “Featuring an excellent lead turn from Sareh Bayat - who played the slighted caretaker in Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winner movie ‘A Separation’ - this promising directorial debut should find a few takers in Europe.”

As Mintzer wrote, Bayat skillfully channels Nahid’s various acts of resistance as she tries to make her own way in the world, sacrificing plenty of comfort to do so. “Bazeghil is strong as a bourgeois type searching for romantic stability, while Mohammadzadeh is impressive as a volatile but touching father who winds up hurting himself much more than those around him.”

With a distant and unhurried style that sometimes recalls the work of Yasujiro Ozu, Panahandeh films her heroine in a series of fixed medium-shots, as if Nahid were incapable of escaping the frame. It’s a technique that corresponds well to her predicament.

Allan Hunter from the Screen Daily compared Panahandeh with compassionate, social realist filmmakers like Vittorio De Sica and Dardenne brothers.

“Cinematography is one of the film’s great strengths, capturing moments of glittering lights reflected in the river water, bustling markets and musty cafes,” Hunter said. “Panahandeh and photographer Morteza Gheidi do a fantastic job of capturing the mood in this bleak, wintry backwater where the muddy sea churns beneath glowering, slate grey skies and everyone seems to know everybody’s business.

“The script (co-written by Panahandeh and her husband Arsalan Amiri who serves as editor as well) has some memorable lines. They have created some well-drawn characters. It is a film in which everyone earns a little of our understanding even as our sympathies flow inexorably to Nahid and her impossible dilemmas,” he added.