Art And Culture

Persian Suspense Dramas at Tokyo Film Fest

Persian Suspense Dramas at Tokyo Film FestPersian Suspense Dramas at Tokyo Film Fest

Two films from Iran have entered the final lineup of the 27th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF), which opened in Japan on October 23.

The drama/suspense movie ‘Melbourne’ directed by Nima Javidi, shown in the competition section, is having its Asian premiere. Earlier this year, the movie took part in the competition section of the 10th Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) and was also the opener of the Critics’ Week section of the 71st Venice International Film Festival, honaronline reported.

‘Melbourne’ has an intriguing story. After years of planning what promises to be a momentous change, the day has finally come for a young couple to embark on a new life to study abroad. But just as they are preparing to set off on “the journey of hope and excitement,” something unexpected happens.

The screenplay was clearly influenced by director Asghar Farhadi, best known for the Oscar winner ‘A Separation’ (2011), and Peyman Moaadi, the award-winning star of that film, who also appears in Melbourne. So well-crafted, it is easy to forget that all the action takes place in the confines of a house. The directorial debut by Nima Javidi testifies to the great promise of Iranian cinema.

Experiencing its world premiere, ‘Borderless’ by Amirhossein Asgari is another drama/suspense Iranian film shown in the ‘Asian Future’ section.

The story centers upon a boy who has been fishing for some time from a grounded ship at the zero point border. He has chosen the place for his seclusion and serenity when the appearance of a stranger disturbs his peace and work.

 Foreign Language

Featuring Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, ‘Nabat’ directed by Elchin Musaoglu is another film in the competition section from Azerbaijan. The film, previously, was selected as the Azerbaijani nominee in Oscar 2015 to compete with 92 other movies for the best foreign language.

Nabat is a woman who lives with her bedridden husband in a house on a hill, punctuated by distant gunfire. Every morning she takes milk to a nearby village, but the tumult soon spreads to the area.

The film is a straightforward and affectionate depiction of a mother’s love for her son, who is off fighting in the war. As with the long shot at the beginning, showing the heroine delivering milk to a town in the next valley, the film is defined by its eloquent camerawork. Carefully tracing the woman’s movements, each frame is filled with a sense of wonder. Motamed-Arya, brilliantly portrays the woman who is forced to endure a lonely existence.

 Opening Night

The first night of the festival opened with Disney’s ‘Big Hero 6’ that taps into Japan’s love of animation.

Jury president James Gunn, whose ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is currently playing in Japan, at a press conference on Friday said: “In a world where film has become something like a pure commodity, it’s great to have these pockets of real culture. It’s important to have events that acknowledge films as something other than commerce, so that it doesn’t become a world where movies are made purely to make a lot of money and don’t have a heart.”

At a press meet on Thursday, the festival’s program director Yoshi Yatabe said all the films in this year’s competition tell stories that could be called portrayals of “people with their backs to the wall,” people who are cornered and wondering “how they are going to live tomorrow.”

The Tokyo film fest competition section includes titles from Japan, Norway, Australia, the United States, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Colombia, Russia, the Philippines, China, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, and Iran.

Running until October 31, the fest will screen fifteen films in competition and nearly 200 in total.

The TIFF was established in 1985. The event was held biannually from 1985 to 1991 and annually thereafter. Along with the Shanghai International Film Festival, it is one of Asia’s competitive film festivals, and the only Japanese festival accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF). The Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix, for the best film, is the top award. Other awards include the Special Jury and awards for best actor, best actress and best director.