Art And Culture

Best in Iran Cinema Take Crystal Simorgh Awards

Clockwise from top left: Sara Bahrami, Peyman Moaadi, Bahram Tavakoli, Amir Jadidi, Kambuzia Partovi, Sahar Dolatshahi, Houman Seyedi and Ebrahim Hatamikia
Clockwise from top left: Sara Bahrami, Peyman Moaadi, Bahram Tavakoli, Amir Jadidi, Kambuzia Partovi, Sahar Dolatshahi, Houman Seyedi and Ebrahim Hatamikia

Bahram Tavakoli’s ‘The Lost Strait’ and Houman Seyedi’s ‘Sheeple’ were the big winners of the 36th Fajr Film Festival as the former received six and the latter four awards at the closing ceremony on Sunday.

The iconic Milad Tower in Tehran hosted 2000 cineastes, cinema officials and media people who got together for the valedictory program of the most important cinematic event in the country where the best of the lot were awarded after 11 days of screening the latest local productions.

Each with 11 nominations, both Tavakoli and Seyedi’s films had the highest number of nominees among all competitors in the annual festival. 

Story of The Lost Strait is about the military operations carried out by the Ammar Battalion near the end of the 1980-88 Iran Iraq war where Iranian fighters courageously defended Fakkeh, a region in the northwest of Khuzestan Province, against Iraqi attacks and did not let it fall into enemy hands.

The movie won major prizes of the festival including the awards for the best film, best director and best actor in the leading role as well as technical awards for the best special effects (mechanical), sound mixing and makeup.

Although in recent years there have been very few quality movies on the Iraqi-imposed military aggression, Lost Strait collected rave reviews from critics and was warmly welcomed in cinema halls and finally ended up among the top five films selected by the audience.

  Young Talents

The fifth feature film by Seyedi, 37, as a director was quite a success for him as it convinced the seven-member jury to present him the Crystal Simorgh for the best script and the best artistic/ experimental film. It also won the best sound editing award.

The race for the best film selected by the audience was tight between five films but in the end, ‘Sheeple’ was announced the winner of the best film by viewers’ choice.

‘Cedar Under Water’ directed by Mohammad Ali Basheh-Ahangar, ‘Cold Sweat’ by Soheil Beiraqi and Ebrahim Hatamikia’s ‘In the Levant Time’ each took three awards.

The only Golden Simorgh at the event, given every year to the film with the ‘National View,’ went to ‘Cedar Under Water’ which centers around unknown soldiers martyred during the eighty-year-old military hostilities with Iraq.

Basheh-Ahangar’s movie also won the best cinematography and set design awards.

Cold Sweat which was the second feature film by Soheil Beiraqi, 34, received the best editing award.

An interesting point about the film was that its five main actors were all nominated in different categories of best actor/actress in leading and supporting roles.

Eventually, the young actor Amir Jadidi, 33, received the best actor award in a leading role (jointly for his performance in the film as well as in Lost Strait) and Sahar Dolatshahi took home the Crystal Simorgh for best actress in a supporting role (jointly for her role in ‘Istanbul Junction’ by Mostafa Kiaei).

  2 Awards for Best Director

According to the jury, this year the competition was so close in some categories that they could not decide one winner. Therefore, two Crystal Symorgh awards were presented in categories of best director and best script each.

Kambuzia Partovi won one Simorgh for best script for his film ‘Truck’ while Seyedi’s ‘Sheeple’ grabbed the other.

Hatamikia was also a joint winner in best director category. He received one award for ‘In the Levant Time’ and the other was given to Tavakoli for Lost Strait.

In his latest film Hatamikia, who has made many films about the brutal Iran-Iraq war, lives of people involved in the war in later years and political issues in modern society, has dealt with the Islamic State terror  group in Syria, where two Iranian pilots flying humanitarian cargo from Iran to Syria are taken hostages by the IS.

While most of the winners in the four-hour-long closing ceremony sufficed with brief speeches after receiving their prizes, mostly thanking the rest of cast and crew in the film they worked, Hatamikia harshly criticized some of his colleagues, the state-owned radio and TV and the host of the ceremony Reza Rashidpour, for mocking his film which is about the Holy Shrine Defenders (in Syria) and Iranian military personnel involved in the battles in Iraq and Syria.

Composer Karen Homayounfar was landed the best film score award for ‘In the Levant Time’.

Young actress Sara Bahrami, 34, was awarded for the best actress in a leading role for her realistic performance as an addict in the ‘Woodpecker’ directed by Behrouz Shoaybi.

Also playing in Woodpecker, veteran actor Jamshid Hashempour, 73, won the award for the best actor in a supporting role.

‘Istanbul Junction’ won the best visual effects award and Reza Maqsoudi was honored with the debut feature film prize for his ‘Don’t Be Embarrassed’.

The Jury Special Prize was given to ‘Bomb, a Love Story’ by Peyman Moaadi for depicting a romantic story within the city of Tehran during the 1980s when the city was being bombed by Iraqi warplanes and long-range missiles during the eight-year war. The film also won the best costume design prize.

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