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Panahi’s ‘3 Faces’ Premiere at Cannes

Panahi won Caméra d’Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival with his feature debut “The White Balloon”. It was the first major award won by an Iranian film at Cannes
Actresses Behnaz Jafari (L) and Marzieh Rezaei walked the  red carpet on Saturday.Actresses Behnaz Jafari (L) and Marzieh Rezaei walked the  red carpet on Saturday.

In the absence of director Jafar Panahi, who was not allowed to leave the country for some political reasons, actresses Behnaz Jafari and Marzieh Rezaei attended the debut screening of Panahi’s “3 Faces” during the 71st Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on Saturday, in Cannes, France.

The movie is competing for the Palme d’Or along with the latest productions of celebrated filmmakers including Spike Lee, Jean-Luc Godard, Pawel Pawlikowski and Asghar Farhadi. The festival runs until May 19.

In the film, well-known actress Behnaz Jafari is distraught by a provincial girl’s video plea for help - oppressed by her family to not pursue her studies at the Tehran drama conservatory.

Behnaz abandons her shoot and turns to filmmaker Jafar Panahi to help solve the young girl’s troubles. They travel by car to the rural northwest where they have amusing encounters with the relatives of the girl in a mountain village. But the visitors soon discover that despite the villagers’ hospitality, they strongly believe in safeguarding their age-old traditions.

In a review on the film, Deborah Young of the Hollywood Reporter wrote, “Jafar Panahi sounds the depths of traditional values in a road movie”.

“Traditional ideas about male virility and woman’s place in the home are challenged in Jafar Panahi’s allusive think piece 3 Faces. As simple as its title, which refers to three actresses of times past, present and to come, 3 Faces is charming Iranian cinema at its purest,” she continued.

“Defiantly modern in its liberating message about freedom of choice, it harks back to the great cinema verité films like Abbas Kiarostami’s ‘The Wind Will Carry Us’. Here, too, a man from the city travels to a remote mountain village on a mission that will plumb the depths of stifling traditional beliefs,” Young added.

Tim Grierson of Screen Daily has described the film “a lovely, ineffably moving meditation from writer-director Jafar Panahi”

“Filming in Iranian villages where his parents and grandparents grew up, Panahi displays some affection for the uneducated locals encountered by the main characters. In a community in which livestock possibly outnumber humans, there is plenty of superstition. 3 Faces isn’t condescending to the villagers, but Panahi slowly reveals how such a repressive atmosphere can make life unbearable for those who long for more,” he wrote.

Panahi won Caméra d’Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival with his feature debut “The White Balloon”. It was the first major award won by an Iranian film at Cannes. He also won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes 2003 for “Crimson Gold” and Carrosse d’Or in Cannes 2011 for “This Is Not a Film”.

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