New Zealand festival picks film from Iran
Art and Experience:
Three acclaimed films from Iranian cinema will be showcased at the New Zealand International Film Festival opening in Christchurch on Friday.
“Sun Children”, “A Hero” and “Hit the Road” will be screened in various sections of the festival.
Directed by Majid Majidi, “Sun Children” is about Ali, a streetwise leader of a band of urchins living a hard-knock existence of child labor and petty crime. Life takes an unexpected turn when local gang boss Hashem forces the boys to infiltrate and search the charity-funded “Sun School”, under whose floors hidden treasure apparently waits. Driven by fear, and a hope born of desperation, Ali throws himself into the treasure hunt with a single-minded focus that blinds him to the slow crumbling of his friendships and world around him.
The movie had its Iranian premiere during the 38th Fajr Film Festival in Tehran in February 2020, garnering the Crystal Simorghs for best film, script and set design.
Numerous international events, including the 77th Venice Film Festival, have also screened the movie. The festival honored the film’s star Ruhollah Zamani with the Marcello Mastroianni Award.
“Sun Children” also won the Golden Slipper for best feature film in the junior category of the 61st edition of the Zlin Film Festival in Czech.
“A Hero”, Iran’s submission to the 2022 Academy Awards directed by Asghar Farhadi, follows Rahim, a divorced father serving jail time due to his failure to pay a debt. He takes a two-day leave with great delight. Not only will he get to meet his family and lover, but he also has high hopes of leaving prison thanks to a bag of gold coins that his girlfriend has found. When the coins prove insufficient to negotiate a payment term with his creditor, Rahim decides to find the owner to return them. Little does he expect the ensuing fanfare that earns him widespread respect and a job offer.
But Rahim’s optimistic outlook quickly dissipates amid rumors and suspicions of the veracity of his story. Mired in his seemingly harmless half-truths, Rahim has to navigate a moral maze that appears to have no escape.
Directed by Panah Panahi, “Hit the Road” begins in the middle of nowhere, where an Iranian family makes a pit stop to bury the kid’s phone to avoid surveillance. Through several pit stops and encounters, we explore this family’s riotous dynamic and learn where their destination is.
The New Zealand International Film Festival will be running until November 21.