Art and Experience: The 16th Resistance International Film Festival opened at the Sacred Defense Museum in Tehran on Monday, paying tribute to five cineastes of the Iranian war cinema who have died over the past year.

These are filmmaker Khosro Sinai, producer Hadi Meshkat, documentarians Hossein Fahimi and Gholamreza Janantkhah, and composer Reza Atarodi.

Sinai’s close friend Habib Ahmadzadeh, the author of the acclaimed novel “Chess with the Doomsday Machine”, talked about Sinai at the opening ceremony.

“There are many like Sinai, it is our problem that we cannot speak with them in a proper language. We only know to talk with others in our own language. I think one of our problems is that our language is not up-to-date. Sinai used to attend all the student festivals of Sacred Defense (the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war) held in the border towns. His wife used to teach children painting and his daughter theater,” Ahmadzadeh said.

“Sinai never said no to the Sacred Defense-themed works. I am happy this honoring ceremony has been held for him as well. Abbas Kiarostami was also like Sinai. When he visited the Tehran Peace Museum he said that he would do anything for the war veterans who had asked him to echo their voices of oppression to other countries.”

Addressing the audience, he continued, “Afterwards, anytime Kiarostami was to attend an event outside the country, he used to ask us to prepare several documentaries about the war veterans who were injured by chemical weapons during the war with subtitles in the language of the country of his destination. He used to screen the films in his workshops and classes for the foreign cineastes.”

“I ask once again to consider that our language might not be the right one and we cannot talk with people. We must blame ourselves this is us we cannot communicate with people not them,” he concluded.

The ceremony continued with paying tribute to the family of late filmmaker Rasul Mollaqolipur. The organizers honor innovative filmmakers with the Rasul Award named after the war film director.

In appreciation of the medical workers’ efforts on the front lines of the campaign against COVID-19, the festival has initiated a category titled “Health Defenders” in collaboration with the Health Ministry.

Films focusing on the endeavors health workers have made during the pandemic will be competing in this section.

A lineup of Iranian and international short documentaries are competing in the “Health Defenders” category.

They include “Social Distance” by Erkan Özcan from Turkey, “Portugal Coronavirus Documentary” by Carlos A. Costa from Portugal and “Italy Lockdown: How the Coronavirus Has Forever Changed Our Lives” by Carla Falzone and Sacha Biazzo from Italy.

Over 20 short and feature documentary films will be screened in the documentary section.

A lineup of 12 films has also been selected to go on screen in the Festival of Festivals category.

The Festival of Festivals section plans to review movies produced over the past 40 years on the Islamic Revolution, resistance and the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, which is known as the Sacred Defense in Iran.

The festival is organized every year to commemorate the anniversary of the Sacred Defense.

The 16th edition of the event will go online due to a spike in the coronavirus cases in the country.

The festival is scheduled to be organized in two stages, the first of which is taking place during the Sacred Defense Week from September 21 to 28.

The second part of the festival will be held from November 21 to 27 to celebrate the anniversary of Basij Day, which falls on November 25.

Source: Tehrantimes