September 24, 2023

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Persian Film Festival Australia unveils official lineup 

TEHRAN – The Persian Film Festival Australia has announced the official lineup for its 10th edition.

Eleven feature films and nine short movies will be competing during the festival, which will take place from April 26 to May 7. The festival will open in Sydney and will tour Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, the organizers have announced.

The acclaimed drama “Zalava”, winner of the grand prize at the 36th Venice International Film Critics’ Week, is among the feature films.

Director Arsalan Amiri co-wrote the film with Ida Panahandeh and Tahmineh Bahramalian.

The terrifying horror film presents a brilliant examination of faith, science and tradition based on stories told to Amiri by his father.

In 1978, the inhabitants of a small village in Iran called Zalava claim there is a demon among them. Masud, a young gendarmerie sergeant who investigates this claim, encounters an exorcist attempting to rid the village of the demon. When he arrests the exorcist on charges of fraud, the villagers’ fear and anger escalate. Masud and his love interest, a government doctor, soon find themselves trapped in a cursed house, surrounded by villagers who believe they are both possessed by the demon.

“Imagine” by Ali Behrad, an entry to the La Semaine de la Critique – 2022 Cannes Critics’ Week, is another highlight of the feature film competition.

Starring Leila Hatami and Mehrdad Sediqian, the film follows a daydreaming cab driver who falls in love with a woman he can’t have, leading to a series of encounters, filled with mystery and playful moments.  

The feature film competition also will screen “The Rain Falls Where It Will” by Majid Barzegar.

In this film, Sara works as an experienced and respected nurse in one of the busiest hospitals in Tehran, where she quietly takes away the lives of her patients who have lost all hope in recovery. All seems to go well for her, until she is asked to take care of a private patient in his villa by the sea.

“Barter” by Ziba Karamali and Emad Arad is among the films selected for the short movie competition.

The drama is about Parsa, a 13-year-old boy who is trying to hide a secret from his father. The film depicts a dramatic situation in a family, and how people change when their interests are at stake.

“The Sprayer”, an acclaimed animated movie by Farnush Abedi, is another highlight of the section.

It is about an area occupied by the sprayer’s army. No one has the right to grow any kind of plant either in public or private. So many of the people and soldiers do not even know how a plant grows or what one looks like, until one day one of the soldiers finds a seed buried deep down in the dust, and his curiosity is just the beginning of something extraordinary, something big, something revolutionary.

Photo: Navid Purfaraj and Hoda Zeinolabedin act in a scene from “Zalava” directed by Arsalan Amiri.


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