National Commission for UNESCO names “23 Individuals” best film of the year

March 11, 2019

TEHRAN – The Iranian National Commission for UNESCO has selected “23 Individuals” as best film of the year for its promotion of peace and sacrifice.

The films cast and crew were honored during a ceremony that took place at Tehran’s Book Garden Cineplex on Sunday.

Directed by Mehdi Jafari, the acclaimed movie is about 23 young Iranian volunteers who were captives during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

At the ceremony, the director of the commission, Hojjatollah Ayyubi, said that nothing better than art and cinema can act as the representative of the people of Iran.

Ayyubi, who is the former director of the Cinema Organization of Iran, called cinema the great achievement of Iran, and added that Iran is as good as many countries in different branches of art. However, only a few countries can compete with Iran’s cinema.

The commission annually selects one film out of the movies competing in the Fajr Film Festival and honors it for its promotion of human values and culture of dialogue.

Ayyubi noted that the commission is planning to screen one feature film, several shorts and one documentary as Iran’s ambassadors in several other countries.

“We are happy that the project will be launched by screening the great film ‘23 Individuals’, a film which enjoys a great screenplay and acting, while it portrays the high glory of the Iranian nation,” he asserted.

“23 Individuals” is based on “Those 23 Individuals”, the memoirs of Ahmad Yusefzadeh, one of the 23 volunteers who were held captive for a long period of time in Iraq.

The book tells of the early months of the volunteers’ captivity and the events they confronted, and later their visit with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

At that time, Iraq tried to manipulate the volunteers in its propaganda campaign against Iran. However, all their attempts failed miserably, thwarted by magical tricks done by the volunteers.

Photo: “23 Individuals” cast and crew as well the organizers pose after the movie was honored as best film of the year by the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO at Tehran’s Book Garden Cineplex on March 10, 2019. (Tasnim/Hassan Aslani)

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