By Samaneh Aboutalebi

“The Warden” in search of justice

July 17, 2019 - 18:54

Young Iranian director Nima Javidi’s second film “The Warden”, also known as “The Indian”, is currently on screens at Iranian theaters, five years after the release of his debut movie “Melbourne”. 

The film has been well-received by filmgoers and generally faces positive reviews from critics who view it as a must-see movie.

The story of the film is set in the 1960s. It is about Nemat Jahed (Navid Mohammadzadeh), a prison warden who is promoted to chief of police, but he is assigned the task of transferring prisoners to a new building before taking over his new position.

While they are evacuating the old building, which is supposed to be turned into an airport, a prisoner named “Indian” gets lost. 

Now, to protect his reputation and save his career, Jahed needs to find Indian before his higher-ranking superior finds out. 

Written by Javidi, the screenplay follows a three-act structure, a classic method for writing screenplays. The audience is completely engaged in the story’s ups and downs and follows it to the end.  

The film challenges the death penalty and injustice, topics which are always discussed in movies produced about modern Iran overseas.

The story is also set in a period of time when Iranians lived a Western lifestyle, but the writer and director have tried to localize the story by using some dialogue, design elements and scenes. However, the movie concludes with a clear ending, a pattern that is followed by Hollywood films, not with an open ending which dominates modern Iranian films.

For “The Warden”, its compelling story is everything. All other elements, including set, costume and makeup designs, and special effects serve the story, and this is the strong point of the film. The topic challenges the current rule of many Iranian films that hire superstars, top special effects experts and so on to cover the defects in their stories. 

The film’s perfect costume and set designs make the story more realistic and help the audience connect with it. 

“The Warden” tells a very strong, thrilling and entertaining story, which is what any filmgoer expects from the cinema. It also seems to be able to satisfy revelers in international events and filmgoers overseas.

Playing Nemat Jahed, a middle-aged wise warden who is in love with a prison worker, Navid Mohammadzadeh has made a breakthrough by distancing himself from the cliché roles of rebellious angry characters.

Jahed is committed to the political system. Consequently, he never ignores his duty or never questions the court decisions on his prisoners. But, it costs him a high price to understand that the ruling system doesn’t always observe justice. 

“The Warden” was nominated in six categories, including best film, best director, best actor and best screenplay, at the 37th Fajr Film Festival in February. But, it only received the special jury award. 

Photo: Navid Mohammadzadeh (L) and Parinaz Izadyar act in scene from “The Warden”.


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