Shanghai festival picks movies from Iran 

July 20, 2020 - 18:56

TEHRAN – The 23rd Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), which will take place in the Chinese megalopolis from July 25 to August 2, has selected five movies from Iran to screen in its various categories.

“Najibeh” directed by Mostafa Gandomkar and “The Badger” directed by Kazem Mollai will be competing for the Asian New Talent Award.

Najibeh is a poor old woman who wants to commit a crime because she needs to go to prison for a while. To accomplish her goal, she needs an aid, so she tries to get help from her friend.

“The Badger” tells the story of Sudeh, a 40-years-old woman who faces a strange incident right before her second marriage. Sudeh and her son Matiar lives in an old apartment. One day, she hires a pest control company to solve the termite problems in the apartment. While the pest control company is working, Matiar is recording the procedures, as this is his hobby. The next day, Matiar gets kidnapped after school, and the kidnapper asks Sudeh to pay 10 bitcoins for her son. Tremendous pressure is put on Sudeh, but the truth hidden beneath will surprise everyone.

“Just 6.5” directed by Saeid Rustai and “Old Men Never Die” by Reza Jamali have been selected to be screened in the SIFF Highlights – Viva La Festival.

In “Just 6.5”, the city is brimming with drug addicts, many of whom are homeless. Samad, a member of the Anti-Narcotics Police Task Force, is looking for a drug kingpin, Nasser Khakzad. After several operations, Samad manages to track him down at his penthouse, where he had attempted suicide but is still alive. Nasser goes through legal steps that lead to his death penalty and execution, but along the way, Samad comes to realize that Nasser was drawn to this path because of broken down social conditions, imposed on him. Nasser is ultimately executed, and Samad who has been promoted to the station chief, resigns from his post. He has come to believe all the arrests and executions in all these years, did not have any effect on society’s drug problems.

“Old Men Never Die” is about 100-year-old Aslan, the head of a death squad in youth who lives with his other single old fellows in a remote village. Since he came to the village 45 years ago, nobody has ever died in the village! Now, most of the population consists of old and disabled men. All being done with life, they believe the only way to bring death back to the village is to commit suicide!

“Crab” by Shiva Sadeq-Asadi will be contending for the Golden Goblet Award in the official section.

The short animation tells the story of a shy schoolboy who is interested in performing in a play with his school’s theater troupe. But the only part offered to him is to play the role of a crab.

The movies have been produced at Iran’s Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults.

The 23rd Shanghai International Film Festival was first scheduled to be held from June 13 to 22, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will be held both offline and online in a bid to minimize the impact of the pandemic.

Photo: A poster for “Old Men Never Die”. 

MMS/YAW

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