Hong Kong festival picks films by Abbas Kiarostami, Nader Saeivar

July 31, 2020 - 18:49

TEHRAN – The 44th edition of the Hong Kong International Film Festival has announced its lineup with three films by Abbas Kiarostami and one by his fellow Iranian filmmaker Nader Saeivar.

“In First Case, Second Case” (1979), “Tribute to the Teachers” (1977) and “Two Solutions for One Problem” (1975) are the three short films by Kiarostami to be presented at the restored classics section of the festival. 

Saeivar’s “The Alien” will also be presented in the Young Cinema Competition.

“In First Case, Second Case” (1979), the filmmaker poses a double-edged question: Is it better to betray your classmates or show solidarity against the punishment of an angry teacher?

“Tribute to the Teachers” is a short documentary featuring interviews with teachers and officials on the profession of teaching.

In “Two Solutions for One Problem”, two young boys are classmates. When Nader returns his friend’s notebook, the cover of which he has inadvertently torn, the other is faced with two solutions, either he takes revenge or the two boys look for a solution together, glue for example, and thus remain good friends. 

Kiarostami, the winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 for his “Taste of Cherry”, died of cancer on July 5, 2016 at the age of 76.

Iranian actor of “The Alien” Bakhtiar Panjei was crowned best for his role in “The Alien” (“Namo”) at the Taormina Film Fest in Italy in July. 

Panjei portrays a teacher who is dispatched along with his family to a remote area. 

“The Alien” had its world premiere at the Forum section of the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, which was held from February 20 to March 1.

The Hong Kong International Film Festival will not have a screening program this year due to the rapid rise in cases of COVID-19 infection in the country.

The organizers have also confirmed that this year’s Firebird Awards and FIPRESCI Prize competitions will proceed with online judging, with plans to announce the winners on August 20.

The festival will present ten restored classics from master filmmakers whose undiminished brilliance continues to inspire and resonate with generations of audiences.   

Other highlights of the restored classics section are Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now: Final Cut” (2019), Robert Bresson’s “Four Nights of a Dreamer” (1971), Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s “Flowers of Shanghai” (1998), and Tsai Ming-Liang’s “Goodbye, Dragon Inn” (2003).  

“Piedra Sola” by Alejandro Telémaco TARRAF (Argentina), and “The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs” by Pushpendra Singh (India) are other films at the Young Cinema Competition.

The festival’s executive director Albert Lee has said the decision to announce the original program is to pay tribute to filmmakers whose works merit continuous support and recognition.

“We have come across many outstanding films during our year-long preparation for the festival,” Mr. Lee has said. 

“By highlighting these films, we hope to promote and champion the art of cinema, even beyond the festival,” he added.

Photo: A scene from “Two Solutions for One Problem” (1975) by Abbas Kiarostami.

RM/MMS/YAW

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