By Seyyed Mostafa Mousavi Sabet 

“Walnut Tree”, “Sun Children” among names in frame for Iran’s submission to Oscars

October 5, 2020 - 18:27

TEHRAN – War drama “Walnut Tree” and the child labor movie “Sun Children” along with “Yalda: A Night for Forgiveness” and “Careless Crime” are among the movies competing to represent Iran during the 93rd Academy Awards in the best foreign-language film category.

Starring world-renowned actor Payman Maadi, “Walnut Tree” was made based on the true story of the profound tragedy of Iraq’s chemical attack on the Iranian town of Sardasht in 1987.

It tells the story of Qader Mulanpur, a man who was away when his family was affected by the chemical attack in a village near Sardasht. His effort to save his pregnant wife and their three children are in vain and they die one by one from the fatal wounds sustained as a result of the chemical attack.    

Maadi, the star of the Oscar-winning movie “A Separation”, portrays Qader Mulanpur in the film, which brought the Crystal Simorgh for best actor at the 38th edition of the Fajr Film Festival in Tehran.

The festival also picked Mohammad-Hossein Mahdavian as best director for the movie.

Oscar-nominated director Majid Majidi’s “Sun Children” had its world premiere during the 77th Venice Film Festival in September.

The film’s star, Ruhollah Zamani, was named the best young actor of the Italian festival by winning the Marcello Mastroianni Award.

Celluloid Dreams, a major French film production and distribution company, is handling international sales for the film, which won the Crystal Simorghs for best film and best screenplay at the Fajr festival.

The film tells the story of 12-year-old Ali and his three friends. Together, they work hard to survive and support their families, doing small jobs in a garage and committing petty crimes to make fast money. Everything changes, however, when Ali is entrusted to find a hidden treasure underground but must first enroll at the Sun (Khorshid) School, a charitable institution that tries to educate street kids and child laborers.

Directed by Masud Bakhshi, “Yalda: A Night for Forgiveness” is a co-production between Iran and Norway. It is about Maryam, a young woman who has been sentenced to death for murdering her husband, Nasser. Iranian law allows the victim's family to forgive her and spare her life, so Maryam's fate will be decided by Nasser's daughter, Mona, on the country's most popular televised reality show. In front of millions of viewers during Yalda, the winter solstice celebration, Maryam and Mona discover that forgiveness can be difficult as they relive the past.

“Careless Crime” directed by Shahram Mokri was screened in the Orizzonti section of the 77th Venice Film Festival, which is dedicated to films that represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends in international cinema. 

The movie goes back to forty years ago, during the uprising to overthrow the Shah’s regime in Iran, when protestors set fire to movie theaters as a way of showing opposition to Western culture. Many cinemas were burned down. In one tragic case, a theater was set on fire with four hundred people inside, most of whom were burned alive. Forty years have passed and, in contemporary Iran, four individuals also decide to burn down a cinema. Their intended target is a theater showing a film about an unearthed, unexploded missile.

A committee assigned by the Farabi Cinema Foundation has selected Iran’s submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign-Language Film since 1992.

Majid Majidi’s “Children of Heaven” received a nomination in the category in 1996 and Asghar Farhadi’s “A Separation” and “The Salesman” won Iran two Oscars in 2012 and 2017.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced in June that the 93rd Academy Awards telecast has been postponed by two months to April 25, 2021.

Photo: Payman Maadi (2nd L) and several other cast members in a scene from “Walnut Tree”. 

MMS/YAW

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