“Yalda” wins special commendation at Washington DC filmfest

October 18, 2020 - 18:21

TEHRAN – Iranian drama “Yalda: A Night for Forgiveness” has won a special commendation from the 34th Annual Washington DC International Film Festival.

Directed by Masud Bakhshi, the film 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.

“The Iranian film ‘Yalda’ tackles the universal issue of forgiveness in a unique way, while giving audiences a look at another world culture,” the jury said in a statement published on the closing day of the festival on October 11.

“A teenage bride who has accidentally killed her husband appears on a reality TV show on which she is expected to apologize to, and be forgiven by, the daughter of the man killed. If all goes as planned, the daughter will be awarded the blood money she is due, and the young widow will be free of legal consequences. Told briskly, with effective tension, the story reveals how complex the human reality of forgiveness can be. At the same time it suggests a critique of media manipulation of religious belief for the sake of entertainment,” the statement added.

The audience award in the feature film category went to “A Son”, a co-production of Tunisia, France and Lebanon by Mehdi M. Barsaoui, while the audience award in the documentary competition was presented to Peruvian director Claudia Sparrow’s “Máxima”.

Director Atiq Rahimi’s drama “Our Lady of the Nile”, co-produced by France, Belgium and Rwanda, won the Circle Award, and Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante’s “La Llorona” received the Justice Matters Award.

“1982” directed by Oualid Mouaness from Lebanon was grabbed Signis Award and “A Mother” by American director Natasha K. Ngaiza was named best short.

The Iranian movies “Coup 53” by Taqi Amirani, “Just 6.5” by Saeid Rustai, and “Driving Lessons” by Marzieh Riahi were also screened in various sections of the event.

Photo: “Yalda: A Night for Forgiveness” by Iranian director Masud Bakhshi.

MMS/YAW

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