Iranian movies line up for Atlanta festival

March 15, 2021 - 18:37

TEHRAN – Six movies by Iranian filmmakers will be competing in the 45th edition of the Atlanta Film Festival, one of only two-dozen Academy Award qualifying festivals in the U.S.

“African Violet” by Mona Zandi, “Crab” by Shiva Sadeq Asadi, “The Doll” by Elaheh Esamaeili, “Eyes and Arms” by Panahbarkhoda Rezai, “Spotted Yellow” Baran Sarmad and “Witness” by Ali Asgari.

“African Violet” will be screened in the Narrative Feature category of the festival, which will be held from April 22 to May 2.

The film is about Shokuh, a middle-aged woman who finds out that her ex-husband, Fereidun, has been placed in a nursing home by their children. She, and her second husband Reza, decide to take care of Fereidun themselves, but in their own home. This new situation leads to unexpected changes in the lives of all three characters.

“Crab” has been selected to compete in the animated short section. It is about a shy, withdrawn boy who has his heart set on being in the school theater group, but the only role offered to him is that of a crab.

“The Doll” will be competing in the documentary short category. The film is about Alireza, a man who consents to the marriage of his 14-year-old daughter Asal after consulting with his relatives. As individuals with differing perspectives, Alireza, his family and Asal herself contemplate the decision.

“Eyes and Arms” will be screened in the documentary feature category. In this film, Maryam says to her husband Mohammad, “God has created us for each other.” Living in almost total isolation in rural Iran, the impoverished middle-aged couple is not only deeply in love, they literally complete each other. After losing both her forearms and one foot in a train accident, Maryam went against her parents’ will and eloped with her blind suitor. Since then, they’ve happily cared for each other, with her acting as his eyes and him her arms. She wants a child and he does not. Can they keep walking the path of life together?

“Spotted Yellow” has been picked for the narrative short category. It is about Roya, a young girl with a yellow spot on her face. When a giraffe appears in her life, everything begins to change.

“Witness” is another Iranian entry to the narrative short competition. A mother helps an elderly woman in a shopping mall in Tehran. A tragedy occurs, brutally confronting her with the impact of her actions.

There are 170 total works currently scheduled to play at ATLFF 2021’s virtual, drive-in and in-person screenings, the organizers of the festival have said.

The films have been selected from among 9,400 submissions to the festival, which is organized by the Atlanta Film Society.

Photo: “African Violet” by Mona Zandi. (Photo by Habib Majidi)


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