“Holy Bread” wins award at Ulju Mountain Film Festival

April 19, 2021 - 20:31

TEHRAN- “Holy Bread”, a documentary by late Iranian director Rahim Zabihi, won the Special Youth Jury Award at the 6th edition of the Ulju Mountain Film Festival in Ulsan, South Korea last week, the organizers announced.  

Produced by Iranian cinematographer Turaj Aslani, the film documents the highly dangerous work of Kurdish Kulbars - workers who try to support their families by transporting goods across the Iranian border. 

On foot, they carry their loads along mountain paths that are rocky, steep, and either slippery due to snow or blisteringly hot. Along the way, many of them suffer injuries, die in blizzards, or are shot by border police. 

The powerful scenes of the men’s journeys are matched by their harrowing stories. No one chooses to become a Kulbar, it’s simply an unavoidable consequence of not having any other form of work. 

The film crew followed these workers for nine years to document the impact of living like a human pack mule. “Holy Bread” gives exposure to a group of mostly men, who, driven by poverty, hunger, and despair, operate in the margins of society.

Last week the organizers announced that “Bandar Band” by Iranian filmmaker Manijeh Hekmat received the NETPAC Award at the festival. 

The film is about some Iranian women singers who are going to enter an unofficial competition in a coffee shop in Tehran.

Pregnant Mahla along with the other members of Bandar Band, her husband, and one of their closest friends, starts her journey to Tehran from a southern province just when they have lost all they had in the flood.

They still keep their hopes alive, however, every road they take leads to a dead-end in a flood-stricken land. They intend to go to Tehran, but they wonder if it is just another turn around a vicious circle.

“The Wall of Shadows” a co-production between Poland and Germany by polish director Eliza Kubarska won the festival’s Grand Prize, while “Climbing”, an animated movie by Kim Hye-mi from Korea received the Special Jury Prize.

Photo: A scene from “Holy Bread” by Iranian director Rahim Zabihi


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