Shanghai festival picks six movies from Iran 

May 24, 2021 - 18:52

TEHRAN – Six Iranian films will be competing in the various categories of the 24th edition of the Shanghai International Film Festival, which will be held from June 11 to 20.

The acclaimed dramas “Sun Children” by Majid Majidi and “The Wasteland” by Ahmad Bahrami have been selected to be screened in the SIFF Highlights: Viva la Festival.

Shot in black-and-white, “The Wasteland” tells the story of a 40-year-old supervisor at a mud-brick factory in Iran who becomes trapped between his boss who wants to shut down the factory, and his colleagues who distrust him more and more.

The child labor drama “Sun Children” is about 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. 

“No Choice” by Reza Dormishian and “Walnut Tree” by Mohammad-Hossein Mahdavian will be competing in the Spectrum: Alternatives section.

“No Choice” centers on a 16-year-old homeless girl who repeatedly works as a surrogate mother for money. A human rights attorney tries to rescue her, but inevitably faces difficulties.

The war drama “Walnut Tree” is 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 efforts 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.   

“Maya”, a co-production between Iran and the UK co-directed by Jamshid Mojaddadi and Anson Hartford, will be screened in SIFF Documentaries.

The documentary film shows how daily life at Iran’s second-biggest zoo is interrupted when Mohsen, the head keeper, takes Maya, his 4-year-old Bengal tiger, to perform in a fiction film in the northern part of the country by the Caspian Sea, which was once home to the now extinct Caspian tiger. 

In between filming, Mohsen lets Maya off the leash and allows her to roam in this sparsely populated landscape, she is the first “free” tiger in Iran in over 60 years. But instead of the perfect experience of the wild that Mohsen hopes it to be, the trip kick starts a series of events that mark the end of Mohsen and Maya’s relationship and in the process reveals a much darker and more complex side to Mohsen and the Zoo in which Maya and the other animals are kept.

“The White Whale” by Amir Mehran is competing in the SIFF Short Films section.

In the animated movie “The White Whale”, many long years ago, a young man lost his friends in an air attack on a big river during the war. 30 years later, he is looking for their remains. A white whale is the only sign he has.

Photo: “Walnut Tree” directed by Mohammad-Hossein Mahdavian.


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