“Zalava” wins grand prize of Venice Film Critics’ Week

September 11, 2021 - 18:45

TEHRAN – “Zalava”, an Iranian drama on superstition, won the grand prize at the 36th Venice International Film Critics’ Week, the organizers announced on Friday on the Italian Lido.

It received the FIPRESCI International Award at the event, which is an independent and parallel section of the Venice International Film Festival organized by the Union of Italian Film Critics (SNCCI). 

The program includes a selection of seven debut films in competition and two special events out of competition.

The story of the acclaimed movie directed by Arsalan Amiri is set in 1978 in a small village called “Zalava”, where the villagers claim that a demon is among them. 

A young sergeant who investigates the claim crosses paths with an exorcist attempting to evict the demon from the village. He arrests the exorcist on a charge of fraud, but suddenly finds himself stuck in a cursed house with his lover. The villagers who believe they are both possessed by the demon, decide to kill them.

The jury, which was composed of Claudio Cupellini, Vanja Kaludjercic and Sandrine Marques, praised Amiri’s “fresh talent” and his “playful cinematic language” and the film’s clear call against “superstition and ignorance.” 

“Zalava” received the award for best directorial debut at the 39th Fajr Film Festival in Tehran in February.

Co-written by Amiri, Ida Panahandeh and Tahmineh Bahram, the film also won the best screenplay award and brought Puria Rahimi-Sam the award for best supporting actor at the festival.

The Venice International Film Critics’ Week gave the Verona Film Club Award to “Erasing Frank” by Gàbor Fabricius from Hungary. This award is bestowed upon the most innovative film.

The Mario Serandrei – Hotel Saturnia Award for Best Technical Contribution went to the Spanish-Colombian production “They Carry Death” by Helena Girón and Samuel M. Delgado.

The award for best short was given to “Inchei”, which also brought the award for best director to Federico Demattè from Italy.

The Italian short “L’incanto” by Chiara Caterina won the Best Technical Contribution Award.

The Special Prize Valentina Pedicini “Autrici under 40” was awarded to “Detours”, a co-production between Russia and the Netherlands directed by Ekaterina Selenkina.

Photo: Navid Purfaraj acts in a scene from “Zalava”.


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