Wartime drama on Abadan’s nostalgic theater named best at Fajr filmfest 

February 12, 2023 - 18:17

TEHRAN – “Metropol Cinema”, a drama on a nostalgic theater in wartime Abadan, has won the Crystal Simorgh for best film at the 41st Fajr International Film Festival.

Produced by Hamed Hosseini, the film tells the story of a group of people who struggle to keep alive the Metropol Cinema in Abadan, while the southwestern Iranian city is under siege by Iraqi forces in the early 1980s.

The theater, which was reduced to rubble during the Iran-Iraq war and never restored afterwards, is remembered with nostalgia by the generations of people who lived their youth in Abadan and surrounding towns.    

The film also brought Mohammad-Ali Basheh-Ahangar the Crystal Simorgh for best director during the closing ceremony of the festival held at Milad Tower on Saturday evening.

The winners of the festival were also awarded a Tara and a Shahin, the two newest brands from the Iranian automaking companies, Iran Khodro and Saipa.

Basheh-Ahangar donated his award to quake victims in Khoy, West Azarbaijan.

The special jury award went to Davud Saburi, the producer of “Mud Cubicle”, which is a love story that takes place during Operation Mersad against the MKO militants in the summer of 1988 in western Iran.

Directed by Mohammad Asgari, “Mud Cubicle” was selected as the best directorial debut feature film. This film was also selected best film in the international competition.

The festival's president, Mojtaba Amini, awarded his special prize to Saeid Sadi, the producer of “Bavardeh Flowers” directed by Mehrdad Khoshbakht.

The film follows a group of engineers at the Abadan Refinery in the early 1980s that begin to restore other refineries damaged by Iraqi forces. 

“The Smart Kid” was named best animated film, co-directed by Hadi Mohammadian, Behnud Nekui and Mohammad-Javad Jannati.

The movie tells the story of Mohsen, a little boy who loves film superheroes and tries to act like them. In his rare mission, he decides to help an animal from an endangered species in Iran.  

Pardis Purabedini was named best actress for her role in “The Stranger” by Mohammad-Hossein Latifi, while Sara Hatami was picked as best supporting actress for her role in “A Man in Leather Jacket” directed by Hossein Mirzamohammadi.

The award for best actor was shared by Majid Salehi for “Number 10” and Ali Nasirian for “Seven Orange Blossoms”.

Salehi also donated his car prize to the quake victims in Khoy and dedicated his award to his daughter and wife.

The award for best supporting actor was given to Sajjad Babai for his role in “The Master”.

Written by Babak Khajepasha, “In the Arms of the Tree” won the best screenplay award. A crisis in the relations between Kimia and Farid disturbs the peace of their children’s lives.

The award for best film in Eastern Vista, a section dedicated to Asian films, went to “Harvest Moon” by Amarsaikhan Baljinnyam from Mongolia.

The film is about Tulgaa, who returns to his native village to care for his dying stepfather, honoring his remaining commitments by offering to lend a hand with the summer harvest. But upon witnessing Tulgaa’s clumsy first attempts, Tuntuulei, a sassy 10-year-old boy, takes it upon himself to school the city slicker in grassland ways. Despite getting off on the wrong foot, the two soon find common ground and form a delicate bond that will transform their lives.

“Al-Hakim” by Syrian filmmaker Basil Al-Khatib won the special jury award.

Photo: Producer Hamed Hosseini accepts the best film Crystal Simorgh for “Metropol Cinema” during the 41st Fajr International Film Festival at Tehran Milad Tower on February 11, 2023. (IRNA/Marzieh Musavi)


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