Tragedy of Iraqi chemical attack on Sardasht fascinates Baikal film festival

September 25, 2021 - 17:43

TEHRAN – Iranian director Mohammad-Hossein Mahdavian’s drama “Walnut Tree” has won the Leonid Gaidai award for best feature at the 20th Baikal International Film Festival in Russia.

Taking its true story from the heart of the profound tragedy of the Iraqi chemical attack on Sardasht in 1987, the film is currently on screen at Iranian movie theaters.

Payman Maadi, the star of the Oscar-winning movie “A Separation”, portrays Qader Mulanpur, the leading character of the story who was away when his family was affected by the chemical attack in a village near Sardasht. 

This film shows how his effort to save his pregnant wife and their three children was in vain and they died one by one from the fatal wounds sustained as a result of the chemical attack.    

The movie had its Iranian premiere at the 38th Fajr Film Festival in Tehran in February 2020, winning Mahdavian and Maadi Crystal Simorghs for best director and actor.

The Baikal International Film Festival announced the winners last week by awarding the Grand Prix to “On Thin Ice”, a co-production between Russia and Germany, directed by Henry Mario Mix.

The Mikhail Romm award for best documentary went to “Buromsky Island” by Russian director Olga Stefanova.

Off the coast of Antarctica, in the southern ocean, there is a small island. No one knows about it, except for polar explorers who winter in Antarctica, and their relatives. On the island, right on the rocks, there are sarcophagi. People who are not written about in geography textbooks are buried here. But without them, it would be impossible to develop Antarctica. More than 60 years have passed since the first burial. During this time, the cemetery has never been completely renovated. A team of 8 people went to Antarctica to do it for the first time.

“The Land of the Spoon-Billed Sandpiper” by Russian director Yulia Darkova won the Nikolai Chersky Best Popular-Science Film award.

“The Words on the Hillside” by Valentin Telegin from Russia was selected as best animation, and “Discovering the Invisible Universe” by Greek director Theophanis Matsopoulos was picked as the Best Full-Dome Film.

Photo: A scene from The Iranian drama “Walnut Tree” by Mohammad-Hossein Mahdavian.