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Middle Eastern titles to go on screen in London

Titles from some Middle Eastern countries are to go on screen at the 10th London Iranian Film Festival.

A selection of titles from some Middle Eastern countries has been scheduled to go on screen at the 10th edition of the London Iranian Film Festival (UKIFF) in the UK.

‘Weightlessness’, ‘Ava’, ‘A Man of Integrity’, ‘Break Simultaneously Twenty Bones’ (Rona, Azim’s Mother) and ‘A Man Without Shadow’ are among the Iranian titles of the 10th UKIFF.

Directed by Mehdi Fard-Qaderi, ‘Weightlessness’ depicts the morning after a wedding ceremony when the groom disappears, not seen since the night before. The bride, the groom's mother, the groom’s sister, and his lover, who came to the wedding uninvited, are looking for the reason for his disappearance. The next day, the women begin blaming each other as their relationships are put to the test.

The 100-minute movie stars Amir-Ali Danaee, Jalal Fatemi, Sepideh Moradpour, Yasser Jafari, Bahareh Kian-Afshar, Nasim Adabi, and Tina Pakravan.

Winner of the FIPRESCI Discovery Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, Sadaf Foroughi’s ‘Ava’ recounts the life of a high school girl which becomes more complicated after her mother catches her in an act of rebellion.

‘A Man of Integrity’ (AKA Lerd) is a 117-minute fiction about a man who refuses to bribe his way out of trouble caused by powerful economic and political forces.

Reza, having distanced himself from the urban quagmire, leads a simple life along with his wife and sole son, somewhere in a remote village in Northern Iran. He spends his days working in his gold fish farm.

Nearby, a private company has taken control of nearly every aspect of the regional life. Its shareholders, accumulating wealth, power and economic rents, have been pushing local farmers and small owners to dilapidate their belongings, farms and estates, to the benefit of the Company’s influential network and its monopoly.

It is under their pressure that many villagers themselves have become local rings of the larger network of corruption.

Reza Akhlaqirad, Soudabeh Beizaee, and Nasim Adabi have starred in the film that has been screened and/or awarded at a number of prestigious global events, including the Sydney Film Festival, the Midnight Sun Film Festival, the New Horizons International Film Festival, the Bogota International Film Festival, the Film Festival Gent, the Batumi International Art-House Film Festival, and the Cannes Film Festival in France where it won the Un Certain Regard award.

Directed and written by Jamshid Mahmoudi, the 89-minute ‘Break Simultaneously Twenty Bones’ narrates the story of Azim, an Afghan refugee who lives in Tehran along with his family and works at Tehran municipality at night.

Being the family’s head, he must choose between his own life and his mother’s whom he claims is the most important one in his life, as he found out that she is in dire need of kidney transplant.

The film stars Mohsen Tanabandeh, Mojtaba Pirzadeh, Fatemeh Hosseini, Fereshteh Hosseini and Fatemeh Mirzaee.

The film has won Kim Jiseok Award at the 23rd Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, two awards at the Diorama International Film Festival in India, the Grand Prix of the International Jury and the INALCO (Asian Studies University in Paris) award at the 25th Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema in France, best film award at the 3rd Sharm el-Sheikh Asian Film Festival in Egypt, and Best Afghan Feature Film at the 3rd Sama International Film Festival in Sweden.

Directed by Alireza Raeesian, ‘A Man Without Shadow’ depicts some emotional and matrimonial challenges of Iranian modern society.

A brief synopsis for the flick reads, “Mahan, a documentarian, makes a film about a husband who was suspicious of his wife. After the film was out, he got sued and consequently lost his job. Sayeh, his wife, must find a job to make their ends meet. Now that her job as an interpreter entails business trips to Spain, Mahan finds himself in the shoes of a suspicious spouse”.

The cast of the film includes Leila Hatami, Ali Mosaffa, Farhad Aslani, Amir Aqaee, Gohar Kheirandish, Nader Fallah, Siamak Atlasi, and Nasim Adabi.

The 10th UKIFF will also screen ‘In the Last Days of the City’ by Tamer El-Said from Egypt, ‘Turkish Ice-Cream’ by Can Ulkay from Turkey, and Sahim Omar Kalifa’s ‘Zagros’ from Iraq and Belgium during its Middle East Guest program.

The UKIFF is an annual independent film festival held in London. It acts as an exhibition to provide further access to Iranian films that would otherwise not reach the silver screens in London.

Launching in 2010, this is the only festival in the UK that is dedicated to Iranian Independent Cinema and showcases films that consistently explore Iranian culture and identity.

The 10th UKIFF is slated for October 25-30, 2019.

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