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Iranian ‘Blockage’ wins South Korean top prize

Iranian feature ‘Blockage’ wins best film award at New Currents section of the 2017 Busan Int’l Film Festival.

Iranian feature ‘Blockage’ has won the best film prize at New Currents section of the 22nd edition of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in South Korea.

The event’s official website announced on Saturday, October 21, that the Iranian movie shared the award with ‘After My Death’ directed by Kim Uiseok from South Korea.

The jury panel said both films were considered to be worthy of the prize due to being “tightly scripted, and displaying vivid detail and excellent craftsmanship”.

'But the jury believes tomorrow's filmmakers can find more hope and light in this life, and bring it to their films to encourage their audiences to see all kinds of life,' said veteran Philippine director Lav Diaz, who announced the awards.

Directed by Mohsen Qaraei, ‘Blockage’ chronicles a devastating chaos that occurs to a ferocious, contemptible man who works as a street vendor control officer.

Qasem is a temporary worker who cracks down on illegal street stalls in Tehran. His hot temper always invites trouble, and recently, he was caught getting kickbacks from stall keepers, impeding his chance to re-sign the contract.

His plan to get a truck with his wife’s share of an inheritance from her parents conflicts with her dream to move out of her parents’ house with the same money.

When Qasem argues with a stall owner, the stall owner comes to Qasem’s house deep in the night and makes suspicious demands. He even comes to Qasem’s office and threatens him with a lawsuit.

‘Blockage’ follows a few confusing days in Qasem’s life, who is good at making backdoor deals. It takes the audience’s breath away by chasing the struggles of the protagonist with the opportunity of a lifetime in his hands.

Iranian director Bahman Qobadi, French cinematographer Agnès Godard, Filipino director Lav Diaz and Korean director Jang Sun-woo were on the section’s jury panel headed by the US director Oliver Stone.

BIFF, held annually in Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea, is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia.

Launched in 1996 as the first international film festival in Korea, BIFF is introducing new films and first-time directors, especially those from Asian countries.

The 22nd edition of BIFF was slated for October 12-21 in the South Korean city of Busan.