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Iranian film festival brings award winners to Prague

Films from Iran and Afghanistan will be shown at the ninth Írán:ci Film Festival in Prague

The ninth Írán:ci Film Festival, showcasing films from Iran and Afghanistan, takes place in Prague from January 15 to1 9, with screenings at Světozor, Bio Oko and Screenshot. All films will have English and Czech subtitles.

Many films will have already made a splash at international festivals, but most will be seen in the Czech Republic for the first time. Several filmmakers are expected to personally introduce their works.

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This year’s edition is subtitled “Escape!” The films share a common theme: all their protagonists strive to escape beyond the world of prohibitions and the walls that limit them. “The keyword of the ninth year of the festival is undoubtedly ‘deliverance,’” festival artistic director Kaveh Daneshmand said in a press release.

The Warden

The festival jury will focus on the feature film competition, and one of the seven films will win a main prize that includes post-production work for a future film. There are also categories for documentaries, film pioneers, and short films. Two films will be part of an Afghan night.

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The festival opens with Castle of Dreams (Zámek snů), a simple tale of an estranged father and his two children on a road trip after the children’s mother becomes seriously ill. The film won awards domestically in Iran and competed at the Shanghai International Film Festival, where it won three prizes including Best Film.

A prisoner escapes during a transfer in The Warden (Dozorce). As the search unfolds, the colonel responsible for the prisoners starts to question his life. The award-winning thriller has been a popular hit.

Cold Sweat

A controlling husband prevents his wife from traveling abroad for an international sports competition in Cold Sweat (Studený pot). The drama, based on a true story, competed in festivals in Glasgow and Stockholm and earned prized domestically for acting and editing.

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The Afghan-Iranian drama Rona, Azim’s Mother (Rona, Azímova matka) sees an Afghan refugee torn between keeping his family together and caring for his aging mother. The film premiered at the Busan International Film Festival, and was submitted for Oscar consideration but not nominated.

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Also in the feature competition is Talla (Talá), Fireflies (Světlušky), and Tehran, City of Love (Teherán, město lásky).

Five films are in the documentary section. A highlight is Filmfarsi, which looks back at the Iranian film industry before 1979, when films did not reach the same level of quality they have now. Films instead had absurd plots revolving around sex, drugs, and action.

The acclaimed Afghan documentary Kabul, City in the Wind (Kábul, větrné město) follows a bus driver on his chaotic route through the city.

Three more films look at people ranging from a teen runaway to an octogenarian.

The pioneers section has two entries. Women Without Men (Ženy bez mužů), the 2009 directorial debut of Shirin Neshat set in the 1950s, and Fireworks Wednesday (Hra s ohněm), a 2006 emotional drama from Asghar Farhadi.

More information can be found on the festival’s Facebook page, and a complete schedule is on the festival website.

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