Iranian film festival starting in Prague

A film that won two awards at Cannes starts sixth edition of festival

Iran has long had one of the world's best cinematic traditions, turning out high-quality dramas despite some official restrictions. The sixth edition of the Festival of Iranian Film starts Jan. 10 and runs to Jan. 15 with most screenings at Světozor, and special events at other venues including Bio Oko, Lucerna, Kino Pilotů, Royal and Langhans – Centrum Člověka v tísni. The festival will then go to Brno and Bratislava.

The main part of the festival has 10 films in competition that will be judged by an international jury including Iranian director Rakhshān Bani-Etemad, international director and critic Ronald Bergan and Czech producer Jan Macola.

In total, the festival will show 25 films in five categories. Aside from the competition there are documentaries, short films, special screenings and a night of Afghan films.

The festival will start with Salesman, a new film from Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Oscar-winning A Separation. His new film was screened in competition at Cannes, and Shahab Hosseini won the award for Best Actor and Asghar Farhadi won the award for Best Screenplay. It has also been nominated for a Golden Globe and is on the short list for an Oscar nomination.

Other films in the competition include the comedy Radio Dreams and the odd noir mockumentary fantasy A Dragon Arrives!, along with the more serious entry Under the Shadow, set during the conflict of the 1980s. Two sides of a love affair are seen in Sound and Fury. Relationships are also explored in Immortal, about a grandson and his grandfather struggling with loss. The film with the single letter I as its title looks at a music teacher on a downward spiral. Nahid examines the struggles of a divorced woman who is a social outcast. The struggles of a loner are also the theme of Valderama. A man running to Europe to escape from his past is the focus of Bodkin Ras.

Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, who died July 4, 2016, will be remembered with the screening of is last feature film, Like Someone in Love. The 2012 film will be the closing event in Prague. The other special event film is Bitter Dream, an absurd comedy about a grave digger.

The documentary section has six entries on diverse topics. Two films are in the Afghan night, and six in the shorts, which will be shown in two blocks.

A concert of Iranian music with Golnar & Mahan will be at Royal on Jan. 12. Their music is strongly influenced by Iranian folk traditions as well as American jazz and Afro Cuban rhythms. Langhans – Centrum Člověka v tísni has an exhibition of photos called Colors of Afghanistan. Throughout the festival, Světozor will offer Persian cuisine. Finally, there will be a party at NoD on Jan. 14.

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