The 2017 Fajr International Film Festival has announced the lineup for Cinema Salvation (International Competition) and it is as solid as ever.
On Monday, festival director Reza Mirkarimi announced this year’s names at a press conference in Tehran.
The program brings together feature-length favorites, shorts, and Iranian premieres for its 35th edition. The festival takes place from 21 to 28 April in Tehran.
Here are all the feature-length titles screening:
1h 50min | Drama
Director & Writer: Ryszard Bugajski
Cast: Maria Mamona, Maogorzata Zajoczkowska, Janusz Gajos, Marek Kalita, Bartosz Porczyk
The film shows an obscure episode from the life of a Stalinist criminal – Colonel of the Office of Public Security, Julia Brystiger. Her nickname was “Bloody Luna” because during interrogations she tortured prisoners with extreme cruelty. At the beginning of 1960s she appeared in Laski near Warsaw, in the Institute for the Blind, where the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyoski, was also a frequent visitor. His imprisonment in the years 1953-1956 was supervised by none other than Julia Brystiger herself. During the difficult and tempestuous conversation with the Primate, Julia Brystiger rejects the communist ideology, asks for her crimes to be forgiven and for help in finding God.
Ryszard Bugajski is a film director and screenwriter, born in 1943. In mid-70’s, he joined the Studio X directed by Andrzej Wajda. When his film Interrogation (1982) was banned by the communist regime and Bugajski was persecuted by secret police, he had to immigrate to Canada, where he worked in film and television. In 1995, he returned to Poland.
1h 17min | Drama
Director: Riri Riza
Cast: Cut Mini, Christoffer Nelwan, Arman Dewarti, Jajang C. Noer
Based on a true story. Athirah’s life is shattered when another woman enters her husband’s life. In a time and cultural background where polygamy is still widely accepted, Athirah struggles alone with the hurt and humiliation. Meanwhile, Athirah’s eldest son, Ucu, has to go through his teenage years with uncertainty. While trying to understand what is going on in his family, Ucu falls in love with Ida. His effort to approach Ida isn’t easy and Ucu’s frustration deepens when he discovers that his mother is pregnant again.
Riri Riza (born October 2, 1970) is an Indonesian film director, producer and screenwriter. He is best known for his directorial work on Petualangan Sherina (Sherina’s Adventure; 2000), Gie (2005), Laskar Pelangi (The Rainbow Troop; 2008), and Ada Apa Dengan Cintao 2 (What’s Up with Love 2; 2016). He is also known for his creative partnership with producer Mira Lesmana, with whom he co-manages the Indonesian film production company, Miles Films.
1h 40min | Drama | History |War
Director: Davis Simanis
Cast: Ulrich Matthes, Agnese Corule, Dmitrijs Jaldovs, Leonds Lencs, Toms Liepjnieks
Country: Latvia | Lithuania
Language: Latvian | German
The final year of WWI. A German army surgeon Ulrich is sent to inspect a remote convalescent home for shell-shocked patients. The strange world he encounters in which reality appears more like fiction is quite challenging for his cold rational mind. His fruitless efforts to remodel the place and an unexpected attachment to a mysterious savage boy from the surrounding woods lead Ulrich to discover his one true self. Very soon this sanctuary will have to make its last stand against the approaching madness of the war.
Davis Simanis teaches film history at the Latvian Academy of Culture in Riga and at Aalto University in Helsinki. His extravagant mockumentary, Escaping Riga, dedicated to two Riga-born geniuses, Sergei Eisenstein and Isaiah Berlin, premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. In the film the lead is played by well-known German actor Ulrich Mathess, who was nominated for an EFA award for his performance in The Ninth Day (2004).
1h 41min | Drama
Directors: Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov
Cast: Stefan Denolyubov, Margita Gosheva, Ana Bratoeva
Country: Bulgaria | Greece
A reclusive railway worker in Bulgaria finds millions in cash spilled on the tracks and turns them in to the police. When Julia Staikova, the PR executive for the Transport Ministry, decides to use him as a diversion from a corruption scandal, his simple life falls victim of the chaos of bureaucracy.
Born January 26, 1976, Sofia, Kristina Grozeva is a Bulgarian actor and director. After studying journalism at the University of Sofia, she graduated in 2005 as film and television director from the National Academy for Theatre and Film Art and made several award-winning short films. The documentary Parable of Life (2009) marks the start of her direct cooperation with Petar Valchanov. Their Jump (2012) was the first Bulgarian short film to be nominated for the European Film Awards. The Lesson (2014) is their first feature.
Guilty Men (2016)
1h 55min | Drama
Director & Writer: Ivan D Gaona
Cast: Willington Gordillo, Heriberto Palacio, René Díaz Calderón, Alfonso López, Leidy Herrera, Suetonio Hernández, Cristian Hernández
Mariana, Willington’s eternal love, is preparing her marriage with René, the cousin of her ex-boyfriend. While Willington tries to get her back, the rumor of a thief in town and a series of violent deaths that remind them of a fearful past, will endanger Mariana’s new family.
Born in September 26, 1980, Güepsa, Ivan D Gaona is a Colombian director. His films include Portraits, Guilty Men, Naranjas, Completo, and Outsider. His awards include Locarno International Film Festival – Leopards of Tomorrow: Special Mention.
1h 38min | Drama
Director: Alyona Davydova
Cast: Kirill Polukhin, Polina Gukhman, Anastasia melnikova
Ivan lives in a small Russian town, working as an ambulance driver. His life is no different from the lives of the people that surround him. Like many people of his generation, he gave up on wanting to change anything about himself or about his country. One day, Ivan meets a young girl who inspires him with a hope that he can change himself.
Alyona Davydova was born on 25 June 1977 in the city of Irkutsk. In 2007, she received diploma from the State Institute of cinematography in Moscow. Alena lives in a small Russian village of the Republic of Chuvashia and works as a Director in local folk theatre.
Mr. No Problem (2016)
2h 24min | Drama
Director: Feng Mei
Cast: Wei Fan, Tao Yin, Yihong Shi
Shot in stylish black-and-white, this three-act fable, set in wartime Chongqing, focuses on the indifferent rich, the head clerk on a farm, and some young intruders. Based on a 1943 short story, the film was directed by noted screenwriter Mei Feng.
Born in 1968, Huzhou, Feng Mei is a writer and director, known for Mystery (2012), Summer Palace (2006) and Spring Fever (2009). He is winner of Golden Horse Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Asian Film Award for Best Screenwriter.
My Father’s Wings (2016)
1h 41min | Drama
Director & Writer: Kivanc Sezer
Cast: Menderes Samancılar, Musab Ekici, Kübra Kip, Tansel Öngel
Language: Turkish, Kurdish
Set against the backdrop of construction activity promising to fill in the empty spaces of the urban landscape with entirely new neighborhoods, a story unfolds of an aging construction worker who, unlike his peers, has to drop all plans for the future after being diagnosed with a malignant tumor. This debut film contemplates the dignity of the individual within the context of modern Turkish society.
Kıvanç Sezer (bon in 1982, Ankara) studied engineering at university before moving to Italy to take up a career as filmmaker. He studied editing for two years at the prestigious Cineteca di Bologna. While there he met a number of important directors who inspired his work. He returned home to Turkey in 2009, making a living as editor on TV projects and documentaries. He made several shorts that have been screened at a variety of domestic and international venues. My Father’s Wings represents his first foray into features as a director.
Paris La Blanche (2016)
1h 23min | Drama
Director & Writer: Lidia Terki
Cast: Tassadit Mandi, Zahir Bouzerar, Karole Rocher
Language: French, Kabyle, Arabic
At the age of 70, Rekia decides to leave her village in Kabylie to go to Paris. All by herself, she travels across the Mediterranean Sea to bring Nour, her husband, back home. From the port of Algiers to the streets of Pigalle, with nothing more than a hotel address on a piece of paper but with the help of new, unlikely friends, she finally finds Nour in the suburbs. But her hero, the war veteran, the one that has been providing for his family from abroad for the past 40 years, has become a stranger.
Lidia Leber Terki is a script writer and director of Algerian descent. Her first short-movie Mal de Ville received the Special Jury Award and a press special mention at the Pantin Film Festival in 1998. Building on this success, Lidia Leber Terki directed 4 other short-movies: Notre Père (2000) and Mains courantes (2001) screened at the Telluride Film Festival; La Mirador at the Pantin Film Festival, Rencontres Internationales de Dignes-les-bains and at the British Film Institute. She co-directed and produced two documentaries, le projet Sextoy / Sextoy’s Stories (2014), about the French electronic-music scene at the end of the 90s and more precisely about Delphine Palatsi, alias DJ Sextoy, who was a real pioneer but died in 2002. Paris la blanche is her first feature length film.
1h 29min | Drama
Director: Pol Rodríguez
Cast: José Sacristán, Laia Marull, Sergi Lopez, Julián Villagrán
Senior Tomas’s wife (José Sacristán) passed away. His family wants to repatriate the body to Paris. So Tomás steals the corpse to be able to bury it in Quatretondeta, a small village in the region of Alicante (Spain), as his wife had wanted. But Tomás finds another problem. He can’t remember how to get to Quatretondeta and he gets lost.
Pol Rodriguez has always been first assistant director in films such as Yo (R. Cortés ’07), La Teta Asustada (C.Llosa ’07), Pa Negre (A. Villaronga ’12), Oliver’s Deal (B. Elliot ’14). This is his first film as director and writer.
1h 18min | Drama
Director: Kira Kovalenko
Cast: Lana Basaria
Sofichka returns to her native Abkhaz village in Georgia after twenty years. Seeing again home and meeting with villagers take her the on memory lane: her wedding with Rufus, betrayal of the neighbor Nuri, difficult years of war, exile in Siberia. But in spite of everything, in spite of all the tough experiences, Sofichka continues to believe in people and in life, staying true to the memory of her husband who died young.
Born on 28 November 1979, Kira Kovalenko is a student of Alexander Sokurov’s Workshop at the the Kabardino-Balkarian State University. Sofichka (2016) is her debut feature film.
The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis (2016)
1h 18min | Drama
Writers & Directors: Andrea Testa, Francisco Marquez
Cast: Diego Velázquez, Laura Paredes, Valeria Lois
Buenos Aires, 1977. Francisco Sanctis, a family man living an eventless life, receives information about an upcoming kidnapping plot by soldiers of the dictatorship. In a race against time, he has to make the most important decision of his life: will he try to save innocent lives by risking his own?
Francisco Marquez was born in 1981 in Buenos Aires. He studied film at the ENERC where he made several short films, including the award-winning Before the War. Marquez has worked as assistant director for TV and feature films. He also works as a professor of direction at the ENERC of Northeast Argentina. Andrea Testa was born in 1987 in Buenos Aires. She studied film at the ENERC where she made her first short films. From 2009 to 2011, she worked as production coordinator for cable TV programs. She teaches scriptwriting at the Cinema School of Avellaneda.
1h 50min | Drama
Director & Producer: Rambod Javan
Cast: Negar Javaherian, Mohammad Reza Froutan, Mani Haqiqi, Attila Pesyani, Alireza Shojanouri, Afsaneh Bayegan, Ashkan Khatibi, Alireza Aqakhani
Negar is from a rich family. His father dies after bankruptcy. This is, of course, what the detectives think. Negar doesn’t believe that her father died of heart attack. She embarks on a journey to uncover her father’s dark past.
Rambod Javan was born on 22 December 1971 in Shahrara. He is an Iranian theater and cinema actor. He has made and directed popular TV program, Khandevane. He is also a well-known satirist popular with young people, who invites other comedians to perform standup and compete with each other on the show
End of Dreams (2016)
1h 32min | Drama
Director & Writer: Mohammad Ali Talebi
Editor: Hassan Hassandoust
Producer: Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults
Cinematography: Ali Mohammad Qasemi
Sound: Hossein Bashash
Cast: Nasrin Babaei, Majid Motki, Amir Hesam Rezaei, Shiva Farhadi, Ava Darvishi
The movie is about a boy who lives with his family in a northern village in Iran. Once his father buys a horse, he falls in love with it. He makes a mistake along the way but keeps it to himself. This creates even more troubles for him as time goes by.
Born on November 22, 1958 in Tehran, Mohammad Ali Talebi is a film director. Talebi was interested in several art forms already in the age of ten in an art institute for children and the youth. While studying film and TV program directing at university he made short films for children. He also wrote and directed many TV movies and programs.
1h 18min | Drama
Director, Writer, Producer: Asghar Yousefinejad
Cast: Ramin Riazi, Mohadeseh Heirat, Gholamreza Baqeri, Sediqeh Daryani
The Turkish language movie with a Persian subtitle has the Turkish title ‘Ev’. The movie’s synopsis read Sayeh has been out of contact with her family for six years after marriage. She returns back to his father’s home only to find that he is being transferred for an autopsy. This comes as Sayeh cannot come to terms with his father’s strange will. The movie which is Yousefinejad’s directorial debut will premiere at the National View section of this year’s Fajr.
Born in 1969, Asghar Yousefinejad is a graduate of film directing from the IRIB College. His debut film is 8mm Black and White. Other works include TV series Shahriar, short films Shahin Shilat, Sari Souli, Story of a Film, I’m a Mother Too, and the Scene of Life.
The full lineup of shorts:
A Place (2016)
Director: Iván Fernández de Córdoba
Cast: Abdelatif Hwidar, Sergio Caballero, Cristina Fernández, Elena Mejino, Abdelatif Hwidar, Sergio Caballero, Cristina Fernández, Elena Mejino
A Muslim refugee will have to overcome the prejudices of a European family to help repair his car and get to his destination.
Director: Juan Pablo Libossart
Cast: Margaretha Ulfendahl, Anna Odell
Five-year-old Tipuana experiences limbo when she tries to get to the other side to see her father again when mourning his death.
Because of Love (2017)
Director: M. Abdülgafur Sahin
Emre takes care of the only livestock his family owns. He is also in love with Bahar who is his mother’s assistant in embroidery classes. However, he cannot muster the courage to confess. When Emre loses the cow in the meadows things get complicated.
Beyond the Border (2016)
Director: Daniele Lucca
Cast: Alberto Astorri, Marco Ripoldi, Paolo Bufalino
Three broke Italians pull off a robbery in neighboring Switzerland. The heist profits them less than they expected; the journey back to Italy is going to show who they really are.
Charge The Dragon (2016)
Director: Jan Bubenícek
Cast: Jan Budar, Denisa Grimmova, Pavel Landovsky, Lida Molinova
Country: Czech Republic
Language: No Dialogue
A cartoon slapstick comedy with two classic heroes – the Dragon and the Knight – where death is the punch line at the end of each of the three short stories and the knight’s heroism is more or less a product of his suicidal stupidity. He is so convinced of his invincibility that he faces the dragon without fear.
Dreams on Sale (2016)
Director: Vlad Buzaianu
Cast: Cristian Petrescu, Miruna Blidariu
In a world where people are able to record, buy and sell dreams, many are starting to lose the ability of dreaming. Dreams have become a new form of art and a commodity for the rich.
Director: Iryna Tsilyk
Cast: Kateryna Molchanova, Dmytro Yaroshenko, Taras Prokhasko
Language: No Dialogue
When the path to safety has been destroyed and you’re forced to abandon your life by an enemy at the gates, all that’s left to do, is save your home in your heart.
Director: Daniil Demidov
A lovely beautiful planet rotates in cold void. Until it gets ill with parasites called humans.
Last Days (2016)
Director: Arturo Leon Llerena
Cast: Antonio Chamorro, Gadea Barcelo, Alfonso Gomez, Maria Jesus Garrido
Country: Peru I Spain
Ramon is a veteran tailor that has been elaborating gentleman’s clothing for decades, but in recent years, his shop has become anachronistic and his profits scarcer.
Director: Adrian Arce
The Guadalupe dam watershed, located at the northeast of Mexico City, is a region of great biodiversity. It’s a source of oxygen, drinking water, wood, food, medicinal plants and cultural elements for the inhabitants of the Valleys of Mexico and Toluca. While an important home for the Otomí ethnic group, the watershed also shelters a peculiar species: the mountain axolotl (Ambystoma altamirani), a micro-endemic, endangered amphibian, unique in the world.
Wind’s Whispers (2016)
Director: Loïc Jouenne
Cast: Dominique Gropper
An old woman lives alone in a big house surrounded by forest. Being observed by unknown people, she is going to have to make the most difficult decision of her life.
The Silence (2016)
Directors: Ali Asgari, Farnoosh Samadi
Cast: Fatma Alakus, Valentina Carnelutti, Cahide Ozel
Country: Italy, France
Languages: Italian, Kurdish, English
Fatma and her mother are Kurdish refugees in Italy. On their visit to the doctor, she has to translate what the doctor tells to her mother but she keeps silent.
Online Shopping (2017)
Director: Ghasideh Golmakani
Donya, a young girl, wants to immigrate to continue her studies abroad. Before she leaves Iran, she tries to sell her belongings online. One buyer comes to her house and acts strange.
Director: Ali Khoshdouni Farahani
It’s the story of prison near a children playground.
The Servant (2017)
Director: Farnoush Abedi
An encounter with a giant bug changes a writer’s life forever.
Presided over by Reza Mirkarimi, the 35th edition of Fajr International Film Festival will take place from 21 to 28 April in Tehran.