Published On: Sat, Apr 23rd, 2016

Iranian movie master Farhadi and Jeff Bridges make late Cannes entries



Oscar-winning Iranian film director Asghar Farhadi has been added to the line-up for next month’s Cannes film festival, the organisers said Friday.

The creator of such modern classics as “About Elly” and “The Past” – which won Berenice Bejo best actress at Cannes in 2013 – is a late entry to the main competition for the Palme d’Or, which he has yet to win.

Farhadi, 43, won both the best foreign language film Oscar and Golden Globe in 2013 for “A Separation”. His new film, “The Salesman”, has two his two regular stars,

Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti play a couple who are actors whose relationship turns sour during their performance of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman”.

Veteran pop star Iggy Pop will also walk the red carpet at Cannes, the most important festival in the movie calendar, for the premiere of Jim Jarmusch’s documentary about him, “Gimme Danger”.

Another documentary, about the hunt for the remnants of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army in Congo, by American novelist Jonathan Littlell will also get a special screening, the organisers said.

In a year which is not short on stardust, Hollywood stalwart Jeff Bridges will grace the festival again in British director David Mackenzie’s modern western about struggling Texan farming folk, “Hell or High Water”, in a late addition to the Un Certain Regard section line-up.

The festival runs in the French Riveria resort from May 11 to 22.

Asghar Farhadi was born in 1972 in Iran. He became interested in cinema in his teenage years and started his filmmaking education by joining the Youth Cinema Society of Esfahan in 1986 where he made 8mm and 16mm short films. He received his Bachelors in Theater from University of Tehran’s School of Dramatic Arts in 1998 and his Masters in Stage Direction from Tarbiat Modarres University a few years later. During these formative years, Farhadi made six shorts and two TV series for Iran’s National Broadcasting Corporation (IRIB) of which “A Tale of a City” is most noteworthy.

In 2001, he debuted in professional cinema by co-writing the script for Low Heights(2002) (Ertefae Past), a post-911 political farce chronicle of Southwest Iran, with famed war film director, Ebrahim Hatamikia. The film was met with both critical and public success. The following year, Farhadi made his directorial debut, Dancing in the Dust(2003) (Raghs dar Ghobar), about a man forced to divorce his wife and go hunting snakes in the desert in order to repay his debts to his in-laws. The film earned recognition at Fajr and Moscow International Film Festivals and a year later, Beautiful City (2004) (Shahr-e-Ziba), a grave work about a young man condemned to death at the age of sixteen, received awards from Fajr and Warsaw International Film Festivals. His third film, Fireworks Wednesday (2006) (Chaharshambe Soori), won the Gold Hugo at the 2006 Chicago International Film Festival. His fourth film, About Elly (2009) (Darbareye Elly) was called “a masterpiece” by film critic David Bordwell and won the Silver Bear for Best Director at 59th Berlin International Film Festival as well as Best Picture at Tribeca Film Festival. It was also Iran’s official submission for the Foreign Language Film competition of Academy Awards in 2009. His most recent film, A Separation (2011) (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin), became a sensation. It got critical acclaim inside and outside of Iran; Roger Ebert called it “the best picture of the year,” and it was awarded the Crystal Simorgh from Fajr Film Festival, Golden Bear and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury from Berlin International Film Festival, and also won Best Foreign Language Film from The Boston Society of Film Critics, Chicago and Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, National Board of Review, Golden Globes, César Award, Independent Spirit Award, and ultimately the Academy Award in the ‘Best Foreign Language Film of the Year,’ making him the first Iranian filmmaker ever to win an Oscar. His Oscar acceptance speech at the 84th Academy Awards, a message of peace in tens political times in his country, made him an instant hero amongst Iranians. His film also received nomination for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award in the best ‘Film Not in the English Language’ category and for an Academy Award in the ‘Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen’ category. A few days after receiving an Oscar, Farhadi signed with the United Talent Agency (UTA).

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About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology