Fiery festival

• The Truck is one of the great movies showing at the 10th Iranian Film Festival Australia in Perth.

IN recent years Iran has become a hot-bed of Middle Eastern cinema, scooping up oscars and critical praise for its thought-provoking and entertaining movies.

If this year’s Iranian Film Festival in Perth is anything to go by, the hot-streak is set to continue with nine excellent flicks for festivalgoers to enjoy.

“This year, despite the covid pandemic, we have had a very strong year for Iranian cinema, enabling us to present a fantastic and diverse range of films for our audiences in Australia,” festival director Armin Miladi says.

“We are delighted to present Titi, one of three Iranian films directed by female filmmakers for our opening night film. 

“It was written, produced and directed by Ida Panahandeh.”

A left-field highlight of the festival is Chicheka Lullaby, a music and anthropological documentary about the influential musician Ebrahim Monsefi from the south of Iran. 

An alternative artist who challenged the norms of society, he lived a creative life with a strong sense of humour, despite being saddled with depression. 

Sadly he died 20 years ago in the throes of poverty and drug addiction, but he left behind a powerful legacy of more than 200 songs recorded on a small cassette player.

If you like political dramas, then Careless Crime will be right up your clandestine alley.

Forty years ago, during the uprising to overthrow the Shah’s regime in Iran, protestors set fire to movie theatres as a way of showing opposition to Western culture. 

Many cinemas were burned down and in one tragic case, a theatre was set on fire with 400 people inside, most of whom were burned alive. 

Careless Crime is set in contemporary Iran, where four individuals decide to torch a cinema. 

Their intended target is a theatre showing a film about an unearthed, unexploded missile. Will history repeat itself?

A powerful film which won awards at the Venice Film Festival and Chicago International Film Festival, Careless Crime is sure to be a hit with festivalgoers.

A more intimate affair is The Truck, a riveting movie about a Yazidi woman and her two children who escape from an ISIS killing.

The family are helped by a truck driver, who drives them to Tehran to search for her husband who is currently in Iran looking for a job.

The Truck was directed by Kambuzia Partovi, who sadly died from coronavirus in November last year, so the film has extra poignancy.

It won best screenplay at the 2018 Fajr Film Festival and is well worth a watch.

The 10th Iranian Film Festival Australia is on at Luna Leederville on Oxford Street until Wednesday (May 26).

By STEPHEN POLLOCK

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