When we discuss the Muslim country which is most famous for its films because it often wins in international class A competitions, we inevitably have to talk about Iranian cinema. This year, the Madani Film Festival selects films from the Persian Land. However, we purposely did not choose “big” films or directors who were well known throughout the world cinema. Because we want to invite the audience to explore other sides of Iranian film, in the spirit of rediscovery, reinvention. So that we can think once again when we discover that there are so many new things that are rarely known in general. Including finding new talents (works).

For this reason, there are films which are the first works of the director, but have already been active on the world stage. For example Navid Mahmoudi, (Parting, 2016), an Iran-Afghanistan joint production which is the opening film of this year’s festival and represents Afghanistan to the Academy Awards. There is Nima Eghlima (Amir, 2018) who was nominated at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. Mahmoud Ghaffari (It’s A Dream, 2012) triumphed at the Friborg International Film Festival (2013) and Lume International Film Festival (2013). Meanwhile, Maryam Bahrololoomi (Patio, 2018) was chosen as Best Asian Director at the Fajr International Film Festival.

Not to forget that there are two female directors on this list, Mojgan Bayat (Born of the Earth, 2015) and Maryam Bahrololoomi.

The genres and themes are quite diverse. There are those related to isolation and loneliness as well as gender and women issues (Patio), children (Glasses, 2017), dark comedy (Road to Perdition, 2016 which is nicknamed “No Country for Old Men in black and white”), and romance wrapped around illegal immigrants issues (Parting).

This program is to welcome a special channel for Iranian films which will soon be broadcast on Kwikku / Klik Film. The effort of this new channel is important to be appreciated because it will enrich our knowledge regarding civil film and global cinema in general.


Ekky Imanjaya
Madani Film Festival Board

Madani Film Festival – Opening Movie

RAFTAN/PARTING, Sutradara: Navid Mahmoudi. 

Most films about refugees are about those who leave and arrive in a new country. This film tells about what was left behind when they fled. Nabi and Fareshteh were lovers in Afghanistan. However, Fareshteh had to follow his family to flee to Tehran, Iran. Nabi was determined to bring his lover from Tehran to Turkey, then to Europe. However, they are trapped in Tehran, looking for their way to Europe in the wilderness of deception and threats of violence. The film carefully captures the frustration and feeling of being stuck nowhere, swirling in a nearly impenetrable circle of deadlock. The camera by Koohyar Kalari manages to capture the atmosphere of the choked feelings. This film can be a kind of mirror, how expensive “hope” and “home” mean.

Parting (Raftan)
Navid Mahmoudi | Drama | 2016 | 78 min | Iran – Afghanistan | Sub: Eng | ..

Two young Afghans, Fereshteh and Nabi, are in love, but Fereshteh has to follow her parents and leave Afghanistan to find refuge in Iran. Nabi decides to illegally cross the border, find Fereshteh, and take her through Turkey towards Europe and a better life.

Nominee, New Currents Award, Pusan International Film Festival, 2016
Nominee, Face Award, HumanRights in Cinema Competition, Istanbul International Film Festival, 2017
Nominee, CineVision Award, Best Film By An Emerging Director, Munich Film Festival, 2017


Nima Eghlima | Drama | 2018 | 96 min | Iran | Sub: Eng | ..

Amir goes to the airport to welcome his friend Ali, where he realizes that Ali’s ex-wife Ghazal has taken their son Ardalan with her illegally and most probably will immigrate soon. Amir, Despite all his personal problems, takes Ali to his office to find his ex-wife and son.

Nominee, East of West Award, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2018


Born of the Earth
Mojgan Bayat | Drama | 2020 | 84 min | Iran

A young refugee from war-torn Yemen is rescued by an Iranian sea captain and entrusted to a local family. Under the care of Azerou and her parents, Abdou finds emotional sanctuary, experiencing affection and security for the first time in his young life. When a terrible accident threatens Azerou’s life, Abdou will do anything to save the one person who makes him feel loved.

Best First-Time Filmmaker Award at the monthly, Screen Power Film Festival London, 2020


Reza Aghaei | Drama, Family | 2017 | 75 min | Iran

It’s the last Thursday of the year and Sara breaks his grandmother’s glasses. Saeed tries to fix it and in this regard, he meets an Afghan named Aman.

Maryam Bahrololoomi | Drama | Drama, Romance | 2018 | 79 min | Iran

The movie is about the story of individuals whose city, no matter how large, is similar to a small “Patio” for them.

Special Mention in Best Feature Film Category at the 18th Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF), 2020
Selected to compete at the 5th edition of the Straight Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival in the UK, 2020

It’s A Dream
Mahmoud Ghaffari | Drama | 2012 | 94 min | Iran

A young girl borrows money from a couple. She stalls them to return their money, oblivious of the fact she has entered their intricate game.

Talented Tape Award and Special Jury Prize, 27th Fribourg International Film Festival, 2013

The Descendants
Yaser Talebi | Drama | 2016 | 80 min | Iran

Jacob’s family worries about Farrokh, the son of the family. Farrokh left Iran to continue his studies but he has not been in touch with them for a long time. Jacob travels to Sweden to look for his son.

Winner, Outstanding Screenplay, Asia Rainbow TV Award, 2019
Winner, Jury Prize Best Feature Film, Global Nonviolent Film Festival, 2019

Road to Perdition
Yaser Talebi | Drama | 2016 | 85 min | Iran

Two mechanics who get involved in an accident, which gives them an opportunity to possess half a million dollars. They are on the trail, which leads to some difficult decision-making for them, while not knowing that the owner of the money has already made his decision.

Best Feature Film, Best Independents International Film Festival, German, 2016