New visions enter screen
The names of Abbas Kiarostami, Dariush Mehrjui, Jafar Panahi and Majid Majidi are familiar to any international festgoer. While these Iranian helmers have helped put their country’s cinema on the map, a new generation of Iranian helmers is bursting through, eager to get their visions onto the bigscreen.“I think we’re now seeing the third generation of Iranian filmmakers. They’re tackling a variety of subjects, from political films and art films to something in between. It’s a mix of first generation like Kiarostami and second generation like Panahi. It’s very good that there are so many new names,” says Amir Esfandiari, head of the Fajr festival’s international market. Saman Salour Salour’s 2006 “A Few Kilos of Dates for a Funeral” defied expectations of Iranian cinema with its wry observations on male friendship. Pic took home the special jury prize at Locarno. Salour is currently prepping new project “Heaven’s Gate,” again as a possible co-production with European partners. Maziar Miri Miri’s “Gradually,” selected at last year’s Berlinale, confirmed his talent. The snow-filled screen reflected the growing madness of a welder who struggles to come to terms with his wife’s sudden disappearance. Visiting a nightmarish twilight world of police stations and morgues, Miri fashions a haunting look at modern-day Iran. His new movie, “Award of Silence,” is vying for the top prize at this year’s Fajr fest. Mohsen Amiryoussefi Amiryoussefi first came to prominence with his 2004 black comedy “Bitter Dream,” about a funeral director. It took home the Camera d’Or at that year’s Cannes as well as generous critical acclaim. He is currently editing his second feature, “Manly Secret.” He also has another script that agent DreamLab Films is looking to fund as a co-production with a European shingle. Asghar Farhadi Farhadi’s “Fireworks Wednesday” set off sparks when it debuted at fests around the world. The caustic tale of a young maid facing marriage, Farhadi’s pic sizzled with urban desperation and debilitating mistrust. Co-scripted by fellow rising star Mani Haghighi, “Fireworks” won Chicago’s Gold Hugo award. Farhafi is collaborating on pal Haghighi’s “Canann,” about a middle-class Iranian couple facing a break-up.