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Asghar Farhadi’s ‘The Salesman’ Triumphs at Munich Film Festival

Asghar Farhadi, who nabbed the Berlin Golden Bear and an Oscar for 2011’s “A Separation,” has won the international film prize at the Munich Film Festival with his latest pic, Cannes competition title “The Salesman.”

The pic, starring Taraneh Alidoosti and Shahab Hosseini, centers on Emad and Rana, who move to a new apartment in the center of Tehran, where an incident linked to the previous tenant dramatically changes their lives.

The CineMasters Selection jury, comprised of actress Pegah Ferydoni, producer Stephane Tchalgadjieff and former Munich mayor Christian Ude, said the French-Iranian film was “contemporary and yet universal and, most importantly, an opening to the future. A story that was both thrilling and full of surprises.”

The jury congratulated the filmmaker on presenting “an alternative to the predominant masculine approach of attempting to solve problems with violence and revenge.” The jury added: “The beauty we found in the film is that it shows a path towards solutions through the feminine way of thinking and feeling, with an intelligence not only … of the mind, but also the heart.”

A special mention was given to Amos Gitai’s documentary “Rabin The Last Day.” The film looks at the last day in the life of Israeli politician Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by an ultra-orthodox law student who saw Rabin as a traitor. The jury said the pic “sends a powerful message that does not only concern the Middle East — but us all.”

The Cinevision Award, which honors an international film made by a newcomer, was won by Houda Benyamina’s “Divines.” Benyamina also won the Golden Camera in Cannes for best newcomer.

The film “portrays a world in which the first imperative is to get rich regardless of the consequences,” the jury said. “The main character, Dunya — forcefully embodied by Oulaya Amamra — represents the hopeless situation of youth in the French banlieues [ghettos]. To escape, crime seems to be the only way out.”

The jury, which comprised Max Wagner, assistant director of Munich’s Gasteig cultural center, actress Sibylle Canonica and producer Amir Hamz, added: “Every scene reflects the two main themes of the film: the sober indifference of a bleak environment and the vigor of the people who wish to assert themselves in these surroundings.”

A special mention went to Pietro Marcello’s “Bella E Perduta.”

The Fipresci prize went to Mareille Klein’s “Dinky Sinky,” the audience award went to Kheiron’s “All Three of Us,” and the Kinderfilmfest audience award was won by Evi Goldbrunner and Joachim Dollhopf’s “At Eye Level.”

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