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Culture

Iranian director Rasoulof’s film premiers at Cannes as Iran votes

media Iranian actor Reza Akhlaghirad, Iranian actress Nasim Adabi, Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof and Iranian actress Soudabeh Beizaee pose on May 19, 2017 during a photocall for the film 'Lerd' (A Man of Integrity) at the 70th Cannes Film Festival. Alberto PIZZOLI / AFPCannes

It may sound like a cliché but it happens to be true, the world and the world of cinema come together at the Cannes Film Festival. On the day Iran held presidential elections,  Iranian director Mohamed Rasoulof’s new film Lerd, or A Man of Integrity, had its’ first world screening. At the end of the Festival, it won the top award in its section

The jury of the Un certain Regard section, headed by US actress Uma Thurman awarded Rasoulof's film its' top prize.

Lerd is the story of Reza (played by Reza Akhlaghirad), a man in his mid-30s, his wife, Hadis (Soudabeh Beizaee),and their son.

The film begins after the family has moved from the city to the rural north where Reza sets up a fish farm, and his wife takes a job as school principle.

Life in the city was not easy. To remind him just how difficult it could be, one of Reza’s old friends has been jailed for publically expressing ideas which are allegedly controversial.

Unfortunately, the countryside idyll is an illusion. Reza’s neighbours try to intimidate him, the outsider, into selling them his land.

They are members of a sort of private business cartel with links to local authorities. In his attempts to save his fish farm, livelihood and family, from greedy and corrupt local folk, maintaining principles is an uphill struggle for Reza.

Germany-based Rasoulof’s film flows coherently. The tension mounts with each scene. The stifling sensation is just slightly less strong than with the director's 2013 film Manuscripts Don't Burn.

 

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