8th Iranian Film Festival brings Tale of the Sea

Bahman Farmanara.
Bahman Farmanara.

VETERAN Iranian director Bahman Farmanara creates a lamentation for his country and his art in Tale of the Sea, one of the eight features at the 8th Iranian Film Festival 2018.

It follows Taher Mohebi (played by the director himself), a famous writer who is finally leaving a mental institution after three years unable to deal with the world.

Upon release, he returns with his wife Jaleh (Fatemeh Motamed-Arya) to his glorious home by the sea.

But the changing moods of the coastal idyll, while never hostile, nevertheless show no particular sympathy to the visitations endured by the revered Mohebi, known affectionately and respectfully as the Maestro.

It’s only Jaleh who fails to share the esteem her husband is held in by the artistic community and intellectuals; she is seeking a divorce.

The imminent arrival of Parvaneh (Leila Hatami, star of Oscar winner A Separation), the daughter of Jaleh’s best friend who let her down and fled the country, do not enhance her mood.

Sadness and artistry permeate the film.

Taher weaves a Persian tale with his endlessly beautiful metaphors, words forming tendrils that speak to the depths of emotion and austerity of his country.

Opening night film Pig, Mani Haghighi’s black comedy, arrives directly from its international premiere at the Berlinale Film Festival.

Banned from making films, Hasan is doubly frustrated that his muse, the actor Shiva, is working with other directors. His home life is faring no better.

There are disagreements with his wife, and his aged mother is getting more and more detached from reality.

But most galling of all, a serial killer is going about beheading Iran’s finest filmmakers, yet Hasan remains unscathed.

Why, when he is one of the greatest, is he being ignored?

Other highlights of this year’s program include the latest films from a number of Iran’s most prominent directors such as Behrouz Shoaybi’s Axing, (Winner Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor at Fajr Film Fest 2018), along with the exciting work of new-generation filmmakers such as Abbas Amini’s Hendi & Hormoz (2018 Berlinale).

The 8th Iranian Film Festival 2018 screens from November 2-7.