The Iranian 10th Film Festival was a celebration of culture and art held at Luna Cinemas between May 20thand 26th.
Over almost a week, 12 full feature films and five shorts were shown, appealing to audiences familiar with Iranian culture to varying degrees, while also enlightening movie-goers seeing something altogether new.
The festival kickstarted with an opening night of awe-inspiring music and awesome food. A live band performed featuring traditional Iranian musicians including Esfandiar Shahmir on ney and daf (flute and drum instruments), and Kira Gunn on harp and vocals.
Listening to Kira singing in Farsi brought me rushes of pride and joy for my culture. As an Iranian woman having lived in Australia for almost a decade, this event and its live soundtrack and celebratory vibe made me feel closer to my original home.
This beautiful performance was followed by some very delicious Iranian food, and I must say organisers succeeded in providing guests with an authentic Iranian experience.
To the movie schedule: the festival opened with the film TiTi by female director Ida Panahande. It’s a story of an Iranian gypsy woman, TiTi, played by Elnaz Shakerdost who is one of the more empowering female actors of Iranian cinema.
Though single, TiTi meets is acting as a surrogate mother for an infertile couple in order to serve humanity and raise money to build a small place of her own. She meets a critically ill physicist who happens to be working on a theory about black holes and the end of the world. When the physicist falls into a deep coma, TiTi, raised by Iranian gypsies and possessing supernatural powers, performs a strange ritual to save him, leading to an odyssey that changes their lives forever.
Another great movie I enjoyed was Bandar Band – directed by another female, Manijeh Hekmat. It’s a road movie featuring three young Iranian musicians travelling to Tehran to participate in a showcase with much hope of becoming famous.
One thing that really intrigued me was that this film was recorded during the deadly floods of Khuzestan in 2019. The fact that the cast and crew could record their scenes while all the roads were flooded was mind-blowing and the quality of the videography and the landscapes just captivating!
All the movies had very beautiful storylines, each pointing to different aspects of the challenging lives of Iranian and Middle Eastern people, their daily struggles and cultural expectations.
Despite the recent difficulties and challenges that Covid-19 has brought to the movie industry, Iranian filmmakers have done a remarkable job in making some beautiful and eye-opening cinema.
This festival definitely brought me closer to my cultural roots and made me even prouder of being an Iranian, and kudos must go to Luna Cinema and its staff for providing this great space for us Iranians to spread and show our culture through music and film.
For more information on screenings at Luna Cinemas visit www.lunapalace.com.au.