Iranian film festival returns to Prague with powerful message of 'Women, Life, Freedom'

The 10th annual festival, returning after a two-year pandemic hiatus, will screen films in Prague and Brno. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 03.01.2023 13:30:00 (updated on 04.01.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 10th year of the ÍRÁN:CI Film Festival will open in Prague and Brno in January. This year's festival will screen films under the theme of "Women, Life, Freedom." 

The salience of recent events

The festival's direction is perhaps more meaningful this year than ever before. With nationwide uprisings against the tyrannical Iranian regime taking place in the country for months, the festival's organizers said in a press release that the event "is dedicated to the brave women and men who have been risking their lives across the country in this ongoing revolution."

The festival will present the best films by Iranian filmmakers in prison or in exile as well as some of the best works of cinematography that have been banned in Iran for the past three decades. 

"The poster for the 2023 festival was inspired by a picture from one of the recent demonstrations in Iran and is an expression of hatred towards the regime that uses fear and aggression as its last remaining tool of communication with the people of Iran," organizers write.

Taking place in Prague from Jan. 11-15 and launching with a gala opening at Kino Lucerna, screenings will also be held at Kino Světozor and Bio Oko before moving to Kino Art in Brno from Jan. 17-19.

Among the many internationally acclaimed films on the program, the festival will bring "No Bears" – the latest work by director Jafar Panahi, who is a key figure in contemporary Iranian cinema and is currently in prison, to Czech audiences.

The film portrays the struggles of a renowned Iranian filmmaker who embarks on the nearly impossible task of making his latest film despite the fact that he has been banned from filmmaking.

It's a heartfelt statement of intent from a director who is determined to keep the camera rolling. The filming took place secretly in Iran and premiered in the main competition at the Venice International Film Festival.

Its presentation at the ÍRÁN:CI 2023 festival is an exclusive screening in collaboration with the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

“The upcoming ÍRÁN:CI Film Festival is different from those of previous years. It will bring insider insight into Iranian politics and cinema, which have been inseparable from each other for the last four decades. The Iranian guests who will take part in discussions during the tenth festival will offer audiences a whole new approach to Iranian cinema against the background of the current events in Iran,” says Kaveh Daneshmand the director of the ÍRÁN:CI 2023 festival.

The ÍRÁN:CI festival was founded in Prague in 2012 with the aim of presenting the best of Iranian cinema to Czech audiences every year. This project has become a platform for other forms of Iranian art such as music, theatre, visual arts, and graphic design.

Last October, demonstrations took place throughout Prague following the September death of a 22-year-old Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini who died after being taken into custody by the country's so-called morality police for failing to wear a hijab. Amini's death has triggered widespread protests and civil unrest both in Iran and abroad.

To see the full festival program, visit the festival site. Films are typically screened with English subtitles.

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