Film critic Jean-Michel Frodon says that the presence of films from the Middle East and Arab world at the Cannes film festival has been “really weak” in years past, but has called this year, “most significant.”
Must see films at this year’s Cannes include:
Competing for the Palme D’Or is “The Salesman.” Directed by Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”), the film “tells the story of a young couple in Tehran who are amateur actors performing in a production of Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman.’ As in ‘A Separation,’ which won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 2012, Mr. Farhadi works on different levels to tell a story at once intimate and universal,” according to the New York Times.
Also from Iran is “Inversion,” directed by Behnam Behzadi, in the Certain Regard category. According to the Times, the film is “set amid the smog of contemporary Tehran, [and] tells the story of Niloofar (Sahar Dowlatshahi), an unmarried 30-something who stands up for herself rather than move with her ailing mother, who, her doctors say, should leave the city for her respiratory health.”
In “’Personal Affairs,’ the Israeli-Arab director Maha Haj tells the story of an Israeli Arab couple in Nazareth worried about their bachelor son who lives across the border in the West Bank city of Ramallah,” according to the Times.
And Mohamed Diab’s feature “Clash” opens the Un Certain Regard section, and is about the rise and fall of the Egyptian revolution.
Speaking on Iranian cinema (and its plentiful representation at the festival), festival director Mr. Mallet-Guy says that he hopes the easing of trade relations between Iran and the West would make it easier for Iranian filmmakers to secure financing from European sources.