The film from Oskar long list competes at the 15th Kazan Film Festival
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The film from Oskar long list competes at the 15th Kazan Film Festival

22 April 2019

On April 21, the first press screening of the 15th Kazan Muslim Film Festival was held in Mir cinema. The press screening was devoted to the main competition programme of the festival on full length feature films. The film selected for the press screening was Rona, the mother of Azim by Jamshid Mahmoudi (Afghanistan, Iran). The premiere of the film was in 2018, when this work entered the Oskar long list in the Best Foreign Language Film nomination. The film was presented to the media community of Tatarstan by Sergey Anashkin, a film expert, a member of the Selection Committee of the festival.

‘The director of this film grew up in Iran, absorbing Iranian culture. However, he has an Afghani Tajik background and he feels himself more Afghan. His film also represents Hazaras, a Shia ethnic group with Mongolian background, which are believed to be the descendants of the soldiers of Genghis Khan, who placed his garrisons in the territory of the present-day Afghanistan. Initially, this ethnic group has a ruling role, but with the flow of time they have lost their positions and were oppressed. As the majority of Afghans is Sunni Muslims, Hazaras were oppressed also due to their religious beliefs. This is why, many Hazaras have moved to Iran’, explained Sergey Anashkin before the film screening.


The plot of the film is based on the story of an Afghan refugee Azim, who lives with his family in Tehran. As the head of his family, he had a difficult choice between his own life and the life of his terminally ill mother. The two main characters, brothers, were played by professional actors, whereas an ordinary woman starred in the main female role.


Rona, the mother of Azim was first shown in autumn 2018 at a festival in South Korea, where it received a special award. It also won the Best Asian Film award at a festival in France.


‘Usually, Iranian films are like theorems: the story is given with moral exaggeration, so the viewers are able to understand how to act even before the hero. In the case of Mahmoudi, the choice is quite difficult’, highlighted Sergey Anashkin, ‘It is said that you need to sacrifice yourself. But in fact, in the real life, are you ready to do so? The main hero feels like a prisoner of the fate. This is a truly family story and everyone can feel himself in his shoes’.



Moreover, Sergey Anashkin presented in detail the competition programme of the festival. He mentioned the diversity of films presented, including Tatarstan’s Baigal by Ildar Yagafarov; a Russian drama Deep Rivers by Vladimir Bitokov, a Kyrgyz musical film The Song of the Tree by Aibek Daiyrbekov and a fantastic story from Turkey with the references to Tarkovsky, Grain by Semih Kaplanoglu as well as a free adaptation of Chekhov’s the Cherry Orchard from Azerbaijan, a Pomegranate Orchard by Ilgar Najaf.