Iran’s Oscar submission “World War III” wins jury prize at Tokyo festival

Iran’s Oscar submission “World War III” wins jury prize at Tokyo festival

The Iranian dark comedy “World War III” has won the special jury prize at the 35th Tokyo International Film Festival.

The film is about Shakib, a homeless day laborer who never got over the loss of his wife and son in an earthquake years ago.

Over the last couple of years, he has developed a relationship with a deaf and mute woman, Ladan. The construction site on which he works today turns out to be the set for a film about the atrocities committed by Hitler during WWII. Against all odds, he is given a movie role, a house and a chance at being somebody. When Ladan learns about this, she comes to his workplace begging for help. Shakib’s scheme to hide her goes tragically wrong and threatens to ruin his newfound status and what seemed to be the opportunity of a lifetime.

After announcing the prize for the film in the closing ceremony of the festival held on Wednesday, juror Marie Christine de Navacelle said, “It is a black comedy where we go from tears to laughter.”

“It’s also the tragedy of a simple man fighting, in his own way, the absurdity of our world today. It is both sad and very funny, and deeply entertaining,” she added.

The film’s star Mahsa Hejazi received the award on behalf of director Hooman Seyyedi who could not attend the closing ceremony.

After accepting the award, she read Seyyedi’s message to the organizers.

“I cannot be with you at this moment… But my voice is there. Not to be able to be with you, not to be able to see your culture, traditions is painful for me. But I have heard your voices for many years now,” he said in the message.

“Every time I read a haiku, every time I open a book by Murakami Haruki, or Kazuo Ishiguro. Every time I watch Kurosawa’s work, I knew you well. And soon I will fly to meet you all. May peace be in the world. Hope to see you soon, and I send my deepest gratitude to you for accepting us,” he added.

“World War III”, which is Iran’s submission to the international feature award at the 2023 Oscars, had its international premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Orizzonti Award for Best Film and the best actor award for Mohsen Tanabandeh.

The Tokyo festival’s award for the Asian Future Best Film was also given to the Iranian movie “Butterflies Live Only One Day” directed by Mohammadreza Vatandoost.

The Grand Prix went to the Spanish-French co-production “The Beasts” by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, who also won the best director award.

The film also brought Denis Menochet the award for best actor, while the award for best actress was given to Aline Kuppenheim for her role in “1976”, a co-production of Chile, Argentina and Qatar by Manuela Martelli.

 

 

By TEHRAN TIMES