Farhadi, director of Iranian film 2011 seemed like a big year for Iranian cinema on the world stage — mostly because of one film and director: Asghar Farhadi and his film A Separation (a powerful drama about life’s challenges for a middle-class couple in Tehran on the verge of divorce, which people from all over could relate to), won both a Golden Globe and an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category in USA in 2012. The film was also Oscar-nominated for the Best Original Screenplay. Mr Farhadi and his wonderful film received numerous other accolades around the globe including the Golden Bear Award for Best Motion Picture in Berlin, Cesar Award for Best Foreign Film in France, and Best Screenwriter and Best Director in the 2012 Asian Film Awards (AFA).

2012 didn’t seem to be such a great year for Iranians, at least in the West. But that was not because of lack of good films out of Iran or by Iranian directors and actors. Perhaps it was in part because Iran boycotted the 2013 Oscars. Iranians were all over the 7th Asian Film Awards nominees announced in early March 2013. The winners subsequently were announced during the awards ceremony on March 18, 2013 in Hong Kong. Below are the categories with Iranian nominees and their winners:

  • Best Director: Abbas Kiarostami nominated for Like Someone in Love from Japan / France / Iran. The award went to Kitano Takeshi for Outraged Beyond from Japan. This film also was nominated in other categories: Kase Ryo for Best Supporting Actor and Yanagijima Katsumi for Best Cinematographer. The world-renowned Kiarostami shouldn’t need any introduction here. He has written or directed numerous big films such as Where is the Friend’s Home? (1987), Taste of Cherry (1997), The Wind Will Carry Us (1999), Ten (2002), and Certified Copy (2010) starring Juliette Binoche. Mr. Kiarostami was voted the most important film director of the 1990s internationally.
  • Best Actress: Golshifteh Farahani nominated for The Patience Stone from Afghanistan. The category award went to Nora Aunor for Thy Womb from Philippines.
  • Best Cinematographer: Touraj Aslani nominated for Bahman Ghobadi’s Rhino Season from Iraqi Kurdistan / Turkey. Aslani won the category award. Valerie Loiseleux got nominated for Best Editor for Rhino Season.
  • Best Production Designer: Bahman Ghobadi and Daryoosh Peiro for Rhino Season (see last bullet.) The award also went to them.
  • Best Visual Effects: Farbod Khoshtinat nominated for Rhino Season. He also won the award.

The notable film here is Rhino Season, directed by the famed Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi, that received four nominations and won three of them! Rhino Season stars one of the great Iranian actors from 1970s, Behrouz Vossoughi and the Italian cinema star Monica Bellucci. The film has another big name behind it: its executive producer Martin Scorsese. Below is a still-shot from Behrouz Vossoughi in the Rhino Season trailer.

Behrouz Vossoughi in Ghobadi's Rhino Season

Behrouz Vossoughi in Ghobadi’s Rhino Season

This was Ghobadi’s first film after he left Iran about two years ago. Here is more on Rhino Season and Mr. Ghobadi reported by Roxana Saberi for BBC in Sep. 2012.

The star that I also want to mention here is the beautiful and talented Golshifteh Farahani and her role in The Patience Stone, directed by Atiq Rahimi from Afghanistan. Farahani who is nominated in the Best Actress category, delivers a superb acting. Below is a close-up of Farahani from The Patience Stone trailer.

Golshifteh Farahani in The Patience Stone

Golshifteh Farahani in The Patience Stone

Farahani has done a number of other well-known films such as Santoori (2007) in Iran, and Body of Lies (2008) co-starring Leonardo DeCaprio, a film which created issues for her in Iran. She then left the country and now resides in Paris, France, where she gets plenty of media coverage. In the last few years she’s been quite active on the big screen. She had a small role in Marjane Satrapi’s Chicken with Plums (2011). Her latest film is Just Like a Woman (2012) directed by Rachid Bouchareb. Farahani is currently touring North America with the Persian play A Private Dream, co-starring Behrouz Vossoughi. She is also a musical talent. Here is a post about a song she did in 2010.

We take this opportunity to congratulate all the nominees and winners, and wish to see more good work from them in the future.