Immortality opens Sofia MENAR film festival
20 January, 2018
Mehdi Fard Ghaderi
The Iranian masterpiece Immortality, directed by Mehdi Fard Ghaderi, opened the 10th Sofia Middle East & North Africa Region Film Festival on 12 January. The picture follows six families travelling in different compartments of a night train. Their stories are gradually revealed to be interwoven, as it turns out that each passenger is somehow connected to the people in the other compartments and their destiny is influenced by the events unfolding on the train. In a single 145-minute shot, the director Mehdi Fard Ghaderi authors one of the most powerful debuts in Iranian filmmaking in the past several years, critics say.
Among the festival programme's highlights is Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot's mega production Terra, a visually stunning bird's eye view of the wild and the big city, a foray into the Siberian cold and desert heat, starvation and abundance, the heart of a volcano and the centre of a waterfall, a trip from the Arctic circle to the African Savannah, the Amazon rainforest and the Australian almond orchards. It is a story in which “wild” is not synonymous with “barbarian” or an antonym of “civilisation” but simply a characteristic of nature, a story about life on Earth.
For the first time ever, Sofia MENAR is accompanied by a literary programme entitled Divan Seraglio, which includes readings, book presentations and meetings with guest authors and publishers hosted in the Home of Cinema.
The first reading was held on 13 January. Arabic language expert Maya Tsenova and master's degree students of Arabic Philology from the Sofia University presented Jerusalem in Arabic Literature. The reading was followed by screening of Ghost Hunting, a co-production of Palestine and France which won last year's Berlin Film Festival award for best documentary.
Sofia MENAR will continue until 28 January and the venues are the Home of Cinema, the G8 Cultural Centre, Eurocinema and the Czech Centre. The programme presents over 50 feature films, documentaries and short films.
The festival is realised in association with the embassies of Azerbaijan, Algeria, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine, the Cultural Representation with the Embassy of Iran, the Czech Centre, Instituto Cervantes, the Devam Foundation and The Friends of India Club.