The annual BFI London Film Festival 2017 takes place on the 4th-15th October across various cinemas around London. Such an exciting time of year, there is always a rush to see what films will be shown at the festival and which guests will appear.
I instantly typed in Iran in the country guide on the website and happily found that there are a handful of Iranian films being shown this year. Israfil is a film that caught my eye immediately. Directed by Ida Panahandeh, it is her second feature and has been highly-anticipated for some time. There are three intersecting lives shown in the film, Mahi, Behrooz and Sara, and Panahandeh’s film reflects on their lost love, life choices and loneliness. Mahi’s young son passes away in a car crash and at the funeral, Behrooz, an individual from Mahi’s past turns up unexpected to pay his respects. He also returns from exile to meet his fiancée Sara for the first time too. Sara has been looking after her disabled mother all her life and is in disagreement with her brother about how to proceed with looking after her. Sara wants to take the time to enjoy a life of her own. With Mahi and Behrooz’s reunion, a heart-breaking past is brought to light. The film shows why their love wasn’t allowed to progress and sensitively demonstrates familial responsibility.
A keen favourite of the festival, Israfil is being shown on Tuesday 10th October at 6.15pm at the Curzon Mayfair cinema and on Wednesday 11th October at 3pm at the Vue Leicester Square. Tickets can be found here.
It’s not just Israfil that looks like an interesting watch at the BFI London Film Festival though. The film Before Summer Ends is being shown too. This heart-warming film is all about the journey of three young Iranian men having one last trip through the south of France from Paris, before one of them has to return back to Tehran. This is a classic male road trip film but with plenty of different angles. The film shows Iranian men as we have never seen them before on screen. The characters show their vulnerable sides with their guard down. Director Maryam Gooormaghtigh, who will also be appearing at the BFI London Film Festival, shows a creative blend between a documentary and a fiction piece. Before Summer Ends has also been nominated for the Documentary Competition. The Grierson Award identifies films with social or cultural significance, integrity and originality.
Before Summer Ends will be shown on Sunday 8th October at 9pm at the ICA Cinema and on Monday 9th October at 9pm at the Ciné Lumière. Tickets are available here.
The BFI London Film Festival is a much anticipated event in the calendar of the capital. With heaps of films on show, I’m very happy to see that there is a selection of Iranian films too. I’m very much looking forward to seeing both Israfil and Before Summer Ends and I wish the latter film the best of luck in the Documentary Competition. Get watching cinema goers.