Winners review, Academy members ignore a good movie


This film from British Iranian director Hassan Nazer was the British entry in the international feature section at this year’s Academy Awards; sadly it was not nominated. It is a likable, gentle comedy about two children in which an Oscar statuette plays a part: the ultimate MacGuffin, perhaps. It’s also a rather cinephile film which ponders the enormous prestige of Iranian cinema abroad.

The premise is that the great Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, having boycotted the 2017 Oscars in protest at Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban, cannot be there in person to pick up his Oscar for The Salesman. But the producer bringing it to Iran for him manages to lose it after a chaotic mishap involving a taxi (that key trope of contemporary Iranian cinema) and, once handed to the authorities, the Oscar is boxed up to be sent on to him via the mail. Then a local postman loses it and the gleaming, mysteriously exotic and heavy statuette is finally discovered on a dusty road by two little kids, Yahya (Parsa Maghami) and Leyla (Helia Mohammadkhani) who are profoundly, almost religiously awestruck by their secret find.

Yahya in fact knows a thing or two about cinema, having been educated by the film-loving guy running the local scrap-metal yard, for whom they scavenge material from the dump. This is Saber (Hossein Abedini), a former actor; his mate Naser is also in the business, having actually won the Silver Bear acting award at the Berlin film festival in 2008. He is wittily played by Reza Naji, who did indeed win this prize, and Naser now can’t come to terms with the massive anti-climax of his post-award life.

Like many “magic of the movies” films there is something a little prescriptive about it and I have to confess my heart sinks at people going dewy-eyed about Cinema Paradiso, however sincerely. But I liked the free-spirited innocence here, and the film has something of British classics such as Local Hero or Whisky Galore.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, I was hoping you would consider taking the step of supporting the Guardian’s journalism.

From Elon Musk to Rupert Murdoch, a small number of billionaire owners have a powerful hold on so much of the information that reaches the public about what’s happening in the world. The Guardian is different. We have no billionaire owner or shareholders to consider. Our journalism is produced to serve the public interest – not profit motives.

And we avoid the trap that befalls much US media – the tendency, born of a desire to please all sides, to engage in false equivalence in the name of neutrality. While fairness guides everything we do, we know there is a right and a wrong position in the fight against racism and for reproductive justice. When we report on issues like the climate crisis, we’re not afraid to name who is responsible. And as a global news organization, we’re able to provide a fresh, outsider perspective on US politics – one so often missing from the insular American media bubble.

Around the world, readers can access the Guardian’s paywall-free journalism because of our unique reader-supported model. That’s because of people like you. Our readers keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence and accessible to everyone – whether they can afford to pay for news, or not.

Peter BradshawSource: Peter Bradshaw


About Author

CWB News Department

Comments are closed.