Iranian drama takes Swiss film prize

Be Ahestegi was a unanimous choice for the top prize. Fiff

An Iranian film, "Be Ahestegi..." (Gradually...) has won the Regard d'Or (grand prize) at the Fribourg International Film Festival.

This content was published on March 19, 2006 minutes

About 26,000 people attended the week-long festival, which ended on Sunday, dedicated almost exclusively to films from developing countries.

The international jury lauded the director of Be Ahestegi..., Maziar Miri, who it said did an "outstanding" job "exploring the various social taboos related to women in Iran".

The film tells the story of one man's search through Tehran for his runaway spouse, who is suffering from mental illness.

The Regard d'Or is worth SFr30,000 ($23,000).

The aim of the 20th edition of the Fribourg festival was to highlight the "complex evolution of the real and political world as well as the subtle evolution of cinema" in developing countries.

Iran-Iraq war

The focus this past week was on films portraying the war between Iran and Iraq (1980-1988), digital films from the Philippines and a retrospective honouring Brazilian filmmaker, Helena Ignez, known as the queen of Brazil's alternative cinema scene in the 1960s.

The Jury's Special Award went to the Philippine film "Heremias". Director Lav Diaz was credited for his search for "a radical and un-conventional cinematographic language with the aim of safeguarding an original national culture".

Special mention was given to Singapore director, Eric Khoo, for his production, "Be with me".

His film also took the Ecumenical Jury Award as well as the IFFS (International Federation of Film Societies) Jury Award.

The General Public Award and the EX-CHANGE Award bestowed by the Youth Jury went to Jocelyne Saab's "Dunia – Kiss me not on the Eyes"(Egypt/Lebanon/France).

The award for best documentary was shared by Japanese director, Yoshihiko Sumikawa, for the film, Taimagura Baachan, and Sara Rastegar for the French/Iranian production, Doust.

Official partners of the festival are the lottery association of French-speaking Switzerland, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the federal office for culture and the Coriolis company.

Next year's festival will take place from March 18-25.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The event was created by Swiss aid agencies in 1980, and was known at the time as the "Third World Festival".

The idea was to present the cultural variety of Africa, Asia and Latin America at a time when there were few distributers for third world films.

Originally shown in church halls, the festival films made it on to cinema screens in 1986.

It became an annual festival in 1992, and in 1994 was given its current name.

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