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Iranian Filmmaker Mohammad Shirvani Wins Rotterdam's Tiger Award


Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Shirvani’s film Fat Shaker is the joint winner of of the Tiger Awards 2013 at the 42nd Rotterdam Film Festival’s Golden Tiger.

Mohammad Shirvani Mira Fornay and Daniel Hoesl

The three winners of the equal Hivos Tiger Awards 2013 are:

Mohammad Shirvani

The Tiger competition is awarded to first or second features, and each Tiger winner is awarded 15,000 euros. The jury for the Tiger Award included Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamedarya and Chinese visual artist Ai Weiwei, who was not able to attend the festival and judged from home in Beijing.

The jury commended Fat Shaker, saying: “The film introduces the audience to a very different world. It is a fascinating story with superb characters. The cinematography really draws out the story, the paranoia and the characters.”

The International Film Festival Rotterdam takes place this year from January 23 to February 3 in the Southern Dutch city of Rotterdam. The festival has a reputation for discovering new talent.

Fat Shaker is no ordinary film - certainly not by Iranian standards. Its maker, Mohammad Shirvani, is an artist who uses powerful and occasionally absurd images. It's fairly obvious that they say something about the situation in the country, but precisely what is left up to our imagination. Shirvani states concisely that the film aims to criticise the patriarchal system in Iran. The rest has to be told by the images.

The story is about a fat father (obviously the 'fat shaker') who tries to con money from women with his young and attractive yet deaf-and-dumb son. The son allows himself to be picked up by a few young women for light diversion; then they are stopped by the father, who intimidates them and shows a pair of handcuffs. The women have to pay.

The role of the father is played by Levon Haftvan

At a certain point, father and son pick up a woman who does not allow herself to be intimidated, but takes things into her own hands. And then the film becomes even more surreal - if possible - and the images even stranger. When asked for an explanation, the maker refers to his dreams.

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