The acclaimed Iranian film "Modest Reception" premiered in Tehran's theaters on Wednesday. Directed by Mani Haghighi, the film is about a well-situated couple, Leila and Kaveh, who drive through the mountains distributing plastic bags full of money to every poor and unfortunate person they meet.
Esmaeil Khalaj (L) and Taraneh Alidusti act in a scene from "Modest Reception".
Starring Haghighi and Taraneh Alidusti, "Modest Reception" has received accolades from several international festivals.
The Film won the Free Spirit Award at the Warsaw Film Festival in last October. This award is presented to a film with unique structure, strong ideas and excellent performances.
The film won the NETPAC Prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 2012 and the stars of the film won the best actor and actress awards at 12th Osian's Cinefan Film Festival in New Delhi in August 2012.
Saeid Changizian, Esmaeil Khalaj, Saber Abar, Naqi Seifjamali, Nader Fallah, Mohammadreza Najafi and Qorban Najafi are other members of the cast.
Modest Reception Directed by: Mani Haghighi Official Trailer
"Modest Reception" was screened in several theaters in Switzerland in last September. The film was distributed in the country by the Trigon-Film Foundation.
Modest Reception by Mani Haghighi (Iran, 2012, 100 min.). A Tehran couple distributes large bags of money to residents of an impoverished town and captures their shocked reactions on a cell phone. What seems like an act of generosity is actually something perverse and puzzling. The film’s mood shifts between black comedy and psychological thriller brilliantly in the hands of director Mani Haghighi, giving us an intriguing and honest look into the darker side of human nature. “Utterly engaging, original, and sophisticated” (Screen Daily). NETPAC Prize for Best Asian Film at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival.
"Modest Reception" Mani Haghighi in an interview on Diversity and Women Berlinale 2012
Modest Reception is the fourth film screened recently despite having been banned by Hoze Honari (Artistic Center of Islamic Development Organization), a supposedly non-governmental entity.
Many Iranian cinemas are now being controlled by Hoze Honari which is preventing screening of "objectionable" films produced by independent Iranian filmmakers. The filmmakers already have to navigate through many hurdles in order to get license from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to produce or to screen their films. But even if they are successful at that, they still may not be able to screen their films if Hoze Honari does not approve of them. Modest Reception was one such film which was blacklisted by the Hoze Honari. However, despite all the roadblocks, the film was finally screened in Farhang cinema in Tehran and received a very warm reception. In fact, people are rushing to see such films to show their opposition to the policies of Hoze Honari.
In an interview with ISNA, Mani Haghighi had some harsh words for Hoze Honari. During the interview, Mani Haghighi said about Hoze Honari: "What role do you have in this country that proudly issue orders for artists? You only own some cinemas. If you are wise, you better go do a good job of running them instead of interfering in other people's affairs."
Haghighi also said different people or groups, such as fruit sellers or cinema operators, may have different opinions about a film. However, this doesn't mean filmmakers should modify their films to please every group.
Related Story: Photos: 10 Iranian Filmmakers Hold Protest Press Conference
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