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Maryland Film Festival to feature "The Badger" by Iranian director Kazem Mollai


Source: Tehran Times

"The Badger" by Iranian director Kazem Mollai will be featured at the Maryland Film Festival, which will be held in the U.S. city of Baltimore from May 19 to 27.

The Badger (2020)

19 other films including "We're All Going to the World's Fair" by Jane Schoenbrun, "Lily Topples the World" by Jeremy Workman, both from the U.S., and "Rival" by Marcus Lenz from Germany will be screened at the festival.

"The Badger" has been acclaimed at numerous international events. It was selected as the best fiction feature at the 6th Bangkok Thai International Film Festival in Thailand last November.

It also won the grand prize for the best foreign feature at the 29th Berkeley Video and Film Festival last October, and the award for best narrative feature at the Austin Film Festival in the U.S.

Eric Cotten (Festival Programming Associate, MdFF 2021) on the Badger:

Iranian films has been considered one of the brightest phenomena in world cinema in recent years. Frequently applauded for their depth, complexity of character and realism The Badger fits well in this category. It has already played multiple renown international festivals. 

This is the intriguing story of Soodeh played by the amazing Vishka Asayesh. Soodeh is extremely busy. She is running a successful small bakery out of her house which has now been overrun with termites, she has to cope with shady exterminators, deal with her son who is a somewhat troubled child and is days away from her second wedding. The day, if not already busy enough, takes a dramatic turn with the announcement that her son has been kidnapped with a king's ransom demanded for his safe return or his death will be the outcome.

Vishka Asayesh in a scent from "The Badger"

The essence of the film revolves around Soodeh trying desperately to decide who would kidnap her son and why. The cast of questionable characters include her immediate family, her aloof but supportive fiance, bitter powerful ex-husband and the numerous workers who are in and out of her home business and the shady exterminators. The film unravels like a masterclass in mystery writing with everyone showing her support but promoting their own agendas. The tension is sustained from the first minute until the shocking end. The rollercoaster ride breaks down into competing themes; Soodeh trying to find her son by retracing his steps, raising the outlandish amount of ransom and avoiding reaching out to her distant, social outcast but rich father.

This film is an excellent glimpse into modern day Iranian culture and the plight of women trying to succeed on their own terms. The audience quickly understands her dilemma, empathizes with her situation and accepts the conflicting point of view of each character. The film is not without its moments of brief humor but the ending is a punch to any mother's soul. 

After several successful short films this is the second feature by Kazem Molliae. Vishka Asayesh is primarily known as a comedic actress. In this role she is on screen the majority of the time and carries the emotional journey expertly. For fans of adult realistic drama this film is not to be missed.

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