The Iranian Film Festival Australia kicked off on Oct 10,with writer/actor/director Payman Maadi's directorial debut, Snow on Pines, starring Mahnaz Afshar.
The movie follows the traditional three-act structure and linear narrative. But the film does away with clichés especially with the portrayal of its protagonist, Roya. Unlike other heroine who engaged themselves into overly dramatic scenes when confronting infidelity, Roya dwells with her pain in silence, gracefully. Later she found herself in a new promise of love with a young musician.
Mr Maadi's crafty use of black and white cinematography completed the overall tone of the film.
The plot of the Snow on Pines tackles in depth the struggles of an Iranian middle-class family - with marriage becoming dull and with the couple already tired of each other. The angle through which Mr Maadi anchored the film is a sensitive issue in the Iranian society.
Hence, in an interview with ABC, Mr Maadi shared that the most challenging part of making the film was to pass through Iranian's tough censorship.
"It is somehow a controversial topic when you want to tell a story about the woman and you want to get close to her in her personal life. There are a lot of taboos in Iran for women."
"When I was writing and was shooting it I knew that this would be a little bit sensitive, but when it got banned I became sure that it's working. The people who must let the film go in the theatres and must give the permission and authorisation and let this film be seen by people were very aggressive and somehow not very happy with the film."
Ironically, even with the censors worrying about offending the religion, Mr Maadi said that "mostly religious people wrote beautiful comments in the papers" about the film.
Snow on Pines was well received by domestic audience and critics. It won best film, best script and best actress award for Mahnaz Afshar at the 2013 Iranian Film Critic Guild Awards.
In as much as Mr Maadi was happy about the international success of the film, he emphasised that he was not after winning an international award.
"With the difficulties which we used to have in Iran, especially for women in cinema, I think the success in Iran is most important for me, for this specific film. It was very important for me to be well received in Iran."
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