Home / Homepage news / Farhadi, Kolirin and Mertoğlu at Les Films de Cannnes à Bucarest Award Winning Stories from the Middle East

Farhadi, Kolirin and Mertoğlu at Les Films de Cannnes à Bucarest Award Winning Stories from the Middle East

Middle Eastern stories written and directed by some of the most talented filmmakers at the moment will be premiering at Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest (October 14th – 23rd). The Salesman, directed by Asghar Farhadi, the only film in Cannes 2016 official competition to have received two trophies, will be shown for the first time to the Romanian audience. Celebrated Israeli director Eran Kolirin, who received multiple awards for his The Band’s Visit, will be showing Beyond the Mountains and the Hills in Bucharest, and the Turkish filmmaker Mehmet Can Mertoğlu will be talking with the audience about Album, his remarkable debut feature co-produced by a Romanian team.

The Salesman won the Best Screenplay Award and the Best Actor Award for Shahab Hosseini’s performance, and was one of the favorites in the Palme d’Or competition. Director Asghar Farhadi, the first Iranian to receive an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for Nader and Simin: A Separation, was included in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012. In an alert, subtle and excellently controlled rhythm that has become his signature, Farhadi follows the drama of a couple for whom moving into a house previously inhabited by a former prostitute and an unexpected visit become violent. Meanwhile the two are performing in an amateur production of Arthur Miller’s The Death of a Salesman and the resonance with their life is striking.

The insides of a family are also scrutinized by Eran Kolirin, one of the most prized contemporary Israeli filmmakers and a special guest of this year’s Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest. Beyond the Mountains and the Hills, screened in Cannes’s Un Certain Regard section, is a profound, sometimes surrealist film that ˝forces audiences to question their own complicity in the dysfunctionality of Israeli society˝, according to Variety. The protagonist has just retired from the military after 27 years in service. Returning to his family that he had grown apart from, he tries to adjust to the pace of the ˝new Israel˝, a competitive culture obsessed with success and money. This will lead him into the deceitful snare of some obscure forces controlling Israeli society.

Eran Kolirin (aged 42) has had a startling debut with Cannes award winner The Band’s Visit (2007), also screened in over 50 prestigious festivals. His second film, The Exchange (2012), competed for the Golden Lion in Venice and has won numerous awards. This year he is one of the special guests of Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest.

A family is also at the center of the debut film, Album. A rising talent of the Turkish cinema, Mehmet Can Mertoğlu (aged 28) has won the France 4 Visionary Award this year in the Semaine de la Critique section and will meet with the audience at Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest. The Turkish-French-Romanian co-production relied significantly on a Romanian team: director Călin Peter Netzer (Child’s Pose) was the producer of the film, and Marius Panduru was director of photography. As Variety pointed out, ˝Romania’s New Wave comes to Turkey in Mehmet Can Mertoğlu’s impressively composed comedy of forged family history˝.

In the film, a couple in their forties gets ready to stage a family album documenting a so-called pregnancy, in order to demonstrate their biological ties to a baby they are planning to adopt. It is a Roy Andersson style social satire, bordering on realism and absurd, touching among others on bureaucracy and class conflict in Turkey. Before his feature film debut, Mehmet Can Mertoğlu had studied Turkish literature in Istanbul, wrote magazine pieces on cinema and directed the short film The Slope (2008), screened in dozens of festivals.

The Middle East is also the place of origin of the forceful Clash, directed by Mohamed Diab, screened in the Un Certain Regard section. ˝The disturbing and technically daring thriller positions the viewer on the inside of an Egyptian police van in 2013 as post-revolutionary tensions boil over˝, The Guardian writes. In the eve of President Mohamed Morsi’s exile, a truck full of demonstrators of various political convictions and religious beliefs drives through the crowd of violent protesters. Can they move past their divisions and secure themselves the slightest chance of survival? Mohamed Diab has also directed the controversial Cairo 678, focused on the sexual harassment of women in Egypt.

Album is distributed in Romania by Parada Film and The Salesman by Asociația Culturală Macondo.


The Managing Talents conference will be another one-of-a-kind event in Bucharest. It will take place on October 22nd at Cinema Elvire Popesco. The guests to the conference are Ilene Feldman (talent manager, LBI Entertainment, USA), Avy Kaufman (casting director, USA), Richard Cook (Lisa Richard Agency, Ireland), Georg Georgi (Das Imperium, Germany). For details about tickets and registration please go to filmedefestival.ro/2016/managing-talents/. The event is presented by BRD Group Société Générale.

The seventh edition of Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest is organized by the Cinemascop Association and Voodoo Films, in partnership with the Embassy of France and the French Institute in Bucharest. It is a cultural project financed by the National Center of Cinematography, SACD / Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers), the Cultural Project Centre of the Bucharest City Hall – ARCUB, within the cultural Program “Bucharest – the In-Visible City” 2016 and the Romanian Cultural Institute.

Les Films de Cannes à Cluj-Napoca (October 14th – 16th) is a project carried out with the support of the Cluj-Napoca Local Council and City Hall and promotes the candidacy of the city of Cluj-Napoca for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2021.

The Timișoara edition (October 21st – 22nd) is carried out with the support of the Timișoara City Hall.

The Iași edition is carried out with the support of Iași City Hall and the Association of Student Journalists in Iași.

The event is supported by the distributors Independenţa Film, Asociația Culturală Macondo, InterCom Film, Parada Film, microFILM, RoImage, Clorofilm.

The festival is presented by Orange Romania, a traditional partner of the event.

Supported by: BRD Groupe Société Générale

Official car of the festival: BMW

With the support of: Catena, Groupama Asigurări, Silva

Partners: Mercure Hotel, S.E.R.V.E, UPS


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