Local Release


By Megan McClelland

For the first time, four films by Iranian directors will play at the festival, two of which will compete in the main Venezia 79 Competition for the prestigious Golden Lion Award. All eyes are on the debut of these original screenplays, for their artistic value and social impact. For context, three Iranian directors were arrested this summer, one of which, Jafar Panahi, is competing in the Venice Film Festival’s main competition. Attendees are staging a flash mob before Panahi’s film premiere in a display of solidarity with the directors, which will easily be one of the most significant moments in the film festival’s history.

The Arab directors showing at Venice Film Festival 2022 are all contributing captivating works filled with rich storytelling, from Soudade Kaadan’s film about female liberation to Richard Hami’s movie that grapples with justice and grief. Ahead, a look into each of the Middle Eastern movies before they show at the Venice Film Festival 2022.



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Without Her is a film about stolen identity, directed by Arian Vazirdaftari. It centres around the story of an Iranian journalist, Roya, who is compromised when a woman enters her life on a mission to steal it. “In the course of the story, Roya loses her true identity and learns a simple, tragic lesson: either you alter yourself and adapt or you will be eliminated and replaced by those who do,” Vazirdaftari shared his director’s statement. The film is in Venice Film Festival’s Orizzonti Extra category and airs on the 6th of September.

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