Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness
The spotlights and cameras are all in position. The moderator takes a last quick look at his notes. The final seconds of the intro ad roll by – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – and then the reality TV show goes live. Televised on the night of Yalda, of all days, a Persian celebration of the winter solstice. Tonight’s guest is Maryam, a young woman condemned to death. She is accompanied in studio by Mona, who has always been like a big sister to her. Maryam was living with Mona’s father in a temporary marriage. Now she stands accused of his murder. In front of the camera and millions of viewers, Maryam is supposed to beg for forgiveness and her life. Alluding to a real, popular Iranian TV Show, the television studio serves as a stage for a chamber play that also explores the social dimensions behind the personal drama.
- "A clever, suspenseful exposé of Sharia law. "
- "Contrasting Asgari’s emotional volatility with something more reserved, Jafari delivers a memorable performance of many shades as a morally dubious woman involuntarily stuck in a position of crushing power in front of millions rooting for Maryam."
- "The slick assurance of Bakhshi’s approach makes for an accessible, pacey melodrama...."
- "Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness is a purposefully provocative drama that forces viewers to consider the dualities of reality and authenticity."
- "Timely, terrifying, and simultaneously overstrung, Yalda, a Night of Forgiveness is an excellent showcase for the limited instances of potential female agency."
- "[I]t is an impressive feature. The intensity is almost non-stop...."
- "This emerging filmmaker is showing no signs of dampening his creative intentions. With his latest effort, he's crafted a socially conscious film while making some truly bold cinematic choices."
Awards & Recognition
Grand Jury Prize - World Cinema, Dramatic
Sundance Film Festival
Crystal Bear - Generation 14plus
Berlin Int'l. Film Festival
Sofia Int'l. Film Festival
Luxembourg Int'l. Film Festival