Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness

Directed by Massoud Bakhshi
Film Movement
2019
89 Minutes
Iran, France, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg
Persian
Drama
Not Rated

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.

Director & Cast

Trailer

Photos

Reviews

  • "A clever, suspenseful exposé of Sharia law. "
    Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
  • "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."
    Tomris Laffly, Variety
  • "The slick assurance of Bakhshi’s approach makes for an accessible, pacey melodrama...."
    Allan Hunter, Screen Daily
  • "Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness is a purposefully provocative drama that forces viewers to consider the dualities of reality and authenticity."
    Roxana Hadadi, RogerEbert.com
  • "Timely, terrifying, and simultaneously overstrung, Yalda, a Night of Forgiveness is an excellent showcase for the limited instances of potential female agency."
    Nicholas Bell, Ion Cinema
  • "[I]t is an impressive feature. The intensity is almost non-stop...."
    Hanna B. , Film Threat
  • "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."
    Wilson Kwong, Film Inquiry
Winner
Grand Jury Prize - World Cinema, Dramatic
Sundance Film Festival
Nominated
Crystal Bear - Generation 14plus
Berlin Int'l. Film Festival
Official Selection
Sofia Int'l. Film Festival
Official Selection
Luxembourg Int'l. Film Festival