Massoud Bakhshi

France, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, 2019 / 89 min / Persian OV with English subt. / drama

Awards Night Film

Sentenced to death for the accidental killing of her husband, Maryam has to beg her daughter-in-law to forgive her on TV in order to survive.

Maryam, a young Iranian woman, has been sentenced to death for accidentally killing her husband, Nasser, a 65 years-old man. Iranian law allows for the victim’s family to forgive her and spare her life. Maryam’s fate will be decided by Nasser’s daughter, Mona, on the country’s most popular televised reality show, “Joy of Forgiveness”. In front of millions of viewers during Yalda, the winter solstice celebration, Maryam’s daughter-in-law can convert her impending execution into a prison sentence. On TV, the two women discover that forgiveness can be difficult as they are forced to relive the past.

“Compelled by the social complexities of contemporary Iran, Bahkshi started as a documentary filmmaker, during which time he met several women who had murdered their husbands. Their stories stayed with him as he developed this powerful exploration of women characters. Although Maryam and Mona are condemned in some way and subject to Iran’s profound patriarchy, they find agency, moral authority, and freedom within those confines.” Sundance Film Festival

The film Yalda is placed under the high patronage of Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess, President of the association Stand Speak Rise Up!.

Sat 14/03 19:00 Kinepolis Kirchberg Persian OV with EN subt. Public
  • Nominated, Grand Jury Prize (World Cinema Dramatic Competition), Sundance Film Festival , 2020 (USA)
  • Nominated, Generation 14plus Competition, Berlin Film Festival , 2020 (Germany)
Cast & Credits
Sadaf Asgari, Behnaz Jafari, Babak Karimi, Fereshteh Sadre Orafaee, Forough Ghojabagli, Arman Darvish, Fereshteh Hosseini
Massoud Bakhshi
Julian Atanassov
Dana Farzanehpour, Denis Séchaud
Leila Naghdi Pari
JBA Production, Niko Film, Close Up Films, AMOUR FOU Luxembourg, Shortcut Films, Tita B Productions, Ali Mosaffa Productions
Panache Productions, La Compagnie Cinématographique

Born in Tehran, Iran, in 1972, Massoud Bakhshi has worked as film critic, scriptwriter and producer from 1990 to 1998, before making 12 documentaries and short films which were awarded internationally. His first fiction feature film A Respectable Family (2012) was selected for the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes. Yalda, A Night for Forgiveness (2019) is his second fiction feature film, selected in the Word Cinema Dramatic Competition of the Sundance Film Festival 2020 and in the Generation 14+ strand at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival.

  • 2019 – Yalda
  • 2012 – Yek khanévadéh-e Mohtaram / A Respectable Family
  • 2010 – Our Persian Rug (documentaire / documentary / Dokumentarfilm)
  • 2008 – Arayesh gar e Bagh Dad / Baghdad Barber (court-métrage documentaire / documentary short / Dokumentarkurzfilm)
  • 2007 – Teheran, Tehran / Tehran Has No More Pomegrenates! (documentaire / documentary / Dokumentarfilm)
  • 2004 – Panjerehay-E-Gomshodeh / Lost Windows (court-métrage documentaire / documentary short / Dokumentarkurzfilm)
  • 2003 – Namaze baran / Praying for the Rain (court-métrage / short / Kurzfilm)
  • 2001 – Vaghti Behrang Ayoumi ra molaghat mikonad / When Behrang Meets Ayoumi (court-métrage documentaire / documentary short / Dokumentarkurzfilm)
  • 1999 – Shenasaeiye yek zan / Identification of a Woman (court-métrage documentaire / documentary short / Dokumentarkurzfilm)
  • 1999 – Cine Citta (court-métrage documentaire / documentary short / Dokumentarkurzfilm)