The Farsi-language project will enter pre-production in two months and is due to shoot in Shiraz, Iran, this summer. Paris-based Memento Films International will launch world sales next week at the EFM in Berlin, where it is sure to be among the most prized arthouse projects in the market.
Plot details are being kept under wraps on the film, which marks a return to Iran and his native language for The Salesman and A Separation director after Cannes opener Everybody Knows with Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem. We hear the drama is suspenseful – in keeping with Farhadi’s oeuvre – and that the director will be working with well known Iranian actors who haven’t worked with him before.
Producers are Farhadi and regular collaborator Alexandre Mallet-Guy of Memento Films Production, which has made Farhadi’s last three films. Memento Films Distribution will release the film in France.
An English-language version of the script will be made available to buyers this week ahead of the EFM. Farhadi also has a Best Screenplay Oscar nomination for A Separation and we hear this script is similarly impressive. Given the remarkable awards and box office success of Parasite, projects like this one will be even more in-demand next week.
“We are proud to propose a new brilliant film project by great author Asghar Farhadi,” said Alexandre Moreau, VP Sales and Marketing at Memento, which has sold five Farhadi films. “He is a consistent director, and a master of suspense which always draws audiences to theaters. The script is absolutely fascinating and tackles many contemporary issues of our modern societies.”
Festival favourite Farhadi, who the New York Times has called Iran’s greatest director, is one of only six filmmakers to win the international Oscar multiple times, and he is the only director to have achieved the feat since the early 1980s.
His films, including Oscar winners The Salesman and A Separation (which grossed $23M worldwide and more than $7M in U.S.), are renowned for their brilliant observation of class, gender and religious structures, particularly in Iran. Generally expertly acted, his subtle features often portray intractable conflicts and arguments which force characters to reflect on the moral grounds of their own decisions. When The Salesman won the foreign language Oscar in 2016, Farhadi famously declined to attend the event in protest at Trump’s travel ban.
Memento will also be in Berlin with the festival’s opening film, My Salinger Year, starring Sigourney Weaver and Margaret Qualley.
Farhadi is repped by UTA.