Massoud Bakhshi: Yalda, a night for forgiveness (Yalda, la nuit du pardon)

Yalda, a night for forgiveness (Yalda, la nuit du pardon), Massoud Bakshi, 89‘, Frankreich / Deutschland / Schweiz / Luxemburg / Iran, ZDF 11.12.2022, OV with German subtitles

Based on an Iranian reality show, Massoud Bakhshi’s film stages a drama that unfolds in a TV studio over one evening during the Yalda festival. The guest on the live show is Maryam, sentenced to death for the murder of an elderly family friend with whom she had a temporary marriage. Seated across from her is Mona, his adult daughter, who holds the power to decide about life and death, while the audience is invited to televote via SMS. The more calls received, the higher the blood money. “To me, Yalda is first and foremost a ‘trial film’,” says the director, “in which I invite viewers to question their own roles as judges. I would also like the film to be a reflection of television.” And in this sense, television does become a “window to the world”.

Massoud Bahkshi (*1972) is an Iranian film director, scriptwriter, producer and film critic. He made several short films and documentary works before his international breakthrough at Cannes in 2012 with his feature-length debut A Respectable Family. In cooperation with Das kleine Fernsehspiel, he made another feature film, Yalda, a night for forgiveness (2022), which was screened and won awards at Sundance and Berlin.