Yalda, A Night for Forgiveness: A Film Screening


Tue, 03/16/2021 - 6:30pm


Yalda, A Night for Forgiveness

Yalda film posterFrom Roger Ebert-

"Maryam (Sadaf Asgari) a young woman in her 20s, is strong-armed by her mother into appearing on the show “Joy of Forgiveness” on the Iranian winter solstice holiday Yalda. The widely watched “Joy of Forgiveness” is convicted murderer Maryam’s one chance to avoid being executed for the killing of her husband, a decades-older ad agency executive. If Maryam’s story resonates, she could stay alive. But she has many people to convince: not just the show’s producer, host, and control room, but also its studio audience, the 30 million viewers watching at home, and, most importantly, her husband’s only child and Maryam’s former friend Mona (Behnaz Jafari)…

“Yalda” is such a tightly contained film, with nearly everything occurring within the reality show’s set or at a nearby traffic stop, that a sense of claustrophobia is present from the beginning. Adding to that tension is how often the characters’ memories and explanations conflict with one another: Maryam’s mother has a different understanding of her daughter’s relationship with her husband than Maryam herself, while Maryam and Mona spar over how the former became ingratiated into the latter’s family. Baked into Bakhshi’s script is a consideration of Iranian social dynamics, and the cast’s naturalistic performances make clear the deep divisions in economic classes, in particular between Iranians who stay in the country and those who are able to leave for new lives in Europe, Canada, or the United States. The ensemble is tapping into real mistrust between certain groups of Iranian citizens and how contrastingly they view work, marriage, and family, and that wariness leaves an impression.”

Watch the trailer

Presenter: Gianni Izzo, PhD student, School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies

Director: Massoud Bakhshi

Language: Persian (with English subtitles)
Length: 89 minutes
This event will be on Zoom and is limited by the distributor to 50 registrants. Please register at https://arizona.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYrd-itqjMpE9yCbwgzn_jZ7QgFJoRJFZte. A reply email confirming your registration (or placement on an alternate list) and the event link will be sent as soon as possible during business hours.
A hardwired connection to the internet (i.e. not WiFi) and shutting down all other programs on your device will likely provide the best picture and sound quality. Please turn off your audio and video for the duration of the event unless called upon. Questions for the Q&A session can be submitted through the chat function AFTER the film screening has ended. Please do NOT send a chat message to everyone during the film screening or it may pop up on everyone’s screens and interrupt the film. If you’re having technical difficulties, you should send a private chat message to Megan Young. Attendees will be sent to watch the film through the distributor's site after a contextual presentation and will be asked to return for the Q&A session.
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To request disability-related accommodations that would ensure your full participation in this event, please contact: myoung@email.arizona.edu