“Zalava”, a drama by Iranian director Arsalan Amiri, has won the grand prize at Venice’s International Film Critics’ Week.
The movie is set in a remote mountainous Kurdish village called “Zalava”, in western Iran, in 1978. The drama pits science against superstition as a skeptical military officer investigates reports of demonic possessions and finds his beliefs tested by a mysterious exorcist.
In their joint statement, jurors praised Arsalan Amiri’s “fresh talent” and “playful cinematic language”. They also lauded the movie’s clear stance against “superstition and ignorance.”
In February, Amiri’s drama received the award for best directorial debut at the 39th Fajr Film Festival in the Iranian capital Tehran.