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Iran’s ‘Disappearance’ wins at SIFF – ‘Asgari’s film resonates deeply’

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LOS ANGELES, Dec 4, (RTRS): Iranian debut film, “Disappearance” was the winner of the best film prize at the Silver Screen Awards, the competitive section of the Singapore International Film Festival.

Directed by Ali Asgari, the film tells the story of two young lovers who run from hospital to hospital, and are confronted with numerous obstacles, including bureaucratic terror. The story is entirely told in one night. The film also earned lead actress Sadaf Asgari the Silver Screen award for best performer.

The competition jury, headed by India’s Shekhar Kapur, said the film has “such amazing simplicity, truth and compassion, and yet convey(s) the complexity of a whole culture and human relationships that resonate deeply, whichever culture you belong to.”

Thailand’s Anucha Boonyawatana won the Silver Screen Award for “Malila: The Farewell Flower.” The film probes mysteries of love and spiritual redemption. The jury said it was a “quiet, extremely sensitive, beautifully shot exploration of fundamental themes of our existence.”

The Silver Screen Awards were presented on the penultimate evening of the festival. “Disappearance” will be played again on Sunday at the National Museum of Singapore. “Call Me By Your Name” was announced on Sunday as winner of the audience choice prize and was also re-screened.

The closing ceremony at the Mastercard Theatre in the Marina Bay Sands complex, was dotted with multiple moving tributes to departed festival personalities.

Lesley Ho, the former co-director of the festival who worked in various capacities for the development of Singapore cinema, died in 2017. Her son and two daughters accepted a plaque in her memory and called attention to her championing of brave films.

Kim Ji-seok, co-founder of the Busan International Film Festival, and international advisory board member of SGIFF, also passed this year and his legacy of discovering was new Asian talent was remembered. Busan programmer Kim Young-woo accepted the plaque on his family’s behalf.

Indonesian filmmaker Mouly Surya presented the SIFF Honorary Award to her compatriot Garin Nugroho. “He made a path and we follow it and that’s how it will always be,” said Surya.

Yuni Hadi, SIFF executive director, and “Reign of Assassins” producer Terencce Chang presented the Cinema Legend Award to top Japanese actor Koji Yakusho. The actor had earlier featured in a packed In Conversation event at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum.

* Best feature film “Disappearance” (aka “Napadid Shodan”) dir. Ali Asgari

* Best directorAnucha Boonyawatana for “Malila: The Farewell Flower”

* Best performanceSadaf Asgari in “Disappearance”

* Special mention “Scaffolding” (aka “Pigumim”) dir. Matan Yair

* Audience Choice Award “Call Me By Your Name”

* Best Southeast Asian short film “Jodilerks Dela Cruz, Employee of the Month” dir. Carlo Francisco Manatad

* Best Singapore short film: “Between Us Two” dir. Tan Wei Keong

* Special mention “The Malediction” dir. Makbul Mubarak

* Best short film director: Sorayos Prapapan

* Youth jury prize “Death of the Sound Man” (aka “Awasarn Sound Man”) dir. Sorayos Prapapan

* Honorary award: Garin Nugruho

* Cinema legend award: Koji Yakusho

* Inspiring woman in film award: Ana Urushadze