Winner, Jury Grand Prize, 2009
Darbareye Elly (About Elly) Islamic Republic of Iran
Directed by Asghar Farhadi
With the return of their friend Ahmad from Germany, a group of old college friends decide to reunite for a weekend outing by the Caspian Sea. The fun starts right away as they quickly catch on to the plan of lively Sepideh, who has brought along Elly, her daughter’s kindergarten teacher, in the hope of setting her up with recently divorced Ahmad. But seemingly trivial lies, which start accumulating from the moment the group arrives at the seashore, suddenly swing round and come back full force when Elly disappears in a troubling incident. The joyful atmosphere evaporates as the friends try to understand how and why she is no longer there. Panic sets in. Accusations fly and the friends become judgemental, picking over the previous day’s conversations trying to find fault in Elly’s character. The group’s opinions of Elly veer from those of the first day, until at last the truth is out.
“I think About Elly is a seamless film. It was nominated in various categories and could have won all of them very easily. It is a superbly executed work that has tremendous power and I really admire the craft of the film, I was very very moved by the way the story evolved. It’s impossible to single out one single performance totally ensemble work, it’s a great film.” – Andrew Pike
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