2021, Arsalan Amiri, Drama/Horror
LENGTH: 93 min
LANGUAGE: Kurdish & Persian w/English subtitles
FORMATS: DCP, Blu-ray & DVD
DIRECTOR: Arsalan Amiri
CAST: Navid Pourfaraj, Pouria Rahimi Sam, Hoda Zeinolabedin, Baset Rezaei, Shaho Rostami, Fereydoun Hamedi, Zahed Zandi, Saleh Rahimi
CREW: CINEMATAGRAPHER: Mohammad Rasouli; EDITOR: Emad Khodabakhsh; Sound Editors: Amir Hossein Ghasemi; COMPOSERS: Ramin Kousha; PRODUCERS: Rouhollah Baradari, Samira Baradari; CO-PRODUCER: Ruth Yoshie Linton;
Investigating reports of demonic possessions in a remote village, a skeptical military officer finds his beliefs tested by an enigmatic exorcist. Set in 1978 at the onset of the Iranian Revolution, the film opens in the Kurdish village of Zalava, nestled among the mountains of northwestern Iran, and cursed by an ancient fear that there’s a demon amongst them. So consumed by this superstition, the villagers frequently resort to bloodletting in crude, often deadly, amateur exorcisms. When Massoud, a young gendarmerie sergeant (Navid Pourfaraj), attempts to circumvent these rituals by confiscating Zalava’s weapons, his actions lead to a shocking death. The incident incenses the townsfolk, but it also draws out Amardan (Pouria Rahimi Sam), a shaman who claims that he can provide a permanent solution to the terrifying curse. However, when Massoud arrests the exorcist on charges of fraud, the villagers revolt and anger escalates, trapping the gendarmerie and his lover, a government doctor, in a cursed house, surrounded by villagers who believe they are both possessed by the demon.
“EXCELLENT…Amiri’s visual sense, along with a surprising streak of dark humor, keeps it humming from first frame to last.” – Read More
“While the film can be appreciated simply as something new in Iranian genre cinema, the allegorical content is even more fascinating.” – Read More
“Zalava brings a kind of horror to the table that illuminates the internal struggle between faith/logic and the validation of a higher power thanks to solid acting, assured filmmaking, an engaging mix of genre thrills and acute social satire.” – Read More
“[Amiri] has mashed together a story of demonic possession and romance with devilishly dark satire … The director takes chances that pay off.” – Read More
“Arsalan Amiri is skilled in his direction, aiming for less is more, and allegory over sensationalism. It’s an unexpected, but gripping take on the genre.” – Read More
“For all the horror titles sucking up most of the air right now, Zalava is a mini-masterpiece that you should keep on your radar.” – Read More
“Zalava is a satirical take on mob mentality and the circles those caught under its spell will run to prove the most insane explanation for any given event is the sanest.” – Read More
“Pourfaraj is superb in the lead, his Massoud stiff-backed, primly moustached, yet achingly human.”
“Creates a heightened mood of sustained tension with hardly a visual effect in sight, moulded through stellar performances and a subtly oppressive directing style that communicates constant paranoia even in its most absurd moments.”
“A feature thats dripping in atmosphere and a devilishly dark sense of humour, Amiri demonstrates just how contagious superstition and mob mentality can be.”
“Beautifully shot and cleverly constructed, Zalava has all the components to get under your skin despite its less than traditional horror trappings.”
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