The White Meadows (2009)

Iranian film festival Írán:ci returns to Prague cinemas

The 10th edition of the Írán:ci Film Festival of contemporary Iranian movies returns to Prague’s Kino Světozor, Bio Oko, and Kino Lucerna from January 11-15. The annual festival was significantly limited in 2021 and 2022 due to the pandemic and related restrictions in the Czech Republic.

The motto of this year’s festival is “Women, Life, Freedom,” and comes on the back of widespread protests in Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody.

The 22-year-old was killed after being arrested for wearing an “improper hijab” in September; violent months-long protests against the Iranian regime have resulted in another 585 deaths to date, according to Reuters.

This year’s Írán:ci Film Festival is dedicated to those who have risked their lives to stand up to the regime during the recent protests, and will focus on works by Iranian filmmakers currently in prison or in exile. Movies that have been banned by Iranian censors over the past three decades will also be screened.

The Írán:ci festival will launch with an opening ceremony at Prague’s Kino Lucerna before transitioning to Kino Světozor and Bio Oko. After wrapping up in Prague, the festival of Iranian films will move on to Kino Art in Brno from January 17-19.

Jafar Panahi in No Bears (2022)

Among the films screening at this year’s Írán:ci festival will be No Bears, the latest feature from acclaimed filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who was arrested ahead of the film’s release for making “propaganda against the regime” and is currently serving a six-year prison sentence.

The narrative of the semi-autobiographical No Bears , in which the director stars as a fictionalized version of himself, involves film censorship in Iran as a director struggles to make a movie. Filmed secretly in Iran away from the eyes of censors, No Bears won the Special Jury Prize at last year’s Venice International Film Festival in September.

The exclusive screening of No Bears at the Írán:ci Film Festival has been arranged in cooperation with the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The Iranian feature Summer with Hope won the main prize at the 2022 edition of the Karlovy Vary festival last July.

Also screening at this year’s Írán:ci festival will be Mohammad Rasoulof’s 2009 political satire The White Meadows (pictured at top), which landed the director his own six-year prison sentence. Rasoulof hasn’t shied away from political allegory in features since his release, including 2017’s excellent A Man of Integrity. He was again sentenced to prison and banned from filmmaking in 2020.

“The upcoming Írán:ci Film Festival is different to those of previous years,” festival organizer Kaveh Daneshmand states in a press release.

“It will bring an insider insight into Iranian politics and cinema, which have been inseparable from each other for the last 4 decades. The Iranian guests who will take part in discussions during the 10th festival will offer audiences a whole new approach to Iranian cinema against the background of the current events in Iran.”

More information about this year’s Írán:ci Film Festival can be found at the official festival website.


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at

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