Yalda – A Night for Forgiveness

Yalda © Somaye Jafari

Drama, France, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Iran 2019
99 min.

Director & Screenplay:  Massoud Bakhshi 
Cinematography: Julian Atanassov
Editing: Jacques Comets
Cast: Sadaf Asgari, Behnaz Jafari, Babak Karimi, Fereshte Sadre Orafaee, Forough Ghojabagli, Arman Darvish
Producer: Marianne Dumoulin, Jacques Bidou
Production: JBA Productions S.a.r.l., Paris
Rating: 18+
Language: Original version with English subtitles


"You can still participate in our text message competition. Does Maryam Komijani deserve to be forgiven? Text 1 for yes, 2 for no."

The spotlights and cameras are all in position. The moderator takes a last quick look at his notes. The final seconds of the intro ad roll by – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – and then the reality TV show goes live. Televised on the night of Yalda, of all days, a Persian celebration of the winter solstice.

Tonight’s guest is Maryam, a young woman condemned to death. She is accompanied in the studio by Mona, who has always been like a big sister to her. Maryam was living with Mona’s father in a temporary, marriage. Now she stands accused of his murder. In front of the camera and millions of viewers, Maryam is supposed to beg for forgiveness and her life. Alluding to a real, popular Iranian TV Show, the television studio serves as a stage for a chamber play that also explores the social dimensions behind the personal drama.

Source: 70. Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin (Catalogue)

Born in Tehran, Iran, in 1972, Massoud Bakhshi has worked as film critic, scriptwriter and producer, before making 12 documentaries and short films which were awarded internationally. His first feature film A RESPECTABLE FAMILY was selected at Cannes Film Festival 2012 (Quinzaine des réalisateurs). YALDA, A NIGHT FOR FORGIVENESS is his second feature film, selected at the Word Cinema Dramatic Competition Sundance Film Festival 2020 and at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival Generation 14+ Competition 2020.

Bakhshi has written a story that explores more than just the concept of forgiveness. He has laid bare the class and socioeconomic disparities that yield different results based on who you are, and especially with who you are not.

Neely Swanson, Easyreader News


Cinema Akil, Dubai
Eintritt: 52.5 AED

27 November 2021, 7:00 pm
Q&A with director Massoud Bakhshi
2 December 2021, 9:15 pm

Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi
2 December 2021, 9:30 pm
Free entry, registration required under Splashthat

Green Pass on AlHosn app and a PCR test not older than 96 hours is needed for entry!