Iranian director dedicates Marrakech film festival win to 'women of Iran'
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Iranian director Emad Aleebrahim Dehkordi won the Etoile d'Or top award at the Marrakech International Film Festival late Saturday for his debut feature "A Tale of Shemroon" and dedicated his prize to "all the women of Iran".
The film explores the life of a young Iranian living in Shemroon, north of Tehran, who gets pulled deeper into the drug trade while trying to make some easy money through his connections with Tehran's wealthy youth.
"I want to pay tribute to all those who lost their lives fighting to regain the freedom to be themselves," said Dehkordi, referring to the civil unrest in Iran sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September.
"I dedicate my award to all the women of Iran and to the young generation who risk their lives for freedom," added the 43-year-old director.
A crackdown on the protests over the death of Amini has left at least 378 dead, according to a new report released Saturday by the Norway-based Iran Human Rights group.
Amini died three days after her arrest in Tehran by the notorious morality police over an alleged breach of the Islamic republic's strict dress code for women.
The film festival jury -- chaired by Oscar-winning Italian director Paolo Sorrentino and including French actor Tahar Rahim, Lebanese director Nadine Labaki and the German-American actress Diane Kruger -- awarded the best directing prize to Switzerland's Carmen Jaquier for her drama "Thunder".
The jury prize was shared by director Maryam Touzani for "The Blue Caftan", which is Morocco's entry for the Oscars, and Portugal's Cristele Alves Meira for "Alma Viva".
South Korea's Choi Seung-yoon took the best actress award for her performance in Canadian director Anthony Shim's "Riceboy Sleeps" while Indonesia's Arswendy Bening Swara claimed best actor honours for his role in compatriot Makbul Mubarak's thriller "Autobiography".
"In the selection, there were only dramas, perhaps the new directors are interested in dramatic subjects," Sorrentino told AFP.
The closing ceremony paid tribute to daring and versatile British actress Tilda Swinton, who chaired the festival jury at its last pre-Covid edition in 2019.