Disappearance, which beat seven other films to win the top honor, tells a tale of two young lovers, who, in the course of one cold night in Tehran go from hospital to hospital in search of help. Along the way they face the tragic consequences of their youthful naïveté.
The four-member jury, headed by India’s Shekhar Kapur, said the film illustrated “such amazing simplicity, truth and compassion, and yet convey(s) the complexity of a whole culture and human relationships that resonate deeply, whichever culture you belong to.”
In an earlier review of the film for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Dimitri Eipides said:
“Continuing his collaboration with writing partner Farnoosh Samadi, Asgari shows the modest humanism and controlled filmmaking we’ve come to expect from Iranian masters like Jafar Panahi and Asghar Farhadi. First-timers Sadaf Asgari and Amir Reza Ranjbaran deliver remarkable performances as the teenage couple, the camera capturing their every nervous hesitation and awkward trepidation. Quiet and absorbing, Disappearance shows us the complex reality of Iran’s strict cultural mores while casting a compassionate gaze on the resilience of youth.”
In addition to winning best film, actress Sadaf Agsari, who played Sara in Disappearance, earned the award for Best Performance.
The jury appreciated her “ability to convey complex emotions in an amazingly understated performance” and said that she drew the audience “into her world” and “grips” the viewer to “explore every small nuance of the character’s intense emotions”.
Anucha Boonyawatana from Thailand was selected as best director for his movie “Malila: The Farewell Flower” in the Feature Film Competition.
Jodilerks Dela Cruz, Employee of the Month by Filipino director Carlo Francisco Manatad was named best Southeast Asian short film while Sorayos Prapapan from Thailand won the best director award for Death of the Sound Man in this section.