Paraphrasing the title of the Oscar-winning 2011 Iranian film “A Separation” directed by Asghar Farhadi, another story of the separation of Iranians comes to the screen -- “Sayda,” based on the personal experience of first-timer Iranian Australian director Noora Niasari, remarkably delivers a vivid portrayal of an abused Iranian single mother and her daughter roaming in a foreign land.
|Director Nooria Niasari, Australia. Photo ny José Alberto Hermosillo. Copyright © Festival in LA, 2023
The collaborative effort took six years to come to fruition. Noora’s mother was not only her inspiration but a person who stood up by her side during production. Academy Award-winning actress Cate Blanchett, who worked as an executive producer, was an essential part of the project, said Niasari at a Q&A after the screening of her film during the AFI Fest in Los Angeles in 2023.
The Persian-born director Noora Niasari, who grew up in Australia, went back to Iran at the age of nineteen to learn more about her roots and cultural identity and other elements that would help her to enrich the film. The symbolism of Shayda’s clothes, shapes, and colors represents the emotional journey and a transformation, making Shayda’s silhouette become a butterfly, visually speaking.
Over the Persian New Year Celebration, Shayda would like to take comfort in the Nowruz rituals that symbolize a new beginning. But real life takes work. Escaping domestic violence and her country’s totalitarian ideology. Sayda needed to recapture her cultural identity by keeping in touch with her Iranian food, poetry, music, dances, traditions, and, above all, with the Iranian people in Australia.
Staring Teheran-born actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi (“Holy Spider” & “Tatami”) is remarkable as Shayda. She displays a wide variety of emotions, playing a mother who is aware of her daughter’s well-being but who also needs some empathy for herself.
|Actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi & Selina Zahednia, Photo courtesy of Sony Classics, 2023,
“Shayda” is a woman-driven story that describes the repercussions of the Australian immigration system and resonates as part of the image of the Great Southern Land we have not seen before.
Noora Niasari dedicated her first work to her mom and all the brave women of Iran. She will continue working on her trilogy and just announced that her next project is an adaptation of Mahsa Rahman’s novel “Raya” in North America.
|Director Nooria Niasari & film critic José Alberto Hermosillo. Copyright © Festival in LA, 2023
|Actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi & film critic José Alberto Hermosillo. Copyright © Festival in LA, 2023
IF YOU ARE READING FROM A MOBILE DEVICE, CLICK: view web version FOR OTHER COOL FEATURES SUCH AS TRANSLATE POWERED BY GOOGLE, AN INTERACTIVE FILM FESTIVAL CALENDAR, AND MORE AWESOME ARTICLES.
Festival in LA ©2024