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Cannes Film Festival: LEILA'S BROTHERS by Saeed Roustaee

A storyline that sheds light on the political situation in Iran and the role of women in the nation. Filmmaker Saeed Roustaee, whose project was part of the official selection for feature films in Cannes, talks about Leila and her brothers.

AM: Saeed, in your opinion, why is Iranian cinema becoming a signature in the industry?
It’s not something new to us because Iran has always had a rich history of cinema with great directors who haven’t always been acknowledged out of Iran. If they had the opportunity I have today I am sure they would have had an international recognition.

AM: In your film the lead character Leila is the breadwinner, is this your form of showing the strength of women in Iran?
I think I like my point of view to be expressed through my film, it speaks for itself. If you perceived that then my point was made.

AM: And how did you prepare for such a dense topic?
It’s very time consuming, a long process of developing the script, casting and scouting the location. It’s something I have to do carefully and patiently. It was a really difficult long shooting, we had sequences that were hard to orchestrate. And we had two full months of night shooting, something that was gloomy for some of us.

AM: Your feeling about being in Cannes?
Cannes is a dream for any director, if a film debuts here, it means it will be exposed well, will be reviewed and seen properly. It’s actually the best way to start the life of a film.
Synopsis: At 40 years old, Leila has spent her whole life taking care of her parents and her four brothers. The family argues constantly and is crushed by debts, in a country caught in the grip of international economic sanctions. As her brothers are trying to make ends meet, Leila formulates a plan: to start a family business that would save them for poverty. While they are in desperate need of financial support, Leila finds out that their father Esmail has secretly been hiding a family heirloom. He had been saving it as an offering to become the new Patriarch of the clan, the highest honor in the Persian tradition. This uncovering will bring chaos to the already fragile family dynamics. As the father's health deteriorates, the actions of each family member will gradually lead the family to the brink of implosion.

By Victor N.