2024 | 74 min

A Move
Against the backdrop of the Women, Life, Freedom protest movement in Tehran, filmmaker Elahe Esmaili is helping her parents to pack up the family home. As the boxes stack up, discussions flare between the generations: Elahe does not wear the hijab, embodying the courage of her generation’s struggles. But can changing a society be as simple as moving house?

Somewhere on the coast of the Bering Sea, a father and son make a living fishing in a community that seems almost outside of time. Aliaksandr Tsymbaliuk’s camera takes us in close to the subjects, recording both the harshness of their condition and the rigour of education, softened by paternal love and the universal insouciance of childhood.
A Move
Elahe Esmaili, a filmmaker, is invited to join her parents outside the Iranian capital to help them move house and spend the Eid holidays as a family. One night train later, she arrives without a hijab to meet her loved ones. Under the stern gaze of the matriarch, sisters and nieces work together to empty the house, the fortress of their memories: wedding gifts, prayer mats and a few portraits of the Ayatollah. When Uncle Hossein invites them to an official family reunion, laughter and light-heartedness give way to solemnity - and head coverings must be in place! For the parents, it's a question of respect, or rather shame. But Elahe persists: she just wants to "be herself", and covering her head is no longer an option since the recent "Woman, Life, Freedom" revolution. Through its depiction of a family weekend, the coming together of three generations, confidences over tea, and a house being emptied, this film shifts the lines, with both small movements and big bursts of courage, and is dedicated to Jina Mahsa Amini.

Anne Delseth

On a coastline of the Bering Sea, boats in single file tow a whale to shore. It will soon be methodically butchered by the community where Koka, this film's eponymous hero, is growing up. Raised the hard way by a short-tempered father, the boy, who suffers from a heart defect, often escapes from the family den to smoke with his mates, play at being captain of a fishing boat rusting in the dock or race around the dirt tracks in a homemade cart pulled by his dog. In short, Koka creates his own carefree world in a place where existence equals subsistence. Aliaksandr Tsymbaliuk's camera avoids dwelling on the misery and hardship, and never intrudes into the intimacy of the protagonists. It enables them to be free, allowing the slightest gesture, the smallest game, or the simplest word to capture the affectionate bond between father and son. They flourish in the frame like spontaneous epiphanies, like a form of documentary blessing. With this very human first film, Tsymbaliuk has already established himself as a master of the portrait.
Emmanuel Chicon
Elahe Esmaili
A Move, 2024
Can I Hug You, 2023
The Doll, 2021

Aliaksandr Tsymbaliuk
Koka, 2024
Queendom, 2023

International Medium Length & Short Film Competition

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