6-8 October 2019

22nd Asian Project Market

2006 Project

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PROJECT Answers to Letters (35mm / Color / 110min / Iran) NO 3
PRODUCTION Iranian Independents
Born in 1962 in Khoramabad, Parviz graduated from Tehran′s IRIB College with major in filmmaking in 1989. He started to write short stories and making short films since early 80s. He wrote the first draft of [The White Balloon], scripted by Abbas KIAROSTAMI and directed by Jafar PANAHI in 1994. He made his debut feature film, [Traveller from the South] in 1996 which was shown in more than 40 festivals and brought him international recognition by receiving several prizes such as 4 top awards at 4 Iranian festivals as well as the best film award at 1997 Tokyo International Film Festival, 1998 Annonay Film Festival and 1998 Cinequest . In 2002, he edited Babak PAYAMI′s debut feature film, [One More Day] and directed his second film, [Whispers] which toured many international film festivals around the world. In the same year, he also wrote and directed his third film, [Deep Breath]. The film was selected at Directors’ Fortnight section of 2002 Cannes Film Festival and become the turning point of his career thanks to the success it brought him. It also was screened and awarded at many of world’s renowned film festivals: the best script prize at Fajr Film Festival in Tehran, FIPRESCI Award at Pusan International Film Festival, Jury Special award at Turin Film Festival and the best film award of Belgrade Author Film Festival to name a few.
Mr. Bayat, a government executive holding an official order, arranges the release of one of Iran’s chess masters from prison for three days to attend the Asian Chess Competition held in Tehran.

The thirty-year old champion is Behzad, and they promise him a two-thousand dollar cash prize and a ten-year reduction on his prison term if he wins the first place; he’d be out in twenty years.

Bayat tells the prisoner that very few people are actually aware that he has been in jail, and it would be better for his reputation and dignity if he pretend to have been away from competition because of his health problems.

Behzad has asked that his five-year old boy and three-year old daughter, whom he has never allowed to visit him in prison, attend the games. In the meantime, since her family forced her to, Behzad’s wife left the kids after he went to jail and now it’s Behzad’s mother who takes care of the children.

During the competition, Behzad, surreptitiously being under surveillance, goes to his kids in their room and spends his rest time with them, after each move when he stops the watch. He learns that the kids know all about him, but he still denies being in jail and promises to be back with them soon. Behzad and the kids spend two days and nights together, and in these two days, the player is in the best form.

On the third day, when the children’s uncle comes to take them away, Behzad breaks and loses his concentration and being just one win short of the championship, and finally runs away.

He spends a few frenzied hours in Tehran trying vainly to get in touch with his wife and finding two of his chess pen-pals, connecting with a girl and a deaf clockmaker, and later in the day, when the girl who is short of time and has to take her university exams, refuses his invitation to join him for a quick bite, gets out of town, on foot, and late that night presents himself at the prison house, outside of Tehran.
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