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FIFF gives Golshifteh Farahani and Michel Gondry carte blanche

Golshifteh Farahani et Michel Gondry s’emparent des cartes blanches

The Fribourg International Film Festival (FIFF), which will run from 15th to 24th March 2024, has given two major figures from contemporary cinema carte blanche. The peerless Franco-Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani will tell the story of Iran through six socially engaged films . French filmmaker Michel Gondry will share six of his favourite films, while the Festival, whose 38th edition has a distinctly hip-hop flavour, will show two of his own productions – a feature and a documentary – as well as Michel Gondry, Do it Yourself!, a celluloid celebration of the director's craftsmanship and homemade aesthetic by one of his closest collaborators.

Diaspora : Golshifteh Farahani and Iran
"The death of Mahsa Amini on 16 September 2022 sparked a wave of protests across Iran. However, other devastating events around the world are drawing attention and support away from this resistance movement. FIFF is using the modest means at its disposal to put Iran back in the spotlight, hence our invitation to Golshifteh Farahani, one of the most admirable figures in Iranian cinema", Thierry Jobin, FIFF Artistic Director, explains. As a teenager living in Iran, a man threw acid at Farahani because she "was not covered enough". She shaved her head twice during her youth, sacrificing part of her femininity in order to "be free". Her output as an actress is prodigious and her Hollywood breakthrough came when she starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Ridley Scott's Body of Lies (2008). The Iranian authorities were incensed when she promoted the film without a hijab and confiscated her passport. Their actions ultimately drove Farahani into exile. Since then, she has forged an impressive international career, starring in films like Jim Jarmusch's Paterson and Manele Labidi's Un divan à Tunis.

Fish and Cat, Shahram Mokri, 2013
Fish and Cat, Shahram Mokri, 2013

The Franco-Iranian actress has chosen six films that offer the FIFF audience a glimpse into Iranian life and culture. The films in this deeply personal carte blanche are, in Farahani's own words, "extraordinary and insane". The Diaspora section line-up includes the offbeat Botox, in which two sisters falsely claim that their missing brother has fled to Germany. It is an ever more absurd and spiralling story that also addresses the more serious issue of female agency in a country where men have the last word. There is also the dizzying one-shot thriller  Fish and Cat, which won at Venice in 2013 and FIFF in 2014, and was inspired by the true story of a restaurant in northern Iran that allegedly served human flesh. There are six more films from Iran in the International Competition: Short Films.

Sur la carte de Michel Gondry
Every year, FIFF invites an artist to curate the Sur la carte de… section. Following on from Bong Joon-ho, Geraldine Chaplin, Ken Loach, Étienne Daho and Fatih Akin, it is the turn of Michel Gondry to present six of his favourite films. The French director began his illustrious career by making iconic music videos for artists like Björk, Daft Punk and Radiohead. His feature film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a beautifully bizarre sci-fi romance which he co-wrote with Charlie Kaufman, won the 2005 Oscar for Best Screenplay. "This all-round artistic genius has accepted FIFF 2024's carte blanche. The films Michel Gondry has chosen are full of wit and wild-eyed wonder, just like the man himself", Thierry Jobin notes enthusiastically. They include Agnès Jaoui's bittersweet comedy Le Goût des autres (2000), Ken Loach's classic children's film Kes (1969), and I soliti ignoti (Big Deal on Madonna Street), a spiky social comedy from 1958. The 38th edition also features two films by Gondry on its programme: The We and the I, and Dave Chappelle’s Block Party a documentary that follows stars of the hip-hop movement like the Fugees, The Roots and Erykah Badu as they take part in an incredible music event in Brooklyn. Last but not least, the FIFF favourites section will screen Michel Gondry, Do it Yourself!, an insider's portrait of the master of cinematic bricolage.

Kes, Ken Loach, 1969
Kes, Ken Loach, 1969

Also, Gondry, who is currently working on a musical written and produced by Pharrell Williams, will offer a Conversation via video link, schedule permitting (free admission; details from 28 February 2024 on

Diaspora : Golshifteh Farahani and Iran

  • Bitter Dream, Mohsen Amiryoussefi, Iran, 2004
  • Botox, Kaveh Mazaheri, Iran, Canada, 2020
  • Fish and Cat, Shahram Mokri, Iran, 2013
  • Parviz, Majid Barzegar, Iran, 2012
  • The Warden, Nima Javidi, Iran, 2019
  • The White Meadows, Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran, 2009
  • FIFForum : conversation with Golshifteh Farahani (to be confirmed)

Sur la carte de Michel Gondry

  • Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Alex Gibney, United States, 2005 (documentary)
  • Le Goût des autres, Agnès Jaoui, France, 2000
  • Kes, Ken Loach, United Kingdom, 1969
  • Living in Oblivion, Tom DiCillo, United States, 1995
  • I soliti ignoti (Le Pigeon), Mario Monicelli, Italy, 1958
  • Le Voyage en ballon, Albert Lamorisse, France, 1960

Et aussi:

  • Michel Gondry, Do it Yourself!, François Nemeta, France, 2023 (documentary)
    FIFF favourites section
  • Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, Michel Gondry,  United States, 2005 (documentary)
    Genre Cinema: Hip-hop Culture! section
  • The We and the I, Michel Gondry, United Kingdom, United States, France, 2012
    Genre Cinema: Hip-hop Culture! section
  • FIFForum : conversation with Michel Gondry via video (to be confirmed)

The full programme of the 38th FIFF (15h–24th March) will be unveiled on Wednesday 28th February 2024. 

Michel Gondry, Do it Yourself!
Michel Gondry, Do it Yourself!, François Nemeta, France, 2023

image en background

Conception et développement: Agence MiNT

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