World Premiere of Mohammad Rasoulof’s ‘The Seed of the Sacred Fig’ to Standing Ovation

This afternoon, Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof premiered his latest feature film, The Seed of the Sacred Figin Competition here at the Cannes Film Festival to a nearly 15-minute standing ovation.

The fact that the filmmaker was present is especially poignant after he fled his home country through what he described to Deadline as a “complicated” and “harrowing” journey across Europe to a safe house in Germany. Back in Iran, Rasoulof is wanted by authorities who sentenced him to eight years in prison along with a series of physical punishments including flogging for “signing statements and making films and documentaries.”

Rasoulof appealed his sentence and during the lengthy legal process he made a plan to flee Iran, which, he told us, took 28 days of travel in total.

Best known for its hard-hitting and politically driven features like Manuscripts do not burn (2013) and A man of integrity (2017), Rasoulof has been targeted by the hardline government of the Islamic Republic of Iran throughout his career for challenging its authoritarian rule.

Previously, during this Cannes Film Festival, Neon acquired the North American rights to The Seed of the Sacred Fig starring Setareh Abdolmaleki, Zahra Rostami, Amineh Mazroei Arani and Niousha Akhshi Vardoogh.

The film follows Iman, an investigative judge at Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, who struggles with mistrust and paranoia as political protests escalate across the country and his gun mysteriously disappears. Suspecting the involvement of his wife Najmeh and his daughters Rezvan and Sana, he imposes drastic measures at home, increasing tensions. Little by little, social norms and the rules of family life are being suspended.

Rasoulof produced the film with Amin Sadraei, Mani Tilgner, Rozita Hendijanian and Jean-Christophe Simon. It is co-produced by ARTE France Cinéma with the support of Aide aux Cinémasdu Monde, the Center National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée and the Institut Français with the support of MOIN Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein.

The production companies are the German Run Way Pictures and the French PARALLEL45. Films Boutique is handling worldwide sales rights to the film, and PyramideFilms will distribute it in France this fall.

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