The movie serial killer shocked Cannes. ‘Women finally have bodies’

  • The movie “Holy Spider”, which refers to the murders in the Iranian city of Mashhad, shocked the city of Cannes with its brutality and scenes showing a naked female body.
  • Viewers were shocked – some left the show – but those who stayed in the cinema gave the film a standing ovation after the screening.
  • “In the past 50 years we have presented an alternative reality in Iranian cinema, and women never take off their clothes,” director Ali Abbasi said at a conference during the premiere.
  • Abbasi’s film is likely to provoke a harsh reaction from the Iranian government. Nudity is not allowed in Iranian cinemas
  • You can find more of these texts on Onet homepage

“Holly Spider” is a film by Iranian-Danish director Ali Abbasi (known by the production of “Granica”), and tells about the murders in the city of Mashhad, famous for its religiosity. In the years 2000-2001, 16 prostitutes were murdered there. In Abbasi, a local journalist named Rahimi (he visited Amir Ebrahimi) attempts to uncover the case while the frustration of police indifference struggles to find the killer. Surprisingly, the identity of the serial killer is revealed early on – it’s veteran Saeed (Mahdi Baghstani), a seemingly ordinary man who spends his nights picking up women and then brutally strangling them in his home. Their death is for him a religious ritual of purification.

“Holly Spider” has already gained fame as one of the most popular films at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. True, the brutality of the story made some viewers quit the show, but whoever decided to watch the movie to the end saw it as a contender for the Palme d’Or.

Below is the official trailer for the movie with English subtitles. The text continues below the video.

Although the film was shot in Jordan, it is about Iran – and the last government of the country will certainly not be satisfied with Abbasi’s vision. The opening scene of the movie “Holly Spider” shows a woman with bare breasts, and several sex scenes occur throughout the movie. In Iran, such images in the film are strictly prohibited. Abbasi referred to this in his speech during the premiere of the film. He concluded by saying, “This is a great day for Iranian cinema. Finally, there is at least one film in which women embody their bodies and do not sleep with scarves on their heads.” He directly added: “In the past 50 years we have presented an alternate reality in Iranian cinema. Women never take off their clothes. They sleep with five meters of cloth wrapped around their heads. They never have sex. They never have gases. … That’s not.” He is an inspiration.”

The director also spoke in Cannes about the number of Iranians who sided with the serial killer in which the film is about. “In the past 20 years, I have always thought about the massive injustice done to the real victims of this story,” Abbasi said. “And the fact that even when people condemn the murder, they never mention these women. I feel like we’re doing some justice tonight.”

Abbasi added that his film is not a reconstruction of events, but rather an interpretation of what happened in Iran more than 20 years ago. “At that time, I was living in Iran. I followed the news like everyone else does. News programs became interesting to me when a part of Iranian society started describing the killer as an uncaring hero working for the good of society. Then the killer became more than just a sick man who murdered women. “. – said the director in Cannes. He emphasized that he did not want to stir up controversy, but rather wanted to present a story.

The directors are seeking distribution in the United States. Perhaps already in Cannes, “Holly Spider” is in demand by independent distributors looking for prestigious offers.



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