In 1978, Massoud is tasked with investigating a case in Zalava, a small Kurdish village in the Iranian mountains whose inhabitants claim to be persecuted by a demonic presence. As a sceptic, the police officer is hell-bent on proving those superstitions wrong as swiftly as possible. With help from Malileh, a scientist sent by the government, Massoud will have to contend with an influencial exorcist and try to rid the local community of his control… Taking place on the eve of the Islamic Revolution, the Zalava plot questions the concept of faith by making science and beliefs clash, thus slowly blurring the line between them. Although the film is constantly on the verge of fantasy, it skilfully cultivates doubt by playing with the invisible and the suggestive. This results in a clever supernatural thriller from a region where the genre is rather rare. With a degree from the Tehran University of Art, Arsalan Amiri started his career in the early 2000s when he wrote scripts and directed a few documentaries. As a loyal collaborator of film director Ida Panahandeh, he co-wrote Nahid in 2015, which won the Prix de l’avenir in Cannes, and worked on the writing, editing, and production of her next three films. Arsalan Amiri is part of the Kurdish minority and wanted to tell its story through fiction. That is what he accomplished with Zalava, his first feature film.

Arsalan Amiri, Tahmineh Bahramalian, Ida Panahandeh
Ramin Kousha
Emad Khodabakhsh
Mohammad Rasouli
Navid Pourfaraj, Pouria Rahimi Sam, Hoda Zeinolabedin