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Check out the trailer for Batin Ghobadi’s debut feature Mardan, also Iran’s official entry for Oscar for foreign film for the upcoming Academy Awards. The film, which premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival, follows a police officer gripped by a traumatic childhood memory as he searches for a missing man in the rugged mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Mardan stars Hossein Hassan, Helan Abdullah, Ismail Zagros and Feyyaz Duman. The film is produced by Bahman Ghobadi (A Time for Drunken Horses, 2000), the older brother of Batin.

A police officer finds himself haunted by a traumatic childhood memory as he searches for a missing man in the rugged mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, in this striking feature debut by Batin Ghobadi.

Kurdistan is much in the news these days, and over the years the Festival has been proud to showcase the work of two of its most distinctive filmmakers, Bahman Ghobadi and Hiner Saleem. Now, Ghobadi’s brother, Batin, has emerged with a highly enigmatic and startling first feature film.

Placing his narrative in the stunning, rugged and wild mountainous landscapes of Iraqi Kurdistan, the younger Ghobadi tells the story of a police officer, Mardan, who is haunted by a disturbing childhood memory.

Mardan is a serious, brooding officer who is called into action to investigate the disappearance of a young man. The man’s wife is extremely worried that foul play may be involved, as he was carrying a lot of cash, so Mardan sets out with the woman and her young boy to try to solve the mystery.

But, like Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in AnatoliaMardan is far more than an ordinary police procedural; it features a trip through a man’s mind as well as a journey through the haunting terrain. Both movies, too, are suffused with the sense of an obscure past that gradually, over the course of the film, reveals its true face.

Mardan is not only one of the most remarkably shot and composed films of the year, but also one of the most shadowy and sublime. Stalking the Kurdish countryside, trying to solve the case of the missing man, Mardan finds himself revisiting his own personal history.

Ghobadi understands that, while present-day Kurdistan may be the most stable it has been in decades, the past — a violent one, at that — still lingers around the edges of everything. Toronto International Film Festival

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