Controversial and brutal thriller inspired by one of Iran’s most infamous serial killers.
In the back alleys of the Iranian city Mashhad, a serial killer hunts sex workers in the name of Allah. Journalist Rahimi – excellently played by Zar Amir-Ebrahimi who won the award for best actress in Cannes – is frustrated with the government and police’s poor attempt at stopping the killer, and makes it her mission to stop him herself. At the same time the serial killer Saeed attempts to maintain the illusion of a happy family life while he is drawn deeper and deeper into his obsession with «cleansing» the streets of Mashhad on a mission from God. What follows is a dark and brutal cat and mouse hunt that is as much a serial killer thriller in the vein of David Fincher as it is an exploration and critique of misogynous societal structures in Iran.
Holy Spider is inspired by the real serial killer Saeed Hanari, a family man who murdered 16 sex workers in Masshad between 2000 and 2001. Director Ali Abbasi made himself known with Border in 2018 and is back with a controversial and very brutal film that takes the well-known serial killer genre and turns it on its head. The film premiered in the main competition at the film festival in Cannes, where it was met with raving reviews and was one of the most talked-about films at the festival.
Intro, Forouzan Jamshidnejad
All three screenings of HOLY SPIDER are introduced by actor in the film, Forouzan Jamshidnejad.
Ali Abbasi (b. 1981) is a Swedish-Iranian filmmaker educated at The National Film School of Denmark. Abbasi has worked with film all over Scandinavia. His first film, Shelley (2016), had Ellen Dorrit Petersen in one of the main roles. He broke through internationally with Border (2018) which won the Un certain regard award in Cannes and was later nominated for an Oscar for Best Make-Up. Holy Spider premiered in the main competition in Cannes earlier this year.
This film is part of
Original title Holy Spider
Country Iran, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, France
Director Ali Abbasi
Screenplay Ali Abbasi, Afshin Kamran Bahrami
Cinematography Nadim Carlsen
Producer Sol Bondy, Jacob Jarek
Cast Zar Amir-Ebrahimi, Mehdi Bajestani, Arash Ashtiani, Forouzan Jamshidnejad.
Production Company Profile Pictures, ONE TWO Films
Distribution Mer Film
Runtime 1h 56m
Age limit 15
This film is in competition for the Audience Award.