Holy Spider

Source: Wild Bunch International

‘Holy Spider’

Iran-born, Denmark-based director Ali Abbasi, attending Cannes with his latest film Holy Spider which premiered in competition, said the story focusing on a serial killer in the Iranian holy city of Mashhad highlights issues with women’s rights in Iran despite not having been purposefully tailored to take an activist approach to women’s rights.

The film industry in Iran “has been presenting a parallel reality of the country in the past 50 years,” Abbasi said. “Within it, women sleep with all their clothes on. They have metres of cloth around their head.”

“They never have sex or touch anyone. They barely walk. A kiss on the cheek and you cut to a flower in the wind.”

Holy Spider’s red carpet on Sunday was disrupted by a group of feminists dressed in black protesting against feminicide linked the film Feminist Riposte, in Cannes as a Special Screening and sold by Wild Bunch International. They carried a large banner containing the names of French femicide victims, posed with their fists raised and let off black smoke bombs. 

“We didn’t do the movie to highlight women’s conditions in Iran, we didn’t do it as an activist work, but it does take up this theme,” the director said. “Is this issue limited to Iranian society? I don’t think so. Have we come a long way in Europe and did we get to a more equal place? Is it a less violent place against women? I think so, but is this enough? I don’t think so.”