5th of February 2024   |   News    |       |    97

A Look at "In Search of Farideh" / In Search of Lost Identity

A Look at

The documentary "In Search of Farideh," which is currently being screened online, explores the Iranian identity and the quest to discover one's roots.

According to the Public Relations of the Documentary, Experimental, and Animation Film Center, Samaneh Estad, the film revolves around the lives of the artistic couple Azadeh Mousavi and Kourosh Ataei. The directors, previously successful with the documentary "From Iran to Paradise," have now embarked on a new project, searching for the lost identity of an Iranian.

"In Search of Farideh" shone brightly at the 11th edition of the Cinema Verite Festival, winning four significant awards for Best Editing, Best Music, Best Film, and the Special Jury Prize. It also received the trophy for the Best Film at the grand ceremony of Iranian cinema.

The documentary tells the story of a girl abandoned at the Imam Reza shrine, left there forty years ago and entrusted to a foster home. This girl, named Farideh, is handed over to a Dutch couple as an infant, growing up in Amsterdam with an unclear identity in a Dutch family. The film explores Farideh's struggles with cultural alienation from her early school days, as she realizes she doesn't belong to the country or family she's been raised in for forty years. The turning point in her identity crisis occurs when, during her Dutch mother's pregnancy, she informs Farideh that her brother will be born from her womb, but Farideh came from another country.

Farideh, lacking the fair skin and blue/green eyes of Europeans, experiences cultural estrangement from the beginning. Her entire forty-year life is spent in the sorrow of an uncertain identity. Finally, after four decades, she decides to return to Iran, hoping to find her original family – the ones who abandoned her.

"In Search of Farideh" is a well-crafted and fluid documentary that presents a recurring theme from a unique perspective. Although it holds the cliché of a lost identity, the film becomes different and impactful through its engaging narrative. Farideh overcomes her fears and returns to Iran. Three Mashhadi families, from the lower social strata, eagerly await her arrival, each hoping to find their lost child. However, Farideh belongs to none of these families. Without locating her original family, she returns to a land that is not hers, but this time with a heart full of love and a newfound identity.

The film's narrative is captivating enough to motivate the audience to follow it. However, the most important aspect is the accuracy of each element and story in the film. Farideh is the most crucial part of the story, serving as the main character who creates the story's narrative knots. Adhering to this seemingly simple point is the most significant factor in the film's well-crafted nature. The directors have balanced every emotion and story in the film. They present hope and despair, making the audience laugh, cry, and sigh without overloading them.

"In Search of Farideh" is a production in collaboration with the Documentary, Experimental, and Animation Film Center.