Studio Dastan’s Rizoo will screen with the Iranian Independent Filmmakers Association (IIFMA) Short Views of A Revolution series on Monday, 22 May 2023, 14:15-15:55 at the Palais de Festival, Lerins Cinema 3 and ahead of the film's Marche premiere, we got a first look exclusively.
Rizoo, written and directed by Azadeh Navai, tells the story of eight-year-old Rizoo (played by newcomer Melissa Massahzadeh) who’s recently moved back from California and lives with her mother and grandmother in Tehran. Rizoo is lively, polite and smart. But when she must take a class portrait, her world suddenly becomes very complicated. Does she wear the traditional head-scarf, which all girls over the age of nine must wear—or does she display her beautiful long hair? Seemingly everyone has an opinion. We witness Rizoo navigate the challenges of growing up a misfit girl in modern Iran. She may be small in size, but her spirit is big enough to change the world.
Director Azadeh Navai says “I write, direct and edit. In recent years, especially as Iran goes through another tumultuous era, my interest has shifted towards telling universal stories about Iranians. In particular, I’ve been interested in the relationship between Iran and America. Even though I grew up in Tehran, most of my family have been living in the US for decades. In a way, I know this relationship very well. My new film, Rizoo, tells the story of a little Iranian girl from California who doesn’t know how to blend in with the rules about wearing the scarf and the politics of being a young woman in Iranian society. Sadly, the film is more relevant now than ever with the Woman, Life, Freedom movement in Iran.”
Navai adds “But as a filmmaker, this strange time in history encourages me even more to tell these stories. We’re at a point where we can talk about these subjects openly with the non-Iranian audience. In a way, we can’t lose this precious moment. What I’m hoping to achieve is that people watch Rizoo and think that they understand her world. After All, we’re not that different from each other. My future films will continue to explore the same realm, until stories from the Middle East are no longer limited by violence, misery and suffocation.”
The 15-minute film is written and directed by Azadeh Navai; produced by Brian O’Hare and was filmed in Los Angeles earlier this year.