If you talk to someone in the film industry who has won an award, and you ask them where they keep it, more often than not they say the loo.
The intention presumably is to be seen to be humble, by not displaying it front and centre whenever someone walks in.
But it is a little disrespectful to the award itself, being placed in quite possibly the most unpleasant room of the house.
For British-Iranian director Hassan Nazer’s latest feature, he makes a film award his maguffin that goes on a bit of an adventure itself.
A young woman arrives in the bustling city of Tehran and gets a cab. It’s not long before she decides she needs to pop elsewhere and asks the cab driver to stop. He does so, albeit reluctantly, as he’s not legally allowed to park there. This is soon confirmed when he gets moved on by the police, leaving his fare behind. The problem is, she left her bag in his cab, and he doesn’t quite know what to do with it.
He gets advised to take it to the post office, and see if they can forward it on to someone. Once there, going through the contents, they discover an international film award, the likes of which they’ve never seen in the flesh in their lives.
They decide to forward it on, where hopefully the rightful owner will pick it up. But a member of staff can’t help themselves, and decides to take it, just for one night, back to his villages so all his friends and family can take a picture with it. Or that was the idea; unfortunately he loses it along the way, and the international award soon finds itself a long way from home.
There’s something cheerfully Meta about Hassan’s latest film, as it’s quite possibly the purest form of a love letter to cinema that you can get.
It is beautifully shot, with some outstanding performances, especially from its younger members of the cast, in particular young Yahya (Parsa Maghami), who somehow imbues the spirit of young Bruno from 1948’s classic The Bicycle Thief. He has a love for all things film, and although he doesn’t exactly know the importance of the award he has found, he’s keen to hold onto it until he decides what to do with it.
This leads to him discovering that a few of the characters in his life aren’t quite who they say they are. This once again pulls at the film thread to great effect, which makes it even more heart-warming.
Quite simply if you love film, you will adore Winners, as it’s a film made with love, about people who love film. And that’s got to be a win/win for everyone.