Baba Joon, the inaugural Persian-language film shot in Israel tells the story of Moti (Asher Avrahami), an only son to Yitzhak (Navid Negahban) and Sarah (Viss Elliot Safavi), owners of a turkey farm in a village in Israel’s Negev desert populated by Jewish immigrants from Iran, who maintain their unique Iranian culture, speak Persian amongst themselves and pursue the Iranian-Jewish way of life.
Moti’s father and grandfather demand that Moti help with the farm work and care for the turkey pen. They plan on training him to take over the farm. When Moti decides to rebel against his father, to object to the tradition and rules that have been handed down from generation to generation, he finds himself in an inevitable conflict with his father and grandfather.
Moti understands that he must pay a price for his independence, and surprises everybody by taking action from which there is no turning back.
Directed by Yuval Delshad (Regards from the War, The Family Unit), who wrote the screenplay inspired by his own personal story as the son of Iranian immigrants, the film depicts the struggle of every man standing at the crossroads of heritage and individual freedom, and deals with the difficulty of bridging the generational gap.
It’s a sober, honest look at a patriarchal microcosm attempting to preserve the “old world order,” in an ever-changing environment.
“My family left the beautiful city of Shiraz in Iran and immigrated to Israel,” says Delshad. “Leaving behind property, business and a glorious culture, and arriving in a remote village in southern Israel, they tried to build a new life and a new identity.”
“We, the new generation, were born into a new identity, while our parents held onto their past, their culture….“
Adding that the “younger generation, however, seeks out a new path, and is resistant to accept Persian tradition, which they see as outdated. This resistance undermines the immigrant generation’s base, their origin, and is the source of many familial conflicts. [This movie] is about this conflict. The name of the film, Baba Joon, is a term of endearment similar to ‘papa,’ but it may also express respect for the father of the family.
“I admire the duality in the meaning of the word, which is why I chose it.”
Baba Joon premieres at the Toronto Film Festival on September 11, 2015.
*Watch the trailer below: