An Iranian family (a mother, father and two girls) look directly into camera, all giving awkward smiles apart from the father, who stands on the right scowling, holding a brown coat.

About Opponent

Payman Maadi (A Separation) gives an electrifying performance as an Iranian refugee in small-town Sweden in the second feature from director Milad Alami.

Iman is waiting for a determination on his family’s asylum petition. He claimed political persecution on fleeing Iran, but this isn’t quite the whole story. When a translator suggests that their case might be stronger if Iman, a former Olympic wrestler, returned to the sport to compete for Sweden, he does so. But this decision brings him into conflict with his wife Maryam, his old Iranian teammates, and his personal demons.

Director Alami himself immigrated to Sweden from Iran as a child, and the film brings home the tedium, exhaustion and occasional panic afforded by asylum systems, with Iman’s family moving from one tiny flat to another, taking language lessons and meeting with lawyers under threat of deportation. A compelling, tense, simmering and fiercely powerful watch.

Booking info

Duration includes trailers, adverts and any Q&A/panel. For events such as NT Live, Colour Box and Reel & Meal there will be minimal advertising. We do not admit latecomers after the main feature has started and we have a limited food & drink policy.

MAC’s cinema programme has been generously supported by BFI Film Audience Network and Film Hub Midlands.

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