Gala Premières en speciale evenementen116' - 2022 - Crime, Drama, Thriller - Dialogue: Persian
Director: Ali Abbasi Composer: Martin Dirkov With: Zar Amir-Ebrahimi, Mehdi Bajestani, Arash Ashtiani
Holy Spider is both a thriller in which a serial killer is chased by a journalist, and a merciless dissection of Iran, the homeland of director Ali Abbasi (Gräns).
In Mashhad, the second-largest city in Iran, construction worker Saeed Hanaei murdered sixteen sex workers in 2000 and 2001 by strangling them with their hidjab. The serial killer became a folk hero to the religious right for claiming to be on a holy mission and that "he purged the city of prostitution". Director Ali Abbasi, who moved to Sweden when he was twenty, stays close to the macabre reality, but adds a journalist who investigates the murders and observes that women in Iran - be they reporters or sex workers - are second-class citizens in an autocratic-patriarchal society. Holy Spider - the title refers to the killer's nickname - is therefore both intensely moving and chilling. For her portrayal of the journalist, Zar Amir Ebrahimi won the award for Best Actress in Cannes last spring.
“A fictionalised true-crime drama-thriller based on Iranian Saeed Hanaei, nicknamed Spider Killer, who in 2001 was arrested for the murder of sixteen sex workers in the city of Mashhad, and became a folk hero to the religious right for claiming to be on a holy mission to cleanse the city of prostitution." - The Guardian
Zar Amir-Ebrahimi, Mehdi Bajestani, Arash Ashtiani
Ali Abbasi, Afshin Kamran Bahrami
Director of Photography
Sol Bondy, Jacob Jarek
Countries of production
Denmark, Germany, France, Sweden
Officer Relaxing After Duty (short, 2008), M for Markus (short, 2011), Shelley (2016), Border (2018), Holy Spider(2022)