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The Absent Director

World Premiere: 2021 Busan International Film Festival (New Currents Competition)

The Absent Director

The Absent Director


"The film is a unique piece of work that is shot in single-take style without cuts." 
Variety, Patrick Frater

"Director and Iranian theatre professional Arvand Dashtaray assembles the film as a single continuous shot, replicating the staging of live theatre, in which actors who aren’t afforded the luxury of retakes must deliver a seamless performance." 
Filmcompanion, Gayle Sequeira

“What could have felt like a one-act play […] is given a bracingly dynamic energy by the decision to shoot the entire film in a serpentine single shot, showcasing both Dashtaray’s accomplished staging and the high quality of performances throughout.” 
ScreenDaily, Wendy Ide

The Absent Director

by ARVAND DASHTARAY (IR, 2021, 86')

Drama, Experimental


In one continuous take, the film follows the various members of a young Iranian theater company during their secret rehearsals of Macbeth at their Director’s home in Tehran, while he works with them remotely from Paris via video call. Their dream is to submit the play to the Edinburgh Theater Festival on time, but things get complicated when their personal conflicts escalate, and their hidden agendas come into light. The heated tensions reach their climax when a mysterious tragedy threatens to put their work into a complete halt.

The complex layers of their reality are slowly unraveled as the film seamlessly fuses the past with the present, the fiction with the non-fiction, even crossing the bridge to reality with the actors performing as themselves.


Director: Arvand Dashtaray
Writer: Naghmeh Samini
Cinematographer: Peyman Shadmanfar
Producer: Hossein Akbari (Virgule FPAC)
Cast: Marene van Holk, Arvand Dashtaray, Azadeh Mirzaei, Diba Khatami et al.

Busan International Film Festival (New Currents Competition)
Santa Barbara IFF
Philadelphia International Film Festival
Pune International Film Festival - Competition
Sofia IFF - International Competition - Special Mention