INTERVIEW: Milad Alami on Opponent, masculinity, sex, freedom and Iran

Feb 17, 2023
Dimitris Passas

NOTE: This interview is a republication- Source: Nordisk Film & TV Fond (by Annika Pham).

The director opens up about his sophomore feature, set to world premiere on Saturday at the Berlinale Panorama section.

The film is about freedom - and the lack of freedom.


The former graduate from the National Film School of Denmark who won a Nordic Talent Special Mention in 2011, had his breakthrough with the multi-awarded film The Charmer (2017), and then successfully turned to long-form fiction as concept director of DR’s When the Dust Settles.

His second feature Opponent (Motståndaren) shares several themes explored in The Charmer such as masculinity, belonging and feeling displaced as an Iranian trying to adapt to Scandinavian lifestyle.

In Opponent, the main character Iman (played by established Iranian actor Payman Maadi) is forced to flee Iran with his wife and two daughters, in the aftermath of a devastating rumour. As refugees, they end up in a run-down hotel/refugee centre in northern Sweden.

Despite feeling powerless, Iman tries to maintain his role as the family patriarch. To increase their chances of asylum, he breaks a promise to his wife and joins the local wrestling club where he feels free and fulfilled. As rumours start to resurface, Iman increasingly struggles with his inner demons.

Besides Payman Maadi, known for Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation and About Elly, co-stars include Marell Nasiri, Björn Elgerd, Ardalan Esmaili and Arvin Kananian.

The film was produced by Annika Rogel for Tangy, in co-production with Filmpool Nord, Film i Väst , SVT, Norway’s Ape & Bjørn, with support from the Swedish Film Institute and Nordisk Film & TV Fond.

TriArt Film will handle the Swedish theatrical release set for March 31. IndieSales is handling world sales. .

To read the full interview click here

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