Australian animation on Persian folklore wins at Sydney Filmfest.
Australian animation on Persian folklore wins at Sydney Filmfest.
The short animation ‘Sohrab and Rustum’, by Australian director Lee Whitmore about mythic warriors in ancient Persia, has won the Yoram Gross Animation Award of 2019 Sydney Film Festival.

The tragedy of Rostam and Sohrab forms part of the 10th-century Persian epic Shahnameh by the Persian poet Ferdowsi. The poem is a story of mistaken identities, narrating a battle between a father and a son who have no idea about their relations until it is too late.

Lee Whitmore’s retelling of the myth is based on a poem of the same name by Matthew Arnold. The watercolor animation is about “a young charismatic English teacher who reads the poem to her students, a group of naïve 14-year-old girls whose main concerns are pop music and nail polish. The poem takes the girls on a journey to ancient Persia and a legendary fight between two warriors Sohrab and Rostam. The poem ends tragically and the girls are confronted with the reality of the death of Sohrab the younger and less wily warrior. In the last stanza watercolour images of the night sky over the mighty Oxus River are a reminder of the beautiful eternal nature of life. The girls return to their class puzzled but wiser.”

The festival’s main prize went to ‘Parasite,’ the South Korean black drama that previously won the Palme d’Or at Cannes.

Sydney Film Festival ran June 5-16, 2019, but will continue to play a selection of popular films for the next four days. Voting for the audience awards remains open until Wednesday, according to Variety.