The Accordion is focused on two young street musicians playing the accordion to earn their living. One day, while they are playing in front of a mosque, a man takes their instrument by force and walks away. They look for him and, in the maze of the bazaar, recognize the sound of their accordion and discover the same man sitting on the floor and begging while playing their instrument. This forceful tale portrays the Iranian director’s entire artistic world, and it is a metaphor for the new generations who, led by understanding, prefer solidarity over conflicts.
In this regard Panahi said in 2010: “I am a social-minded filmmaker and sensitive to every new phenomenon which occurs in my society. Of course I react to it and, perhaps, The Accordion represents my reaction to the events surrounding me and my way of observing reality. Obviously religion has a strong relation with the roots of the problems. Religion is in the power of running the country, and hence the judgment of ideas becomes ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Then, everyone can relate himself to the religion, or pretend religion is allowed to enforce or demolish other people’s rights. The Accordion is the story of the materialistic needs of a human being to survive in a pretentious religious world. One stops a musician from playing, citing as reason the religious prohibition, while he himself is forced to do the same in order to survive. The main character of the film is the child. In my view he is the symbol of the next generation: in his ideal world, he realizes the need of a human being for survival and decides to avoid the violence and share his small income with another needy person. However, he might become much poorer. This mercy is the need of the society in which I live. The society cries for avoiding violence, but the authorities are pursuing all roads towards violence. The media do not say a thing, only frightening and threatening words. This is why the main character of the movie becomes an idealistic figure in a society where violence is enforced.”
b. 1960, Mianeh, Iran
Lives and works in Teheran. He is one of the most acclaimed Iranian directors and has won many awards in prestigious film festivals. Panahi trained as a director at the Iranian television, for whom he subsequently made several short films and documentaries. Afterwards he worked as Abbas Kiarostami’s assistant. His first feature film came in 1995, entitled The White Balloon, and won the Camera d’ Or at the Cannes Film Festival. His second feature film, The Mirror (1997), received the Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno Film Festival. He received the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2000 for The Circle. Panahi also directed Crimson Gold in 2003, which brought him the Un Certain Regard Jury Award at the Cannes Film Festival, and Offside in 2006 which won the Berlin Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. This is not a film (2011, co-directed with Mojtaba Mirtahmasb) was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012 and his last feature Closed Curtain (2013) won the Silver Bear for Best Script at the Berlin Film Festival in 2013.