A Dragon Arrives!

by Mani Haghighi

A Dragon Arrives!


Detective Babak Hafizi is being interrogated by the secret police. Everything began on January 23, 1965, the day after the Prime Minister was shot in front of Parliament. Hafizi was ordered to investigate the suspicious suicide of an exiled political prisoner on the remote island of Qeshm in the Persian Gulf. In an abandoned ship next to an ancient cemetery in the desert, Hafizi stumbles upon an even bigger mystery. A local gravedigger tells him about the legend of earthquakes occurring whenever someone is buried in the haunted cemetery. Seeing is believing for Hafizi and he dares to spend the night alone in the creepy ship, waiting for the ground to shake. Back in Tehran, Hafizi is determined to discover the truth about his eerie experience, even without agency approval. He recruits two other young men: Behnam Shokouhi, a geologist who has just returned from his studies in Germany, and Keyvan Haddad, a film sound engineer. The three men set off to the fascinating island, hoping to solve the graveyard mystery. Hafizi’s orange Chevrolet Impala heads straight for the ship, said to have belonged to the Portuguese naval forces in the 17th Century, and plundered by the British explorer William Baffin. Its interior walls are covered with the dead exile’s cryptic writings and enigmatic symbols. Might these be clues to solving the case? What about surly Almas, the shark-hunting ophthalmologist, and his missing daughter, Halimeh? Could she be hiding somewhere in the majestic Valley of Stars? The geologist confirms that there was indeed an earthquake in the area as Hafizi claims, but it was unbelievably limited to the confines of the cemetery. To test the truth about the graveyard legend, the three men must look for a corpse to bury there, and to dig even deeper to see what might lie beneath the graves. Paranoia and hallucination take over as their dangerous investigation continues, and the truth remains elusive until 50 years later, when an old box is discovered in the back of a closet and its contents shine a strange light on the mystery...


Mani Haghighi (b.1969, Tehran) studied philosophy at McGill University, Montreal before returning to Iran to make films. His first feature, Abadan (2003) premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. His screenplay for Asghar Farhadi’s Fireworks Wednesday (2006, co-written with the director) won the Special Jury Prize at the Three Continents Festival, Nantes. His second feature film, Men at Work (Berlinale, Forum 2006) won the Best Screenplay Prize at the 2007 Asian Film Awards (Hong Kong) and the Best Screenplay Prize in the international section of the Fajr Film Festival (Tehran). Canaan (2008), based on a short story by Alice Munro, was followed by two documentary films on the works of the acclaimed Iranian director, Dariush Mehrjui: Hamoon’s Fans (2007), about the curious lives of six Iranians who are devoted fans of Mehrjui’s 1989 film, “Hamoon”, and Dariush Mehrjui: The Forty Year Report (2012), a feature length documentary about Mehrjui’s life and works. His fourth feature film, Modest Reception (Berlinale, Forum 2012), received the NETPAC Award at the Berlin Film Festival, the Free Spirit Award at the Warsaw Film Festival, the Best Actor and Best Actress prizes at the OSIAN’s Cinefan Festival in New Delhi as well as a few other international prizes. Haghighi has also acted in several films, including Asghar Farhadi’s About Elly (Berlinale, competition 2009) and Nima Javidi’s Melbourne (2014), as well as his own film, Modest Reception.

2003 ABADAN  


Detective Babak Hafi zi - Amir Jadidi
Behnam Shokouhi (geologist) - Homayoun Ghanizadeh
Keyvan Haddad (sound engineer) - Ehsan Goudarzi
Shahrzad Besharat (young) - Kiana Tajammol
Almas - Nader Fallah


director Mani Haghighi
screenplay Mani Haghighi
director of photography Houman Behmanesh
editor Hayedeh Safi yari
music Christophe Rezai
sound design Amir Hossein Ghasemi
sound recording Dariush Sadeghpour
production design Amir Hossein Ghodsi
costumes Negar Nemati
make-up Mehrdad Mirkiani
producer Mani Haghighi
executive producers Mehdi Davari, Chavosh Shirani, Lili Golestan, Taraneh Alidoosti, Alireza Bazel, Mani Haghighi

Technical Data

Format: DCP / 2.39:1 / color / 5.1
Length: 108 min.
Language: Farsi



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