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Life May Be

Mania Akbari, Mark Cousins
UK 2014 / 80’

An exchange of video letters between Mark Cousins and Iranian director and actress Mania Akbari. Cousins, an Irish critic and director, needs no introduction, of course, as he was our guest at the 13th edition of the T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival. Akbari is known from her role in Abbas Kiarostami's film 10, and her directorial debut, 20 Fingers, screened in Wrocław in 2005. Akbari left Iran in 2011 to make a new home in London after stops in Dubai and Malmo. While the personal and meandering correspondence between Mark and Mania is certainly in a modern form, it brings to mind an epistolary novel in the style of Dangerous Liaisons. They discuss everything: life, art, the body, travel, nudity, memory, and eternity. The longer the exchange continues, the more emotional the letters become, confessions become more intimate, and ideas and topics that spiral from letter to letter are debated with greater and greater eloquence. Watching this conversation in film as it fluctuates back and forth between confessions and feats of erudition is pure pleasure, combined with an undertone of voyeurism.

Ewa Szabłowska

Mania Akbari

An Iranian director and actress, Mania Akbari is named after Marie Curie, who, in the home of Akbari's parents (one is a professor of physics, the other of chemistry), was considered a great authority. With her artistic talent, Mania did not enter into a scientific career, although she did write her first novel when she was only 14 years old. She later studied painting and, in 2000, became interested in film. She started out as a cinematographer and assistant director before playing the lead role in Abbas Kiarostami’ s film 10. Akbari is known for breaking the customary taboos that Iranian women are bound by, both in private and on the big screen.


2004 20 palców / 20 Fingers

2007 10+4

2011 Yek. Do.Yek

2012 In My Country Men Have Breast (short)

2013 From Teheran to London

2014 Być może życie / Life May Be

Mark Cousins

An Irish writer, reporter, director, and globetrotter. A maker of documentary and reportage films and a university lecturer, he has hosted television programs on film and was the artistic director of the Edinburgh Film Festival for many years. In 2009, he organized a touring cinema along with Tilda Swinton. The Story of Film, a 15-hour film odyssey based on his book of the same name, was a hit at international festivals.

Selected filmography

1994 I Know Where I'm Going! Revisited (TV, doc.)

2009 The First Movie (doc.)

2011 The Story of Film – odyseja filmowa / The Story of Film: An Odyssey (TV, doc.)

2012 O czym jest ten film o miłości? / What Is This Film Called Love? (doc.)

2013 Opowieść o dzieciach i filmie / A Story of Children and Film (doc.)

2013 Here Be Dragons

2014 Być może życie / Life May Be

2014 6 desires: DH Lawrence and Sardinia

Cast & Crew

director Mania Akbari, Mark Cousins
screenplay Mania Akbari, Mark Cousins
cinematography Mania Akbari, Mark Cousins
editing Paria Kamyab, Timo Langer
music Johannes Brahms
cast Mania Akbari, Mark Cousins
producer Dan Boyd, Dominic Dowbekin, Alexa Pearson
sales Festival Agency
language English, Farsi
colouration colour