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Ali Abbasi Holy Spider

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2022: #37. Ali Abbasi’s Holy Spider

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2022: #37. Ali Abbasi’s Holy Spider

Holy Spider

Winner of the Un Certain Regard section in 2018 (watch the ceremony here) with his sophomore feature Border, Ali Abbasi has been developing what would become his third feature since 2016 (and has a lot more items on his plate). Other than this formerly titled “The Long Night” being an Iranian language project and that Abbasi reteamed with cinematographer Nadim Carlsen (they also worked on Abbasi’s debut film, Shelly), there has been no casting news revealed on what we think was a January 2021 production which might have taken place in Denmark and Germany (cited as a Denmark, Germany, Sweden, France – co-production). We believe that producers on Abbasi’s Holy Spider include Jonas Wagner and/or Sol Bondy. Worth noting is that Abbasi was among the auteur filmmakers to join the HBO series “The Last of Us” – Kantemir Balagov and Jasmila Zbanic also directed episodes.

Gist: We follow family man Saeed as he embarks on his own religious quest — to “cleanse” the holy Iranian city of Mashhad of immoral and corrupt street prostitutes. After murdering several women, he grows ever more desperate about the lack of public interest in his divine mission. When he is finally caught, Saeed is celebrated by large sections of the public. It is not until he is condemned to death, that reality dawns upon him…

Release Date/Prediction: Will open in Cannes and make a bid for the Competition section…and if denied…look for this to move to Venice Film Festival.


Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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