Iman lives with his wife Maryam and his two daughters in Sweden in an ever-changing succession of refugee hostels. Having fled his former Iranian homeland for fear of persecution, he is looking for ways to secure residence for them, and is earning extra money delivering pizzas on a snowmobile. When Maryam unexpectedly falls pregnant with a third child, and conversations with the authorities become more difficult, Iman decides to resume his career as a wrestler. Although he has promised Maryam to put the whole thing behind him, he is hoping that this will help him obtain a special residence permit as a sportsman. His skills quickly return and are appreciated in the Swedish team, but his life away from his family is not without consequences. Communication breaks down between him and his wife, who sees no reason to stay in Sweden any longer, and he is confronted with the deeper reasons for his flight.
Director Milad Alami’s second feature depicts an emotional as well as physical confrontation with the unspoken. With an engaging cast led by Payman Maadi, this meticulously rendered drama reveals how complex social dynamics can affect an individual’s inner self.
by Milad Alami
with Payman Maadi, Marall Nasiri, Björn Elgerd, Ardalan Esmaili, Arvin Kananian, Nicole Mehrbod, Diana Farzami, Magnus Mark, Joonas Saartmo
Sweden 2023 Farsi, Swedish 119’ Colour World premiere


  • Payman Maadi (Iman)
  • Marall Nasiri (Maryam)
  • Björn Elgerd (Thomas)
  • Ardalan Esmaili (Abbas)
  • Arvin Kananian
  • Nicole Mehrbod (Asal)
  • Diana Farzami (Sahar)
  • Magnus Mark
  • Joonas Saartmo (Coach)


Director Milad Alami
Screenplay Milad Alami
Cinematography Sebastian Winterø
Editing Olivia Neergaard-Holm
Music Jon Ekstrand, Carl-Johan Sevedag
Sound Design Andreas Franck
Production Design Thomas Øyjordsbakken
Costumes Ingjerd Meland
Make-Up Erica Spetzig
Casting Zar Amir-Ebrahimi, Sara Törnkvist
Assistant Director Misagh Alami
Production Manager Denise Carlford
Producers Annika Rogell, Sandra Warg, Peter Possne
Co-Producers Sandra Warg, Peter Possne, Anna Croneman, Ruben Thorkildsen
Co-Production Filmpool Nord Luleå
Film i Väst Trollhättan
Sveriges Television Stockholm
Ape & Bjørn Oslo

Milad Alami

The Swedish director was born in Rasht, Iran and graduated from the National Film School of Denmark in 2011. Since then, he has made several short films including Void which premiered at Cannes in 2014. His debut feature film The Charmer premiered at San Sebastián in 2017 and won awards at festivals around the world including the Fedeora in San Sebastián and the NDR Film Prize in Lubeck. The Opponent is his second feature film.


2014 Void; short film 2015 Mini; short film · Mommy; short film 2018 Charmøren (The Charmer) 2020 Når støvet har lagt sig (When The Dust Settles); series, 10 episodes 2023 Bullshit; series, 6 episodes · Motståndaren (Opponent)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023