The Opponent –Sweden

Sebastian Wintero
The feature film “The Opponent ” from Sweden has been nominated for the 2023 Nordic Council Film Prize.

In the aftermath of a devastating rumour, Iman and his family have been forced to flee Iran. As refugees, they end up in a run-down hotel in northern Sweden. Despite feeling powerless, Iman tries to maintain his role as the family patriarch. To improve their chances of obtaining asylum, he breaks a promise to his wife and joins the local wrestling club. But as the rumours start to resurface, Iman’s fear and desperation begin to take hold.


Powerful, complex, and concentrated. Both a slow burner and an inferno. Milad Alami’s multi-layered story unfolds slowly and takes new directions, but without Alami as a director losing sight of the goal along the way. He talks about Sweden, about fleeing, and about forbidden feelings, without making it easy for himself or the audience. The interaction between actor Payman Maadi and the sensitive cinematography of Sebastian Winterø precisely captures every shift between the physicality of wrestling and the physical touch of a completely different nature. In this way, Alami completely floors us.

Screenwriter and director – Milad Alami

Milad Alami was born in Rasht, Iran, in 1982. He graduated in 2011 from the National Film School of Denmark and has been in steady work ever since in both Sweden and Denmark. His short films Mini and Void were both nominated for the Danish Robert Film Awards in 2015. His feature-film debut The Charmer had its world premiere at San Sebastian and won numerous awards. He went on to direct two episodes of the acclaimed Follow the Money (DR) and was concept director for When the Dust Settles (DR). His second feature, The Opponent is shot in both Farsi and Swedish and had its world premiere at the Berlinale Panorama 2023. Alami’s upcoming series Bullshit as writer and director is due to premiere later this year on Viaplay.

Producer – Annika Rogell

Annika Rogell (born 1981) is an in-house producer at the Stockholm-based Art & Bob Film & Drama.
Rogell trained at the Swedish Institute of Dramatic Art. In 2009 she started working for the documentary company Story AB where she produced Göran Hugo Olsson’s award-winning films The Black Power Mixtape and Concerning Violence. She has also collaborated with other established production companies including Memfis Film, Garagefilm International, and Filmlance.

She set up her own company, Tangy, in 2013, where she produced Sanna Lenken’s directorial debut My Skinny Sister which won the Generation Kplus Crystal Bear at the Berlinale 2015 and went on to pick up a dozen international awards. The sci-fi hit Aniara co-directed by Pella Kagerman and Hugo Lilja had a similarly impressive debut and won four national Guldbagge awards in 2020, including best director. The Opponent by Milad Alami had its world premiere at the 2023 Berlinale Panorama section. It was voted best film at the Persian International Film Festival and won a Special Jury Prize at Seattle. Rogell was selected as Sweden’s Producer on the Move in Cannes 2015.

Production information

Original title: Motståndaren

International title: The Opponent

Director: Milad Alami

Screenwriter: Milad Alami

Producer: Annika Rogell

Production company: Tangy

Length: 119 minutes

Swedish distribution: TriArt

International sales: Indie Sales