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Iranian Cinema

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#101 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 12:58 PM

A Dangerous Shift in Iranian Cinema
In the late '90s, Iranian cinema was the wave of the art-house future: Jafar Panahi, Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf and (grudgingly conceded) Majid Majidi were all enjoying fair success. Their films, too, weren't necessarily commercial hits in Iran (Panahi is used to having his work banned), but then something else happened: the amount of foreign cinematic attention paid to Iran these past few years—with the exception of Panahi's Offside—has been almost null. Kiarostami is off doing art installation-type dares to the audience, Makhmalbaf hasn't seen American distribution since 2001, Majidi continues to tickle the middlebrows with allegorical children and Panahi has to fight to make a film every three years. There is, of course, nothing inherently sinister about a country's cinematic profile temporarily ebbing a bit; certainly, given how the cinematic country du jour seems to change every few years (Iran, Korea, Thailand, Romania), it might just seem like some kind of anomaly. Given current events, that's really not the biggest of concerns right now. But what, precisely, has been going on?
There is, as it turns out, a good reason why much Iranian product has been virtually unexportable these last few years: it's been pretty much comically vile. More importantly, it adds up to a monolithic system of reinforcement for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; at some point, Iran has developed one of the most efficient cinematic/TV propaganda apparatuses on the planet, on a scale that's frankly kind of mind-boggling. Right now, the man who's shattered every box-office record in Iran is Masoud Dehnamaki.
Vadim Rizov, GreenCine Daily, June 14

The Anxious Eye of the Revolution: Iranian Filmmaker Speaks Out for “Defeated” Opposition Candidate
Among the news coming out of the election and its aftermath is the word that one of Iran’s best-known filmmakers, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, has assumed a role of international spokesman for the cause of the officially defeated candidate, Mir-Hossein Moussavi. Speaking Saturday from Paris, Makhmalbaf told the Vienna-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that Moussavi had actually been informed by the Iranian government that he’d won — but that was before the declaration of landslide victory for Ahmadinejad, and subsequent firestorm which is still raging in the country.
For those unfamiliar with Mohsen Makhmalbaf, a quick summary of his unusual career will offer some context for his involvement in the weekend’s events. . . .
Mike Hertenstein, Filmwell, June 15

#102 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 09:25 AM

Just saw Children of Heaven. I've poked around for a specific thread on it, but apparently this one on Iranian Cinema in general is the closest we have. I don't have any real time to comment on it--only to say that I found Majidi's film to be profoundly political in nature, and in a way that critiqued both implicitly and explicitly the social class distinction in post-revolutionary Iran as well as serving as a parable on the general oppression of the Iranian people.

#103 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 03:13 AM

Iran toon pops on Bay
While the world's film community continues to protest the detention of Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi, another helmer from Iran traveled to Italy's recent Cartoons on the Bay festival to unveil a sneak peek of the futuristic "Tehran 2121," billed as the country's first sci-fi feature, live action or animated.
Shot by locally popular animator Bahram Azimi, using a rotoscoping technique but with a "Blade Runner" aesthetic, "Tehran 2121," almost seems intended as Iran's answer to opponents of its hard-line government.
Azimi described the pic as being about "a far-away future in which, despite how much our country will have changed, the morality and the ways of Iranians will remain the same." . . .
Variety, April 24

#104 Christian

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 02:59 PM

Ann Hornaday talks to Bahman Ghobadi, who was in town last week to promote his latest film.

#105 Persona

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 12:31 AM

Bump for Brian D. and our conversation around The Cyclist.

This is a superb thread on Iranian cinema.

I did see Close-Up tonight for the first time. Don't know why it has taken me all these years to get to it. It is an intriguing film. Will definitely write more soon.

#106 Persona

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 01:25 PM

I wanted a dedicated thread for Close-Up, so I made one Here.

Also, the Criterion release of Close-Up has a Kiarostami film from 1974 titled The Traveler. It is a feature length film about a boy who is obsessed with soccer. I did blog it, here is the Filmsweep Reaction.

#107 Brian D

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 10:06 PM

Kiarostami in an interview from the Criterion Collection's release of A Taste of Cherry:

"I prefer the films that put their audience to sleep in the theater. I think those films are kind enough to allow you a nice nap and not leave you disturbed when you leave the theater. Some films have made me doze off in the theater, but the same films have made me stay up at night, wake up thinking about them in the morning, and keep on thinking about them for weeks. These are the kind of films I like."

This quote helps me quite a bit, as I have to admit that I've rarely had to find myself asleep before the screen so many evenings as I have through my recent weeklong (!) viewing of Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry. Does this dozing mean that I think this is a bad movie? Not at all, for I will surely be thinking about this movie for a few days or weeks. It looks like I had the response that Kiarostami enjoys when he goes to the movies!

What have others come up with as they've reflected on Taste of Cherry? Have any others experienced this film the way Kiarostami experiences his favorite films in the quote above?

#108 Persona

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 10:13 PM

That is the *exact* issue I had with the film until I finally made it to the end. Then I was baffled, mad, and as the years went by I realized it's one of the greatest endings ever.

#109 Brian D

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 08:41 PM

Fascinating reaction! I'm eager to see what I come up with as I ponder this ending further. Once I've had time to think about it, Persona, I'll be intrigued to hear more about what you thought about that ending.
Other Iranian films I've been impressed with lately:
Color of Paradise - Lovely (intriguing that it's really supposed to be called "The Color of God" in Farsi)
White Meadows - I saw this at the Iranian Film Festival in Boston several months ago. It's director and producer make this fascinating by itself (in light of recent events), but I think the film stands on its own as a challenging political commentary with potent, otherworldly imagery.

#110 Darrel Manson

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 09:30 PM

Does anyone know of Please Do Not Disturb or it director Mohsen Abddolvahab? It's one of the In Competition films at LAFF next month.

Edited by Darrel Manson, 22 May 2011 - 09:31 PM.


#111 Nathan Douglas

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 12:13 AM

White Meadows - I saw this at the Iranian Film Festival in Boston several months ago. It's director and producer make this fascinating by itself (in light of recent events), but I think the film stands on its own as a challenging political commentary with potent, otherworldly imagery.


Turns out we have a thread for this here. My own experience of the film changed significantly as I learned more about the filmmakers' worsening situation, and it remains a challenging work. I really hope it gets a proper release.

#112 Darrel Manson

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 10:59 AM

A nice one I saw yesterday at Whitehead: Gold and Copper. Mullah-in-training must deal with wife who becomes sick. He now has to care for family rather than study. Has played a few festivals in N. Amer., but it was a major headache for the festival to get this film (dealing with Homeland Security and ability to ship from Iran to N. Amer.) It may be a challenge to find this one, but worth your time if you get the chance.

#113 Brian D

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 02:17 PM

Has anyone seen Bahman Ghobadi's Half Moon (2006)? I highly recommend seeing it, and seeing it twice. Your experience of it will change considerably once you have seen the whole. Watching it for the first time, I was not as engaged with it, thinking it was going a direction I was only mildly interested in going. The second time through, knowing that this film was a stranger and darker breed, many scenes resonated at a different pitch.

The ending had the interesting effect of being both (A) frustrating to me and (B) the reason I came back to the film a second time. I think it's the one time the film's delicate magical realism tips out of balance, but I also think it pushes the film to a deeper level of fascination. If you've seen it, please share your thoughts on that ending. Keep spoiler alerts in mind.

Oh, and one more thing to get you to see it: the scene with the village of exiled female singers provides one of the great images of the film decade.

#114 vjmorton

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 03:44 PM

Has anyone seen Bahman Ghobadi's Half Moon (2006)? I highly recommend seeing it, and seeing it twice. Your experience of it will change considerably once you have seen the whole. Watching it for the first time, I was not as engaged with it, thinking it was going a direction I was only mildly interested in going. The second time through, knowing that this film was a stranger and darker breed, many scenes resonated at a different pitch.

The ending had the interesting effect of being both (A) frustrating to me and (B) the reason I came back to the film a second time. I think it's the one time the film's delicate magical realism tips out of balance, but I also think it pushes the film to a deeper level of fascination. If you've seen it, please share your thoughts on that ending. Keep spoiler alerts in mind.

Oh, and one more thing to get you to see it: the scene with the village of exiled female singers provides one of the great images of the film decade.

I saw it at Toronto several years ago. Thought it was watchable (and yes, the exile village is a masterful scene) but a little remote from my expertise and kinda devolves as the journey continues.

https://vjmorton.wor...day-4-capsules/





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