Iran

Mohammad Rasoulof – Baad-e-daboor AKA Head Wind (2008)

Plot Synopsis From Allmovie:
Iran is a nation where the government carefully regulates what its citizens may see on television, read in the newspapers, or access on the internet. However, despite the country’s repressive policies, many people enjoy news and entertainment outside the purview of their leaders, and filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof examines what Iranians are viewing on the sly and how they find it in the documentary Baad-e-daboor (aka Head Wind). In order to watch television programming not on the official approved list, well-to-do Iranians need little more than to purchase a satellite dish, which can easily be hidden on their property (and homeowners can use the defense that unauthorized channels were supposed to be blocked on their system). Read More »

    Abbas Kiarostami – Az Oghat-e Faraghat-e Khod Chegouneh Estefadeh Konim? AKA How to Make Use of Our Leisure Time? (1977)

    Quote:
    Evidently the first installment in a series that didn’t continue, this instructional film shows idle twelve- and sixteen-year-
old brothers learning how to improve their surroundings by painting an old door. With the narrator giving step-by-step instructions, the boys go through the processes of sanding, applying primer, and mixing different types of paint. Whatever its educational value, the film’s quiet enthusiasm for its subject also reflects Kiarostami’s own interest in woodworking. Read More »

      Mohammad Rasoulof – Sheytan vojud nadarad AKA There Is No Evil (2020)

      Heshmat, an exemplary husband and father, gets up very early every day. Where does he go? Pouya cannot imagine killing another man, yet he is told he must do so. Javad doesn’t know that proposing to his beloved won’t be the only surprise on her birthday. Bahram is a physician but is unable to practice medicine. He has decided to explain to his visiting niece the reason for his life as an outcast. The four stories that comprise Sheytan vojud nadarad (There Is No Evil) offer variations on the crucial themes of moral strength and the death penalty, asking to what extent individual freedom can be expressed under a despotic regime and its seemingly inescapable threats. Read More »

        Ebrahim Golestan – Tappe-haye Marlik AKA The Hills of Marlik (1963)

        A beautiful short by the Iranian director about the archaelogical excavations in the area of the Marlik hills. Narrated by Golestan, the film features a reflective voice-over text exploring the lives, hopes and myths of the people who once lived there and who live there today. A very lyrical film, and a small masterpiece. Read More »

          Mohsen Makhmalbaf – Dastforoush AKA The Peddler (1987)

          Consisting of three separate stories, the director explores “Man” as a theme: birth, life and death, to present a sometimes comic, sometimes tragic portrait of life at the bottom of the socio-economic pile.

          Review by Jonathan Rosenbaum:
          An impressive, often powerful Iranian feature (1987, 95 min.) by Mohsen Makhmalbaf–who started out as an antishah activist and fiction writer–composed of three sketches dealing with the poor in Tehran (1987). The first, freely adapted from an Alberto Moravia story, follows the appalling misadventures of an impoverished couple with four crippled children as they try to get their fifth and latest child adopted, in the hope that she won’t wind up crippled as well. The second follows the equally pathetic life of a scatterbrained, spastic Jerry Lewis type who devotes his life to caring for his aged and senile mother. Read More »

            Abbas Kiarostami – Mossafer aka The Traveller (1974)

            Synopsis
            The Traveler is a 1974 Iranian drama film directed by Abbas Kiarostami that tells the story of Hassan Darabi, a troublesome, amoral 10-year-old boy in a small Iranian town. He wishes to see the Iran national football team play an important match in Tehran. In order to achieve that, he scams his friends and neighbors. After a number of adventures, he finally reaches Tehran stadium at the time of the match. The film addresses the boy’s determination in his goal and his indifference to the effects of his actions on other people, particularly those who are closest to him. In its element, the film is an examination of human behavior and the balance of right and wrong. Read More »

              Ebrahim Golestan – Tappe-haye Marlik AKA The Hills of Marlik (1963)

              The Hills of Marlik (1963, 15 min.) beautifully and suggestively documents archaeological excavations.

              Directed and narrated by Ebrahim Golestan. Read More »