Iran

Abbas Kiarostami – Zire darakhatan zeyton AKA Through the Olive Trees (1994)

Quote:
‘Olive Trees’: Bears Message
By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
July 19, 1996

“Through the Olive Trees,” Abbas Kiarostami’s subtly involving faux-documentary, acquaints you directly with the time-consuming, spiritually enervating process of filmmaking. But there’s more to it than that. A film-within-a-film drama, it’s about a movie crew that is recruiting amateur actors in a mountainous region of Iran for a romance called “And Life Goes On‚. . .‚.” The area has just been devastated by an earthquake. Homes are crumbled and deserted. Many people are now living by the side of the highway. But the upheaval doesn’t preclude local excitement. Kids skip school and hike five miles to watch the filming. Girls, their heads draped in chadors, vie shyly to be chosen for a part. Read More »

Forugh Farrokhzad – Khaneh siah ast AKA The House Is Black (1963) (DVD)

From Village Voice: In 1962, beloved and controversial poetess Forugh Farrokhzad went to Azerbaijan and made this short film on the grounds of a leper colony, presaging in 22 minutes the entirety of the Iranian new wave and the international quasi-genre of “poetic nonfiction.” It’s a blackjack of a movie, soberly documenting the village of lost ones with an astringently ethical eye, freely orchestrating scenes and simply capturing others, while on the soundtrack Farrokhzad reads her own poetry in a plaintive murmur—this in the same year as Vivre sa Vie and La Jetée. (Chris Marker has long been a passionate fan, as has Abbas Kiarostami, whose The Wind Will Carry Us owes its title and climactic verse to Farrokhzad.) It was the only substantial piece of cinema Farrokhzad ever made. Five years later, having already attained near legendary status in Iran for her writing, she was killed in a car crash at the age of 32, guaranteeing her posthumous fame as a feminist touchstone for generations of angry Persian women. Read More »

Abbas Kiarostami – Five: Dedicated to Ozu (2003)

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Five sequences : 1) A piece of driftwood on the seashore, carried about by the waves 2) People walking on the seashore. The oldest ones stop by, look at the sea, then go away 3) Blurry shapes on a winter beach. A herd of dogs. A love story 4) A group of loud ducks cross the image, in one direction then the other 5) A pond, at night. Frogs improvising a concert. A storm, then the sunrise. Read More »

Seifollah Dad – Almoutabaki AKA The Survivor (1995)

An emotional and symbolic drama depicting the transformation of Palestine into Israel by focusing on an Arab and Jewish couple who occupy the same house before and after the establishment of the state of Israel. Palestinian physician Saeed and his wife Latifeh live in 1948 Haifa. As Jewish refugees arrive from Europe and the Palestinian residents protest, tensions mount in the city. During the ensuing war, Saeed and Latifeh are killed but their infant son Farhan survives. Soon thereafter, a Jewish couple takes up residence in Saeed’s house and adopts Farhan, whose name has been changed to Moshe. Meanwhile, Saeed’s mother Safiyeh, who had come to Haifa to convince her son to flee the mounting tensions, finds out what happened and poses as the former nanny of Farhan/Moshe while her husband Rasheed plans their revenge. Read More »

Ebrahim Golestan – Asrar ganj dareheye jenni AKA The ghost valley’s treasure mysteries (1974)

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The Ghost Valley’s Treasure Mysteries (in Persian: اسرار گنج دره جنی, transliterated as Asrar-e Ganj-e Darre-ye Jenni), also known as “The Secrets of the Treasure of the Jinn Valley”, is a 1974 satirical comedy Iranian film, directed by Ebrahim Golestan. It was released by Golestan Films, and was Golestan’s last feature film in Iran. Using symbolic language, the director was accused of having the Shah’s support.

Very bad quality, but apparently the only way to see this movie by Ebrahim Golestan. Read More »

Ayat Najafi – No Land’s Song (2014)

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In Iran, since the 1979 Islamic revolution, women are no longer allowed to sing in public as soloists – at least in front of men. Defying censorship and taboos, the young composer Sara Najafi is determined to organize an official concert for solo female singers.

In order to support their fight, Sara and her friends invite three French female singers, Elise Caron, Jeanne Cherhal and Emel Mathlouthi, to join them in Tehran and collaborate on their musical project, re-opening a musical bridge between Europe and Iran. Read More »

Naser Taghvai – Daii jan Napelon AKA My Uncle Napoleon (1976)

An uproarious adoption of a popular novel by Iraj Pezeshkzad set in and around the family compound in early 1940s Tehran, marvelously rich in personality and incident. The title character, so-called because of his constant invocation of the general, rules over a wonderfully complex extended family. A hilarious series which makes fun of just about everything. Read More »