Ali Asgari – Disappearance (2017)

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Synopsis:
On a cold winter’s night in modern Tehran, a couple of young lovers run into a serious problem, and they have just a few hours to come up with a solution. They go from hospital to hospital in search for help, but none of the hospitals will admit the young woman and provide her with the medical attention she desperately requires. While they try hard to find a way to solve the problem, they have to hide what is happening from their parents. Moreover, their relationship is facing a crisis and will suffer dire consequences. Caught between conservative traditions and modern day desires, the couple must face their uncertain future. Continue reading

Rafi Pitts – ShekarChi AKA The Hunter (2010)

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synopsis
A man turns to violence after losing those he loves most in this taut drama from Iran. Ali (Rafi Pitts) is a reformed criminal who lives in a small flat in Tehran with his wife Sara (Mitra Hajjar) and their young daughter Saba (Saba Yaghoobi). While he’s grateful for the chance to support his family honestly, Ali doesn’t much care for his job as a night watchman or the noise and stress of city life; Ali heads off to the woods and clears his mind by hunting as often as he can. One day, Ali comes home from work to an empty apartment; he has no idea when his family has gone, and when they don’t return, he goes to the police. After a long and frustrating wait, Ali learns that Sara was killed by stray gunfire during a skirmish between protesters and police, and Saba is missing and feared dead. Ali snaps and uses his hunting rifle to kill a pair of police officers; when the authorities give chase, Ali heads to the woods while the police try to find him in the forest he knows better than the city. Shekarchi (aka The Hunter) was an official selection at the 2010 Berlin international Film Festival. Continue reading

Parviz Kimiavi – P mesle pelican AKA P Like Pelican (1972) DVD

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Quote:
An old hermit lives in a slum and wants to teach the alphabet to the children regularly go there to play. What makes the hermit happiest however, is when he comes to the letter P (for “Pedarsag”, or “Puppy”). When a child proposes he use the word “Pelican” instead, the hermit goes to the nearby park looking for this animal he has never heard of. Continue reading

Mohsen Makhmalbaf – Sokout AKA The Silence (1998)

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Quote:
The Silence (Sokhout), a startlingly fresh and elegant work, is about a ten-year-old boy, Khorshid, who is blind. Khorshid’s father, in Russia, has abandoned him and his mother, who in order to sustain their existence fishes in the river on which the rural dwelling that includes their threadbare apartment is situated. This woman has no other choice but to rely on Khorshid’s meager income for rent. It is not enough, however, and in a few days’ time they will be evicted by the landlord, a greedy, powerful presence whom we never see except for, once, as a hand knocking at the door. A strange, elliptical film of haunting, limpid visual beauty, The Silence ends with two events: the eviction, as the mother, who is calling for her son, and her one great possession, a wall mirror, symbolic for art and inspiration, that is, humanity’s spirit, are rowed across the river, the mirror’s reflection in the water symbolically linking human spirituality and Nature; and the boy, as usual off on his own, passing forever into a life of the imagination in which he is able to orchestrate sounds in his environment—to which his blindness has made him acutely sensitive and receptive—into a finished piece, one in fact familiar to us as the opening movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Only a fool could miss the social and political implications of such a film, and the government, not at all fooled in this regard, responded brusquely. The Silence was banned in Iran. Continue reading

Mania Akbari – 10 + 4 (Dah be alaveh chahar) (2007)

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After casting painter and video artist Mania Akbari as the central figure of his groundbreaking Ten (2002), and then witnessing her outstanding debut as a feature film director in 20 Fingers (2004), Abbas Kiarostami urged her to direct a sequel to the film. In Dah be alaveh Chahar (10 + 4), though, circumstances are different: Mania is fighting cancer. She has undergone surgery; she has lost her hair following chemotherapy and no longer wears the compulsory headscarf; and sometimes she is too weak to drive. So the camera follows her to record conversations with friends and family in different spaces, from the gondola she had famously used in her first feature to a hospital bed. Yet, while he body shows the effects of the disease, Akbari is as tough, charismatic, and argumentative as in her previous screen appearances her luminous presence all the more alluring and precious as it becomes a sign of how fragile life itself is. Her cinematic language has been expanded and refined from the rigorous explorations of 20 Fingers, to take into account the unexpected aspects of facing simultaneously death and survival, social stigma and sympathy. Treading an elegant line between documentary and fiction, Akbari takes a daring look at complex social situations that arise in the face of mortality and emerges with a new zest for life. Continue reading