Tag Archives: Mohamad Ali Keshavarz

Mohsen Makhmalbaf – Nassereddin Shah, Actor-e Cinema AKA Once Upon a Time, Cinema (1992)

In this meditation on the history of cinema, contemporary scenes blend with clips from the silent era. A cinematographer (Mehdi Hashemi) consults with the shah of Iran (Ezzatollah Entezami) in an attempt to convince him that cinema is beautiful. Movies are censored, however: the shah bans them himself. But when the shah falls in love with a beautiful silent-film actress (Fatemah Motamed-Aria), he forfeits the throne and crosses into the realm of the movie screen to be with his love. Read More »

Bahram Beizai – Ragbar AKA Downpour (1972)

A major figure in both pre- and post-revolutionary Iranian cinema, Bahram Beyza’i burst onto the scene with Downpour, his remarkable debut feature that won a Special Jury Prize at the First Tehran International Film Festival. Mr. Hekmati (Parviz Fanizadeh) arrives in the poor southern part of Tehran to take up a teaching post. When his students misbehave, he expels one of them. The next day, the boy’s older sister Atefeh comes to the school to plead her brother’s case. Smitten by her beauty, Mr. Hekmati is nevertheless reluctant to approach her, especially after he learns that her hand has already been promised to the local butcher. Beyza’i creates a powerful sense of a closed community still ruled by tradition, where custom always trumps individual desire. Thanks to its restoration by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation, this key Iranian classic can now be discovered by new generations of filmgoers.
— Film at Lincoln Centre Read More »

Mohammad Reza Aslani – Shatranj-e baad AKA The Chess Game of the WInd (1976)

SHATRANJ-E BAAD
Film Notes

Shatranj-e Baad might be one of the most emblematic films in the history of Iranian cinema, even though its visibility was limited to a disastrous preview at Tehran International Film Festival in 1976. Due to an artistic conflict between Aslani and the festival curator, the projection was sabotaged, its reels were disrupted and projector malfunctioned. The critics walked out during the screening, as did the jury who pulled the film out of the competition. Instantly deemed elitist, the film was refused by all the distributors. Discouraged, the producer didn’t bother sending the film to the international festivals. Read More »

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 »