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1/9/04

14TH Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema at UCLA

Presented by UCLA Film and Television Archive & The Bijan Amin and Soraya Amin Foundation

Like the nation it reflects so vividly and thoughtfully, Iranian cinema is at a crossroads. Iran has an overwhelmingly young population, and almost all of the selections in this survey of recent Iranian filmmaking concern a generation of young people dissatisfied with their present situation and uncertain about the future. In very different ways, LETTERS IN THE WIND and DEEP BREATH movingly and excitingly depict protagonists caught between adolescent rebellion and the search for a place in society. Similarly, a new generation of filmmakers is emerging as the trickle of titles distributed independently grows to a flood. Like LETTERS IN THE WIND, TEHRAN, 7:00 A.M. is a first film from this independent movement, and like DEEP BREATH, it represents a break with the kind of filmmaking that foreign viewers typically associate with Iranian cinema. Instead of pastoral lyricism or poetic neorealism, these films focus on the pleasures and displeasures of everyday urban life.
The tradition in Iranian cinema of combining keenly observed realism and symbolic allegory continues with another first film, DANCING IN THE DUST. Yet another first feature, BLACK TAPE, combines two concerns of recent Iranian cinema-the place of women and the place of the dispossessed Kurds-but with a harsh contemporary edge unusual in the films from the 1990s that put Iranian cinema on the map. Our opening night film, CRIMSON GOLD, is a collaboration between two acknowledged masters, Abbas Kiarostami (TEN) and Jafar Panahi (THE CIRCLE). This film too is concerned about dehumanizing forces in Iranian society. It is a concern with global resonance.

Special thanks to: Mark Amin; Bo Smith, Lori Donnelly-Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; -Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago; Tom Vick-Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution; Bérénice Reynaud-REDCAT; Zareh Arevshatian.

All films in Farsi with English subtitles.

 

Friday January 16 2004, 7:30PM
CRIMSON GOLD
(Talaye Sorgh)

(2003) Directed by Jafar Panahi

A dark drama based on a real-life incident, CRIMSON GOLD is director Jafar Panahi's superb follow-up to THE CIRCLE (2000). The film begins with a robbery gone terribly wrong, and then backs up to patiently outline the steps leading to it. Working from a script by his mentor Abbas Kiarostami, Panahi employs a dramatic visual style that is both dazzling and hard-edged. Together, the two filmmakers have fashioned a subtle yet devastating portrait of social inequality and urban alienation in contemporary Tehran. They are aided in their task by Hussein Emadeddin, an affectingly natural nonprofessional actor, who plays the exasperated pizza deliverer driven to violence by hard times and despair. Producer/Editor: J. Panahi. Screenwriter: Abbas Kiarosta

Producer: Jafar Panahi. Screenplay: Abbas Kiarostami. Cinematographer: Hossain Jafarian. Editor: Jafar Panahi. Cast: Hussein Emadeddin, Kamyar Sheisi, Azita Rayeji, Shahram Vaziri. Presented in Farsi dialogue with English subtitles. 35mm, 97 min.

CRIMSON GOLD is scheduled to open at the Music Hall Theater, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., on Friday, January 31.

 

Saturday January 17 2004, 7:30PM
LETTERS IN THE WIND
(Namehay Bad)

(2001) Directed by Ali Reza Amini

In the great Iranian neorealist manner, Ali Reza Amini's lyrical debut feature focuses on a group of young men at a military training camp in the mountains. Drawn mainly from the country's most remote provinces, the conscripts must cope with the punishing routine and harsh discipline designed to transform them from callow youths into soldiers. Two of the young men become friends by sharing the tape recorder one of them has smuggled into boot camp, listening to recorded female voices from the world outside. Soon the tape recorder becomes the focal point for the entire barracks, allowing the recruits an outlet for their homesickness, loneliness and desire. Amini combines sly humor and near-documentary dispassion to transform this simple story into moving poetry.

Producer: Ali Reza Amini. Screenplay: Bayram Fazli. Cinematographer: Ali Reza Amini, Mohammad Taghi Hashemi. Editor: Behroz Kahali. Cast: Faramarz Hashemzadeh. Presented in Farsi dialogue with English subtitles. 35mm, 76 min.

 

Friday January 23 2004, 7:30PM
DEEP BREATH
(Nafas-E Ameegh)

(2003) Directed by Parviz Shahbazi

This wry, whimsical character study from Parvis Shahbazi may be the first cinematic account of the urban slacker phenomenon in Iran. Mansour Shahbazi and Saeed Amini play a couple of listless twentysomethings, each from opposite ends of the social spectrum but both equally bored with their constricted lives, which seem to consist mainly of aimless driving, melancholy reflection and the occasional bout of petty crime. When the boys pick up a vivacious young hitchhiker (Maryam Palyzban), her dynamic presence begins to rouse them from their terminal ennui. Punctuated with beautiful imagery and comic moments to leaven its examination of a generation adrift, DEEP BREATH is a sympathetic yet unsparing picture of disaffected Iranian youth.

Producer: Amir Samavati. Screenplay: Parviz Shahbazi. Cinematographer: Ali Loghmani. Editor: Parviz Shahbazi. Cast: Mansour Shahbazi, Maryam Palizban, Saeed Amini. Presented in Farsi dialogue with English subtitles. 35mm, 82 min.

 

Sunday January 25 2004, 7:00PM
TEHRAN, 7:00 A.M.
(Tehran Sa'at-e Haft Sobh)

(2003) Directed by Amir Shahab Razavian

TEHRAN 7 A.M. traces the fleeting connections among disparate characters who briefly meet, tell stories, philosophize or confess love, before moving on to the next encounter. At 7 a.m, a traffic cop extends the red light to keep his favorite actress from crossing the street. The driver of a moped taxi listens to the life stories of passengers he never sees as they sit behind him. Of course, the real star of the film is Tehran in all its chaotic glory: traffic and pedestrian bridges crisscross the frame as the hulking girders of new construction beckon the city's loners to secret encounters by firelight.

Screenplay: Majid Eslami, Farzad Pourkhoshbakht. Cinematographer: Morteza Poursamadi. Editor: Parviz Shahbazi. Cast: Behnaz Jafari, Hasan Moazeni, Reza Khamseh, Parviz Larijani. Presented in Farsi dialogue with English subtitles. 35mm, 85 min.

 

Saturday January 31 2004, 7:30PM
BLACK TAPE-A TEHRAN DIARY
(Ravaryete Makdus)

(2002) Directed by Fariborz Kamkari

A young Kurdish woman in Tehran receives a video camera for her birthday and proceeds to record, often surreptitiously, the heavily circumscribed-and increasingly disturbing-domestic life she leads with her older, controlling husband. The film gradually reveals their marriage to be a chilling allegory for the utter powerlessness of the dispossessed Kurdish population. First-time filmmaker Fariborz Kamkari borrows the conceit of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT-we see only what the video camera records-to create a harrowing account of psychic and physical confinement, complete with hints of sexual sadism and a touch of Gothic horror. Not for the fainthearted, BLACK TAPE is a scorching howl of protest.

Producer: Sayed Ahmad Samsam Shariat. Screenplay: Fariborz Kamkari. Cinematographer: Tiraj Aslani. Editor: Amin Aslani. Cast: Mehdi Asadi, Parviz Moasesi, Shilan Rahmani. Presented in Farsi dialogue with English subtitles. 35mm, 83 min.

 

Friday February 6 2004, 7:30PM
DANCING IN THE DUST
(Raghs Dar Ghober)

(2003) Directed by Asghar Farhadi

Although DANCING IN THE DUST begins as a heartfelt melodrama about a youthful marriage gone awry, things really get interesting when the immature groom finds himself unexpectedly stranded in the desert. With a grizzled and taciturn snake hunter his only companion and guide-and his only chance to make it back to civilization alive-our protagonist finds himself forced to grow up fast. As the two men from different generations alternately spar and attempt to bond, the stakes continue to rise until the standoff is interrupted by a life-or-death emergency. The result is a haunting examination of wasted lives and second chances.

Producer: Iraj Taghipour. Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi. Cinematographer: Hassan Karimi. Editor: Saeed Shahsavari. Cast: Faramarz Gharibian, Yousef Khodaparast, Baran Kosari, Jalal Sarhad-Seraj. Presented in Farsi dialogue with English subtitles. 35mm, 95 min.

 

Sunday February 8 2004, 7:00PM
ABJAD
(2003) Directed by Abolfazl Jalili

Abolfazl Jalili's astonishing new film is a semi-autobiographical story set in the late 1970s, in the tumultuous period just before the Revolution. The story centers around sixteen year-old Emkan, a sensitive, curious and artistically inclined youth whose creative leanings are constantly stifled by his conservative family. To complicate matters further, Emkan, a Muslim, falls in love with the beautiful Maassoum, a young Jewish girl whose family runs a local cinema. Soon the two youths are caught between their feelings for each other and the outrage of their families. Out of this story and the perfectly nuanced performances of its two young actors, Jalili has crafted a masterpiece, infused with subtlety and tender humor.

Producer: Emmanuel Benbihy. Screenplay: Abolfazl Jalili. Editor: Abolfazl Jalili. Coreographer: Mehdi Majde Vaziri. Cast: Mehdi Morady, Mina Molania, Sharare Roohy, Fariba Khademy. Presented in Farsi dialogue with English subtitles. 35mm, 111 min.


For further info, please call 310.206.FILM or log on to www.cinema.ucla.edu.

 

All films screen at the James Bridges Theater in Melnitz Hall, located on the northeast corner of the UCLA campus, near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Hilgard Avenue.  

 

Tickets are available at the theater one hour before showtime.  Admission is $7 general; $5 students, seniors and UCLA Alumni Association members with ID.  Admission to the Animation From Iran program is $5 per person.

 

NOTE:  Advance tickets for all programs are now available for $8 using your credit card at www.cinema.ucla.edu!

 

Free street parking after 6 pm daily on Loring Ave. at Charing Cross Rd.; or for $7 in Lot 3, adjacent to the James Bridges Theater.

 

... Payvand News - 1/9/04 ... --



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