A scene from Loose Rope by Mehrshad Karkhani
The event, which will start on January 9, will feature a number of award-winning Iranian films, including Ali Atshani's Banana Skin, Mohammad Rasoulof's Head Wind, Manijeh Hekmat's Three Women, Abdolreza Kahani's Over There, and Mehrshad Karkhani's Lose Rope.
The Thirteenth Annual Festival of Iranian Films is organized by Bo Smith of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and cosponsored by ILEX Foundation.
The Iranian Film Festival, which presents contemporary works by internationally acclaimed filmmakers, is considered as one of the most popular events at the Smithsonian Institution's Freer Gallery of Art each year.
"We have overflow crowds," says Tom Vick, the film programmer for the Freer Gallery in 2007. "We usually don't show films twice [during a film series], but with the Iranian films we have to," he said.
Vick added that the Iranian series is "the most popular in terms of attendance" at the Freer.
Following are the films scheduled for screening at the event. Please refer to Washington's Freer Gallery of Art web site for updates and details.
Note: Due to high demand for tickets, assigned seating is in effect for this series. Up to two free tickets per person are distributed beginning one hour before show time.
Friday, January 9, 2009, 7:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
Sunday, January 11, 2009, 2:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
This engaging comedy by Ali Atshani takes a light approach to death and the afterlife. Hamid, a workaholic, has everything his modern lifestyle requires but no time to enjoy it-until a freak accident delivers him at death's door. Welcomed by the ghosts of his just-deceased uncle and another accident victim, Hamid discovers that being a prankish spirit in the city isn't such a bad deal after all. The plot thickens when a pretty lady-ghost comes on the scene, and his uncle ponders matchmaking protocol in the great beyond. Description provided by the Gene Siskel Film Center. In Persian with English subtitles. Iran / 2008 / 89 min. / video
Friday, January 16, 2009, 7:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
Sunday, January 18, 2009, 2:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
A dispute over an ancient carpet propels a grandmother, mother, and daughter into realms of mystery and mysticism in Manijeh Hekmat's film. Minoo, a museum textiles curator, makes off with the carpet, a national treasure, in an effort to save it from an unscrupulous dealer. She loses the precious antique, and her mother as well, to a mission that beckons the elderly lady from the past. The call of the unknown puts Minoo's daughter on the road to self-discovery, causing Minoo to question who or what she herself needs to find. Description provided by the Gene Siskel Film Center. In Persian with English subtitles. Iran / 2008 / 94 min. / video
Friday, January 23, 2009, 7:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
Sunday, January 25, 2009, 2:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
This film by Mohammad Rasoulof is a candid, searing look inside the Islamic Republic and its losing battle for control over the flow of information that enters the country from the outside world. In what at first seems like an investigation into the government's effort to deny people access to Hollywood films, the documentary unfolds to reveal that at the heart of this struggle beats the desire of the Iranian people for self-determination and open access to information. This remarkable film touches on one of the major post-revolution issues by examining Iran's underground satellite, Internet, and DVD culture. Description adapted from the Tribeca Film Festival. In Persian with English subtitles. Iran / 2008 / 65 min. / video
Friday, February 6, 2009, 7:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
Sunday, February 8, 2009, 2:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
Two young rural men who work at the animals market in Tehran have only twenty-four hours to take a large cow from downtown to the northern part of the city-or else their jobs and futures are at stake. The spectators follow their obligatory journey with the rope, which is tied around the cow. Mehrshad Karkhani cinematically describes the contrast that exists between the south and the north of Tehran. Description provided by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In Persian with English subtitles. Iran / 2008 / 82 min.
Friday, February 13, 2009, 7:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
Sunday, February 15, 2009, 2:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
A beautiful black-and-white film that explores the inner workings of a marriage, Abdolreza Kahani's Over There follows ten days in the lives of Payman and Leila, a young couple in the middle of a marital meltdown. Payman has only ten days left to return to the United States to renew his green card, but he cannot exit the country until he legally leaves his wife with five hundred gold coins. Description provided by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In Persian with English subtitles. Iran / 2008 / 75 min. / b&w
Santouri: The Music Man
Friday, February 20, 2009, 7:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
Sunday, February 22, 2009, 2:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
Following a fine series of films about women, Dariush Mehrjui's latest work focuses on Ali, a popular young singer and musician. Despite his talent, Ali struggles with heroin addiction. The film flows from Ali's happier past to his troubles with the law and the emotional and physical price of his addiction. Description provided by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In Persian with English subtitles. Iran / 2007 / 106 min. / video
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