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Rakhshan Bani-Etemad Film Season April 2008 - London


11-30 April 2008
BFI Southbank, London.


Retrospective of films directed by Rakhshan Ban-Etemad.


Rakhshan Ban-Etemad


Organised by

BFI Southbank in association with SOAS and the Iran Heritage Foundation



Rakhshan Bani-Etemad is not simply one of Iran's leading film directors but one, according to Sheila Whitaker, deserving of a place in any history of international cinema. Yet, outside of festivals, she has largely been ignored in the UK. Here's the opportunity to find out just how much we've been missing.

Rakhshan Bani-Etemad has been a major figure in Iranian cinema for over 20 years and given equivalent status on the international scene since 1991, when
Nargess appeared at international festivals, including London. The mystery is why this accomplished film-maker, duly feted elsewhere in the world, has been largely ignored in the UK. She is a leading, not to say pioneering, figure in an alternative Iranian cinema. Not that her films have lingered on the margins - with the exception of Foreign Currency they have all been domestic box- office hits. But whereas the popular cinema largely (re)confirms the Islam of the Iranian state - and particularly the position of women - and leaves social ills unquestioned, her films consistently critique the status quo.

She intended training as an architect but then decided to work in film, beginning as a television script girl whilst studying film at the College of Dramatic Arts. After working as a TV reporter, she began her career behind the camera in 1984, researching and documenting the socio-political issues which were defining the lives of the poor and underprivileged. It is these concerns - and the unambiguous contesting of patriarchy - that inform all her fiction films. Her early scripts were refused: one, dealing with Touba and her children, was based on an actual woman who Bani-Etemad later included as herself in
The May Lady. As a result, her first three features were not her original scripts and, although their subject matter clearly appealed, she substantially re-wrote them.

Work on her personal projects began with
Nargess, and these, unlike her first films which profiled male characters, were to profile women who, whilst victims of society and patriarchy, also resist and survive. Bani-Etemad's fictions are also notable for the documentary influences within their visualisation (and her documentaries for their creative strategies). Thus it is that her preoccupations - the foregrounding of a society blighted by extreme poverty and the subversion of patriarchy and the Oedipal in a culture which actively seeks to deny and repress female sexuality - and their cinematic realisation have resulted in a truly remarkable series of complex and courageous films.




Canary Yellow
Wed 16 Apr 18:20
Fri 25 Apr 20:40
Comic exploration of the serious issue of rural-urban exploration.

Foreign Currency
Sat 12 Apr 15:50
Sat 19 Apr 18:40
Satirical look at Iran's rampant inflation and fixation with foreign currency.


Wed 23 Apr 18:20
Wed 30 Apr 21:00
Rakhshan Bani-Etemad boldly confronts the Iran-Iraq war.

Mainline + Under the City's Skin

Mon 14 Apr 18:10
Wed 23 Apr 20:50
Powerful drama and an accompanying documentary dealing with drug addiction in Iran.

The May Lady + The Last Meeting with Iran Daftari


Sat 19 Apr 15:50
Thu 24 Apr 20:15
Poetic film about motherhood, plus a tribute to a celebrated actress.



Sun 13 Apr 15:45
Tue 15 Apr 18:00
First in a thematic trilogy dealing with parents, children and sexuality.

Fri 11 Apr 18:10
Thu 17 Apr 20:45
Fine addition to the genre of satiric portraits of bureaucracies and bureaucrats.

Our Times


Mon 21 Apr 20:45

Sat 26 Apr 15:50
Fascinating portrait of Iran at the start of the 21st Century.

Rakhshan Bani-Etemad in Conversation
Mon 14 Apr 20:30
We welcome one of the leading women film-makers in Iran for an on-stage interview.

The Blue-Veiled
Thu 17 Apr 20:30
Sun 20 Apr 16:00
An elderly widower falls in love with one his employees.

To Whom Will You Show These Films Anyway?
Fri 18 Apr 18:40
Sun 27 Apr 18:20
Bani-Etemad continues to explore the impact of socio-political issues on the working class.

Under the Skin of the City
Mon 21 Apr 18:10
Sat 26 Apr 20:30
Tuba and her family struggle to survive against the backdrop of the 1998 Iranian elections


Related events

The film retrospective is part of a season of events celebrating Bani-Etemad's work that includes a fimmaking masterclass led by her and a conference, both at the School of Oriental and African Studies where she will also receive an Honorary Degree for her contribution to World Cinema and her examination of Iranian culture and society.


Enquiries and box office

Book online or call +44 (20) 79283232


... Payvand News - 03/25/08 ... --

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