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In Support of Jafar Panahi

JUNE 17-20
Pacific Cinematheque
1131 Howe Street, Vancouver, Canada

VANCOUVER - On 20 December 2010, internationally acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi was found guilty of "assembly and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic." He was sentenced to six years in jail, and faces a 20-year ban on making movies, writing screenplays, giving any form of media interview, or leaving Iran.

Pacific Cinematheque pays tribute to Panahi, and to the principles of freedom of speech and artistic freedom, with this program featuring four of his most acclaimed films: Offside (2006), Crimson Gold (2002), The Circle (2000), and The White Balloon (1995).

Panahi was a notable absence in this year's Cannes film festival. His newest feature - titled This is Not a Film - was smuggled out of Iran on a USB stick buried inside a cake in order to make its premiere. He is currently appealing his sentence.

A scene from Jafar Panahi's "This is Not a Film"

"The reality of being alive and the dream of keeping cinema alive motivated us to go through the existing limitations in Iranian cinema," Panahi wrote in an official statement to Cannes organizers earlier this year. "The existing possibilities in cinema have convinced us that a filmmaker has only himself to blame if he is unable to make films. The discerning nature of art not only paves the way for the artist to overcome problems, but in the process of creativity, it turns every limitation into a subject for work. The unpleasant reality governing Iranian cinema and filmmakers today drove us to not overlook this (perhaps transient) reality and to depict parts of it that were reflected in us."

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ABOUT PACIFIC CINEMATHEQUE: Pacific Cinematheque is a society and centre dedicated to the understanding of film and moving images in both the Canadian and international contexts. Through screenings and the provision of educational services and resources, Pacific Cinematheque fosters critical media literacy and advances cinema as art and a vital means of communication in British Columbia and Canada. Since its incorporation in 1972, Pacific Cinematheque has presented more foreign, Canadian, independent, art-house, classic, experimental, short and documentary films than any other theatre in Vancouver.


Iran 2006. Director: Jafar Panahi
Cast: Sima Mobarak-Shahi, Safar Samandar, Shayesteh Irani, Mohammad Kheirabadi, Ayda Sadeqi
ALL AGES WELCOME! Jafar Panahi’s most recent feature is a warm comedy filmed against the backdrop of the Iran-Bahrain World Cup qualifying match in Tehran in 2006. Offside won a Silver Bear at Berlin but was banned (like many of Panahi’s films) at home, where women are banned from public sporting events. The film’s heroines are several determined young female fans who, faces painted in the colours of Iran’s flag and disguised as boys, attempt to sneak into Tehran’s Azadi Stadium for the big game. When they are detained by a group of young soldiers, a protracted, often hilarious series of arguments and negotiations ensues between the assertive, vocal young women and their naïve, uncertain guards. Colour, 35mm, in Farsi with English subtitles. 93 mins.

Crimson Gold
(Talaye sorkh)
Iran 2003. Director: Jafar Panahi
Cast: Hossain Emadeddin, Kamyar Sheisi, Azita Rayeji, Shahram Vaziri, Pourang Nakhael
Jafar Panahi’s socially conscious crime drama begins with a shocking act of violence inside a Tehran jewelry story. It then circles around to trace the downfall of hapless, hulking everyman Hussein, an honest pizza delivery man and Iran-Iraq war veteran ultimately driven to desperate acts. The film won the Jury Prize in the prestigious Un Certain Regard section of Cannes. “A quietly brilliant film ... Characteristically oblique, [Abbas] Kiarostami’s telling script is at once poetic and precise, witty and compassionate, while Panahi’s strong visual sense and expertise with untrained actors ensures that one is entranced throughout” (Geoff Andrew, Time Out). Colour, 35mm, in Farsi with English subtitles. 95 mins.

The Circle
Iran 2000. Director: Jafar Panahi
Cast: Nargess Mamizadeh, Maryiam Palvin Almani, Mojgan Faramarzi, Elham Saboktakin, Monir Arab  
“One of the best works of cinema to come out of Iran in the past decade” (A. O. Scott, New York Times), Panahi’s The Circle won the Golden Lion at Venice in 2000 and went on to win the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) prize for film of the year. Banned in Iran, this riveting, deceptively simple work follows three women released from prison on temporary passes; its true subject is the social control exercised over women in a society where ordinary, everyday activities are often forbidden to them or require male approval or supervision. “Brave and powerful ... Taking [Max Ophüls’s] La Ronde as its structural model, the narrative passes from one woman to another, finally completing a circle which can only be described as vicious” (Tony Rayns, Time Out). Colour, Digibeta video, in Farsi with English subtitles. 90 mins.

The White Balloon
(Badkonake sefid)
Iran 1995. Director: Jafar Panahi
Cast: Aida Mohammadkhani, Mohsen Kafili, Fereshteh Sadr Orfani, Anna Borkowska, Mohammad Shahani  
ALL AGES WELCOME! Panahi’s award-winning debut feature, made from a script by Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami, charmed international audiences. With a title that nods to The Red Balloon, French director Albert Lamorisse’s beloved children’s classic, The White Balloon uses real time to relate the sweet, sensitive, and often surprisingly suspenseful adventures of seven-year-old Razieh. The White Balloon won the Cannes festival’s Camera d’Or for best first feature. “[An] extraordinary debut ... A film of small incident, minute, telling observations, and enormous heart and intelligence ... Panahi absorbs us so entirely in his heroine’s delicate, enquiring world” (Wally Hammond, Time Out). Colour, 35mm, in Farsi with English subtitles. 85 mins.


Friday, June 17 - 7:00pm
Saturday, June 18 - 4:30pm
Sunday, June 19 - 8:15pm
Crimson Gold
Friday, June 17 - 8:50pm
Saturday, June 18 - 6:30pm
Monday, June 20 - 8:40pm

The Circle
Saturday, June 18 - 8:20pm
Sunday, June 19 - 6:30pm

The White Balloon
Sunday, June 19, - 4:30pm
Monday, June 20 - 7:00pm

$10.50 Adult Single Bill
$12.50Adult Double Bill
$9 Senior/Student Single Bill
$11 Senior/Student Double Bill

Restricted to 18+
$3 annual membership required

Pacific Cinematheque
1131 Howe Street, Vancouver
24hr Film Infoline: 604 688 FILM

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