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Film: Jerry and Me

In her intimate documentary “Jerry & Me,” filmmaker Mehrnaz Saeedvafa examines the significant role that Hollywood movies played in her life, both as a young film lover growing up in pre-revolutionary Iran, and as an adult working as a filmmaker and educator in both Iran and the USA.

Director(s): Mehrnaz Saeedvafa
Writer(s): Mehrnaz Saeedvafa
Runtime: 38 Minutes
Country: USA, Iran
Language: English, Persian with English subtitles
Year: 2012

Of particular focus in “Jerry & Me” is the intimate relationship young Mehrnaz develops with the image of Jerry Lewis, the iconic American film auteur who delighted audiences around the world with hilarious portrayals of outcasts and misfits in popular Hollywood comedies of the 1950s and ’60s.

As illustrated through a variety of Lewis’ film clips, the shifts in the comedian’s on-screen persona reflected the twists and turns of Saeedvafa’s own life, providing her much needed comfort and companionship during a time that was tumultuous and chaotic. Mehrnaz’s illusion of Lewis as an empathetic fellow outsider is ultimately shattered, however, by the stark reality of a real-life encounter with the star.

“A provocative and hilarious cross-cultural investigation.”
- Jonathan Rosenbaum

“Jerry & Me is a love letter to cinema”
- Chicago Journal

About Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa:


Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa (photo by Robin-Holland)
Related Article: Q &A with Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa (director of Jerry and Me)

Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa has an M.F.A. from University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been teaching as a full time faculty at the Film and Video Department since 1989. Her areas of expertise are cinema studies (international cinema, Middle Eastern cinema, Exilic cinema, women, gender, race in cinema), documentary film theory and production and alternative forms. She has lectured and written extensively on Iranian cinema. Her book on Abbas Kiarostami co-written with Jonathan Rosenbaum was published by the University of Illinois Press in March 2003. Mehrnaz is an award winner filmmaker. Her films A Tajik Woman, Saless far from Home, and Ruins Within have been shown in many international film festivals. Her recent film A Different Moonwas shown in several European film festivals in 2009 and has been picked up for distribution by European Spiritual Film Festival in France. She is currently working a on a personal documentary film about her relationship with Jerry Lewis's cinema.

Mehrnaz has been the Artistic Consultant of the Festival of Films from Iran, at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago since 1989.

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