Celebrate the diversity of Iranian cinema in this annual festival offering varying perspectives on the complexity of Persian life and culture.
The Boston Festival of Films From Iran
Eight different short films will be showcased at the MFA throughout the next two weeks (January 19-31), each offering a unique window into life in Iran. All films in Persian with English subtitles unless otherwise noted.
Rhino Season by Bahman Ghobadi (France/Turkey, 2012, 104 min.).
A haunting love story spanning three decades, Sahel (Behrouz Vossoughi) falls victim to a personal vendetta and is imprisoned with his wife Mina (Monica Bellucci). Ten years later, Mina is released but is told that Sahel is dead. Heartbroken, she and her two children move to Istanbul, unknowingly leaving behind her very-much-alive husband. Finally released, Sahel searches for his wife, but after clinging to an intangible vision for so many years, what is the reality that awaits him now? Winner Best Cinematography at the 2012 San Sebastian Film Festival.
One. Two. One by Mania Akbari (Iran, 2011, 79 min.).
Iranian painter-turned-filmmaker Akbari explores the complexity of a love triangle in the age of electronic communication. Filmed almost exclusively in close-up, the nonlinear narrative is revealed through one-sided conversations and one-on-one discussions with psychologists, a fortune-teller, and an aestheticianto tell the story of woman who struggles with a face-disfiguring injury caused by her boyfriend's reckless driving.
The Iran Job by Till Schauder and Sara Nodjoumi (US/Iran, 2012, 93 min.).
In this highly entertaining documentary, American basketball player Kevin Sheppard accepts a job to play in Iran. The film is filled with wonderful, touching moments: Kevin bonds with local shop owners, teaches his teammates American slang, and forms genuine friendships with three outspoken Iranian women. The team's perseverance get them to the playoffs, but something much bigger than basketball is happening off the court as thousands of Iranians crowd the streets to protest the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In English and Farsi with English subtitles.
Nessa by Loghman Khaledi (Iran, 2012, 52 min.).
All Nessa wants is her independence and to become a famous actress, but this cinema verite portrait reveals the high price of rebelling against her conservative Kurdish-Iranian family, especially her controlling, violent brother. Fascinating interviews with family members reveal they believe in Nessa's dream, but they limit her freedom because they are worried about their neighborhood reputation.
The Last Step by Ali Mosaffa (Iran, 2012, 88 min.).
This captivating drama lyrically weaves together a murder mystery, the past and present, and a love triangle. Leili’s (Leila Hatami) successful acting career puts a strain on her marriage to Koshrow (Ali Mosaffa). When Koshrow dies unexpectedly, the film untangles the potential reasons behind their troubled marriage and his mysterious death. “Finely acted and crisply shot . . . this is yet another reminder that Iran is awash with world-class film-makers” (The Hollywood Reporter). Winner of Best Actress and the International Critics’ Prize at the 2012 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Reluctant Bachelor Mehdi Bagheri (Iran, 2011, 58 min.).
Reluctant Bachelor provides an intimate look at the life of the filmmaker, engaged in a family feud of his own making while living uneasily in his father's house. Distrustful of others and afraid of committing to any relationship, the documentary explores the meaning of home and offers revealing insights into the live of a single, thirtysomething Iranian male.
No Men Allowed by Rambod Javan (Iran, 2011, 100 min.).
Do opposites attract? Pariya believes if her strict headmaster Ms. Darabi finds loves, she'll loosen the school's strict rules. When Mr. Jebeli becomes the school's first male teacher, Pariya decides to play matchmaker, but Ms. Darabi is looking for a win in the country's chemistry competition, not a husband. Directed by one of Iran's most popular TV comedy stars, No Entry for Men is a refreshing and hilarious take on the romantic comedy-a genre that's popular in Iran, but rarely seen outside the country.
Modest Reception by Mani Haghighi (Iran, 2012, 100 min.).
A Tehran couple distributes large bags of money to residents of an impoverished town and captures their shocked reactions on a cell phone. What seems like an act of generosity is actually something perverse and puzzling. The film’s mood shifts between black comedy and psychological thriller brilliantly in the hands of director Mani Haghighi, giving us an intriguing and honest look into the darker side of human nature. “Utterly engaging, original, and sophisticated” (Screen Daily). NETPAC Prize for Best Asian Film at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival.
The Museum of Fine Arts is located at 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. Admission per film is $9 for members and $11 for non-members. For more information, visit mfa.org.
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