Hamid Hamoun, an unsettled member of the Iranian middle-class, works as a salesman by day and an aspiring writer at night. After an alarming and ambiguous dream sequence, Hamoun opens with the title character bunkered up in a barren apartment, clothes, dishes, and his PhD materials strewn about. From the outset, Hamoun is noticeably flustered: he wakes from a dream involving a devilish figure and a ….
Charming, engaging and humane, Abbas Kiarostami’s Where is the Friend’s Home? (1987) was the first film by the Iranian director to gain significant attention outside of his home country. In this simple tale, young Mohamed Reda Nematzadeh (Ahmed Ahmed Poor) is scolded by his teacher (Kheda Barech Defai), not for failing to do his homework, but for failing to write it all down in his notebook.
Regarded as one of the pillars of Iranian cinema, Kamran Shirdel’s The Night it Rained is a film that illustrates the tenuous nature of truth as we explore an event as it is presented to us by government officials, members of the press, villagers, and railroad workers that offer diametrically opposed accounts of what really happened on one fateful rainy night …
In Only Image Remains we are shown a small portion of the rich cinematic history of a nation whose leaders have made every effort to destroy the works of its artists and intellectuals.
Following his first experience, or experiment, with filming in digital with ABC Africa (2001), Abbas Kiarostami found another variable with which to explore and push the limitations of cinema and the boundaries between documentary and fiction. Ten consists of ten scenes shot with two digital cameras placed on either side of a car …
Time and motion: the bare elements of the cinematic image. D.W. Griffith’s formalisation of the grammar of film editing when the medium was yet in its infancy effected an understanding between spectator and screen of the space between, the time and the motion we do not see in the space of a cut: the filmic equivalent, as it were, of reading between the lines. With…
A very average melodrama of family affairs. Given the scope and celebration of director Asghar Farhadi’s previous film A Separation (2011) this was a huge disappointment. A man who abandons his wife in France to return to his life in Iran comes back when she requests a divorce. Ahamd’s wife Marie-Anne is now living with Samir, another younger Iranian man, and has set about redecorating the house they lived in. Samir’s young boy Fouad lives with Marie-Anne’s two girls, troubled teenager Lucie and wide eyed wonderer Lea.
Unlike other Arab-Asian nations, Iran stands out as having a rather rich history in cinema. Recent political scandals, further media censorship and oppressive regimes have necessitated an even stealthier cinema if one is to hope for a release in Iran. Filmmakers like Jafar Panahi are only among the most high profile cases of Iranians creating films in political exile, if not literal. The discipline of self-censorship has given these films a veneer of simplicity; moral tales agreeable to nearly all corners of the earth and a formal approach less flashy and more ascetic. Women’s heads are nearly always covered, and much pain goes into making sure the films at least give the impression of being innocuous fare that doesn’t “abandon” Islamic tradition — as the monarchies and mullahs see it, at least — and isn’t too acutely critical of their respective regimes. To the chagrin of these regimes, many of these filmmakers have flourished under this umbrella without ridding their work of their teeth.
In his latest film, made in France, Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi presents a clinical exploration of the seemingly simplest and most harmless omission, utterance, or turn of the head to capture the labyrinth that is human communication, its ethical lining, and hence its moral repercussions. In this narrative of a man and a woman finalising their divorce, Farhadi constructs such a breathtakingly elaborate chain of mis/understanding, confrontation, and imagination that ripples out to collide with multiple layers of events that are in the end intimately and irrevocably connected.
Football is arguably the most popular sport in Iran, and has a rich history that dates back to the turn of the twentieth century, thanks to the introduction of the game to the country by the English. Also dating back to the turn of the twentieth century is none other than the medium of cinema itself, which made its first appearance in Iran around the same time. In keeping with this two-pronged theme of football and film, it is worthwhile to look at some of the instances in which films have represented football, less in terms of showing football matches or presenting narratives on football players and more in terms of football as a field both actual and metaphorical to address aspects of Iranian society and culture.