Wednesday 21 April, 18:00

Iran under the Skin

An Encounter with Iranian Cultures

Iranian film. Before and after the revolution: Documentaries and films that explore Iran's most recent history, drawing a line between pre- and post-revolutionary film and offering viewers an excellent understanding of the Iranian mentality. The cycle includes five different programmes made up of a series of short films, experimental documentaries, fiction films and a combination of all these genres.


Each programme is designed to take in representative ways of viewing vital questions, such as women's issues, childhood, war, art and film itself, in the framework of contemporary Iranian experience. The result is a considerable number of works that show a cross section of a new wave of Iranian film-makers. Many of them are shown here for the first time outside Iran.


Wednesday 21 April

6 p.m.
Full-length film
Siavosh in Persepolis (Siavosh dar Tahkhte Jamshid)
, Fereidoon Rahnam. 1967, 97'
Drama. Considered the first important artistic film to be made in Iran, attracting international notice. It was awarded the Jean Epstein Prize at the Locarno Film Festival. The film combines mythology and history with an added reference to contemporary reality in the form of a group of film-makers whose story unfolds alongside that of the protagonist. Amid war and betrayal, Siavosh, the incarnation of truth in Iranian mythology, attempts to establish peace.

8 p.m.
The dragonfly storm (Tufan Sanjaghak), Shahram Mokri, 2003, 15'
Fiction. There is an incident in an apartment surrounding a woman who dies; there are several possible causes.

Why has Roya gone missing? (Roya chera gom shodeh?), Nima Abbas, 2003, 17'
Fiction. One night in a restaurant a girl tells her boyfriend the story of the disappearance of her ten-year-old sister, six years previously.

The ignition is tricky (Startesh yek ghelegh dareh), Sareh Bathayee, 2003, 10'
Fiction. A woman buys a car from a man who has just separated from his wife. He wants to sell the vehicle, which his wife no longer uses, to pay her dowry.

Special moment (Lahzeieh Khas), Amir Hussain Birjandi, 2003. 5'
Fiction. A young man gets to know a girl when they bump into each other on the stairs.

Opaque viewfinder ( Lenze maat), Behrang Dezfulizadeh, 2003, 16'
Fiction. A peddler with failing eyesight, who sells his goods in front of a cinema, talks about his love of the seventh art and the merits of his favourite films and directors.

Thesis (Tez), Reza Rakhshsan, 1977, 12'
Fiction. While making a film for their graduation thesis, a group of film students undergo a change of plans and attitude.

9.30 p.m.
The grub (Bachemagas), Moustafa Ale Ahmad, 2002, 18'
Experimental film. This film has no plot in the dramatic sense. Surrealist in style, it addresses the concepts of life and death, will and destiny, and how they are related.

Flying misters (Aghayan e Parande), Reza Bahrami Nezhad, 2003, 26'
Documentary. In a small misty port, three school friends form an underground rock group and try to shake up the town.

Men dancing on the slope (Raghse mardan roye shib), Mehdi Pakdel, 2003, 8'
Experimental film. The deep-seated loneliness of a group of men who live together.

No-name street (Kheiaban bedone shomareh), Puria Azarbaijani, 2003, 16'
Fiction. A phone box in an anonymous street attracts a series of characters.

The tale of Nazli's death by the lover exorcist... (Ravayat marghe Nazli...), Javad Emami, 2003, 25'
Documentary. A young man who believes in spirits talks about the death of his fiancée.

Film-maker's nightmare (Kaboos filmsazi), Shahab Mirzaie, 2002, 5'
Fiction. The dilemma of a film director looking for a theme for his next film.


Friday 23 April

6 p.m.
Full-length film
Deserted station (Istgahe matrook), Ali Reza Raissian, 2002, 90'
Drama. When their car breaks down in the desert, a photographer and his wife decide to ask for help in the nearest village. When they get there, events take an unexpected turn as he begins a series of futile steps to repair the engine while his wife is recruited as a stand-in teacher for a class of precocious rural children. Funny, likeable and full of surprises, this is the more eloquent and picturesque face of Iranian cinema: a fascinating film about provincial life and an enjoyable parable about community ties.

8 p.m.
Window (Panjereh), Bezad Rasoulzadeh, 2002, 18'
Documentary. A film about divorce and how it affects children and their future.

The anniversary of my grandfather's death (Salgarde fote pedarbozorgam), Siavash Jamali, 2003, 10'
Documentary. A realistic look at the traditional annual ceremony held after the death of a grandfather.

Paper wind (Kaghaza baad), Ali Zamani Esmati, 2003, 15'
Fiction. A little girl who lives alone with her working mother is unable to convince her to go to a meeting at the school. Instead, she takes a neighbour's son.

The last uncounted village (Akharin rustaye sar shomari nashodeh), Shahram Alidi, 2002, 15'
Fiction. The arrival of civil servants in a remote village to take the census.

Non-stop to Molavi (Darbast Molavi), Behzad Khodaveisi, 17'
Fiction. A taxi ride from an elegant district in the north of Tehran (Pole Rumi) to a street in the south of the city (Molavi), with some unexpected adventures.

9.30 p.m.
Fire beneath the ashes (Jialmo), Ebrahim Saeedi, 2003, 12'
Fiction. In Iranian Kurdistan, next to the Iraq border, life goes on despite the ravages of the Iran-Iraq war. This little paradise at the gates to hell is the setting for a love story...

The blackout (Khamooshi), Bijan Mirbagheri, 2003, 20'
Fiction. An investigation into the life of a husband and wife affected by the bombing of Tehran in 1987.

Candidate (Kandida), Mohammad Shirvani, 2000, 15'
Fiction/documentary. A mother sets out to look for a bride for her son, who is due to complete his military service in two weeks. She consults the young women in the street, armed with a photograph of the suitor.

Nabat, Marzieh Vafamehr, 2002, 11'
Fiction. The Iran-Iraq war, the bombing of Tehran. A little girl who is alone at home receives instructions over the telephone from her mother about what to do when the siren goes off. She knows she has to go quickly to the bomb shelter, but she wants to take all her dolls with her.

The little captain (Nakhodaye kuchak), Mohammad Sanguri, 2003, 16'
Fiction. The life of a young fisherman in the south of Iran, with his struggles and dreams, once the war is over.

Noah's ark (Kashtieh Nooh), Sudabeh Babagap, 2003, 23'
Documentary. The story of boats sunk on the south coast of Iran as a result of the war which have been left where they were hit by Iraqi fire, waiting to be recovered.

Nobody cares about the fishes (Kesi befekre mahiha nist), Ali Zamani Esmati, 2001, 15'
Fiction/documentary. The story of the difficult lives of Iraqi Kurds in refugee camps in Iran. The old people and children are the only survivors of Saddam's chemical warfare and they live side by side, though the youngsters aspire to a better future.


Saturday 24 April

6 p.m.
Full-length film
Exam (Emtehan), Nasser Refaie, 2002, 80'
Numerous women of all ages and different social backgrounds meet in the playground of a Tehran school to take the university entrance exam. It is a particularly difficult test because in Iran very few women are allowed to go to university. Their conversations tell us of their everyday problems, giving us an overview of how Iranian women react to the few opportunities they have to achieve equality with men. A series of conflicts show that not all the women who have got this far can cherish the hope of escaping the restrictions dictated by a system that very rigidly defines the role of women in the community. Although the contrasting opinions and ideas expressed by these women include progressive and even emancipated, liberal views, for one of the protagonists the entrance exam creates a serious dilemma in her personal and family life.

8 p.m.
Fingerprint (Asare Angosht), Farnaz Jamshidi Moghadam, 2001, 25'
Documentary. The subject of this documentary is the participation of women in Iran's presidential elections.

Women without shadows (Zanane bedoone saayeh), Mahnaz Mohammadi, 2003, 22'
Fiction/documentary. A group of abandoned, homeless women live together in a sanatorium.

Behind the leaves of Adam's fig (Az pase barghaye anjir), Leila Khnasari, 2003, 8'
Documentary. The director of a women's prison visits the inmates in their cells.

Newspaper (Rooznameh), Mohammad Ali Safura,2003. 6'
Documentary. In the spring of 2002, six little girls drowned in the pond of a park in Tehran. This film is a chronicle of that tragic event.

Love is alone... (Eshgh Tanhast...), Omid Bonakdar and Keyvan Alimohamadi, 2003, 25'
Fiction. Three episodes tell of the difficulties of three women (all played by the same actress) from different social contexts.

Ruffled pupils (Mardomakhaye parishan), Tufan Nahan Ghodrati, 2003, 14'
Fiction. A woman lives and works alone while her husband, whom she supports, is doing his military service.

10 p.m.
The voice of Moon (Sedaye mah), Farahnaz Sharify, 2003, 25'
Documentary about Iran's first woman singer.

The circling wheel (Charkhe Gardoon), Reza Majlesi, 2003, 25'
Documentary. This documentary deals with one of the rituals of the Iranian New Year that is practised in Guilan, the northern province of Iran.

Walking on water (Ghadam zadan dar Aab), Fima Emami, 2003, 17'
Documentary about Shakiba, one of Iran's foremost contemporary painters.

We are the ones who spin the earth (In ma hastmim keh zaminra micharkhanim), Talyeh Sharghi, 2002, 14'
Documentary. A look at conceptual art and installation in Iran.

Look at me (Beman negah kon), Susan Baiani, 2002, 27'
Documentary. What is left of a drama group is just a handful of photos hung on the wall of a basement called "Sun Salon".
This film tells how the group prepares the staging of a Jean Genet play.


Tuesday 27 April

6 p.m.
Full-length film
Smell of camphor, fragrance of jasmine (Bboye kafur atre yas), Bahman Farmanara, 2001, 90'
This is a director-who's-making-a-film kind of film and it's therefore full of observations about life and art, along the lines of Fellini's otto e mezzo or Woody Allen's Stardust memories , but with scathing political comment that is absent from these two films. Here, death is a constant presence. The director, having spent twenty years away from film due to the regime's censorship, makes a documentary about funeral customs in Iran.
The deaths of various characters, including the director himself, intertwine in a moving and hilarious plot. The film also introduces the non-Iranian viewer to everyday middle class life in modern Iran.

8 p.m.
Letters from Iran (Namehayee az Iran), Nezam Manouchehri, 2003, 30'
Documentary. More than two decades after the Revolution, Iran is still a mystery both for the foreigner and for many Iranians who left the country for various reasons and have not been back. Some of them have thought about returning and even those who have been to visit are still undecided.

Marine diamond (Almase aabi), Korush Farzanegan, 2004, 17'
Documentary. This film is about a retired captain who still goes to look after the ship that the owners have abandoned as scrap.

Memories are not fragrant (Khatereh khooshbu nist), Azar Mehrabi, 2003, 18'
Documentary. A film-maker goes into some public lavatories to make a film about the woman who has looked after them for eleven years; in the end, though, the film is about the film-maker himself.

The eternal memory (Khatereieh azali), Mehdi Asadi, 2001, 5'
Experimental film. A brief review of the funeral rituals of the Shia.

Earthquake vaccine (Vaksane Zelzele), Ali Zamani Esmati, 2004, 14'
Documentary. The devastating earthquake that shook the town of Bam provides the background to this moving story of a little girl whose father had promised to take her for the vaccine the morning after the disaster.

10 p.m.
Full-length film
Close-up, Abbas Kiarostami, 1990, 94'
Docudrama. A complex, entertaining film in which documentary and fiction alternate constantly to challenge the conventions of the cinema. At the centre of this true story we find Hossein Sabzian, an unemployed cinema-lover who is mistaken for the enigmatic director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The misunderstanding takes on a life of its own and Sabzian ends up in prison, where his trial is filmed by Kiarostami.


Wednesday 28 April

6 p.m.
Full-length film
Letters of the wind (Namehaye baad), Ali Reza Amini, 2003, 76'
Drama. A young man from the country who goes to do his military service at a base near Tehran takes a handheld tape recorder with him. During his free time in the dormitory, he lets his fellow recruits listen to the voices of women he has recorded at random over the telephone.

8 p.m.
A hot afternoon (Yek badaz zohre dagh), Hassan Rashid Ghamat, 2000, 10'
Fiction. On his day off, a soldier tries to shake off his loneliness in the park.

So far away (Ta on andazeh dour), Ali Mohammad Ghasemi, 2000, 12'
Fiction. A camel is taken from the desert to the abattoir.

The well (Chaah), Bayram Fazli, 2001, 15'
Fiction. In the middle of a desert landscape, an elderly man and his young wife try to find water and dig a well. As they work on this arduous task, the characters talk of their dearest hopes and wishes, until, at the end, reality imposes itself.

My mother Iran (Madaram Iran), Amir Hussain Kiani, 7'
Fiction. Twenty-five years of the history of Iran.

I talk to god (Man bakhda harf mizanam), Kaveh Bahrami Moghadam, 2003, 35'
Documentary. Three patients in a mental hospital tell their stories.

9.30 p.m.
Full-length film
Salaam Cinema, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1995, 75'
Docudrama. The director of this documentary put an advert in a Tehran newspaper inviting people to take part in his latest project. Thousands of people responded, giving rise to the alarming hordes at the beginning of Salaam Cinema . Makhmalbaf then set to recording the "auditions" of many of the hopefuls. The supposed "screen tests" provided the material for a film charged with tension in which the director provokes and often intimidates these aspiring actors, urging them to cry, ordering them to sing or to simulate a melodramatic death, or simply making them talk about their lives.

Curator: Nezam Manoucheri.
The Present Continuous, The Electromagnetic Spectrum, Open Science, Psi Particle, Art Now, Eco Factor, Emerging Culture, Cybersphere, New Activism
Space at the CCCB
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