Iranian Film Festival Australia 2012

Khosh amadid! Welcome back!

Iranian Film Festival Australia 2012: Thursday 25 – Sunday 28 October

For the last twenty years one of the most exciting national cinemas has been that of Iran. With its recent Oscar for A Separation, (our 2011 opening night film) and many other major awards around the globe, it has re-inforced its position as a national cinema of major significance, despite its position as a major site of conflict within Iranian politics and the often difficult circumstances under which Iranian filmmakers operate.

This second edition of Iranian Film Festival Australia, now nation-wide, showcases the best of 2011 and 2012 in all its diversity.  An exciting mix of dramas and comedies, it features the best and most interesting of contemporary Iran’s established and new directors, and many of its major actors.

This year’s festival opens with The Last Step on Thursday 25th October 7pm, and will be accompanied by a catered opening night celebration. 

To read about all of the films in the programme and to purchase tickets, click on the links on the left hand side of this screen.

Iranian Film Festival Australia schedule:

Thur 25 Oct

7pm: The Last Step + opening night party

Fri 26 Oct

7pm Mourning

9pm Hatred

Sat 27 Oct

7pm Facing Mirrors

9pm Here Without Me

Sun 28 Oct

2-7 pm Special seminar + screenings – Being Persian, moderated by Dr Mammad Aidani, Research Fellow, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies University of Melbourne

 

Here Without Me

This contemporary Iranian adaptation of Tennessee Williams’  The Glass Menagerie, portrays the clash between the dreams and the harsh reality of a struggling single-parent family in contemporary Tehran. The mother, who works hard in a factory to support herself and her two children, lives in fear of being laid off. Her sole dream is to find a match for her impossibly shy, lame daughter who in turn dreams of an impossible love; her son, who works in a warehouse, dreams mostly through cinema and of being a poet. Shot between the home and the factory /warehouse work places of mother and son, the film is very evocative of a specific part of Tehran. But despite realism of place, writer/director Bahram Tavakoli inflects a trademark spirituality. All the performances are strong; the role of the daughter seems written for the ever luminescent Negar Javaherian and Fatimeh Motamedarya’s outstanding performance as the mother brought her the Best Actress Award, Montreal.

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The Last Step + IFFA opening night party

This ironic tale is narrated from beyond the grave by Khosro (Ali Mosaffa), who dies in a ridiculous accident, but lingers round his film star wife, Leila (Leila Hatami), reviewing their complicated but loving marriage. He hangs round the set where she is trying to finish shooting the film begun before he died. Previously unexplained truths dawn on him but Leila, who manages to insert her perspective into the story, still has some secrets. This complex, ironic and delicate psychological thriller is lead actor, Ali Mosaffa’s sophomore directing effort. Inspired by James Joyce’s “The Dead”, it comes from its premiere in competition in Karlovy Vary.

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Mourning

A couple is driving their young nephew back to Tehran for the funeral of his parents, killed in a car accident the previous evening.  They are at pains not to let the boy know, all the while needing to discuss the matter themselves. But a traumatic incident and three people confined in a car on a long road trip is a recipe for tension. Add in a traffic jam caused by an accident, a breakdown, the need to decide who will look after the boy and his needing a toilet break more frequently than seems possible.

This first feature from director and co-writer, Morteza Farshbaf , developed from a short film he and his co-writer made in a Kiarostami workshop. Kiarostami’s influence shows but from the very opening Farshbaf also shows that he can do something very new and different in this constantly surprising blackly comic road movie of which Ali Jafar notes it “may herald the arrival of a major new Iranian talent.” Screened at London, Busan and Tokyo film festivals.

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Hatred

A young woman fleeing Iran through Turkey as a transit country to the West will do whatever it takes to get there. One evening she meets a young man, third generation Turkish-Iranian, outside an Istanbul club and offers for a fee to get him into the club. But after a relationship develops between them, she convinces him to leave Turkey with her. Initially they approach a relative of the young man, owner of a carpet shop, but between drugs and temperament things seriously misfire. So together they try to hustle for the necessary money for fake passports and visas. But in the carpet bazaar of Istanbul they are out of their depth.

This striking feature debut, shot in Istanbul, premiered in Montreal in 2012.

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Facing Mirrors

Rana, a conservative young mother, has been secretly driving a cab to support her family since her husband went to jail. When she picks up Adineh, a young woman from a wealthy family who is fleeing an arranged marriage and the country for a transgender operation, it’s a clash of class and belief systems. Rana is initially suspicious and terrified of Adineh and her bold ways. But Adineh, used to being an outsider, is very supportive of Rana and and her own boldness in driving her husband’s taxi against his express orders, and an unlikely alliance forms.

 

This award-winning first Iranian fictional feature about transgenders, and a road movie of sorts, unites a female team of veteran writer/producer Fereshteh Taerpour with debut writer/director Negar Azarbayjani. Shayesteh Irani (Adineh), last seen in Offside, was nominated for her brave performance for Best Actress at APSA 2011.

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Being Persian Film Collection

This extended retrospective session of documentaries about Persian identity, a festival highlight, will be followed by a moderated discussion hosted by special guest, Dr Mammad Aidani, Research Fellow, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies of the University of Melbourne

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Plastic Flowers Never Die (2008) Roxanne Varzi  34:00 mins

Anthropologist, writer and filmmaker Roxanne Varzi spoke to mural painters, museum curators, war vets and other cultural producers to create this elegaic experimental documentary about the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq war from the Iranian perspective.

Utopia in the Making / L’Utopie en Marche (1980) Jocelynne Saab 52:00 mins

Lebanese born veteran filmmaker Jocelynne Saab, whose work often focuses on women, has made social issues documentaries and feature films from Lebanon to Vietnam. In 1980, during the Islamic Revolution, she went to Iran, commissioned by NHK, where she interviewed many public figures and private individuals. This insightful and rare, newly restored documentary will screen for the first time in English

“Maybe the graceful look I carry from the east, beyond the veil of clichés that usually stigmatizes the occidental point-of-view, will allow the orient to be restored in its just and rightful place and value.” – Jocelyne Saab

Faces (2007) Shahin Parhami 100:00 mins

This multi-layered, poetic documentary from diasporic filmmaker, Shahin Parhami, is a tour de force. The Montreal based filmmaker reflects on Iranian art, culture, the politics of representation, and the history and the power of popular media. He makes extensive use of clips of pre- and post-Revolutionary Iranian cinema and American films, as well as original interviews with Iranian artists and poets, mostly in diaspora. The film which was years in the making has been superbly edited into a complex and cohesive essay film on Orientalism.

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Orange Suit / Narenji Poush

Darius Mehjui’s pre-Revolutionary The Cow (1969) is often considered the first film of the Iranian New Wave. Many of his subsequent films have focused on women, especially his much loved trilogy of the 90s, Sara, Pari and Leila. This film sees him reunited with Leila Hatami, the titular lead of Leila, but the focus is on the father – son relationship in this film about the environment. In this black comedy, a photojournalist, remains in Tehran with his young son whilst his wife, who is studying overseas, goes back and forth. After reading a book on Feng Shui, he becomes more and more obsessed with the general lack of care for the environment, initially photographing the abuse but ultimately showing his total commitment by becoming a street sweeper. Mehrjui’s latest film, a prize winner at Fajr and a huge box office hit in Iran, is both his most personal and most commercial in recent times.

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