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11-11-2012 From  Ali

BEV chats to 'My Brother The Devil' writer-director Sally El Hosaini

It is safe to say that Sally El Hosaini is already the woman to watch out for in 2012. Her feature length debut My Brother the Devil a beautiful and subtle study of what it means to be a young Arab man today in the East London borough of Hackney has been wowing the judges at the winter film festivals.

Fresh from her successes at Sundance Festival and Berlinale 2012 where My Brother The Devil won Europa Cinemas award for Best European Film Birds Eye Viewer Emily Vermont caught up with El Hosaini to talk about the freedom of fiction and those damn statistics.

Birds Eye View: Can you remember the first time you decided youd make a film? Was it something youd always dreamed of or did you suddenly catch the bug?

SALLY EL HOSAINI: As a kid I used to write a lot, mainly poetry and short stories.  I was also really into taking black and white photographs, but I hadnt connected the two activities in my head.  The actual decision to make a film came when I was at university studying something entirely different.  I thought Id messed up my life by not studying film.  In hindsight not going to film school was the best move I made!  It made me more determined to pursue filmmaking as a career.

Birds Eye View: You told the Guardian newspaper that you turned away from documentary film making because you can be much more truthful in fiction. Could you elaborate on this?

SALLY EL HOSAINI: I wasnt making docs on my own terms, but instead for companies who were in turn selling them to TV channels.  The docs were formulaic and no matter how much I tried to avoid it, often sensationalist.  I also had some ethical dilemmas about the way they were being made and about investigative journalism in general.  I think the bottom line is that Im not a journalist. I found that in fiction you can explore questions in a way that you cant when you are limited by so called facts.  You can go deeper.  You can explore the emotional and the psychological dimensions of a story.  Im suspicious of certainty anyway.  If you look at history, facts seem to change over time and reflect only the present consensus (if that).

BEV: How different were your research methods for My Brother than those you would use for a documentary film?

SALLY EL HOSAINI: The research methods were similar.  Making contacts, building honest relationships of trust and entering new worlds.  Observing and listening.  I like to be a fly on the wall in the world Im writing about.  Its the only way I know how to make something truly authentic.
BEV: What was it that made you want to tell your latest story through the eyes of a male?

SALLY EL HOSAINI: I was spending a lot of time with groups of boys in a very macho world.  These boys put so much pressure upon themselves to be a man.  Their masculinity interested me and their homophobia appalled me.  A male character who is exploring his sexuality in this alpha-male world interested me.  As did the fact that to many Arabs they would rather have a son, a brother, who is a terrorist than gay.  I wanted to explore what it means to be a man to these boys.

BEV: You took part in Birds Eye Views She Writes Lab (in partnership with Script Factory). Can you tell us a bit about it? What was the most important thing you learned from that experience?

She Writes was a screenwriting scheme for women to help readdress the awful statistic that only 12% of screenwriters in the UK are women.  Some people say there arent more women coming up in the industry because other women get jealous of them and wont give them breaks.  I dont think thats the case AT ALL.  The scheme was an extremely encouraging and supportive environment.  I consider the other screenwriters on the scheme as friends and Im genuinely happy about their successes.  The statistic that horrifies me even more is that only 6% of film directors in the UK are women.  I think it says a lot about British society as a whole.  There isnt economic parity between the sexes and many of our industries are sexist. Im often asked about the fact that Im a woman directing a movie about men.  This irritates me because Im a filmmaker before Im a female filmmaker.  Many male directors, like Almodovar for example, can make movies about women without anybody reacting.

BEV: You not only directed but also wrote MBTD. How did this feel did you find yourself re-writing as you went along?

SALLY EL HOSAINI: I never stopped rewriting the script for the five years it took to make the movie.  I was even rewriting while we were shooting. And then reconstructing the film in the edit.  They say that a film is never finished, only ever abandoned.  Thats definitely my experience.  There comes a moment when the time and money runs out and youre forced to stop.  Im too much of a perfectionist to ever be done at any stage of the process.  Im always striving to make it better.

BEV: With your incredible success at Sundance and Berlin this year, 2012 is already a massive year for you. Do you feel your life changing? What has been the highlight of these past two months?

SALLY EL HOSAINI: The highlight has been finally making the movie and sharing it with audiences.  The critical success and reviews are wonderful in terms of my career, but the real buzz is when you know that your film has connected with ordinary people.  Thats the thing that makes all of the pain of making the movie suddenly seem worthwhile.  Its what makes me want to do it all over again.

BEV: This must be the question on those movie moguls lips: do you have any other projects on the cards already?

SALLY EL HOSAINI: Of course.  You have to have a few projects on the go because its so hard to make a movie these days.  You cant be certain which one will be next.  The one Im currently most excited about is another London movie, but a completely different world to My Brother The Devil.

We are delighted that Sally El Hosaini will be a guest speaker at the Birds Eye View International Womens Day Gala at the NFT1 BFI Southbank on March 8th.

10-11-2012 From  Iman

Mainstream in Denmark, arthouse in the rest of the world
Susanne Bier Director

by Birgit Heidsiek, Cineuropa

30/10/2012 - The Academy Award-winning Danish director Susanne Bier has gained a reputation for dramas such as Brothers, After the Wedding [trailer, film focus] and In A Better World [trailer]. In her new movie Love Is All You Need [trailer], she sends a cancer-suffering hairdresser on a turbulent, tragicomic trip to Italy. Love Is All You Need was presented as a world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and is being released in more than 20 countries.

Cineuropa: How do you create your authentic women characters?
Susanne Bier: The main female character was slightly built as a character on my mother. When Anders Thomas Jensen (scriptwriter) and me started talking if we should do a movie about cancer, we decided quite quickly we should do a romantic comedy because we didnt want to do a heavy-handed drama. We wanted to infuse the whole notion with some kind of hope. It was very obvious for me to look at my mother. She had breast cancer twice. She has always been this very positive, very optimistic person. Evenwhen she was feeling really bad she was talking about how nice the nurses are.

Your film is being sold as a romantic comedy. Do you agree with that?
The film has a lot of fun elements in it, but I wouldnt exactly call it a comedy. I have been wondering about it but I am not quite sure how I would sell it myself. According to the rules,a love story has to end badly and a romantic comedy ends well. So in that respect it is a romantic comedy. It is really hard to figure out what you do when you sell your film; if you do it right or wrong.

Do you accept any compromises as a film director?
I wouldnt do a cinematic compromise. But I would make other kind of compromises, for example with the titles. I much prefer the Danish title The Bald Hairdresser. I think that is a much more fun title. It comes directly to the whole issue of cancer and does it in a humorous way. But the reaction we got from all the distributors was that it would alienate the audience in their country. And there I feel I have to listen to what they say.

How do you deal with the dark humor of Anders Thomas Jensen?
Anders Thomas Jensen has a very black sense of humor, you cant make it more black. I really enjoy in it but I am probably also very romantic and tend to make his material more warm and emotional.

Is there a difference between the way how your films are perceived in Denmark and in the rest of the world?
Yes, in Denmark I am mainstream and in the rest of the world I seem to be arthouse. It is kind of funny. With In A Better World, I won a Golden Globe and I won European Best director and the Oscar but I wasnt even nominated for the Danish equivalent. There is a certain snobbishness, which is a little bit European. Things have to be a bit incomprehensible and really weird, then they are masterpieces. But I have a huge audience in Denmark. I actually believe that being able to tell a good substantial story which means something and having a big audience is what movies are for.

Why did you choose Pierce Brosnan for the male lead?
When the movie starts, the female character has lost everything. She has been ill, she has finsished treatment, she is terrified. The disease hasnt gone away. She has got no hair and only one breast. Her husband is having an affair with a beautiful blond at her daughters age. You see this woman at this disastrous moment of her life. With whom do you think does she wants to end up? The man of her dreams would be like James Bond as a human being who has the charming surface but is actually a passionate, intense man.

05-09-2012 From  Alex

Cristian Mungiu Director of Beyond the Hills

by Domenico La Porta, 19/05/2012

Cristian Mungiu  DirectorThe Cannes Film Festival is well known for having launched and supported the career of many directors, and Cristian Mungiu is one of them. His Palme d'Or for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days has given rise to a new age in Romanian cinema and his latest work, 

Beyond the Hills [trailer, film focus], confirms his serious talent (read the review). He continues to refine it in the context of a national filmsector still in crisis, but it is one in which the Cannes Film Festival continues to believe, as shown by his selection for its 65th official competition.

What are the differences between this film and your last? 
Cristian Mungiu 
: I don't think it's good to compare this film with my last. To understand this film, you have to forget what I have done before, because I did not encounter the same problems in production or shooting, and I very simply wanted to tell a different kind of story. It's not a film about friendship like in my previous film, but rather one about love and what the abandonment of love provokes in us, in the choices we make.

Who are the real culprits in this film? 
The film shows us a victim, but the real culprits are not featured in this story. It's all the result of a weak educational system that was set up a long time ago and that is failing these people. What interests me is not denouncing the culprit. Choices are important. Are we always right to help others, even those we love? Do we really help them by imposing our values on them against their will? The man of faith thinks he is helping the girl, because no one else is helping her. He takes her to hospital, but the doctors can't help her and he interprets this failure as licence to decide her fate and the way she is treated. His acts correspond to his choices, but we don't really know if he was ever able to choose his beliefs or how he reached this way of life in the first place. No judgement.

Do you consider religion to be dangerous? 
I try not to criticise anybody. This film discusses particular cases. There is no generalisation, and I am not describing Romanian society through this little 
community. A film is not able to be so all-encompassing. Beyond the Hills is more about superstition than it is about religion. It is not an analysis of religion's perverse effects, and I am not saying that people's beliefs are the same as those of the Romanian orthodox church as an institution.

Could you tell us about Oleg Mutu's cinematography? 
I started to work with him when we were students. We didn't need to talk to each other a lot. We fixed a few things in the beginning, but not too much. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days was very formal, but without a single angle and everything was very flat, pictorial onscreen. Here, when Oleg follows a character with his camera for eight minutes, there are moments in which what is filmed is not important, and the consciousness of what is happening takes over. Once again, the director removes himself, but this takes away none of Oleg Mutu's incredible talent without which I could not have attained this difficult result.

How has the Romanian film sector's financial crisis affected this film?
Our industry's problem is not funding, it's cultural. Films that are not entertainment are not popular in Romania. This is why we receive less 
money from the state for arthouse films, and why I had to look for international funding. My film will be seen much more abroad than it will be at home. That's just how it is. We have to hold on and continue to produce good quality films also aimed at the Romanian people.

10-06-2012 From  Armin

2012 Cannes Film Festival award winners


2012 Cannes Film Festival announced the award winners tonight.

Responding to questions from journalists at the press conference that followed the closing ceremony, Nanni Moretti and his jurors readily commented on their selected winners.

In the preamble, the President of the Jury Nanni Moretti said that the jurors had got on particularly well together, that they had held eight meetings, and talked a lot about the films. He said that no film had been unanimously selected. Raoul Peck added that despite this, "everyone in their own way added to the opinions held by others" and that "somehow a middle ground was found". "We all stand by our selection", he said.

Nanni Moretti thanked his jurors one by one: "Ewan McGregor for his sincerity, Hiam Abbas for her passion, Jean-Paul Gaultier for his good humour that makes him the ideal audience member, Diane Kruger for her determination, Emmanuelle Devos for her kindness, Raoul Peck for his competence and his culture, Andrea Arnold for her enormous energy, and Alexander Payne for his knowledge of cinematic history."

Nanni Moretti has also shared a personal reflection: "In this Competition, the filmmakers seemed more in love with their style than with their characters".

When questioned on the choice of Post Tenebras Lux for the Award for Best Director, but also on the absence of Holy Motors among the award winners, Nanni Moretti said that three films had particularly divided the Jury: Post Tenebras Lux, Holy Motors, Paradise: Love. "We didn't think it was right to look for unanimity and we had a lot of discussions. In the end, the first was awarded a prize, but not the other two." Andrea Arnold was among the defenders of Post Tenebras Lux. She spoke of "a brave, tender, loving film, that faces life and its fragility." Raoul Peck added, "this film really touched me emotionally and intellectually. I've rarely seen images with such force, such freedom, such sincerity. It connects us with the problems of today: being in a couple, love, children, the lack of communication, and also class struggle, with rare strength, and all this with incredible poetry."

Regarding the Award for Best Actor, Ewan McGregor spoke of "a subtle performance", while Nanni Moretti said that "the tension felt throughout the film owes as much to the direction as the lead actor." On this subject he added that several jurors would have liked to have awarded prizes to the actors in Love, but it was not permitted by regulations: the three main prizes - the Palme dOr, the Award for Best Director and the Grand Prix- must not be associated with an acting award.

Finally, a reporter noted that no prize was awarded to any of the seven American In Competition films, and asked if that was a reflection on the state of American cinema. "It's a film festival, it's not about giving awards to a particular country, but of choosing from among the selected films. It would be incorrect to generalise on the choice that has been made", said Alexander Payne.

Winners of Cannes 2012:

Palme d'Or (Best Film): Love (Austria) by Michael Haneke

Grand Prix (Runner-up): Reality (Italy) by Matteo Garrone

Jury Prize (Third Prize): The Angels' Share (Britain) by Ken Loach

Camera d'Or (Debut Film): Beasts of the Southern Wild (U.S.) by Benh Zeitlin

Best Director: Carlos Reygadas, Post Tenebras Lux (Mexico)

Best Screenplay: Beyond the Hills (Romania), Cristian Mungiu

Best Actress: Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur, Beyond the Hills

Best Actor: Mads Mikkelsen, The Hunt


Press Conference with the Award Winners
After the presentation of the awards at the the closing ceremony, the award winners met for a press conference. One by one, they answered questions from  journalists. Excerpts.

Michael Haneke, winner of the Palme d'or for Love (Amour): The story I tell is based on the promise my wife and I made to each other: not to separate in a situation like the one in the film. We see that all the time and it is a widespread problem. I experienced it in my own family and that is what pushed me to make the film Love.

Matteo Garrone, winner of the Grand Prix for Reality: I have not read much of what has been written. It was a surprise for me because I know there were many beautiful films. The Competition was tough but I am very happy because the Grand Prix will help the film to reach a wider audience.

Ken Loach, winner of the Jury Prize for The Angels' Share: We realized that if we spent time with people like the ones in the film, they have such optimism that it makes us happy. To speak truthfully about things, you have to present them in the form of comedy.

Cristian Mungiu, Best Screenwriter for Beyond the Hills: I am very happy to have this award, a little surprised because it is the longest film in the Competition. I kept on changing the dialogues, the actresses helped me a lot, we tried to give it a continuity.

Carlos Reygadas, Best Director for Post Tenebras Lux: My work comes from the desire to create, to share, to find fraternity in the world with you. I was asked if I was not sad because many people did not like my film. For many filmmakers, the goal is to please. That is not my goal. Mine is to be able to express myself with absolute freedom and to be able to leave someone with something.

Mads Mikkelsen, Best Actor: It was a big moment for me and for the film. One cannot be a good actor in a mediocre film. During my stay, I didn't have a chance to see other films, but there is a lot of work to do in Cannes! Put me in the Jury and I will come to see films!

Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur, Best Actress: The rhythm is different in film; after two months of shooting, here we are with this award, its incredible.

Benh Zeitlin, winner of the Camra dor for Beasts Of the Southern Wild: For almost everyone who contributed to the film, it was their first film. We had worked very hard on small projects, short films in the past. We wanted to make this with friends, as a family. You never know, when you make a film, that success could come like this.

L. Rezan Yesbilas, winner of the Palme d'or - Short Film for Silent: It was amazing to be there, even before the ceremony. This is the second time that Turkey has won a Palm.

09-05-2011 From  Reza

The German-Iranian filmmaker reflects on the impact his taut political documentary, The Green Wave, has made on the Middle East.

In June 2009 hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets to dispute the result of the countrys presidential election, which many believed had been rigged by the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

What followed was a violent crackdown, evidence of which leaked out through social networking sites.

German-Iranian Ali Samadi Ahadis film, The Green Wave, which had its UK premiere at last months Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, brings together fractured pieces of footage filmed on mobile phones and testimony from bloggers in the country to document the brutality.

A mixture of news reports, animation and interviews, the film uses the emergence of social networks which were pivotal in the propagation of the unrest to mitigate the difficulties inherent in making a documentary in a context where journalists were expelled or imprisoned and information was under the control of the government. LWLies spoke with Ahadi recently about the films impact both at home and abroad.

LWLies: The Green Wave takes a very close-up view of events in Iran, which you were at the time quite distant from. How did you come to make the film?
Ahadi: When the elections took place in Iran, like other Iranians outside of Iran I was watching what was going on in the country. I was shocked and paralysed because of this brutality and the violence which we were facing.

After three months of being too shocked to be able to do anything, I wanted to do something. Not only to react but also to take action.

And because I am a filmmaker, I decided to make a film. We asked Associated Press to help us with their footage. This is a big part of our material.

And then we collected images which were shared on the internet, and we used images that we collected inside Iran and smuggled out of the country.

But all of these images were not able to tell the whole story, because they had mostly not a beginning, not an end, like broken puzzles.

We had to find a way to bring them together, because they had no protagonists, so we had to find a way to weave them to each other and that was the reason why I decided to use blogs and Twitter messages to bring all these things together.

I never think in genres and I never think in the way of tools. I find that if I get the subject, I try to understand how this subject can be told through me.

I try to collect all my tools and play around with them until I find a way of how I can tell the story.

A natural criticism of this style of documentary making is surely that you are bringing together a lot of very subjective evidence and trying to make it into an honest narrative.
It is a very subjective way of talking about the issue. We dont have to lie to our audience and say we know the truth, and we have the whole truth and we are objective. I dont believe that.

I believe in complete subjectivity. We dont need to hide ourselves because it is subjective. It is very important to make it clear that it is our point of view, we have this opinion.

I think even journalistic pieces mine is not journalistic are subjective, and we know that. We know that it is not true when journalists say we are objective.

It is the same with the blogs and images we use. I read more than 1,500 pages of blogs and chose only 15 of them.

You cant believe how often people talked about the same situation from different sides of the same place and the same momentum from different perspectives.

The same is with images. There is a moment in the film, where a Basij [militiaman] is on the roof of a building, shooting into a crowd of people, and we have it from more than 10 cell phone cameras from 10 different perspectives.

[President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad would say these are not in Iran and these are from somewhere else, but to be honest, we know that these things took place.
Maybe there are images which are not true, but this is not important. Im not saying that we are showing the whole truth, I am saying that what is important is that we are able to say these things are true or not true, and no one will harm you.

In Iran if you would say that Ahmadinejad is a liar, they would arrest you or kill you. This is important, and not the evidence of this image or this blog. What is important is that you have the freedom to talk about it. And this is something that is much more important.

This is the bigger point. We tried our best to keep the evidence high, to double check the images, to double check the blogs. But even if there is a failure there, I think the much more important point is being able to talk with freedom.

I think even if you are a journalist, the only controlling system which really works every time is your own inner voice. My teacher when I was a student said to me you can do anything, but never forget the conversation with your inner voice.

Which is very true you can make out of this footage 100 different films. Against and pro-Ahmadinejad. Where is the controlling mechanism? It is only you.
This was one striking feature of the revolutions that have taken place in the Middle East in the past few months that they are not really political in the sense that they arent calling for one regime to be replaced by another, they are really just asking for representation.

In the film this comes out people were not really going out to vote because they wanted [opposition leader] Mir-Hossein Mousavi to win they were going out because they want to be heard.

I think we are going through a moment in the Near and Middle East the ideological regimes are coming to an end. People are sick and tired of either the religious ideology or socialism and communism.

They dont care about that. Young people in Egypt, or in Iran, or in Yemen, or in Bahrain, are able to go to the internet and Google you and look how you live, and they ask themselves, Why is this person able to live in that way and I am not?

We are both human beings, but why can he talk freely and I cant? They are not looking for ideologies, they are looking for human rights, which makes the big difference between these movements and the movements 20, 30, 40 years ago?
Has the moment for change passed in Iran? Is the regime there not better able to control this message the second time around.
It has not passed. I think Iranian society made a big development in the last 18 months, or 20 months after the election. They started asking, Where is my vote?, for a recount of the ballots, for re-election. Now they clearly talk about system change.

This is a big development. And this is not a minority that is talking about change, this is the majority. It needs really a blitz to explode the whole thing. It is like a desert.

When the first rain falls down, the earth is really hard and the rain cant penetrate the soil, but with time, when the rain continues, the soil becomes soft and the water can penetrate.
The existence of so many recorded perspectives on every event has changed as you have said the monopoly that governments can have on information. Has it changed the way that documentary filmmakers record these events?
I think so. When we started to make this film, I had no idea what it would look like, because I dont know of any films that have been made in that way. I thought it is bungee jumping without a bungee, pure risk.

I think really that these instruments make our business, filmmaking, much more democratic, much more open. We are not dependent on broadcasters. We are not dependent on the permission of countries like Iran to be able to make images.

And we are not dependent that much on money. If you see what we made with really horrible, small, bad quality images. We screen it on 70 square metres in theatres, and it works. I think it really changed, fundamentally, filmmaking.

Especially in countries which are under pressure. I think that there is now more democracy in filmmaking, because you can get a direct connection to your audience. It will change our language, I think. The language of filmmaking.

04-04-2011 From  Bami

William Shimell talks about Certified Copy, a film by Abbas Kiarostami

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Cerified Copy, the latest Abbas Kiarostami film will be on US screens soon and to learn more about this film, we interviewed William Shimell, the actor of the film.

William Shimell made his screen acting debut alongside Juliette Binoche in Abbas Kiarostamis Copie Conforme (Certified Copy), in competition at Cannes Festival 2010. Born in 1952, he is one of Britain's most accomplished operatic baritones and has earned himself an international reputation in the world's leading opera houses.
William is well known for his interpretations of Mozarts Don Giovanni, which he first sang in Britain for Welsh National Opera and ENO, and has since sung in opera houses throughout the world. He has recorded the role for EMI with Riccardo Muti.

His reputation has been further enhanced by his worldwide performances of Marcello in La Bohme, as Nick Shadow in The Rake's Progress, as Sharpless in Madame Butterfly, as Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, as Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte and as Dourlinski in Cherubini's Lodoska at La Scala, which was recorded live for Sony.

In 2005 William took the title role in Handels Hercules in a Luc Bondy production which was filmed for broadcast and DVD release. He is also much in demand on the concert platform, appearing at a range of venues including the Orange Festival in France, and recording performances with the likes of Sir Georg Solti and Riccardo Chailly.

Certified Copy  is the story of a meeting between one man and one woman, in a small Italian village in Southern Tuscany. The man is a British author who has just finished giving a lecture at a conference. The woman, from France, owns an art gallery. This is a common story that could happen to anyone, anywhere.

Bijan Tehrani: How were you first introduced to Certified Copy?
William Shimell: I was working with Abbas Kiarostami in the south of France at the opera Festival, where he was directing 2 years ago. Abbas asked me if I had ever been in a film and I said no and then he asked me if I would be interested in being in a film, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I though that maybe he is asking me to do a line or two or maybe just be on the background and sing but that was not what he had in mind at all.

BT: Did you read the script before getting involved with Certified Copy?
WS: I read the script before going to the shoot yes, but not before I accepted and signed the contract, basically I wanted to work with Abas and it would not have mattered what he proposed. I enjoyed the experience of working with him in France so much that I was very interested in working with him again whether it is with a film or any other project. The first version of the script I saw had been translated from Farsi into French and then from French into English; so after going through two translations in two languages it was almost incomprehensible, I think that the person who translated it from French to English did not do a very good job. Abbas and his assistant Massoumeh Lahidji did actually work very hard on the script to get it to what we eventually worked with.

BT: How did you communicate with Abbas and was there any difficulty with the language barrier?
WS: No, his assistant Massoumeh Lahidji is an astonishing translator and Abas English is not that bad. He can certainly make himself understood and one of the reasons why I enjoyed working with him is that I had a very good grip on what he was saying. When you work in Opera there is no real barrier in the language at all.

BT: When was the first time that you were exposed to Abbas work and when did you begin watching his films?
WS: To be honest I had never heard of him and I usually dont go to the cinema, I have two young children and the only time that I go to the cinema is when I take my children to see films that young children like to see.  Otherwise I am not a film buff. When I was told that Abbas would be directing the opera I did a little homework just to see what I was going to be going up against. As a result I saw some of his films; I find them quite difficult I must say.

BT: How difficult was it to work in Certified Copy?
WS: It was horrifically difficult for me because I really did not know what I was doing; sometimes opera companies make  video operas for their own purposes or for DVD, but I am an opera singer and not really an actor so I did not know what I was doing really, it was hard. As far as the character that I was playing and story in the film I concentrated on each scene as I came to it and it wasnt until the film was put together that I really had an idea of what the result would be.

BT: How much freedom did Abbas give you in terms of his direction?
WS: He is used to working with none actors and he has a very light hand when he directs and he tries not intimidate.  Especially with someone like me who is put I this situation and being in front of the camera, so I was never really aware that I was being directed; but Abbas still had a way of getting what he wanted.

BT: Describe working with Juliette Binoche?
WS: Well it was an enormous privilege to work with such a talented person and she was extraordinarily helpful and encouraging throughout the whole process really and I dont know how I could have done it without her or everyone elses help. One of the thing that surprised me was how open and eager everyone was to help out and work with someone who was inexperienced.

Did you do any study or research of the character that you were playing prior to the shoot? 
WS: Well I read and learnt the script, but Im an opera singer and I am used to searching out the character from the words and the orchestra score from the music that is usually where the character is hidden in opera. I didnt have that in this film so I had to focus more on what the character said and use what few tools I had in my experiences in opera; the dialogue has to be from within you and form your own experience and from your own personality.

BT: Did you have a chance to change the dialogue to your liking?
WS: We worked to try to make the dialogue sound as natural to an Englishman as I could, because I was the only English person working on the project.

BT: How much do you think that the location meant to Certified Copy?
WS: When people see the film they we see that the star is Juliette and the co-star is the Italian countryside. The atmosphere of Italian countryside and the colors of the buildings, of the sky and the Tuscan countryside paint such a vivid picture.  They really help shape the emotional structure in the film. What this film did do is give me a great deal of respect for film actors and I enjoyed making the film and it was a huge pleasure and privilege.

BT: Do you plan to be in another film in the future?
WS: I would love another  try and I had such a fascinating try and when you get to my age it is not often that you get the opportunity to try something different and I would love to learn some more.

24-02-2011 From  Rushid

Leila HatamiBerlin film review: "Nader and Simin, a Separation"

Posted Thursday, February 24, 2011 12:54:05 PM

-- Just when it seemed impossible for Iranian filmmakers to express themselves meaningfully outside the bounds of censorship, Asghar Farhadis Nader and Simin, A Separation comes along to prove the contrary.

Apparently simple on a narrative level yet morally, psychologically and socially complex, it succeeds in bringing Iranian society into focus for in a way few other films have done.

Like About Elly (2009), which won Asghar Farhadi the best director award at Berlin two years ago and which went on to find release in many territories, it has the potential to engage Western audiences with the right handling.

Politics are ostensibly out of the picture, though the whole premise is based on a middle-class couples divorce because the wife Simin (Iranian star Leila Hatami) wants to move abroad to find a better future for their 11-year-old daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi). But that may not be the real reason for the separation.

Asghar FarhadiNader (Peyman Moaadi, seen in About Elly) is a decent man but a stubborn one, and he neglects his wife. Too proud to ask her to stay with him, he lets her move back to her mothers place while he and Termeh are left to look after his aged father with Alzheimers disease. He hastily hires a poor woman named Razieh (Sareh Bayat) as a daytime caretaker, who signs on without telling him shes pregnant (or does she?).

A few days later he fires her and shoves her out the door; she falls on the stairs (perhaps) and has a miscarriage. The rest of the film is a crescendo of tension as Raziehs hot-headed, debt-ridden husband Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini) takes Nader to court for manslaughter.

continue on hollywoodreporter.com

01-02-2011 From  Roxana

We are honored to invite you to participate in the:

Iranian documentary Film Festival - Malmö | Sweden | Saturday 19 February 2011

If you are interested in contributing to the festival with your film please send your film to us. The deadline for receiving films is 15th February 2011. We have special sections for productions from amateurs, pupils and students.

For more information please contact us: iranfilmfestival@gmail.com 

Web site: http://doc-film-festival.blogspot.com/

or you can call us.

The phone number is:
0046 40 611 8585
 0045 2325 2218

The following organizations contribute to arrange the festival:
Seven Arts Association

Persian Social Democratic Association

18-01-2011 From  

Whos afraid of Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof?

By Vera Mijojlic

"Cinema Without Borders is establishing an Open Page for Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof as an on-going, action-oriented commentary about the jailing of the filmmakers in Iran. The Page will remain open until Mr. Panahi and Rasoulof are freed, and free to make movies of their choice.

Film critic Vera Mijojlic is our first contributor. Cinema Without Borders invites readers, filmmakers, critics, supporters, and friends of international cinema to submit their comments and keep this Page active until Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof are freed".

First the physical jail for the body, then post-incarceration ban on the mind, heart and soul; wow. Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof are dangerous men alright. We got that. Compared to their predicament, Solzhenitsyns gulag years do not even compare.  After all Mr. Solzhenytsin was able to continue with his subversive creative activities. The two Iranian filmmakers are apparently  bigger threat to their homeland of more than 70 million people. Over there they seem to be trembling with fear at the sight of them. No small feat for a country of considerable military and spiritual might. So maybe we should investigate this affair a little bit deeper and find out who else might be so afraid that no other path was open to Mr. Panahi and Mr. Rasoulof but the one-way to jail, both here on Earth and within the more eternal realms of the future as well.

Both were found guilty of treason, disloyalty to their country, bent on telling stories for which they must have known would land them in trouble. To add insult to injury neither filmmaker wanted to flee to a nice country like say France and seek artistic asylum for their tortured souls. Instead they opted to stay put in Iran where they called to task its very solemn government. They made their government look bad, and expected clemency! What insolence on the part of Mr. Panahi and Mr. Rasoulof. They should have known that one doesnt fool around with people who dont have any sense of humor. Iranian leaders are somber, serious men, busy with policing a massive populace of restive compatriots. They have already made a mistake in letting a whiff of democracy blow through their heretofore closely controlled elections which led to a thing called hope in the person of an opposition candidate whom the two filmmakers may, for all we know, have supported or, insolent as they are, encouraged with their movies. Ah, the magic of moviemaking!

Democracy, as we have all learned during the past decade, can be a real nuisance. It is understandable that Mr. Panahi and Mr. Rasoulof saw no big advantage in fleeing to the West ruled by the leaders of the free world whose claim to fame rests in the ruins of their own populace through ingenious economic instead of crude police measures. Sensitive as artists tend to be, Mr. Panahi and Mr. Rasoulof probably saw no advantage in washing ashore west of their homeland as poor refugees hoping to make a beer commercial to sustain themselves.

No, they chose to stay in their country and defy its rulers.

And rulers like rulers eventually had enough. The united voice of these two filmmakers was one opposition voice too many. The more I think about it, the more I understand why Mr. Panahi and Mr. Rasoulof had to go to jail for all our sakes. Times are tough, and we have enough on our hands to deal with in their part of the world. Who has the time to continue messing with this case where no Western politician stands to gain anything?

Indeed, who? Who is left to keep Mr. Panahi and Mr. Rasoulof in our collective consciousness?

One is immediately thinking of the media. Yes, of course, the media! Surely, the media will do that. There are infinitely more news outlets today than ever before. But there is also a vast amount of news to digest. And as a consequence, whether we like it or not, we have grown numb, deaf, and indifferent because we have seen it all already, every single detail of human existence many times over. We have been given front row seats in the theater where punishing light was shed on every pitiful world leader, rebel, criminal, sociopath or genius alike. Everyone finally got their 15 minutes of fame, and quickly found out that without upping the ante forever, every single day, with another piece of news, whether real or engineered.if we stop broadcasting .....well, we then fall into the abyss of obscurity and non-existence. Our 15-minute lifetime span is up. Next!

And where do Mr. Panahi and Mr. Rasoulof feature in all this? This may sound harsh to you (after all, the men are in jail), but their time in our news cycle has been up for about a week now. Meanwhile fresh stories from around the world keep pouring in, the New Year according to the Gregorian calendar has just started, and one can always count on North Korea to provide the most entertaining and media-friendly content. Plus, too many calls for justice and petitions from human and animal rights groups and concerned citizens over the past media-heavy decade have had the same age-old effect on us as the shepherd who cried wolf too many times had on the villagers . when it finally mattered, no one came.


What is one to do when the wish for information abundance comes true, as it has in our lifetime? Who knew that once we got the knowledge about everything under the sun wed grow weak, complacent, drained of attention and filled mostly with curiosity about the shiny objects of media desires, like indigenous people once were of glass beads, and rendered just as powerless and as easily manipulated?

For all I know Mr. Panahi and Mr. Rasoulof might have been jailed to serve another purpose, as chips in a future political bargain that we are not yet privy to between the West and the East. I have never met either one and who knows, both might be an unpleasant sort. Artists tend to be difficult people. But I asked myself, what if someone I knew, someone talented and in the prime of his or her creative life, someone whose future films I want to see, someone who can give me something to look forward to beyond the trashy headlines, what if someone like that got jailed? Id be mad as hell!!!!

Perhaps, lets face it, youd be too if it was your friend?

Do we wait for someone else to raise hell? And who, may I ask, is that someone else, precisely?

The quickly congealing media silence is cementing Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof further and further away. If they are being robbed of their future films, then I am robbed of experiencing them. If they do not get another chance at freedom, then I am poorer for one too. They did not murder anyone, or commit a crime for which they should be kept away from us. They made movies, problematic for the rulers of their country perhaps, but thats the rulers problem, not theirs. We are free to critique their craft of film making, but we overstep our boundaries when we silence people for their thoughts, and in this case even future thoughts. Thoughts and stories and movies that are yet to come.

It is all too easy to blame everything on politicians and autocratic governments. Where are we in all this? To whom exactly do we transfer our responsibility when we grow tired of a news story? Ultimately, what is the meaning of speaking up in the global entertainment circus?

The question we are faced with is not just the jailing of two filmmakers, but also the media death of the story. The encroaching silence that comes with diminishing media coverage, leading to indifference and ultimately forgetting.

In John Schlesingers Marathon Man Laurence Olivier famously kept asking Dustin Hoffman, Is it safe?

I guess it never really is, as Mr. Panahi and Mr. Rasoulof have already found out. There is no such thing as safety, so get over it. I am not afraid of whatever it is that I am supposed to be afraid of in a world so thoroughly infused with fear.  Are you?

JAFAR PANAHI, b. 1960, is one of the leading directors of the Iranian New Wave. He won praise and international acclaim with his films The White Balloon, Crimson Gold and Offside among others. He was in and out of jail in 2010 until December, when he was convicted of propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran and of undermining its national security. He was sent to jail for 6 years, and banned from making films, writing screenplays, giving interviews or leaving the country for the next 20 years after that. If his sentence stands, he will be 76 years old when he gets another chance at making movies.

MOHAMMAD RASOULOF, b. 1972,  gained international recognition with his first feature-length docudrama "Gogooman" (2002). His other films include multiple award-winner "Iron Island", as well as The White Meadows, and "Head Wind", a documentary about the restrictions currently imposed in Iran on using satellites and internet. He was also in and out of jail throughout 2010 and in December sentenced and sent to jail under the same terms as Jafar Panahi.

To comment, add your name to the Cinema Without Borders Open Page for Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, Please email us at info@cinemawithoutborders.com and for post your comments in the same article in CWB BLOGS.

19-09-2010 From  Bami

Fakhri Khorvash IFF
Iranian Film Festival Honors Fakhri Khorvash

Veteran Iranian actress Fakhri Khorvash will be honored for her lifetime achievements during the Iranian Film Festival, which will be held in San Francisco on September 18 and 19.The ceremony has been arranged to honor her 50-year career in Iranian stage and screen.

Fakhri Khorvash, a star of Iranian intellectual theater for a few decades, has also been acting in movies since 1958. She has worked with several well-known Iranian filmmakers such as Bahman Farmanara and Dariush Mehrjui.

Fakhri Khorvash appeared for the first time in 1958 Sadegh Bahramis Bohloul and her last part in a movie was in Bahman Farmanaras A Little Kiss (yek booseh khuchulu) in 2005.

Iranian Film Festival will screen Shazde Ehtejab (1974) as part of honoring ceremony for Fakhri Khorvash. Shazde Ehtejab that is based on book with the same title by Hooshang Golshiri, is directed by Bahman Farmanara.

Cinema Without Borders will soon publish its exclusive interview with Fakhri Khorvash.

27-08-2010 From  Sohrab

Enemies Of the People

"Enemies Of the People", which won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury prize at Sundance 2010, and a dozen other international Festival awards, still awaits permission for a national theatrical release from the Ministry Of Culture and Arts of Cambodia.

Cambodian reporter Thet Sambath and British documentarian Rob Lemkin collaborated on the exceptional "Enemies Of The People."

Sambath, whose family were killed in the "killing fields" of the Khmer Rouge, spent a decade patiently wooing a friendship with Khmer Rouge second in command, Nuon Chea AKA "Brother Number Two." Years into his freelance assignment, Thet Sambath met Brit filmmaker Rob Lemkin, who was on a research trip to Cambodia during the 2006 Khmer Rouge Trials. Dedicated Sambeth repeatedly visited Nuon Chea and other interviewees gaining their trust. These weekend trips to the countryside nearly destroyed his family life.

Smiling patiently as he listens to harrowing truths, Sambath never reveals that his family members were Kymer rouge victims, lest he lose the participant's stories. I think only the killers can tell us the truth, why they killed the people and who ordered them to kill, explains his narration, which reveals a Buddhist compassion as well as a tenacious digging for the truth. Peasant soldiers were forced to kill or face execution themselves. An uneasy interviewee smiles at the camera as he demonstrates the throat cutting style he was taught and used on hundreds of bound victims.

No amount of archival footage can match the power of this astounding documentary. What began as a investigation, seeking the justice that revealing the truth can bring, becomes over time, a lesson in forgiveness as Sambeth finds himself oddly concerned for the ailing Nuon Chea, once he's arrested to face War Crime trials.

Ten years of visits wears down Chea's defenses. The now frail 83-year-old tyrant, known as the ideological leader of the genocidal regime, at first denies knowledge of the local level assassinations. Eventually he acknowledges that the rural mass murders were policy handed down from the top. Sambath reveals that all his family was killed and Nuon Chea apologizes. This is the unique time that a high level Kymer Rouge accepted responsibility for the extensive war crimes. (Pol Pot died in 1998.)

Interviews with victim's relatives, peasants who point out where the bodies lay in the now tranquil countryside, and low-level participants in the army massacres add some additional color, but it is the final resolution with Chea that gives the film it's dramatic force.

Durin 2009 the ECCC tried Comrade Duch, charged with the deaths of over 20,000 prisoners. He will serve an additional 19 years in prison for his 'Crimes Against Humanity". Nuon Chea (Brother Number 2) and three other senior Khmer leaders, charged with genocide, are awaiting trial.

Originally reviewed at SBFF, 2010. Opens August 26- Laemmle Music Hall.
24-04-2010 From  Ali

Rapping in Tehran

Hassan Khademi , the Iranian director of Rapping in Tehran, is a graduate with MA of Arts from University of Tehran and has conducted several research projects about Iranian underground music.

Hassan khademi's short film, Rapping in Tehran,  has participated in several international film festivals such as International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival and Peace on Earth Film Festival-Chicago.

Cinema Without Borders:
How did you come up with the idea of Rapping in Tehran?
Hassan Khademi: I am a social researcher and I have conducted research in the field of Iranian youths and also young subcultures in Iran and Ive written some papers about them. During my research, I found that Persian rap is the most popular music style among young Iranians. I should say that Persian rap is something more than a music genre; it is a social phenomenon.

CWB: How challenging was it to shoot this film? Did you face any problems and limitations?
HK: Since underground music is illegal in Iran and underground singers, mostly Persian rappers, sometimes may face legal repercussions, these groups are not easily accessible and it is actually very difficult to find them. It took me 5 months until I could convince them to take part in my film.

CWB: Did you know all the bands and performers beforehand, or you did you get to know them over the shooting period?
HK: Before the shooting period, I had studied about all the important Persian rappers and I had listened to most of their works. During creation of the film I got to meet with them and made friendships which still last to this day.

CWB: How did you manage gain the trust of the artists performing in Rapping in Tehran?
HK: It was such a difficult job! The artists were particular in how they were filmed because they all feared of getting identified by the police, which would be troublesome for them. We tried to accommodate all of their requests to ensure their safety and peace of mind.

CWB: Did you have a visual style in mind when you started Rapping in Tehran, or would you say that your vision came through in post-production?
HK: I had a screenplay before shooting. But, like most documentary films, the events which happened during shooting changed the story of the film. For example, my film ends with the unwanted exile of some of the pioneering Persian rappers while, at the beginning, I hadnt prospected this event. I can say my film was produced during the editing process.

CWB: Were there any of the artists that did now allow you to have them in Rapping in Tehran and were there any scenes that you liked that you had to remove from the final-cut?
HK: In this film, I went to the most talented Persian rappers, and the most important ones were ready to cooperate with me. A couple of them said they would only participate if I agreed to exclude other rappers because of their competition; a condition that I didnt accept.
In terms of film scenes, I should say I loved some of them but I had to omit them because they didnt correlate with the main story or they would create trouble for the rappers.

CWB: How did the artists react after seeing Rapping in Tehran?
HK: The musicians who have watched the film are very pleased. They are happy to be portrayed in a positive light and they enjoy how they are represented.

CWB: What is the current state of Iranian underground music and how do you see its future?
HK: Underground music is the most popular music genre amongst Iranian youths. My recent survey, which I conducted for a government organization in Iran, has confirmed my research results and also verified my understanding about underground Persian rap during the shooting period.
It is difficult to foresee the future of this genre, but it is obvious for me that Persian rap in Iran is not the cause, but it is the effect. It doesnt matter if the effect is Persian rap or anything else, as long as the cause is still there.

CWB: Are you working on any new projects?
HK: Yes. I am in the research period of a film about Iranian clergies.

CWB: How can interested individuals watch Rapping in Tehran?
HK: Although my film cannot get permission to be shown in Iran, I have shown it in private gatherings with students, teachers and other Iranian eliteseven to some cultural policy makers of the Iranian government. (An Interview with Cinema Without Borders)
23-04-2010 From  Ali

"No one Knows About Persian Cats, showed me a new way of looking at art" 

-- Bahman Ghobadi

No one Knows About Persian Cats
is the story of two young musicians that have recently been released from prison and decide to form a band. Together they search the underworld of contemporary Tehran for other players. Forbidden by the authorities to play in Iran, they plan to escape from their clandestine existence, and dream of performing in Europe. But with no money and no passports, it wont be easy...

Bahman Ghobadi, director of No One Knows About Persian Catswas born on February 1st, 1969, in Baneh, a city near the Iran-Iraq border, in the province of Kurdistan, Iran. After receiving his high school diploma from Sanandaj, he moved to Tehran in 1992 to further his studies. Ghobadi began his artistic career in the field of industrial photography. Although he earned a B.A. in Film Directing from the Iranian Broadcasting College, he never properly graduated, believing that he learned more by making short films than by formal study. His direct experience with film helped him to expand his individualistic voice and his vision of the world he inhabited. He initially used 8mm film, shooting short documentaries as a starting point. From the mid-1990s on, Ghobadis short films began to receive foreign and domestic awards. LIFE IN FOG ("the most famous documentary ever made in the history of Iranian cinema") in particular was the recipient of a number of international prizes and opened new opportunities in Ghobadis career. With the making of his debut feature, A TIME FOR DRUNKEN HORSES in 1999, Ghobadi became fully recognized as an international director. The first full-length Kurdish feature film in the history of Iranian cinema, it firmly established Ghobadi as the leading Kurdish director from Iran.

Bijan Tehrani: How did you first encounter the story of No One Knows About Persian Cats?
Bahman Ghobadi: Three years ago I wanted to shoot a project called Thirty Seconds about Us. I didnt get the permission for making that film and therefore I was very disappointed and I was looking for a solution for making a project that would help me overcome the disappointment that I had. I am a filmmaker and I had no other way but to make a film and just before saying goodbye to my crew and letting go because my project had failed, I decided that I would go to an underground music studio and record my songs and music and I would try to do some artistic work that way. When I went to record my music, there I met these Iranian underground musicians and I was amazed while learning about their goals; they opened up a new window for me. It showed me a new way of looking at art and a new way of being an artist, they gave me the courage and the bravery to know that I dont have to wait in order to get permission to make a film, I dont have to wait to go and get a budget; I could make a project about ideas such as underground Iranian music without a budget or permission. This way of filmmaking would allow me to go after ideas and subjects that we were not even allowed to get close to or even make a film about them. It became bigger than music, because there are so many problems and issues that are forbidden to talk about. I wanted to try an urban movie, making a movie in the city and about the city life.

BT: No One Knows About Persian Cats shows a new picture of Iran, we see a face of Iran that we have not seen before in any Iranian films.
BG: Thats quite true. At the Cannes Film Festival, everyone called this a new wave in Iranian cinema when they saw this film. I was hearing a lot of comments like that in the places that the film was showing, Iranians were coming to me after the film and telling me that they never knew that anything like this existed in Iran. As I mentioned, this whole thing was a gift given to me by underground Iranian musicians that actually let me find a new way of telling a story which was different than the other movies that I had worked on. Also, in this film I showed a whole new face of the capitol of Iran, this was also because of the subject of the film which allowed me to show this face of the city.

BT: I wanted to know, among the characters in the film, if they are real characters or fictional ones.
BG: Every character, every group, every location; everything in the film is realnothing is fiction in this film. Before we started this film, we had conducted interviews with the characters that you see in the film. We used all of the comments and all of the real stories of the characters and musicians in order to build this screenplay. Every scene of the film that you see with a band is a result of conversations with the real members of that band, their experiences and all of the things that have happened to them. Every single event in the film, everything that happens to every character is based on real stories.

BT: Something that is amazing to me is how brave the characters in the film are; that despite the circumstances in their country, they openly come out to participate in this type of film. Were they not scared of the consequences that could possibly follow?
BG: I just got a little bit of my bravery from these guys: they are really, really brave. The film is limited to the bands who participated, but there are thousands of bands in Tehran only playing music. But my film is an hour and a half and there was no chance of showing all of the bands. Even if I had filmed all of them, it would have been a messy project. When the bands that I shot got in front of the camera, they are just playing music; they are not saying anything that would cause trouble for them. They are protesting through their music in a very calm and polite manner, in a peaceful manner. When we were about to finish the film, the two main characters, Negar and Ashkan, told us that they were about to leave Iran in twenty days, and we based our story on the real struggles of this young girl and young boy who had been in jail because of their music. After they leave the jail, they put a band together and leave the country; their goal was to leave Iran and go to a place where they have more freedom to play and record music without restriction, they would then come back to Iran and educate on their experiences. I was thinking that they might get in trouble, but they are now in London and they are working on their first album.

BT: One of the characters in No One Knows About Persian Cats which I found quite impressive is Hich-Kass, Nobody. How did you first meet this character?
BG: I know Soroush personally and he is a very interesting and nice person, and he had a great influence over my work and this film. He introduced me to a man that had worked on his music videos and he helped me with the video clips in the film. He had a great effect over the structure in my film. He really loves Iran and even though he is currently under close observation and restriction, he still works under these hard conditions and teaches rap music to the underground musicians of our time. He is really a rebel, but at the same time he is a very honest person, like all of the other musicians in the film.

BT: You have a very unique style with this film as opposed to your other films; its an entirely new way of making films for you. How did you come up with the new style?
BG: Actually, this came from the music of the artists; I was listening to their music everyday and night. I wanted to make a film that was completely new for Iranian cinema and use unique locations and characters that are based on truth. Unfortunately, I couldnt do more than what I had done, because we only had seventeen days to do the whole thing. I think everything else came from the music, trying to go and discover Iran and seeing the different layers of life in Iranall of this came through the music. If this film is very energetic, that energy comes from the music of the bands that are in the film. First we were going to just have the camera in the studio and have the bands play for the camera and that would be the start of the film, but as I was listening to the music, I could see the visual interpretations of the music in my head. I decided that the viewer would want to see the visuals of this music that would give a face to the whole film.

BT: Right now, you are living outside Iran. Some say that an artist that is cutting his roots and living elsewhere cant match the quality of his previous work. Do you agree with that?
BG: I have not left my country forever; I left my country to do a few projects, especially due to all of the censorship that is preventing the freedom of the artist. But soon I will go back to Iran, as I am not ready to leave that front. I want to go back and make my films there.

BT: Will you please tell us about your future projects?
BG: I am working on a movie that will be filmed in either the U.S. or in Germany. I am also working on a dark-comedy that will be shot mostly in English in Iraq. I hoped that I can make both of these projects happen and I will make the first one in 2010. I hope that these films will pass new messages and ideas to my audience.
BT: Thank you for your time and good luck.
22-04-2010 From  Ali

An interview with Lone Scherfig director of An Education

Bijan Tehrani

An Education
happens in the post-war, pre-Beatles London suburbs. A bright schoolgirl is torn between studying for a place at Oxford and the more exciting alternative offered to her by a charismatic older man.

Lone Scherfig director of An Education , was born in Copenhagen and studied film at the University of Copenhagen and the National Film School of Denmark. She has written and directed short films, radio dramas and television series. Lone has collected 22 awards and 11 nominations for her work. Italian for Beginners (the fifth Danish Dogma Film) received a FIPRESCI award and a Silver Bear Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, and the Robert Award for Best Original Screenplay from the Danish Film Academy. Her features include The Birthday Trip and On Our Own. Her first English language film Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself received the FIPRESCI prize and a host of international film awards. Lone conceived the characters which formed the basis for Andrea Arnolds Cannes Jury Prize winning film Red Road. Lone is a recipient of Denmark's prestigious Carl Dreyer Honorary Award. Just Like Home, her last feature before An Education, screened at the Toronto Film Festival in 2007.

Bijan Tehrani: What initially motivated you to make An Education?
Lone Scherfig: When I read the script, I was seduced by David just like everybody else. I wanted to make close-ups of this male character and be in this world for a while. I wanted to look through the eyes of this girl that I could understand and identify with.

BT: One thing that is very impressive about the film is the visual style. How did you come up with the visual style of your film?
LS: We wanted to do something that had the innocence that Jamie has. When you see things for the first time through her, it should be something that is not pretentious, but we are in her mind and the film works to get an impression of this girls view of the world. I think it is hard to make period films entertaining and I dont want the audience to sit and focus on costumes and production design. They should interpret the story and then, after the film, they can absorb the time and space.

BT: How has this film been received by younger audiences?
LS: I dont know, but when we tested the film, they liked it: They understand it and they related with the characters. This is about a character that gets an education for her sake, and decides how she wants to live, so I feel that this is an important message to send to young people. We see many issues that effect youth. We have underage sex, drugs, and racism; on the other hand I think that the film has very strong values and I would not mind my daughter watching the film.

BT: There is a touch of Tony Richardson filmmaking present in this film. Did you intentionally draw influence from this director?
LS: No, my cinematic background is Scandinavian. I love more southern European films and the directors that I feel closer to are French and Italian. I looked at the films that were made during the 60s just to get a better understanding of the period and to interpret the language.

An Education is a very international film in terms of the cast and crew. As a Scandinavian, what do you think that you bring to the film in terms of your own background?
LS: I did a lot of research to make up for my lack of knowledge on British culture. I know that there are things that you take for granted as an Englishman that I dont, so it makes it easier to understand for people that are not British. You do not need to be British to understand this film. Peter and I are the only outsiders.

BT: How did you go about casting the film?
LS: The casting director found many, many girls and Carey was one of them. I liked her from the beginning and it is wonderful to see how her career is taking off at a wonderful speed.

BT: How did you actually work with Carey Mulligan?
LS: We just talked everyday and I let her try things out and expand her range and help each other. We rehearsed a little bit, but not that much; you dont want to over-rehearse a comedy because it flattens it. We never had any conflict and I would love to work with her again.

BT: And how was it like working with Alfred Molina?
LS: He was wonderful! He was just a pleasure and he would always make everyone around him happy. He got the character straight away and he understood the actor completely. He grew up in England and he said that he had met men like his character when he was a child.

BT: What was it like working with the Director of Photography on this film?
LS: John and I love the same things and the same films, and he is a great person. John has a great crew that he works with, which is important in creating a nice atmosphere on the shots, even if we shot the film in six-and-a-half weeks, we still had time to try things out. (Link to the interview)

25-11-2009 From  Basim


Samuel Maoz Israeli Samuel Maoz wins Golden Lion in Venice
 VENICE, Italy (AFP) 
Posted 14 September, 2009 | by Fiona

"Lebanon" by Israeli Samuel Maoz, the story of the first Lebanon war told from inside an Israeli tank, won the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival Saturday.

"I know it may be naive, but I like to believe that the film I made will open people's minds and that they will ask themselves who it is that we are," Maoz said.



June, 1982 - The First Lebanon War. A lone tank and a paratroopers platoon are dispatched to search a hostile town - a simple mission that turns into a nightmare. The four members of a tank crew find themselves in a violent situation that they cannot contain. Motivated by fear and the basic instinct of survival, they desperately try not to lose themselves in the chaos of war.

 Reymond Amsalem ...  Assna
 Ashraf Barhom  
 Oshri Cohen ...  Herzel
 Yoav Donat ...  Shmulik
 Michael Moshonov ...  Yigal
 Zohar Shtrauss ...  Gamil
 Dudu Tassa  
 Itay Tiran ...  Asi

Colin FirthColin Firth, star of Tom Ford's "A Single Man," picked up the Volpi Cup for best actor, while Russian actress Ksenia Rappoport won best actress for her role in "La Doppia Ora."

"I'm here for the gift that Tom Ford gave me," Firth said as he accepted the award. "Tom Ford had a cause that he put in my hands, so it became a very important thing for me as well."

Ford's film about a gay professor mourning the death of his partner is an adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's landmark 1964 novel.

"A Single Man," a first film for former Gucci designer Ford, 48, offers a moving snapshot of life as a homosexual more than four decades ago.

Iranian photographer and visual artist Shirin Neshat won the Silver Lion for best director for "Women Without Men."

Her directorial debut dissects Iranian society at the time of the 1953 CIA-backed coup that overturned the nationalist government of Mohammed Mossadegh and installed the shah in power.

Shirin NeshatAgainst that backdrop, four women -- a prostitute, an activist, a cosmopolitan woman and a traditional young girl -- fight for individual freedom and independence, winding up together at an idyllic orchard in the countryside.

"This has been a labour of love for six years," Neshat said. "This film speaks to the world and to my country," she said, ending her remarks by making a "V for victory" sign.(Venice Film Festival 2009 Winners)

29-10-2009 From  Bami

A Prophet wins inaugural London Film Festival best film award

28 October, 2009 | By Sarah Cooper

The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festivals inaugural Star Of London award for best film went to Jacques Audiards A Prophet at the awards ceremony last night

Jacques Audiard

Jury chair Anjelica Huston said of Frances foreign-language Academy Award submisison: A masterpiece, Un Prophete has the ambition, purity of vision and clarity of purpose to make it an instant classic. With seamless and imaginative story-telling, superb performances and universal themes, Jacques Audiard has made a perfect film.

The jury gave a special mention to John Hillcoats The Road.

In another first-time presentation, the Best British Newcomer award celebrating a film-maker who had demonstrated real creative flair and imagination with their first feature went to The Scouting Book For Boys screenwriter Jack Thorne.

The jury gave a special mention to J Blakeson, the writer and director of The Disappearance Of Alice Creed, which premiered recently in Toronto.

The longstanding Sutherland Award presented to the maker of the most original and imaginative first feature went to Scandar Copti and Yaron Shanis Ajami, Israels foreign-language Oscar submission.

The London Film Festival Grierson Award for best documentary was presented to Yoav Shamir for Defamation.

John Hurt and Malian filmmaker Souleymane Ciss earned BFI Fellowships for their significant achievements in the fields of acting and directing.

Hurt stars in two films that screened in the festival, 44 Inch Chest and The Limits Of Control. Cisss Tell Me Who You Are received its UK premiere at the festival

16-02-2009 From  Alirus

Nahid Persson and Farah Diba to compete at Sundance

Nahid Persson Sarvestanis film The Queen and I (Drottningen och jag) is the first ever Swedish documentary to compete at the Sundance Festival.

The Queen and I
The Queen and I is selected for competition Photo: Real Reel

It was recently announced that Nahid Persson's new documentary The Queen and I, about Farah Diba, has been selected to compete in January's Sundance Film festival. This marks the first time ever that a Swedish documentary is in competition at Sundance.

Representatives for the festival ploughed their way through 1,623 documentaries from around the world, selecting 16 for the World Cinema section and 15 for the American section.

"It's fantastic, Sundance is so big. I recently presented the film at IDFA in Amsterdam and was totally bowled over by the reception. The film screened six times to completely full houses," says Nahid Persson. "And since the Sundance announcement I've had emails from several major companies wanting to distribute the film. That's very cool indeed!"

Two years ago Nahid Persson travelled to Iran to finish off her film Four Wives One Man, which went on cinema release last year. As soon as she landed at Teheran Airport she was arrested and subjected to intense interrogation, culminating in her being forced to sign a declaration that she would make no more films about Iran. And it was during these interrogations that she got the idea for her latest film.
Going back thirty years, Nahid took part in the revolution which ousted the Shah and brought down the monarchy in Iran. Yet she has always been fascinated by the Shah's wife, Farah Diba. And it is to this seemingly unlikely subject that she has turned so many years after the revolution and the betrayal she felt at being forced into exile, a fate she shares in common with the former queen. During the two years of filming her former adversary there were many moments of disagreement, but also of surprise and revelation. The film unfolds a meeting between two women who have much more in common than either of them might have imagined.

Distributed by Folkets Bio, The Queen and I opens in Sweden on 13 February 2009.
The Sundance Film Festival runs from 15-25 January 2009.

18-12-2007 From  Ali

Inside Iraq: The Untold Stories

"If you get all your news from the Fox network or CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network), this film will be a revelation." -- Laramie Movie Scope

"It's startling stuff...the access he was able to get and footage he was able to shoot is incredible." -- Desertnews.com

Citizen journalist Mike Shiley made a press pass at Kinkos, rented a bulletproof vest and cashed in airline miles to fly to Iraq. Armed with only his camera and a local guide, Shiley traveled the country for two months, interviewing locals and following stories that would never air on the network news. The result is a startlingly human, non-politicized picture of Iraq, an account of all that Shiley recorded: The people he met, and the small but telling moments in the life of a nation at a crossroads.

Inside Iraq: The Untold Stories

18-12-2007 From  Ali

Locarno Film Festival   
Mon, 17 Dec 2007 21:22:34

"If you're into passionate, liberated and meaningful cinema, do check out 'Chokher Bali'" -- Ekhanshu Khera, Planet Bollywood

Bollywood dazzler Aishwarya Rai stars in this sensuous adaptation of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore's novel about a woman yearning for a forbidden intimacy. Rai plays Binodini, a beautiful widow caught in a culture where widows are ostracized from society. Her appearance in the household of an upstanding Bengali doctor (Prasenjit Chatterjee) and his demure wife shakes their domestic tranquility as Binodini and Mahendra's relationship soon cross into the realm of taboo and scandal.

Chokher Bali

Country: India

Language: Hindi

Actors: Aishwarya Rai (Binodini), Pasenjit Chatterjee (Mahendra) 
Directed By: Rituparno Ghosh

Produced By: Shrikant Mohta, Mahendra Soni

Written By: Rituparno Ghosh, Rabindranath Tagore

Based On: novel by Nobel prize winning author, Rabindranath Tagore

27-11-2007 From  Bamshad
Iran's Night Bus goes to Europe
Sat, 27 Oct 2007 22:57:34
A scene from Iranian movie, Night Bus.
The Iranian prize-winning film, Night Bus, will be screened at both Spanish and Swiss international film festivals, it has been announced.

Night Bus, directed by Kiomars Pourahmad, will be shown at Spain's Valladolid International Film Festival held from October 27th - November 3rd.

It will also appear at the 13th International Film and Television Festival Cinema, Tout Ecran, in Switzerland, from October 29th- November 4th.

The movie was formerly screened at the Bussan, Oslo and Finland festivals as well as the Chicago Film Center.

The film takes place during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, when an 18-year-old Iranian recruit is charged with transporting a busload of blindfolded Iraqi prisoners of war to a camp, traveling over a land-mined desert road.

The movie has won awards at the Fajr International Film Festival and also Iran's Cinema Celebration Festival, which is held annually to celebrate Iran's National Cinema Day.

01-09-2007 From  Arman

Iranian Cinema Looks Inward

The 25th Fajr International Film Festival
1-11 February 2007

by Michelle Langford

Michelle Langford is a lecturer in Film Studies at the University of New South Wales. She has published on Iranian and German cinema and is the author of Allegorical Images: Tableau, Time and Gesture in the Cinema of Werner Schroeter (Intellect, 2006).

In the year 2000, Hamid Dabashi provided an overview of the state of Iranian cinema. That year, according to Dabashi, heralded the rise of a young generation of filmmakers spearheaded by Samira Makhmalbaf, Bahman Ghobadi, and Hasan Yektapanah who were all recognised with prizes at Cannes. (1) Clearly inspired by this younger generation, Dabashi wrote with great optimism of the death of ideology in Iranian political culture represented by the great swell of support from Irans youth for reformist President Khatami, who had been elected in 1997. (2) For Dabashi, this new generation represented the advent of a new global outlook in Iranian cinema, less constrained by internal policy and ideology.


Seven years and much political water has passed under the bridge since Dabashi wrote those remarks. With the ascendance of conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the Presidency in 2005, the tide of reforms have been washed away for the time being and ideology is very much alive and kicking, particularly with Ahmadinejads vow to return to revolutionary values. Where then, does this leave Irans film industry? Indeed, over the last few years questions have been raised over the effect this conservative leadership might have on the censorship and regulation of Iranian cinema, which had begun to enjoy more freedoms under Khatami. My initial impression of the 25th Fajr International Film Festival was certainly not one of optimism. Indeed this view appeared to be shared by many of the international guests and an air of general disappointment hung around the breakfast lounge of the Laleh hotel each morning as we gathered for equal servings of breakfast and gossip. What was overwhelmingly clear is that aside from a few stunning exceptions, Iranian cinema seems to have taken a conservative turn. This does not in itself necessarily produce poor or un-entertaining films, but what it does reveal is a cinema looking inward, not with a self-critical gaze, but one that produces a mirror to reflect the prevailing ideology.

Like a Tale
Like a Tale

War films, commonly referred to as sacred defence films were in abundance. These films deal not only with the 8 year Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), but also with the effects of the war on the home front and its ongoing aftermath. Among these, we find films set at or near the front line during the war such as Otobous e Shab (The Night Bus, Kiumard Purahmad), in which an Iranian soldier is entrusted with escorting Iraqi POWs across the front line. Similarly, in Mesl e yek Gheseh (Like a Tale, Khosro Sinaee) a wounded Iraqi officer and two soldiers seek refuge at a small shrine a few kilometres inside the Iranian border. While the older Iraqi officer is depicted as a harsh and violent man, veteran filmmaker Sinaee treats one of the younger Iraqi soldiers sympathetically, showing his developing friendship with the shrine-keepers grandson, while the soundtrack serves as a constant reminder of the ongoing war beyond this small haven. Mohammad Hossein Latifis Rooz e Sevom (The Third Day) is a classic hero-centred war film set in the besieged city of Khorramshar during the Iran-Iraq war. It tells the story of a group of Iranian militia attempting to protect the city from the invading Iraqi forces. The central protagonist and hero, Reza (a Nicholas Cage look-alike) must fight, not only to save the city, but his sister, who is admired by one of the Iraqi officers and is initially portrayed rather sympathetically. By the end of the film, however, in a jealous rage, he turns into a homicidal maniac, confirming that those Iraqis couldnt be trusted after all! As Reza dies, he reaches into his pocket, drawing out a photo of Ayatollah Khomeini (conveniently turned outward for the benefit of the spectator), his life has not been in vain and he enters the ranks of the martyrs. Ultimately, the film may be read as a national allegory, where defence of the home is equated with defence of the homeland. Both Dasthaye Khali (Empty Hands, Abolqasem Talebi) and the somewhat surreal Padash e Sokout (The Compensation of Silence, Maziar Miri) address issues faced in the aftermath of war and martyrdom. In these films, the war re-surfaces as a national wound, which still pervades the consciousness of the nation.

Perhaps the most cinematically complex and moving of these sacred defence films was Anke Darya Miravad (He Who Sails, Arash Moayerian). This film, which crosses into the territory of spiritual cinema, is constructed through a complex pattern of flashbacks weaving together past and present. A war veteran returns to Abadan to work on a project to bring sweet water to the region, which had been devastated by Saddam Husseins chemical weapons. As he embarks on his journey in the present he is flooded with memories of a sacred journey he took during the war. This theme of cleansing the land in the present is mirrored by the theme of spiritual cleansing and purity in the past, effectively bringing the notion of the sacred defence into the present and clearly reflecting the current political climate.

Spiritual films comprised the second largest category at this years festival. Surprisingly, a number of these focused on inter-faith themes, particularly focusing on friendships between Muslims and Christians, albeit it with varying results. Robin (directed by Parviz Sheik-Tadi) was a favourite among many of the international guests and was awarded a Crystal Simorgh by the inter-faith jury. Aftab Bar Hame Yeksan Mitabad (The Sun Shines on Everybody Equally, Abbas Rafei) and Masaeb e Doushizeh (Passion of The Maiden, Seyed Masud Atabi) both depicted their central female Christian characters (both named Jeanette) through morally ambiguous actions (kidnapping, culpable driving), but ultimately reach simplistic conclusions of spiritual renewal and fail to place Muslim/Christian relationships into a broader global context, perpetuating instead the very inward-looking, idealised perspective shared by the majority of films at the festival.

In contrast, Paberahne dar Behesht (Barefoot in Heaven), the first feature by Bahram Tavakoli, is cinematically sophisticated, winning best film in the Spiritual section and the prize for best cinematographer (Hamid Khouzee Abyane) in the main competition. It is an enigmatic meditation on the nature of faith, life and death. Set in a sanatorium for incurable (and possibly also mentally ill) patients, a young clergy, Yahya, tends to the spiritual, and at times physical needs of the patients in their dying days. Beyond the physical setting of the film, however, the impressionistic and at times experimental cinematography with its subdued grey/blue colour range and subtle lighting techniques lends the film a highly metaphorical quality. The space is never entirely grounded in either time or place and the illnesses suffered by the patients are never explained. This allows them to take on metaphorical and symbolic significance. In the films closing moments a close-up shows Yahya stepping out of his shoes, placing his bare feet onto the cold, tiled floor, depicting perhaps his own spiritual departure for heaven. Unfortunately this film suffered from having extremely poor subtitling, with numerous spelling and grammatical errors that made some dialogue simply incomprehensible. Despite this, the film was one of the most creatively satisfying of the festival.

God is Near
God is Near

If Barefoot in Heaven presented a highly metaphysical meditation on spirituality, then Khoda Nazdik Ast (God is Near) by another first-time director, Ali Vazirian, delves into the question of love, both physical and spiritual. In the spirit of a Sufi Ghazal (an ancient Persian lyric love poem), the film carefully charts the territory between earthly and divine love as it explores the burgeoning love between a simple young motorcycle taxi driver (Reza) and a beautiful young teacher (Leila). Everyday objects are invested with metaphorical significance. For example, in order to protect Leilas modesty (unmarried men and women are forbidden from touching in Iran), Reza ties a wooden crate to his back, so she may have something to hold onto. Later, in a chivalrous gesture, he lays the crate on the ground over a deep puddle so she may cross. Still later, another shot of the crate lying discarded amongst some flowerpots symbolizes his lost love. Similarly, water and rain take on symbolic importance, ranging from embodied aspirated love, through to sadness and loss (rain) and finally to spiritual purification. However, following Leilas arranged marriage to another man, Reza plunges into a deep depression, from which he emerges as more spiritually pure and devout. He has thrown off all worldly, material desires to bring himself nearer to God. Stylistically, the film is highly accomplished, although at times rather clichd; it is vaguely reminiscent of the work of Majid Majidi, although without his social commentary and sophisticated treatment of spirituality.

The simple, gentle story of God is Near is reminiscent of the many childrens films that Iran became famous for in the 1980s-1990s. This years festival presented two very different examples of this ever-present genre. Sebil e Mardane (The Manly Moustache), directed by a specialist in childrens films Javad Ardakani (Choori, 2001), is a witty fable about righteousness, loyalty and honesty based around the central trope of an old Iranian proverb: the hair from the moustache of a righteous man shall bring prosperity within ten days. It is a typical Iranian child-centred narrative where a little girl shows great ingenuity and perseverance to get what she wants, in this case a bicycle for her mentally challenged uncle Champion. Unlike the films of Jafar Panahi and Abbas Kiarostami, the simple, educative purpose of the film to teach children the value of loyalty and honesty contains very little in the way of social commentary.

In contrast to this fairly benign tale, Ghoflsaz (The Locksmith, Gholamreza Ramezani) deals with the very serious problem of domestic violence, particularly violence toward children and the complicity of other adults in this abuse. Set primarily in a poor neighbourhood of Tehran, the story concerns a widower (Qasem) whose son (Mohammad) reports him for physically abusing him and his little sister (Marziyeh). Facing financial hardship, Mohammads grandmother pressures him to go to the police and have his father released, urging him to say that he had lied about the abuse. Upon the fathers return little Marziyeh is beaten once more. This scene is powerfully depicted through its absence. Ramazani cuts to a black screen to depict the abuse; only the sounds of violence may be heard, making us acutely aware of not seeing what takes place behind closed doors. While certainly a consequence of censorship, this screening of violence helps to put forward the central aim of the film: to bring awareness to this serious but largely hidden social problem. This metaphor is extended later in the film, as Mohammad visits his uncle hanging curtains in a wealthy Tehran home. While we hear the mother of the house abusing her daughter for bringing shame upon the family with her immodest attire, Mohammad is told: this is why houses have curtains: so that the secrets remain inside. This glimpse into the presence of abuse in a wealthy home suggests that this may be a problem that transgresses class boundaries. Interestingly, this was also one of several films that showed off Tehrans glossy new subway system, which ironically links some of Tehrans wealthiest suburbs in the north with its poorest in the south.

In a slight departure and development from the child-centred film, Puran Derakhshandes Bachehaye Abadi (Eternal Kids) focuses on a developing relationship between a young downs syndrome man (Ali) and a woman (Negar) who is engaged to Alis elder brother (Mohammad). One of the few films by a female director screened at this years festival, the film is a successful and touching comic drama, which shows a very tender, loving and physically close relationship between Ali and Negar. This struck me as a rather ingenious way of getting around the restrictions that prevent male and female characters touching in Iranian cinema.


The festival also premiered a number of genre films. The outrageously madcap slapstick all-star comedy Ghaedeye Bazi (Rule of the Game, Ahmad Reza Motamedi) pastiches a whole range of American, European and Iranian films. The films primary narrative, uncannily reminiscent of Luis Buñuels Viridiana (1961), revolves around a band of peasants competing with their wealthy relatives for the family inheritance. The film even contains a comic pastiche of the scene in Jean-Luc Godards Pierrot le fou (1965) in which Jean Paul Belmondo straps dynamite to his head in a gesture of self-destruction, only in Rule of the Game the character straps exploding sausages to his head! Although I found the film vaguely entertaining, I suspect this kind of humour may be too culturally specific to travel successfully. In addition to a number of gangster/crime films Sang, Kaghaz, Gheychi (Stone, Paper, Scissors, Saeed Soheili) and Makhmaseh (The Heat, Mohammad Ali Sajadi), the strange genre-bending film Eghlima (Climates, Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour) is certainly worth a mention, if not a second viewing. Climates begins as a domestic melodrama, develops into a psychological thriller before becoming a ghost story, finally ending as an all-out slasher film complete with an evil blonde-wigged woman. While this is certainly quite an original film by Iranian standards, the plot, and genre twists just dont deliver and the film just keeps getting sillier and sillier.

Unfortunately I missed the most controversial film of the festival. The first feature film by documentary filmmaker Masud Dehnamaki, Ekhrajiha (The Expelled aka The Outcasts or Dismissed) takes a comic approach to the sacred defence genre. Dehnamaki refused to accept the festivals audience award, because he believed that the efforts of his film crew were not recognized, (3) and hinted that the authorities wanted to suppress it for being subversive. (4) Dehnamaki has been a rather shape-shifting character in the Iranian political and cultural spheres. An ex-militia leader linked with fundamentalist movements and former journalist, he turned to filmmaking with documentaries on prostitution and football violence. The film sports an all-star cast and is predicted to be one of this years most popular films at the Iranian box office.

The kinds of poetic, metaphorical and allegorical films that we have come to expect of Iranian cinema were few and far between this year. This may have been largely due to the absence of films by the likes of Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Majid Majidi, Bahram Beizai, and Bahman Ghobadi. One film that attempted to fill this void was Adam, the first film by Abdolreza Kahani. It tells the mystical story of Ashabad, a village where no one has died for 20 years and women give birth 3-4 times a week. One of the inhabitants of the village, the mysterious Adam, is credited for this longevity. Everything begins to change, however when a mysterious woman arrives in her Jeep. Perhaps she is an angel of death, for her arrival coincides with the first death in Ashabad for more than 20 years. She also has a profound effect on Adam. Unfortunately, the allegorical meaning of this film is lost to me. In contrast, Baz ham Sib Dari? (Have you more apples?) by another first time director, Bayram Fazli, worked very well as a surreal political allegory. Set, as the opening titles explain, in a distant land in a time far removed from the present, ironically, however the opening image immediately contradicts this statement, showing a band of robed men riding motorcycles through the desert. The film shows the effects of a cruel and cunning dictator upon three villages. The inhabitants have learnt how to survive despite constraints on their civil liberties. In one, the population pretend to be asleep, in another they continually fight, and in the third, they survive only by begging. Change may only come by breaking these habits and rising up against the tyrant. While it is tempting simply to read this film in terms of the present political climate, I feel that it also functions as a more general critique of Iranian society throughout history.

Minaye Shahr e Khamoush (Mina from the Silent City, Amir Shahab Razavian) was one of my favourite films of the festival, particularly for the many-layered and intricately woven journey undertaken by its central protagonist, and for the brief glimpses of the many contradictions of daily life in contemporary Iran. Beginning briefly in Hamburg, Bahman Parsa, a heart surgeon, returns to Iran for the first time since the revolution. While in Iran, he travels to his hometown of Bam, a city still suffering from the devastating earthquake of 2003. Amongst the ruins, past and present unfold contiguously, the ruins and deserted family home coming to symbolise the dispersal of the Parsa family (and by implication the nation: Parsa being the original name for Persepolis, capital of the Persian empire) during the revolution it is suggested that Bahmans father served as a military officer under the Shah. Among the contemporary references, Bahmans young driver points out some of the changes that have taken place such as the re-naming of streets. For example, what was once Eisenhower St (which the driver explains was named after an English singer!) is now Azadi (peace) St. The young driver is also forever casting his gaze at girls on the street, and explains the coded language of honking, hinting at the prevalence of coded communication in Iranian culture more generally. Billboards, mobile phones, comments about nose jobs and techno music highlight the presence of modern, Western consumer culture, which is juxtaposed with glimpses of revolutionary images on TV, and Ahmadinejad talking about nuclear power plants. These details successfully manage to give this film both local specificity and contemporary global relevance, resisting the nativist tendencies which Dabashi has accused some Iranian filmmakers of. (5)


This brings me to my picks of the festival, which both dealt with the very contemporary and pressing social issue of drug addiction. Santouri by the father of the Iranian new wave cinema, Dariush Mehrjui, was perhaps my most anticipated film of the festival. In fact it was not certain until the last minute whether we would get to see it, for apparently the censors had insisted on some changes, including the removal of some scenes featuring the films beautiful female protagonist, Hanieh, played by Golshifteh Farahani. In addition, it was rumoured that they had also judged the use of the name Ali for a drug addict inappropriate, for this is the name of the revered first Imam and son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammad. The film is a fine, realist drama reminiscent of some of Mehrjuis earlier films. Bahram Radans passionate and convincing performance of the drug-addicted musician Ali is worthy of comparison with Ezzatolah Entezamis performance of the man who thinks he is a cow in Mehrjuis groundbreaking Gav (The Cow, 1969). There is no doubt that this film serves as a gritty social critique, and was one of the few truly introspectively critical films of the festival.

Rakhshan Bani Etemad, working for the second time with Mohsen Abdolvahab, her co-director on Gilaneh (2005), has produced an outstanding cinematic experience with Khoon Bazi (Mainline), staring Bani Etemads daughter Baran Kowsari, who plays a young woman (Sara) struggling with drug addiction. Accomplished cinematographer, Mahmoud Kalari who has worked with most of the greats of Iranian cinema including Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Abbas Kiarostami, Tahmineh Milani, Mehrjui, Majidi and Panahi has provided this film with a highly unique but utterly contemporary visual style. Shot predominantly with a hand-held camera in almost black and white, Kalari allows just a touch of colour to seep into the image at crucial moments. The rather confronting use of extreme close-ups of Kowsari helps to deeply connect the viewer with Saras suffering, and with her mothers desperate attempts to protect her from society and herself. This film is surprisingly fresh and daring, given Irans censorship regulations, directly depicting scenes of drug taking and more than hinting that Sara sells her body to feed her drug habit. In fact, at times I was barely aware I was watching an Iranian film. Mainline transcends the very local issues of its content to produce a cinematic experience of the highest international standard.

It is difficult for an international guest of the Fajr Film Festival to fully assess the impact of individual films on the viewing public. Unlike most international festivals where journalists, festival directors and other film professionals may attend the public screenings, in Tehran, international guests, who are generously looked after by the Farabi Cinema Foundation, attend screenings that are not open to the general public. This generates the effect of being sequestered away in a little international enclave, and prevents us from experiencing the energy, excitement and passion normally associated with an international film festival. It was strangely surreal not to experience the throng of the crowd and the displays of appreciation and disappointment that usually accompany festival screenings. That said, with this being my first visit to Tehran, Im not sure I was ready to experience the Iranian throng just yet, despite the Iranian peoples enormous reputation for a deep, passionate engagement with cinema. I look forward to sharing this experience with them in the future. (Senses of Cinema)

07-06-2007 From  Bamshad

Hekmat to shoot These Three Women next month
-- Director Manijeh Hekmat plans to begin shooting her new movie These Three Women by the end of summer. The screenplay by Naghmeh Samini is about the problems of three Iranian women from three different generations.

Film director Manijeh Hekmat (C), actress Pegah Ahangarani (L) and Roya Nonahali pose at Venice Lido to promote the movie "Women's prison", September 6, 2002. REUTERS/Claudio Papi

It tells the story of a mother named Minu who is searching for her daughter and in the process discovers that some people are planning to plunder Irans cultural heritage.The film stars Hedyeh Tehrani, Pegah Ahangarani, Maryam Bubani, and Nazanin Aqa-Mohammadi.

The crew includes make-up artist Mehri Shirazi, costume designer Hedyeh Tehrani, music composer Heydar Sajedi, photographer Amir Abedi, and assistant director Hamid Akbari.

Dariush Ayyari and Mostafa Kherqehpush are to work as cinematographers, editors, and screenplay counselors.

Hekmats film Womens Prison caused a bit of controversy in Iran several years ago.




11-06-2006 From  Arman
16th Annual Iranian Film Festival
Mohammad Rasoulofs Iron Island

16th Annual Iranian Film Festival

Over the past 16 years the UCLA Film and Television Archive has presented an eclectic selection of the best new film and video works from Iran and the Iranian Diaspora. From the very beginning in 1990, the annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema has been one of the most eagerly anticipated festivals presented by the Archive, with packed houses nightly.

This years festival featured some of the strongest and most diverse examples of recent work from Iran.

The series opened with Mohammad Rasoulofs breathtaking Iron Island, about a group of impoverished families living aboard a rusting ship anchored in the Persian Gulf. Other highlights included two films about Tehran after dark: Ali Mosaffas haunting and enigmatic Portrait of a Lady Far Away, about a man (played by Homayoun Ershadi) who is taken on a wild ride through nocturnal Tehran by a mysterious woman, and actress Niki Karimis brave directorial debut One Night, about the wanderings of a young woman alone in the city. Also screened were We Are All Fine, directed by Bijan Mirbagheri, A Piece of Bread by Kamal Tabrizi, and Wake Up, Arezoo! by Kianoush Ayari, the latter bringing the unfathomable dimensions of the earthquake that struck the ancient city of Bam in 2003 to an immediate and shocking human level. Finally, the closing night feature was Irans official submission to the Academy for the Foreign Film Oscar, So Close, So Far, directed by Riza Mirkarimi.

The first screening of post-revolutionary Iranian cinema in 1990 was a pioneering initiative co-sponsored by the Center for Near Eastern Studies and curated by alumnus Hamid Naficy. On the occasion of the festivals sixteenth anniversary, the Center asked several friends and acquaintances to comment on films in the 2006 festival which appear to have provoked a critical response among many.

Iron Island (Jazireh ahani) is a refreshing addition to a long list of remarkable Iranian films, said Hassan Hussain, Islamic Studies doctoral student. The film is ripe with allegories comparing the community of dispossessed living on a sinking ship under the firm yet protective rule of 'Captain' Nemat to the fragility and uncertain future of the Iranian state and society. However, in addition to the layers of meaning and social commentary, I also enjoyed the setting and characters of the film. Most likely shot near Bandar Abbas, Jazireh ahani depicts the cultural dynamism of the Gulf by using Arab Iranian characters speaking a mixture of Persian and Arabic often found along the southern coast of Iran. I have to admit that it was also nice to see an Iranian movie tackling issues of economic and social constraints on personal freedom without overwhelming and heart-wrenching despair and misery.

Filmmaker and UCLA alum Erik Friedl found We Are All Fine (Ma hameh khoubim) to be a searing self-portrait of present-day Iran, brilliantly presented in microcosmic form through the all-seeing eye of the commonplace video camera. The eldest son, Jamshid, who has apparently been out of the country some six years, has requested a video portrait of his family. In the hands of the younger son, the video camera proves to be the catalyst that gets members of this impossibly dysfunctional family talking for the first timean ingeniously simple device on the part of the screenwriter. I also found very effective the intercutting of the more objective 35 mm footage with the gritty, smeary video images of each family member baring his or her soul. There was finally so much emotional bloodletting that I wasnt surprised when the matriarch of this unraveling householdread: the governing mullahsdecided to pull the plug and demand a take-two: We are all fine.

Ali Mosaffas Portrait of a Lady Far Away (Sima-ye zani dar doordast) explores the themes of loneliness, peoples unwillingness to take risks, and the struggles with commitment in a relationshipissues applicable to any society, not just Iran, said Islamic Studies doctoral student Eric Bordenkircher. The main character, Ahmed, receives a message on his answering machine from an anonymous female claiming to be on the verge of committing suicide. Although he does not initially respond to the phone call, his concern and/or curiosity lead him on a journey to locate the woman. Throughout his journey, one observes glimpses of Tehrans nightlife, but more prominently, the shortcomings of Ahmed. Portrayed in a rather dark, unconventional manner, the imagery was effective at first, but as the movie progressed it came to hamper the storyline, making it difficult to comprehend and increasingly muddled and confusing.

Holly Shissler from the University of Chicago, who was visiting UCLA during 2005-06 as a Balzan Fellow, said that One Night (Yek shab) reminded her of Jim Jarmusch's 1991 film Night on Earth in the way that it used the conceit of random car rides through the city and the conversations that take place to comment on the condition of the larger society. "In Night on Earth, taxis provide the venue, while in One Night, a young woman hitchhiker serves as the pretext for a variety of male drivers to reveal themselves. A striking feature is that although the young woman is the constant in the film and its nominal protagonist, and although every man who offers her a ride has something to say about women and the relations between the sexes, one felt that there was almost no real female presence in the film. The protagonist remains largely silent, and the drivers monologue about their relations with women without ever seeming to have any sense of the existence of women as independent from their own needs and imaginings. My initial reaction to the film was that it was long and somewhat rambling, but over time I have found it haunting.

Having seen Kamal Tabrizi's first feature film a few years agothe satire titled The Lizard (Marmoolak)UCLA alumna Afsaneh Matin, Program Director at Miller Childrens Hospital, went to see A Piece of Bread (Yek teke nan) with much anticipation. The movie takes the audience on a journey to the site of a miracle in a small town in Iran. Locals from nearby villages rush to the site, each hoping to have a wish granted. On this journey we also meet a naive and seemingly meditative young recruit from a remote and unknown place who loses himself in the beauty of nature and repeatedly finds himself in situations not short of small miracles that are lost to the busy eyes of the locals. In the end, we find that he has unknowingly been at the center of the miracle all along. A Piece of Bread is a poetic and visually beautiful movie. However, I wish Tabrizi had allowed his audience to make up their own minds about the reputed miracles and the interrelation of spirituality and religion or the real and the imaginary, she concluded.

Another UCLA alumna, sociologist Elham Gheytanchi of Santa Monica College, saw A Piece of Bread as a moral tale: "It invites a critical assessment of religious fervor and favors a more inward, genuine and essential relationship with God without intermediaries.

Robert Bianchi from the University of Chicago and Iliya Harik from Indiana University were on campus for a CNES workshop and coincidentally attended the last film in the series, So Far, So Close (Kheili dour, kheili nazdik). Its a double love story between father and son and between man and God, said Bianchi. The father-doctor couldnt care less about God, but when he learns that hes losing his son to a disease that he cannot cure, he begins a desperate journey to find the boy and become the father he never was. The son taunts his atheist father, leading him on a chase through the desert and speaking only indirectly via his girlfriends disembodied and scolding cell-phone voice. The last-minute effort to play the father role invites disaster when a sandstorm buries the doctor alive in his Mercedes-turned-coffin. As his oxygen runs out, he replays home videos of the boy on his camcorder and in his mind. In the end, it is the immortal son who saves the dying father in a terrifying conclusion that makes the departing audience check their own breathing and values.

Heres my take on the film, said Iliya Harik. There are a lot of things to praise about it including the acting. What concerns me most are minor matters, as films go. First, it was relentless, with no comic relief. At the height of the tension, when the doctor was at the desert hostel, the budding romance could have offered that chance, but then it was totally sacrificed for the religious mission, when the girl was shocked by his disbelief and turned away from him: It seems the doctor is in need of help himself, not his son, a trite and harsh response not befitting those sweet lips from which it was uttered. But maybe that was the price the producer had to pay the censor under an austere religious regime. In some way, the bargain was not that bad for a person who wanted to present an atheistic position. After all, an unbeliever was portrayed as being as human as anybody else, sacrificing himself to save his son, and finally not struck down by an awesome god. In fact, he was saved by his son, about whose faith we know nothing. Not a bad turn for an unrepentant atheist!

Mimi Brody and FTA colleague David Pendleton have co-curated the series for the past three years. In Winter 2007, the festival moves to the Hammer Museum in the heart of Westwood. Said Brody, We look forward to presenting many more festivals in the years to come."

Center for Near Eastern Studies

22-02-2006 From  ali@it.com
Offside premiers in Berlin
Feb 18, 2006

Director Jafar Panahi's Offside premiered at the Berlin film festival on Friday. The comedy uses soccer mania to highlight the struggle for women's rights in Iran.

Panahi has used a cast of first-time actors to portray a group of girls who disguise themselves as boys to attend a World Cup qualifier at a Tehran stadium, which women are forbidden from entering.

Social agenda

The director is best known for The White Balloon and The Circle, the winner of the Venice Film Festival in 2000.

He said Offside aims to "bring to people's attention that a lot of people actually can't exercise their most fundamental rights".

However, he dodged a question about the impact of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's new government on the atmosphere in Iran.

"I've always emphasised that I'm a socially minded filmmaker. I'm not a political filmmaker," Panahi told reporters.

He added that he hopes to have Offside screened in Iran before this summer's World Cup finals, but has yet to get permission.

Times of tension

The other festival contender from Iran this year is Zemestan (It's Winter) from director Rafi Pitts.

The low-key portrayal of everyday life in Iran begins with a man leaving his family behind to find work abroad after he loses his job.

Festival chief Dieter Kosslick has said the decision to have two Iranian entries in the 19-movie competition for the top Golden Bear award predated the current spike in tensions over Iran's nuclear program.


22-02-2006 From  ali@it.com
French award for Iranian film 'Gilaneh'
Feb 18, 2006

'Gilaneh', a film by the prominent Iranian director Rakhshan Bani Etemad won the Board of Critics Award at the French Vezoul Asian Cinema Festival in which the film participated in the competition section.

According to the reports, another film by Bani Etemad 'Under the Skin of City ' was also featured in the non-competition section of the festival, which was held from January 31 until February 7.

The film is about a woman called Gilaneh and her pregnant daughter, who come to Tehran at the time Iraqi forces targeted Iranian cities during the 1980-1988 imposed war, in search of his son and son-in-law.

However, they had already left for the war front. Some 15 years later, Gilaneh takes care of his disabled son alone.

The cast of 'Gilaneh' includes Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, Bahram Radan, Baran Kowsari, Jaleh Sameti, Shahrokh Forutanian, Majid Bahrami and Nayereh Farahani.

'Gilaneh' will also be screened in Bangkok Film Festival, which began in the Thai capital on Friday and will continue until February 27 in Bangkok.

The latest film by Bani Etemad 'Playing With Blood' is now being edited by Sepideh Abdolvahhab.


28-11-2005 15:33:32 From  ali
Iranian Film Festival
Reza Mir-Karimi, director of "Too far away, too close" won several awards at this year's Fajr Film Festival in Tehran, Iran

Shot on Kodak film stock, the film Too far away, too close, picked up several awards at this year's Fajr Film Festival held in Tehran, Iran. The festival is held annually and this year's (the 23rd) took place between the end of January and 10th February.

Reza Mir- Karimi is the director of Too far away, too close and the DP is Hamid Khozouie-Abyane. The film won the best film in the category of long feature films, best DP and best music. It was shot using a combination of Kodak Vision 200T 5274 film and Kodak Vision 500T 5279 film.

The film is about a prominent neurologist and brain surgeon who is so engrossed with his professional and personal affairs that he neglects the upbringing of his son. An accident causes the surgeon to give up his successful profession and cross the desert to join his son.

Source: Kodak

28-09-2005 From  ali@it.com
"Too Far, Too Close", best film of 9th Iran Cinema Celebration
Sep 11, 2005

The Iranian film "Too Far, Too Close", directed by Reza Mir-Karimi, was named as the best work of the 9th Iran's Cinema Celebration and Association of Cinema Writers and Critics here on Saturday.

Organized by Iran's Cinema House, the 9th Iran's Cinema Celebration was held at Tehran's Vahdat Hall on the occasion of Iran's National Cinema Day.

The jury academy, comprising of 170 representatives of various cinema guilds and figures, judged 51 feature films, 211 short films, 166 documentaries, and five animated feature films as well as photographs of 29 films.

"Too Far, Too Close" and Reza Mir-Karimi, respectively, were awarded the statues for the best film and best director.

Masoud Rayegan (Too Far, Too Close) and Fereshteh Sadr Orafaei (Cafe Transit) received awards for the best actor and actress in a leading role while Elham Hamidi (Too Far, Too Close) and Mohsen Qazimoradi (We Are All Good) for the best actress and actor in a supporting role.

The jury also gave the best animated feature film award to "Iranian Chat", directed by Amir Saharkhiz.

The best screenplay, film editing, cinematography awards were presented to Kambozia Partoy (Cafe Transit), Mostafa Kherqepoush (Duel) and Mahmoud Kelari (Fishes Fall in Love), respectively.

The statues for best makeup, sound recording and sound dubbing and mixing were awarded to Mohammad-Reza Qomi (Too Far, Too Close) and Bahman Ardalan (Duel) as well as Masoud Behnam and Hamid Naqibi (Duel).

The awards for the best film music and best set and costume design were given to Ahmad Pejman (The Willow Tree) and Amir Esbati (Duel).


01-09-2005 14:57:33 From  ali

The Golden Swan Winners 2005

Best Film:
Directors: Radu Mihaileanu
Country: France/Israel

Best Director:
Film: Factotum
Country: Norway/USA

Best Actress:
Film: Factotum
Country: Norway /USA

Best Actor:
Film: The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
Country: Rumania

Best Script:
Film: Live and Become
Country: France /Israel

Best Cinematographer:
Film: Fateless
Country: Hungary/Germany/Britain

Grand Prix du Jury:
Directors: Cristi Puiu
Country: Rumania

Best Female Director:
Film: The Sleeping Child
Country: Belgium/Marokko

Politiken Audience Award:
Directors: Richard Hobert
Country: Sweden

Lifetime Achievement Award:

Lifetime Achievement Award:

Honorary Award:

Honorary Award:

Director of Live and become Radu Mihaileanu Photographer:Hasse Ferold
31-08-2005 14:25:51 From  ali

Monsieur Ibrahim

Monsieur Ibrahim

Francois Dupeyron


"...a small film with an unabashed, even old-fashioned but timeless humanist spirit - and a triumphant portrayal by a veteran star that is likely to be regarded as one of the year's best" - Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

Omar Sharif breaks his self-imposed exile from acting to star as an elderly Muslim widower from Turkey who develops a friendship with a young Jewish teenager (Pierre Boulanger). Set amongst the crowded, working-class backstreets of Paris in the early 1960s, this coming-of-age tale follows the development of their warm relationship, which sees the boy finding a much-needed father figure in Ibrahim. The boy, in turn, revitalizes Ibrahim with a renewed love of life. "Omar Sharif gives a performance of great warmth and charm" (Stephen Farber, Movieline). In French with English subtitles.

23-08-2005 21:16:35 From  Ali

In June, Sean Penn and two friends traveled to Tehran. It was Penn's first trip to the country. What he found was a culture in conflict. Although the nation is ruled by a very conservative, tradition-bound government, Penn talked to many younger Iranians who have a strong interest in Western culture and want their own country to liberalize its policies on individual rights. Beginning today, The Chronicle will publish a five-day series of his reports from Iran:

It's the week preceding presidential elections. Candidates attack one another's credibility. Activists push to boycott the vote. Traffic and pollution choke the cities. Leftists support a no-win idealist. Preachers guide their flocks toward political starboard. The media have fallen under the grip of standing power, and should they defy it, they're imprisoned.

University students promote human rights, while fundamentalists deny them. It is a culture in love with cinema. With Brad Pitt. Angelina Jolie. And anything Steven Spielberg. It is a nation of nuclear power, where the lobbies of the religious right effectively blur the lines between church and state. But it is also a country of good and hospitable people. And when the local team wins a big match, there is dancing, kissing, drinking and drugs in the streets. Women are graduating the campuses in higher and higher numbers, occupying government in higher and higher numbers. Sound familiar? But wait. The women. Look at the women. All is not well. I'm thinking about the women. This is Iran.


See a Video by Sean Penn in Iran

01-08-2005 12:38:39 From  
Rafiee Working on Romeo & Juliet Script

TEHRAN, July 2--Renowned Iranian theater director-turned-filmmaker, Ali Rafiee, is currently working on the script of Romeo and Juliet. Rafiees latest film The Fish Fall in Love is currently being screened in Iranian cinemas.

According to ISNA, the filmmaker said that he was inspired to write the script by an incident that had occurred near his hometown, Isfahan a while ago. Moreover, he pointed out, some sections of his script are related to his adapted version of Romeo and Juliet.

The film is about two sisters who marry on the same day. One of the girls who is interested in theatrical performances comes to Tehran to work in theater, he added. He said that the script will assume a concrete shape within a month.


24-05-2005 12:17:01 From  Aria
Grand Prix: "Broken Flowers" by Jim Jarmusch - 21/05/2005

Director Jim Jarmusch is back to cruise the Croisette with Broken Flowers

Fanny Ardant presented the Grand Prix to director Jim Jarmusch for his film Broken Flowers.

"I'm speechless," exclaimed Jarmusch. "It's a great honor to accept this prize on behalf of all those who worked on this film. When making a film, all the cast and crew are on equal footing. Thanks to all who made this film possible, especially Bill Murray. Without him, the screenplay would never have been written. And I thank this very strange Jury and the Festival who have also welcomed my work here throughout the years, to Thierry Frmaux, and Gilles Jacob who is one of the great gentlemen on the planet."

He added, "I would also like to say quickly that I do not believe in competition for artistic works. It's already an honor to be selected in the competition and to be here next to such great directors as Atom Egoyan, David Cronenberg, Amos Gita, Lars Von Trier, Gus Van Sant, Johnnie To and Mr. Hou Hsiao-Hsien as I am one of his students, Wim Wenders who has been so generous with me when I began making movies 20 years ago and Robert Rodriguez. I accept this award in the name of all filmmakers who follow their heart and make films that interpret their vision. We are part of the same family and it's an honor to be included in this family."

Director Jim Jarmusch is back to cruise the Croisette with Broken Flowers, a bittersweet comedy with Bill Murray as the leading man, reunited with Jarmusch two years after his performance in one segment of Coffee and Cigarettes. This is the fifth time the American director has presented a film in the Cannes competition, following Down by Law (1986), Mystery Train (1989), Dead Man (1995), and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999).

In Broken Flowers, Don Johnston, a confirmed bachelor, receives a mysterious unsigned letter from one of his old girlfriends informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. Johnston, determined to solve the mystery, has reunions with four of his loves of yesteryear... According to Jim Jarmusch, who is dedicating his film to the French filmmaker Jean Eustache, Broken Flowers is about "male/femaile miscommunication and yearning. Yearning for something that you're missing, and not necessarily being able to define what it is you're missing."

11-03-2005 16:14:57 From  Arian - DK
"Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich"

When writer-producer Bernd Eichinger read the galleys of historian Joachim Fest's book "Der Untergang" ("The Downfall: Inside Hitler's Bunker, The Last Days of the Third Reich"), he knew he had found the dramatic key to a film he had wanted to make for decades, but never thought possible due to its scope. Fess' book focuses on the final days of the Reich, and Eichinger saw that the horrifying epic of Hitler and his people during his twelve years in power was reflected in those last twelve days in the bunker. "The final days tell us a lot about how the mass fanaticism functioned in the regime's earlier years and how it continued to reign until the bitter end," says Eichinger.

Eichinger read another very important book around the same time he read Fest's; the memoirs of Traudl Junge, Hitler's private secretary ("Until the Final Hour: Hitler's Last Secretary".); which was later made into the documentary "Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary." "Fest gave me the time frame, Traudl Junge gave me the character who could hold it all together."

"Downfall" is the first German film to broach the subject of Hitler straight-on since G.W. Pabst's 1956 "Der Letste Akt" ("The Last Act") which was told from the point of view of an ordinary German soldier, played by Oskar Werner. Says director Oliver Hirschbiegel, "In terms of German film history, we are breaking new ground here, since there is no cinematic frame of reference. After reading the book, it was clear to me that if I committed myself, then it would have to be a total and complete commitment, meaning that I was going to spend two years of my life in the Third Reich, with all of those characters and that primitive ideology My hair stood on end. My wife advised me against it. Yet I noticed that it just wouldn't leave me in peace, and in my heart, before accepting the project, I knew that I had already opened myself up to it."

11-01-2005 14:25:53 From  Mani
Interview with Yimeng Jin's for the "THE 17th MAN"
January 5, 2005


Director Yimeng Jin's "THE 17th MAN" won the Action/Cut Short Film Grand Prize Award at the first Action/Cut Short Film Competition held in Los Angeles which is now an annual worldwide contest event.

The film is a dark-tale thriller about a best-selling author haunted by his fictitious femme fatale when she comes to life after he tries to put an end to her in his final book "The 17th Mana psychological mind-game of deception ensues and only one can survive! It was produced at the Florida State University Graduate Film Conservatory.

Yimeng Jin: I always enjoy inhabiting the fictional world I am creating, controlling my characters and their lives. Then one day, I asked myself What if my characters are just playing games with me? What if they have their own lives and can see me and touch me? What if they can actually control me if they want to? It scared meso I wanted to make a movie about this subject, and make an audience experience what I had felt and what they would have never imagined.

As a director. I strive to tell a strong story by bringing to life a focused vision which then inspires me to use stylish shot designs to enhance the storytelling as well as give a unique look to the film. As I wrote THE 17th MAN, I already had seen the shots, one by one. For me, once a script is done, the storyboard in my head is done as well. With each project, I am impassioned by choosing the shots that are beautiful, but also interesting, and which move the story along. Making THE 17th MAN was a great experience for me. Two months of pre-production, nine days of shooting, and two months of post-production. All of the members of my crew were students at FSU. They gave their all to make a professional looking film. All of the cast members were based near the location of the shoot in Tallahassee, Florida. I am happy about everything I got, and how the film turned out, but I also think everything could be better -I am a hard director to please. Thats what keeps me going!

Of the many film festivals I attended, The Action /Cut Film Competition is by far the best and most exciting. It was a catalyst to launching my film career. As part of my Grand Prize Awards, I met with several industry professionals to discuss their film expertise and who offered me priceless career guidance. The over 30 prizes, besides the cash award from Action/Cut - such as equipment rental, software, distributor contacts, and magazine stories about my films - are all ideal tools for a new filmmaker and moving their career forward. Also, after winning the award, I received investor support and now I'm making my first feature. Thank you Action/Cut...you made my dream real.

Call For Entries for 2005 Action/Cut Short Film Competition begins on January 15 to the final deadline of May 15 in three competitive categories: Fiction - Documentary - Animation. This unique, industry-based competition will showcase filmmakers from across the world, recognize the most talented with over 100 multiple Career Access Meetings and Cash and Sponsor Awards valued at over $35,000, and honor their work by bringing them to the attention of the Hollywood film industry.

To see "The 17th MAN" and other winners online, visit www.actioncut.com/CompetitionResults.html

06-01-2005 09:51:23 From  Bamshad

Designed to introduce children to the origins and core beliefs of Islam through the life of its founder, Muhammad, this simplistic animated feature falls firmly within the long tradition of bland, upbeat and earnest religious instructional films. Disney-trained director Richard Rich's company, RichCrest, has specialized since the mid 1990s in shabby-looking, direct-to-video animated films.

The film opens with a framing story: Malek (Brian Nissen) and his family are en route to the market in Mecca when they come across a poor and friendless man in the street. Malek's small daughter is excited about their excursion and wonders why her parents abandon it to help a stranger, so Malek tells her the story of his conversion to Islam.

When he was a younger man, Mecca was crowded with false idols and rapacious merchants who amassed great fortunes fleecing religious pilgrims. Drunkenness, slave trading, gambling, usury and all-round immorality flourish. Representatives of Mecca's ruling Quarysh tribe protect the interests of the wealthy, who abuse and exploit the poor. Only the strong moral stance of Abu Talib (Eli Allem) helps offset the Quarysh's brutally self-serving attitudes.

Abu Talib has a grown nephew named Muhammad, whom he raised after the death of the child's father. Muhammad, a contemplative man, prays regularly in the caves outside Mecca, where the angel Gabriel appears to him (the film steers clear of dates, but history places this event circa 610 AD) and commands him to spread the word of "the one God of Abraham, Moses and Jesus."

Muhammad preaches to the poor and disenfranchised, first in private, then in public. His teachings that all men are equal in the sight of the one true God, Allah; women should be respected; people must treat each other fairly and care for those in need alarm the ruling elite, and Muhammad's followers Muslims are persecuted, martyred and dispossessed.

Muhammad himself moves to Medina then Yathrib after a Quarysh-backed attempt on his life. Clinging to their faith and enduring great privation, the Muslim converts eventually prevail and return to Mecca in triumph. In keeping with Muslim tradition, Muhammad is neither seen nor heard; sequences that require his presence are presented from his point of view and a narrator reads his words. Maitland McDonagh

01-12-2004 12:37:54 From  Bami
Iranian film wins Salonika top prize


Salonika, Greece, Nov 29 - Iranian director Mohsen Amiryoussefi's film "khab e talkh" ("bitter dream") won the top 37,000-euro golden Alexander prize at the 45th Salonika film festival Sunday.

"khab e talkh" is Abadan-born Amiryoussefi's first feature film after several short pictures.

The comedy recounts the story of Abbas Esfandiar, an undertaker for 40 years, as he prepares to see the angel of death himself.

The 22,000-euro silver Alexander went to the Russian film "vremia zhatvy" ("the harvest time") by Marina Razbezhkina, and "unade dos" (one or the other") by Argentinian Alejo Hernan Taube.

Ahmet Ulucay's Turkish film "karpuz kabungundan gemiler yapmak" (boats out of watermelon rinds") was given a special mention.



29-11-2004 14:31:41 From  unbearablelightnessofbeing@wp.pl
Beautiful City (Shahre Ziba) by Asghar Farhadi.

Meaningless. It repeats the schema of finely set, prettily shot films of Majid Majidi. I have nothing against them, I truly like this kind of cinema, but as far as Iran is concerned it gives a false view. Too much hypocrisy, if you ask me.

Story Undone (Dastan Natamam) by Hassan Yektapanah and The First Letter (Abjad) by Abolfazl Jalili are probably the most intelligent films I've recently seen. Both forbidden in Iran.

Web site: Click here

27-11-2004 From  medbezai@yahoo.fr
27-11-2004 From  medebezai@yahoo.fr
salut )))))))))))))))))))
27-11-2004 From  medbezai@yahoo.fr
salut je suis la
11-11-2004 12:44:23 From  Tondar
Golden Goblets Favor East

Asian filmmakers stormed the 7th Shanghai International Film Festival, taking five of the eight Jin Jue or Golden Goblet Awards at the closing award-giving ceremony of the festival on Sunday.

The Iranian film Tradition of Lover Killing won the Best Film Award, while China's Jasmine Women (Molihua Kai) got the Jury Grand Prix.

Khosro Masumi

South Korean director Lee Byeong-Woo received the Best Director Award for his Untold Scandal, which also won the Best Music Award.

Hong Kong actress Gu Meihua was awarded Best Actress for her role in Shanghai Story (Meili Shanghai).

Nordic film makers showed their strength as well, with Andreas Wilson from Sweden winning the Best Actor Award for his role in Evil, the film also sharing the Best Cinematography Award with Brothers from Finland. Best Screenplay also went to Brothers.

Selected by 400 journalists covering the SIFF, China's Jasmine Women and South Korea's Untold Scandal won the Best Screenplay Award and Best Visual Effects Award, respectively.

"All these movies bear proof of the flourishing of world films, and the improvement of the Asian films in particular," says Ding Yinnan, chairman of the jury panel.

"These Asian movies represent the attainments of Asian film industry, indicating the potential of Asian movie makers."

He strongly praised the Iranian film Tradition of Lover Killing, saying it "displays the most profound feelings of human beings through the simplest cinematic language."

China's Jasmine Women, on the other hand, shares with the audience "the subtle feelings of three generations of women in Shanghai, extraordinarily beautifully, yet with great power," Ding said.

Ron Henderson, artistic director of the Denver Film Society and one of the jury members, said South Korea's Untold Scandal was his personal favourite.

"I can strongly feel the creativity of the South Korean director in the movie. It is a movie that keeps one eye on the present without losing its focus on the past," Henderson said.

Altogether, 16 films from 14 countries including Japan, Britain, Croatia and Finland entered the competition for the Golden Goblet Awards.

A total of 180 films selected from 578 submissions were screened over nine days in 15 cinemas in Shanghai, drawing thousands of Chinese viewers.

(China Daily June 15, 2004)

22-10-2004 14:49:42 From  Tondar
Iranian movie director wins Praemium Imperiale prize
Staff report

Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami this year became the first Islamic recipient of the Praemium Imperiale, a prize awarded by the Japan Art Association. In another first this year, Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer became the first Latin American recipient of the prize. Niemeyer, who is still active at the age of 96, is also the oldest recipient thus far.

The other recipients of the Praemium Imperiale for 2004 were German painter Georg Baselitz, U.S. sculptor Bruce Nauman and Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki.

In announcing the names of the recipients, former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, one of the international advisers for the nomination committees, voiced hope that the inclusion of Kiarostami will help bridge the schism between the Islamic and non-Islamic worlds after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.

The prize was established to mark the centennial of the Japan Art Association, with the first awards given in 1989. The laureates each receive an honorarium of 15 million yen.

Kiarostami, 63, directed films such as "Where is My Friend's House?" "Close-up," "Life and Nothing More," and "Through the Olive Trees." While his works deal with the realities and dreams of Iranian people and Persian philosophy, they are said to have universal appeal. His recent films include "ABC Africa" and "ten."

Most of his films do not feature traditional plot resolutions, with Kiarostami saying that the ending of one movie becomes the starting point for the next.

Source of the news The Japan Times

22-10-2004 12:51:00 From  shahryar


Source: CNN; SHANGHAI, China (AP) -- Meryl Streep says she's a fan of Chinese cinema and wants more people to learn about the country's films. "I love Chinese movies and don't get enough of them in the United States and that's why people hold film festivals to make others aware of films in other countries," said Streep, quoted in Monday's Shanghai Daily newspaper. The American actress was in China on Sunday to present the Shanghai International Film Festival's best film award to Iranian director Khosro Masumi for the prison drama "Tradition of Lover-Killing." The festival's Grand Jury Prize went to the Chinese movie "Jasmine Women," co-starring Joan Chen and Zhang Ziyi. South Korea's Lee Je-yong won the best director award for "Untold Scandal," according to the festival's Web site. Sweden's Andreas Wilson took home the best actor prize for his portrayal of a troubled teen in "Evil," while China's Gu Meihua won best actress for her role in the nostalgic family drama "Shanghai Story." Judges included France's Olivier Assayas, whose "Clean" won a best actress award for Hong Kong's Maggie Cheung at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Streep, the star of films including "Sophie's Choice" and "Out of Africa," received a lifetime achievement award last week from the American Film Institute.
Special thanks to Jessica for taking this photograph and submitting it to MSO.

-- JUNE 21, 2004

Los Angeles, CAMay 25, 2004Meryl Streep will receive the American Film Institutes (AFI) 32nd Life Achievement Award on June 10, 2004, at a gala event which will be taped for a television broadcast later in the month. Filmmaker Mike Nichols will present Ms. Streep with the award at the tribute, which will be held at the Kodak Theatre. THE 32nd AFI LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: A TRIBUTE TO MERYL STREEP will then air on USA Network on Monday, June 21, 2004, at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT).

The event will feature tributes from a number of Streeps friends and colleagues including past recipients Robert De Niro and Clint Eastwood, as well as Jim Carrey, Nora Ephron, Carrie Fisher, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Mike Nichols, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford, Kurt Russell, Tracey Ullman and Claire Danes.

click here for more information at AFI.com During the past 32 years, AFI's Life Achievement Award has become the highest honor for a career in film. As the first award in the film community to acknowledge career achievement, the honor has been bestowed upon many of the greatest artists in history such as Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Barbra Streisand, Harrison Ford, Dustin Hoffman, Steven Spielberg, Jack Nicholson, Elizabeth Taylor, Sidney Poitier, Gregory Peck, Barbara Stanwyck, Billy Wilder, Fred Astaire, James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock, Bette Davis, Orson Welles, James Cagney and John Ford.

AFIs 32nd LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: A TRIBUTE TO MERYL STREEP is executive produced and written by Bob Gazzale and directed and co-produced by Louis J. Horvitz. The event is sponsored by Microsoft.

AFI is the preeminent organization dedicated to advancing and preserving the art of film, television and other forms of the moving image. AFI trains the next generation of filmmakers at its world-renowned Conservatory, provides film preservation leadership and explores new digital technologies in moviemaking. AFI's New Media Ventures programs bring together the creative and digital communities, as the department seeks to develop a literacy program for the 21st century, helping young people learn to read and write screens of all sizes-cinema, television, computer and the Internet. With AFI ON SCREEN, the institute is the largest nonprofit exhibitor in the US, with programs at the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival (AFI FEST); the AFI National Film Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC; and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. A 49,000 square foot complex with three theatresone historic, two new state-of-the-art stadium-style theatresthe AFI Silver exhibits film and video generally unavailable elsewhere in the region. AFI's annual almanac for the 21st century, AFI AWARDS, honors the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year. AFI's 100 Years . . . 100 Movies, 100 Stars, 100 Laughs, 100 Thrills, 100 Passions and 100 Heroes & Villains have ignited extraordinary public interest in classic American movies. More information about AFI can be found by visiting its Web site, located at www.AFI.com.

will air on USA Network on Monday, June 21, 2004, at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT).
Read more about the event here, at MSO

21-10-2004 10:58:16 From  Tondar
Iran's 'Tradition of Lover Killing' wins Shanghai film festival
SHANGHAI -- Iranian film "Tradition of Lover Killing" has taken out the top award at the Seventh Shanghai International Film Festival, with Meryl Streep handing the winning gong to director Khosro Masumi.

The 90-minute movie chronicles the impoverished life of a family of Iranians forced into the illicit logging trade and who end up in jail.

Sixteen films, nine from Europe and seven from Asia, were in competition at the nine-day festival, founded in 1993.

South Korean EJ Yong won Best Director for "Untold Scandal", a tale set in the end of the Chosun dynasty.

Sweden's Andreas Wilson took out Best Actor for his performance in "Evil" while Hong Kong star Gu Meihua was voted Best Actress for "Shanghai Story."

The Jury Prize went to "Jasmine Women", a Chinese production starring Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) depicting the lives of three generations of women in Shanghai. AFP

29-09-2004 11:28:14 From  Thunder
Xu Jinglei Wins Best New Director in Spain

Chinese mainland up-and-coming director Xu Jinglei has won the "AltadisBest New Director" for her film Letter From an Unknown Woman at Spain's prestigious San Sebastian film festival.

The movie is based on the novel of the same name, written by renowned Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. It tells the story of a woman who devotes her life to a secret lover.

The film cost nearly US$2.5 million to make and will be dubbed in Japanese, English and Spanish.

Letter From an Unknown Woman

The top award, the "Golden Shell", was given to Iranian-born director Bahman Ghobadi for his film Turtles can fly. The film is set during the lead up to the U-S invasion of Iraq, starring an amateur cast of children.

(CRI September 27, 2004)

Read about Xu Jinglei's Second Film here
28-09-2004 13:18:25 From  Tondar

Mario Vargas Llosa, presidente del jurado, entrega la Concha de Oro al cineasta israelí Bahman Ghobadi, anoche en San Sebastián
Turtles Can Fly

AP 2004/09/25


An Iraq war tale entitled "Turtles Can Fly" -- about villagers desperate for a satellite dish as they await the U.S. invasion -- won the top prize at the San Sebastian International Film Festival on Saturday.

The movie, by director Bahman Ghobadi, 35, relates the story of villagers in Iraqi Kurdistan who receive awful news from a mutilated boy that the war is getting closer and closer.

Ghobadi, who was born in Iranian Kurdistan, won an award at the Cannes film festival in 2000 and in Chicago in 2002 for his first and second films.

The San Sebastian festival ended Saturday after nine days of showings that featured the world debut of Woody Allen's new film "Melinda and Melinda" and lifetime achievement awards for him, Jeff Bridges and Annette Bening.

The award for best actor went to Ulrich Thomsen for his work in the Danish film "Brothers" -- another military story, about a soldier who is transformed after a stint as a prisoner in Afghanistan, coming home to find his wife's relationship with his drifter brother not at all that he thought it was.

Bahman Ghobadi

Connie Nielsen, who played the soldier's wife in "Brothers," won best actress.

The trophy for best director went to China's Xi Jinglei for her film "Letter from an Unknown Woman"-- about a man in the late 1940s who learns he has a child from a short-lived romance with a woman he does not remember.

The award for best screenplay went to the British-Irish film "Omagh" by director Peter Travis. It takes on the grief and outrage of innocents scarred by the troubles in Northern Ireland, captured in the story of one family ripped apart by the death of a son in the 1998 Omagh car bombing, which killed 29 people.

The jury's special award went to Goran Paskaljevic for his story of Bosnian war refugees squatting in the apartment of a Serb returning to seek a new life.

28-09-2004 13:16:02 From  Tondar

At Five in the Afternoon

Cert PG

Rob Mackie
Friday September 17, 2004
The Guardian

At Five in the Afternoon
Drama out of a crisis: A hard life gets harder by the day

The third film from Iranian prodigy Samira Makhmalbaf is also the first film set in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban, and its setting, the ruined city of Kabul, gives it an unsettling quality all its own. The film is seen largely from the viewpoint of its lead character, a young woman balancing a hardline Islamic upbringing from her father with a thirst for knowledge and education, both denied to women by the previous regime. This is symbolised by her switch of shoes to a pair of forbidden white heels as she leaves home. There's something a bit like a romantic comedy in here too as she gets to know a refugee whose approach is a believable mixture of support for her political ambitions and gentle teasing.

The lead role is played with great charm by Agheleh Rezaie - she reminded me of the equally serious election agent in Babak Payami's Secret Ballot. But the lighter moments never obscure the fact that this is a hard life getting harder by the day as refugees crowd in and food gets scarcer. It's a necessary reminder that Iraq is not the only crisis country in the area, and you find yourself hoping that audiences in Afghanistan or Iran are allowed to see it. Makhmalbaf's wonderful debut, The Apple, about two sisters emerging from virtual imprisonment, also makes its DVD debut this week.

22-09-2004 09:08:17 From  gilota69 @yahoo.com

"Jenin, Jenin"
Carthage Interational Film Festival 2002
Winner -
"Best Film"

"Jenin Jenin" (54 minutes) shows the extent to which the prolonged oppression and terror has affected the state of mind of the Palestinian inhabitants of the Jenin refugee camp.

Listen to the old men, the children, the doctors and the grieving mothers of Jenin, after the Israeli army's April 2002 attack flattened homes and buried an unknown number of civilians. Bitterness and grief are the prevailing feelings among the majority of the population. Many have lost loved ones or are still searching for victims and belongings among the debris. 'Where is God,' an elderly man desperately wonders when surveying the debris in the Jenin refugee camp.

A little girl, who does not seem to be much older than twelve, tells her story but knows no fear. The ongoing violence in her day-to-day life only nourishes her feelings of hatred and the urge to take revenge. She shouts that the Palestinians will never give up the struggle, that they will keep on producing children who can continue the fight against injustice.

The sad question forces itself on the spectator. What will become of a country, a people when its children are confronted with war and violence from a very early age?

Banned in Israel, "Jenin Jenin" is dedicated to Iyad Samudi, the producer of the film, who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers on June 23rd, 2002, as he returned home after completing the film.

"Jenin Jenin" features at International Documentary Filmfestival
Arjan El Fassed, The Electronic Intifada - November 27, 2002

Israeli censors ban film about battle of Jenin
Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian - Dec. 12, 2002

13-09-2004 11:25:38 From  gilota69@yahoo.com
Mike Leigh's "Vera Drake" won the coveted "Leone dOro" - Golden Lion - at the 61st Venice International Film Festival, presided over by John Boorman, jury president. The awards were announced at the closing ceremony September 11.

Continue to read

07-09-2004 10:11:14 From  alishomali@yahoo.com

Why I Will Not Seek a Best Documentary Oscar
(I'm giving it up in the hopes more voters can see "Fahrenheit 9/11")

Dear Friends,

I had dinner recently with a well-known pollster who had often worked for Republicans. He told me that when he went to see "Fahrenheit 9/11" he got so distraught he twice had to go out in the lobby and pace during the movie.

"The Bush White House left open a huge void when it came to explaining the war to the American people," he told me. "And your film has filled that void -- and now there is no way to defeat it. It is the atomic bomb of this campaign."

He told me how he had conducted an informal poll with "Fahrenheit 9/11" audiences in three different cities and the results were all the same. "Essentially, 80% of the people going IN to see your movie are already likely Kerry voters and the movie has galvanized them in a way you rarely see Democrats galvanized.

"But, here's the bad news for Bush..."

Click here to continue...

06-09-2004 14:47:38 From  gilota1448@yahoo.com

Merchant of Venice Cheered by Venice Film Festival
September 4, 2004

The out of competition film Michael Radford's Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare passed the test by Italian journalists who assembled at a press conference on day 4 of the Venice International Film Festival. Nearly all questions went to ---Al Pacino and enthusiasm about his performance may suggest an Oscar nod next year. Pacino who only understands a little Italian had on his headphones and fielded questions. He said that Radford was great in telling him how to take down the value and revealed some of the subtleties in bringing Shakespeare to screen.

Lynne Colins who plays "Portia" and the 'young doctor' was excellent as "a live woman bound to the decisions of a dead father". True to the time women are either sold in marriage or prostitutes. It is also the time where Jews must wear red caps to distinguish themselves and may only lend not own money. True to Shakespeare it is the story of a Jewish merchant who lends money to Antonio (Jeremy Irons) and demands its repayment in a pound of human flesh.

It was politics at the conference press conference for "Working Slowly - Radio Alice" by Guido Chiesa. The film inspired a small manifestation for the plight of the temporary workers in Italy, a grievance previously aired at Cannes. The film is about the student movement radio set in Bologna 1976 with clear parallels to Genova and the manifestation against the G8 conference which resulted in the death of a young man. The aura of 1976 is skillfully recreated in special language, ideas, clothing, music and social issues.

In a special "cinema digitale event" Tim Robbins was on hand to received a standing ovation for "Embedded/Live" about the invasion of Gommorah by a rogue state run by the Butcher of Babylon. Robbins wrote, acted and directed the piece for a live audience with insertion of video clips projected during the performance. The most convincing truth was that in in a democracy people need to be educated in order to make intelligent decisions. The play uses parody to present the way the news was presented about Iraq but as far as the use of digital, there was nothing revolutionary about Tim Robbins film.

Spectators to see "Howl" by Hiyaso Miyasaki had to have their bags checked to prevent the risk of copying -- the only such demand at the festival so far.

Moira Sullivan

All Pacino Merchant of Venice

03-09-2004 14:00:00 From  gilota1448@yahoo.com
Bobrova wins 2 awards at Denmark festival
8/31/2004, 8:14 a.m. ET
The Associated Press

Russian filmmaker Lidiya Bobrova won two awards at the Copenhagen International Film Festival best movie and best script for "Granny," a film about senior citizens being marginalized in post-Soviet Russia.

Nimrod Antal of Hungary won the award for best director for "Kontroll," Anna Maria Muehe of Germany won the best actress award for "Love in Thoughts" and Luis Tosar of Spain received a Golden Swan for best actor for "Take My Eyes," the Danish Film Institute, one of the festival's co-organizers, said Monday.

The Aug. 19-29 event, which ended Saturday, featured 112 films from around the world.

01-09-2004 14:34:07 From  gilota69@yahoo.com
Pakistans Silent Waters wins top Swiss film prize

Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar Saturday won the top prize at Switzerlands principal film festival with her story of a woman whose son becomes an extremist.

The Golden Leopard was awarded to Khamosh Pani (Silent Waters), a study in the relationship between a widow and her son as the young man veers into religious extremism after Pakistan became an Islamic state in 1979.

The jurys special prize went to Romanias Calin Netzer for Maria, while Serban Ionescu earned the award for best actor for his role in the same film.

Bosnias Pjer Zalica for Gali Vatra (Fire!) and Catherine Hardwicke of the US for Thirteen shared second prize. The prize for best actress was split between Holly Hunter (Thirteen), Diana Dumbrava (Maria) and Kirron Kher (Khamosh Pani). Nineteen movies from 16 countries were competing this year for the Golden Leopard award at the 56th Locarno film festival. AFP

26-08-2004 From  gilota69@yahoo.com
10 on Ten
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami

Ten masterly lessons of cinema by Abbas Kiarostami, whose metaphysical work is characterized by his unique poetry and his sense of purity. In addition to the rigor of his frame, the Iranian filmmaker imposes the physical immediacy of his shots, inspired by the magnificence his landscapes and depth of field. His naturalist fictions are spread majestically in the election sets. Besides, nature is the starting point of this documentary, as the auteur lightheartedly enjoys pointing out: "During the debates which followed screenings of Ten, certain movie goers said to me that in my films I had accustomed them to seeing landscapes and nature and that they had still come to see the landscapes and nature. Actually, each film requires its own place. Ten had to be filmed in such a confined space".

10 on Ten or the time of return, is at the same time about where the film Taste of Cherry was made, and overall, on the "Kiarostami method". With the pedagogy which characterizes his characters, the filmmaker films himself, using a mini DV camera, at the wheel of his car, following the example of a number of his heroes. The passenger seat, a privileged set, is entirely inhabited by the fluid and luminous word of Kiarostami.

The cineaste provides information about his artistic development and evokes the place of the audience member to whom he confines himself to while he films. The first lessons pay homage to the digital camera, which makes it possible to be freed from the traditional constraints of film production in order to better reinvent the mise en scne. All of Kiarostami's cinema tend towards the research of truth, the ideal which concerns the non-professional actor's acting (who can thus escape from "formatting") as much as the detached situations of the artifice.

Kiarostami opposes this cinema of authenticity to the cinema of Hollywood, filled with formulas. The search for truth still passes through language. For Kiarostami, the intellectual, it is unthinkable that his characters speak the same language as him. The original language of the characters sounds beautiful to his ears.

On the other hand, the "voice over" in English gets in the way of the audience's attention, precisely covering the words of the filmmaker which one would have liked to fully enjoy. This process deteriorates listening and forces the redoubling of concentration in order to focus on the intimacy of the dialogue.

At the end of the tenth lesson, Kiarostami immobilizes the vehicle, circumventing it to stop the camera. Thus he liberates the field, answering the wishes of the audience members who came to admire his landscapes. We've come full circle. But this is without counting on the director's humor and his inexhaustible desire to capture the real.

At the moment he's about to turn off the monitor, he decides against it and shows an unexpected spectacle: a procession of ants! To conclude that there are a thousand and one treasures destined to those who know how to observe and to listen. The lesson has been learned, Mr. Kiarostami!

Sandrine Marques
Translated into English by Anji Milanovic

20-08-2004 From  gilota69@yahoo.com


The Space of My Dream
Bakhtiyar Khudoinazarov, 26.11.2003


Tajikistan?s most recognized film director talks about being part of the last Soviet wave and the first generation of filmmakers from his newly independent, devastated country.

Khudoinazarov was born in Dushanbe. He began working in television and radio in 1989 after graduating from the directing program at Moscow?s VGIK film school. Since the beginning of the civil war in Tajikistan he has lived and worked in Germany. His films include:

The Gambler, short, 1986
Believe It or Not, short, 1989
Bratan, 1991
Kosh Ba Kosh, 1993
Luna Papa, 1999
Shik, 2003

Gulnara Abikeyeva: Bakhtiyar, when I recall VGIK and the atmosphere there in the ?80s, I think that we all felt some strong connection among our generation. It didn?t matter what [Soviet] republic you came from, what was important was how modern you were thinking. We all lived in great expectation of change, of something better, something new ...

Bakhtiyar Khudoinazarov: At that time everybody was in a state of euphoria. We all hoped for better things, and for tremendous changes in our lives. It motivated us to do something different, something experimental and new.

It was our ?wave.? We all lived on the same floor:
Rashid Nugmanov, Serik Aprimov, and Alexander Bashirov. We breathed the same air, and they became like brothers to me, because we knew everything about each other. The wave was big, giant, and even though we didn?t intend it, it was a wave of the Soviet cinema.

GA: Are you talking about our spiritual closeness, about our roots?

BK: It?s much simpler than that. It all started on the film sets of VGIK; we all acted in the others? short films. Sergei Solovyov, who opened his workshop for Kazakh film directors, influenced me more than any other filmmaker. [The theater director] Anatoly Vasiliyev used to rehearse across the street from our school. VGIK was the one and only school for everybody.

I cannot tie myself to Tajik neo-realism, as somebody said in the press. It is not Tajik neo-realism, it is my neo-realism. The way I comprehend my motherland. I always lived between Moscow and the fairytale of Central Asia, which is still alive in my heart. Even the war was like a fairytale, even though horrific ?

I came back to Tajikistan to shoot my film Kosh Ba Kosh only because I felt that [Dushanbe] would disappear from my life. My father lived all his life in that town, and still does. It was my farewell, because I knew that I would not come back. I knew that if I ever wanted to feel the aroma of my home I could go to Bukhara, to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. I never could separate myself from Central Asia. [Luna Papa] was devoted to all of Central Asia. Because it is not going to work out if one starts to separate.

GA: You mentioned Kosh Ba Kosh. Mircea Eliade wrote an article about how human habitats are divided into two archetypes: nests and ground-holes. In your movie there are both: traditional earthen huts where people are hiding from the war, as in ground-holes, and funicular cars where young lovers live, as in nests. Did you purposely create these two spaces?

BK: I didn?t think about it, but you can probably interpret it this way. In hard times it is dangerous everywhere. If you hide in a ground-hole, they can dig you out. If you hide high in a nest, they can knock you down. The only choice is to go to the heart of the danger.

GA: But in your film, the heart of the danger is left outside the frame.

BK: Yes, but the viewer is always aware of it and afraid to go there. A different cinema starts there, and a different dimension opens--the space of hell. I was never interested in it.

GA: I love Kosh Ba Kosh very much. I think it is a luminous picture. It contains the spirit of youth and love. And also, I think, it transmits the Tajik essence.

BK: I would say the Dushanbe essence. The longer I live, the more I understand that even though a very multicultural crowd lived there, we all had one nationality: Dushanbe. That was a very special code, an algorithm that has now disappeared, unfortunately.

GA: Luna Papa made your name famous. Plus, it was the first project on this scale where Central Asia was shown as a somewhat unified territory. It?s another matter that it?s a very eclectic Asia ?

BK: That was the space of my dream. For example, I always dreamed of being born by the seaside. And here we found a lake on the borders of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. It was very symbolic. You probably noticed that my crew and cast were very international. It was my great pleasure to cast a Kazakh actor, Dimash Akhmedov; a Georgian actor, Merab Nenidze; and other Uzbek and Tajik actors. I aimed to shoot a film of Asia, communicating its ambiance and its breath.

GA: I think that a common characteristic of Central Asian cinema of the last decade is the attempt to communicate big, grand ideas through simple stories.

BK: I think this is typical of the philosophy of an Asian in general. His life flows from a moment of danger to a moment of rest and so on. This rest makes him think deeply--because another struggle, with mountains, with deserts, and himself, lies ahead of him.

GA: Speaking of Central Asian unity--in Luna Papa this unity exists. Is it logical reasoning or an artistic tool for you?

BK: It is logical reasoning because it is necessary today. It is my memory because it already happened in the past. And it is my dream because it will happen again one day, I am sure. These are the three turning points that ignite my film.

GA: In your opinion, what is the future of Tajik cinema?

BK: Currently, I don?t see any. The situation is so decayed that without governmental intervention nothing is going to change. For now, the most important task is to stimulate interest in our region. It is impossible to count on Western investment in our cinema. I?m not taking my own case into consideration. Film directors are nomads, because their homes are where their jobs are.

This interview was made in 2001 by Gulnara Abikeyeva. It has been condensed and adapted from the author?s The Heart of the World: Films From Central Asia, translated into English by Dana Zhamanbalina-Mazur  (Almaty, 2003).

Gulnara Abikeyeva is a film critic from Kazakhstan. She earned a doctorate from the VGIK film school in Moscow, and has worked in Kazakh film and television. The Heart of the World: Films From Central Asia is her third book.

Transitions Online


 Interview taken from




01-08-2004 10:20:00 From  gilota69@yahoo.com
Mohsen Makhmalbaf Stopped from Making His Latest Motion Picture

Mohsen Makhmalbaf, the renowned Iranian filmmaker, informs that his project "Amnesia" had not been approved by the Iranian authorities.

"Amnesia", the script written by Mohsen Makhmalbaf and submitted to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in early 2004 was officially refused permit to be made into a motion picture by the said Ministry on Tuesday may 4, 2004.

The idea of the script reflecting two decades of pain and sufferings of the Iranian people and artists is among the subjects that took Mohsen Makhmalbaf years to write and it was finally completed last fall when he was admitted to Mehr Hospital in Tehran due to heart problems.

The film was due shooting this spring in Tehran casting professional actors and now with the Ministrys refusal it lost the chance to be made. This refusal by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance once again puts aside Mohsen Makhmalbaf from making films in Iran after 4 years since the making of his last feature film, "Kandahar". It seems that the new censorship strategy intends to push the Iranian artists to migrate from the country.

It is worthwhile to mention that the films "A Time for Love" and "The Nights of Zayandehrud" are still banned from showing in Iran after 13 years.

In addition, during the recent years the productions of Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Makhmalbaf Film House have faced the problem of improper screening; a kind of implied censorship. Many of these films are either prevented from showing or in a pretentious maneuver are shown in a couple of theatres for a short time and disappear before anyone finds out about the showings.

Mohsen Makhmalbaf May 5, 2004

23-07-2004 From  ali

" . ǐ ϐ ... ǐ Ȑ ... ... . ... . ... ..." . " " . . ǐ Ԑ . .
( ی: ی ی)

14-03-2003 From  katayoon Hadizadeh
A House on Water A film by Bhaman Farmanara that has picked the social problems of the currrent Iranian society so well but does not have any consistency as a film. It has a mixture of realism,surealism and symbolism that sends out a group of messages about how rotten Iranian society is for youngsters. In mu humble opinion not a well structured movie .
14-03-2003 From  Katayoon Hadizadeh
I, Traneh am 15 years old! I saw this good movie at UCLA Persian Film Festival ..A movie with a solid foundation and a logical process despite its unbeleivable story .. The main actress; Taraneh has done a brilliant job. The whole story knots to each other beautifully... Higly recommanded as a good movie
20-01-2003 From  Katayoon Hadizadeh
Wow .. I saw this Dokhatar e Shirinforoosh or as called Pastry Girl .. This is a good comedy with fabulous Hamid Jebeli and Soraya Ghasemi! One of the rare Iranian movies that comes to US and is not all crying and death and intellectual at all! I think the role of Fatemeh Moatamed Arya was not suitable for her , for the movie and after all too much fansy to be true in such a realist family! Worth watching and luaghing ! One good point: Laemmles Cinema in Beverly Hills was sold out the night I saw it 1/19/03!
28-11-2002 From  Fanoosekhial.blogspot.com
Early in the 1920s when cinema was part of the newly established Soviet Union's propaganda arsenal, the leaders of Iran and its only important neighbour, Turkey, simply ignoed the medium while there are every indication that they were planning and implementing a series of reforms to push their nations into the modern period. Could anybody tell me why they failed to see the socio-political significance of cinema?

14-11-2002 05:06:58 From  azarm_benefactor
taze tarin filme KIYOOMARS POURAHMAD , az 18 mehr dar goroohe CINEMA GHODS ekran mishvad .
in film revayti az zendegiye POURAHMAD ast va MOHAMMAD REZA FOROOTAN dar aan bazi mikonad .
dar in film FOROOTAN avaz mikhanad & miraghsad .
dar in film sedaye VIGEN ra ham mishenavid .
navare music matne film ham ba sedaye FOROOTAN
montasher mishvad .
in film ra hatman bebinid
14-11-2002 05:00:53 From  azarm_benefactor
BAHRAM BEYZAIE , kargardane namdare cinemaye ma , ZAMANE sakhteye avale HAMIDREZA SALAHMAND ra tadvin mikonad .
BEYZAIE alave bar filmhaye khod , filmhayi mesle DAVANE & BORJE MINOO ra ham tadvin karde .
SALAHMAND pish az in dastyre BEYZAIE & MAKHMALBAF boode ast .
14-11-2002 04:59:19 From  azarm_benefactor
majidi baad az do bar movafaghiyat dar salhaye 1997 & 1999 dar montral ba do filme bachehaye aseman & range khoda , emsal ham dar 25th jashnvareye montral be khatere filme BARAN , jayezeye in jashnvare ra be tore moshtarak ba yek filme majari daryaft kard .
majidi hengame daryafte jayeze goft : YEKI KAME , DO TA KHOOBE , SE TA ALIYE !
dar in dore joz BARAN filmhaye TO AZADI , TARKESHHAYE SOLH & ZIRE POOSTE SHAHR ham dar bakhshhaye khrej az mosabeghe hozoor dashtand .
rakhshan banietemad yeki az aazaye heyate davari bood . Ha ha ha ha...
14-11-2002 04:52:39 From  andre-71 - Potsdam, Germany
I rarely give a 10 on any movie, but this one got it from me. Unlike other recent movies set in the Nazi era this one realistically tells a story through the eyes of just one person. There were few off-explanations, and there were no sentimental hollywoodish scenes. Further, I liked the cast not only of the major but also of the minor roles. The Germans really acted German, same with the Polish Jews and non-Jews - no glossing over anything. And by not straining after effects the movie gives you a chance to actually feel the sublime (and sometimes not so sublime) fear of the protagonist. Really well done!
14-11-2002 04:43:55 From  Doc Ali - UAE
This movie is one of the most successful (domestically), and controversial, Iranian films of the recent years. It is also a prime example of movies which do very well in Iran but cannot find an audience abroad. Its director, Hatami Kia, makes movies which deal exlusively with the issue of war and its after effects. The glass agency's theme and structure closely resember that of Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon. A Gulf war veteran, frustrated in his attempts to convince the government agencies to send another veteran from his former unit to London for urgent surgery, takes the people in a travel agency as hostages and demands a plane to take his former comrade to UK. The issues tackled in this film are almost unique to Iran unlike films by say, Kiarostami whose films deal with universal issues. The Glass Agency is, however, brilliantly directed, boasting several outstanding performances and a haunting music score (which closely resembles that of Kielowski's Blue). Worth watching
14-11-2002 04:33:04 From  Maple2
Fifteen year old Taraneh, whose widowed father is in jail, refuses the unwanted attentions of carpet salesman Amir - until Amir's mother talks Taraneh into accepting Amir's marriage proposal. Within four months the couple realize that they are incompatible, they divorce and Amir emigrates back to Germany. When Taraneh discovers she is pregnant she decides against all advice and intense social pressure, to keep the baby.
29-10-2002 From  Katayoon Hadizadeh
Under the moon light .. a struggle within a man with an intact life .. no touch of the real cruel world and yet he wants to be a clergy and teach people how to behave good ... That is strong .. in showing how the person deals with dilemma and the events that life bring his way . I am kind of amazed by the courage required to make such a film .. My biggest takeaway was: Seems that we have put our footstep wrong at some point , but do not know where and when . May be the time has changed! Yes, that is true: Time has changed!That is to key!
26-09-2002 From  Katayoon Hadizadeh
Low Heights .. a second version of Agence Shishee ...is a strong depict of what the people of Iran are coming to. A point where they prefer to leave their land in the worst possible manner and yet be hopeful that over the seas , life will be smiling at them. This is sad but the fact that such a movie is being showbn in Iran is a wonder. I guess we are one of the most libral countries in this world that our government allows the play of such a film. Film depicts nothing but how people feel for their land and people rulling over it. A sad truth revealed strongly.
11-09-2002 From  yahoo
11-09-2002 From  amir.h
kheilee/etefaghi moghe/ieeati pish oumad ta betoonam filme (shoore-eshgh)ro bebinam. az yek taraf cheghadr khoshhal shodam ke che khoob shod vaght-hazine&a-sabe khod ra baraye in film kharj konam va az tarafi besyar afsoos khordam ke bazigare tavanmandi mesle poor-arab dar in filmhaye(ba arze ma-zerat) bande-tonboni bazi mikone mozoie zaieef va besyar maskhareie in film be alaveie kargardani gheire mosal-lat be tamashagar ehsas hemaght ra elgha mikonad va ba estefade az yek seri ghaleb haie kelishe iee va bedoone tahghigh mostaghiman be sho-ioore binande toohin mikonad {man baraye ingoone doostan hedayat be rahi manteghi ra ba danesh bishtar khastaram.
11-09-2002 From  amir.h
kheilee/etefaghi moghe/ieeati pish oumad ta betoonam filme (shoore-eshgh)ro bebinam. az yek taraf cheghadr khoshhal shodam ke che khoob shod vaght-hazine&a-sabe khod ra baraye in film kharj konam va az tarafi besyar afsoos khordam ke bazigare tavanmandi mesle poor-arab dar in filmhaye(ba arze ma-zerat) bande-tonboni bazi mikone mozoie zaieef va besyar maskhareie in film be alaveie kargardani gheire mosal-lat be tamashagar ehsas hemaght ra elgha mikonad va ba estefade az yek seri ghaleb haie kelishe iee va bedoone tahghigh mostaghiman be sho-ioore binande toohin mikonad {man baraye ingoone doostan hedayat be rahi manteghi ra ba danesh bishtar khastaram.
11-09-2002 From  konjkav
aya?hatamikia-ba-khordadian film-misazad-ya-in-yek-toteie-aleihe-ou-ast

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