The Song Of Scorpions
Anup Singh’s ambitious third feature stars Golshifteh Farahani and Irrfan Khan, following an independent woman as she struggles against hardship and treachery to remain true to her own instincts..
Tokyo Sonata :: Movie Review
An adventurous work both disturbing and ultimately moving. Kiyoshi Kurosawa's first domestic drama is music to general audience's ears..
The Homesman (2014)
A genuine art film
"The Homesman," despite the title, is about women. Women are the center of the action, women drive the action forward, women are not only damsels in..
Tender but never sappy, Monsieur Ibrahim brings two people of vastly different age and background together in ways that are touching, and telling..
The Innocents (2016)
'The Innocents’ is a profound meditation on a forgotten moment in history. Lou de Laage shines in Anne Fontaine's provocative historical drama. When Anne Fontaine’s “The Innocents” made its..
VENICE 2017 :: Venice Days
Samira Makhmalbaf named as jury president for Venice Days 2017. The Iranian actress and director will chair the jury made up of 28 young viewers from..
NETWORK (1976)
It's never been more timely
Criticised by some at the time for a certain naivety and lack of subtlety, this remains one of the most devastating condemnations of the media's urge to exploit..
Woody Allen & his New Orleans Jazz Band at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival
The iconic filmmaker and clarinet player Woody Allen joins the international headliners at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival
Death And The Maiden
A thought-provoking piece
"Death and the Maiden" is said to be based on events in Chile, but it could take place in any of the many countries where rule is by force and intimidation..
Gripping from start to finish

This nerve-wracking study of life in Damascus won an Audience Award at Berlinale. Hiam Abbass holds together a household under siege in..
Ali & Nino (2016)
A fascinating story of two young people in love who found themselves between East and West cultures during World War I and Civil War when young democratic Azerbaijan Republic got squashed by..
Dangerous Beauty (1998)
Venezia's Hidden Treasure

Based on the true story of Veronica Franco, a well-born Venetian beauty who deliberately chose the life of a courtesan because it seemed a better choice than..
The Polygon People
The Documentary
A First look at the ‘most nuked place on Earth’ where Soviet Union detonated 456 bombs over the course of 40 years. A look at the way locals’ lives were..
‘When God Sleeps’ (2017)
winner of the Golden Heynal

The best music documentary film and hence the winner of the Golden Heynal award at the 57th Krakow Film Festival, by the decisio of the Jury under the..
Cannes 2017 • Awards
And the winners are...
Ruben Östlund’s The Square wins the Palme d’Or. Pedro Almodóvar’s jury divided its prizes across a generally deserving spread of films..
Retrospective • Dustin Hoffman • The Graduate
Dustin Hoffman turns 80 later this year, the Irish Film Institute (IFI) takes the opportunity to celebrate the work of Dustin Hoffman, on the occasion of..
Mohammad Rasoulof's
Goodbye | Be omide didar
Another superb piece of work produced in Iran. Let's pause for a minute and reflect on just how difficult it is to get these movies made..
A Master's Final Frames
Cannes 2017

Movingly presented at the largest cinema in Cannes, the Iranian auteur Abbas kiarostami's final film may be the most experimental ever shown at the..
Iranian filmmaker wins major prize at Cannes
Iranian auteur Mohammad Rasoulof's bleak drama "A Man of Integrity" won the Un Certain Regard competition at the Cannes film festival on Saturday..
Kantemir Balagov's 'Closeness' at Cannes
A social realist debut from Kantemir Balagov is an intense film influenced by the Dardenne brothers. For the Un Certain Regard selection at Cannes..
Cannes’ FIPRESCI Prize goes to (Beats Per Minute)
The international critics have crowned Robin Campillo’s film BPM (Beats Per Minute); Closeness and The Nothing Factory also awarded..
The award winners of the Cinéfondation unveiled
Student films from Belgium, Iran and France, awarded at the Cinéfondation. The jury of the Cinéfondation, chaired by Cristian Mungiu, has handed prizes..
The Golden Eye goes to 'Faces, Places' at Cannes
The film by Agnès Varda and JR has won the award for the best documentary screened across the various Cannes selections this year..
'They' (2017)
Movie Review • Cannes 2017

A minor-key portrait of an identity crisis. Jane Campion executive produced Iranian-born director Anahita Ghazvinizadeh's debut feature..
Susan Sarandon talks film and politics • Cannes 2017
In the run-up to the screening, Sarandon, who was named an ambassador for the beauty brand last year, sat down with WWD to talk film..
Loveless (2017)
Cannes 2017 • Movie Review

Such a haunting experience that it remains absorbing even when it doesn't go anywhere. Russia has always been a cold and dreary place in the cinema of..
Get Out (2017)
With the ambitious and challenging “Get Out,” Jordan Peele reveals that we may someday consider directing the greatest talent of this fascinating actor and writer..
Karim Moussaoui
Interview • Cannes 2017

Cineuropa met up with Karim Moussaoui to discuss his first film 'Until the Birds Return', presented in the Un Certain Regard section at the 70th Cannes Film..
Alejandro Jodorowsky's 'Endless Poetry' (2016)
Alejandro Jodorowsky's 'Endless Poetry' is the most accessible movie he has ever made, and it may also be the best. It's Felliniesque and moving..
The Other Side of Hope
Movie review

Five years after Le Havre, Finland’s deadpan morose-romantic master delivers the second part of a prospective ‘dockyard trilogy’ with this..
Lerd (2017) • Cannes
Interview with M. Rassoulof
Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rassoulof represents Iran at the Un Certain Regard competition section of the 70th Cannes Film Festival with his latest film ..
Arnaud Desplechin talks about 'Ismael’s Ghosts'
CANNES 2017: French director Arnaud Desplechin talks about Ismael’s Ghosts, which was screened out of competition at the opening of the 70th Cannes Film..
Happy End (2017)
Cannes Film Festival
First Clip from Michael Haneke’s ‘Happy End’ Features a Very Unhappy Dinner Party. After all, this is the director behind such films as 'The White Ribbon,' 'Amour..
Vanessa Redgrave Sparks
'The Loves of Isadora'

Karel Reisz' biographical portrait of Isadora Duncan stars Vanessa Redgrave as the famed modern dancer, who gained notoriety for her revolutionary..
Wild Tales (2015)
An inventive Argentinian film
Argentina’s “Wild Tales” comes as such an extraordinary surprise. Perhaps the best multi-story feature this reviewer has ever seen..
Noureddin Zarrinkelk
Life Achievement Award

A tribute to legendary Iranian/American animation director, writer and illustrator. Born on April 10, 1937 in Iran, Zarrinkelk founded the first school of Animation..
"The Idea of a Lake"
By Milagros Mumenthaler
Finding inspiration in the true story of a woman whose father disappeared during the civilian-military dictatorship in Argentina..
Tehran Taboo (2017)
First animation in Critics’ Week

In his animated drama, the German-Iranian filmmaker paints a dark picture of the metropolis, a city of prohibitions, draconian dogmas and restrictive laws..
The Day Will Come
London Film Festival 2016
Based on real stories from a boy home called ‘godhavn’, where lots of boys were victims of violent and sexual abuse and medical experiments...
Respiro (2003)
The Critics' Week Grand Prize Winner at Cannes 2002

A cheerful, life-affirming film, strong in its energy, about vivid characters ; using mental illness as an entertainment..
Southside with You (2016)
Barack and Michelle Obama's First Date
A mostly-true account of the first date between Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. A look back on a fateful..
History of the Festival de Cannes

The first edition of the Festival was originally set to be held in Cannes in 1939 under the presidency of Louis..
Hidden Reserves:
Immortality, but at what price?
Vienna in the near future. An insurance company has created a system in which people do not even have a right to..
Slavoj Zizek's
The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

You don't have to share Slavoj Zizek's materialist philosophy to find his analyses of culture and movies witty, insightful..
The Birth of a Nation
Biblical passion and Cheesy emotion
Nate Parker’s heartfelt account of Nat Turner, the slave who led a rebellion in 1830s Virginia, is conventionally paced..
Graduation (2016)
A Study of Grubby Bureaucratic Compromise

Graduation marks yet another well-written and powerfully acted look at morality and societal decay from..
Incendies (2010)
A Powerful, Disturbing film
Adapted from the 2003 play by Wajdi Mouawad, twins Jeanne and Simon leave Canada for the Middle East to fulfill their mother’s final wish..
Spotlight (2015)
The Power Of The Press

The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese..
Before the Flood (2016)
An Inconvenient Truth
Here is a heartfelt, decent, educational documentary about the most important issue of our time – climate change – presented by A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio..
I, Daniel Blake (2016)
Winner of the Palme d’Or

I, Daniel Blake marks yet another well-told chapter in director Ken Loach's powerfully populist filmography. Returning to filmmaking after saying..
"Razor’s Edge: The Legacy of Iranian Actresses"
A look at the often controversial role of women in Iranian cinema during the secular period from the 1930s to the Islamic Revolution in 1979..
Afghan Film Festival
12-21. April 2017

After much planning and inspirational talk, we can finally unveil a special cultural event on Danish soil: Afghan Film Festival in Copenhagen..
Bahman Ghobadi's
‘Rhino Season’

Produced by Martin Scorsese, this is the first film Ghobadi has made in exile. The work of a great talent marshaling all of his powers as a cinematic storyteller..
Dying for a Song
"Art is education, art is existence, its everything"

A documentary about the musicians being persecuted for raising their voices against political, cultural or religious..
A Simple Plan • Review
A Frozen Setting Frames a Chilling Tale
"You work for the American Dream--you don't steal it." So says a Minnesota family man early in "A Simple Plan," but he is..
Macon Blair’s
'I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore' (2017)

What's delightful about Macon Blair’s movie is how consistently the film challenges our worst assumptions..
Blue Jay (2016)
A trip down memory lane
Meeting by chance when they return to their tiny California hometown, two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past..
Paterson (2016)
'I breathe poetry'

Set in the present in Paterson, New Jersey, this is a tale about a bus driver and poet. The film adds another refreshingly unvarnished entry to..
To Walk Invisible (2016)
A serious Brontë biopic
We finally have a biographic film that feels modern, in that it takes into account all we now know about the lives of the Brontë sisters, and throws away old..
Ixcanul (2016)
Life doesn't regenerate without untameable fury

You can sense the director's respect for his subject in the movie's unhurried dramatic rhythms, its grounding in..
A Man Called Ove • Review
Swedish Oscar nominee for Foreign Language Film for Oscars 2017, tells the familiar story of the curmudgeonly old man whose grumpy life is brightened by forces beyond his control..
Oscars 2017
Foreign language Oscar nominees decry 'climate of fanaticism in US'. The six directors in the running for this year’s foreign language Oscar have issued a joint statement blaming..
Berlinale 2017 • Awards
The 2017 Berlinale awards have just been announced. Ildikó Enyedi’s Hungarian drama 'On Body and Soul' won the Golden Bear for best film at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday...
A Quiet Passion (2016)
The story of American poet Emily Dickinson from her early days as a young schoolgirl to her later years as a reclusive, unrecognized artist. This poised and painterly rendition of the..
Maren Ade's Toni Erdmann
The clash of personalities
Toni Erdmann pairs carefully constructed, three-dimensional characters in a tenderly funny character study that's both genuinely moving and..
Tom Ford's 'Nocturnal Animals' (2016)
Well-acted and lovely to look at, Nocturnal Animals further underscores writer-director Tom Ford's distinctive visual and narrative skill...
Asghar Farhadi Won’t Attend Oscar Ceremony
The Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose film “The Salesman” is nominated for an Oscar in the best foreign-language film category decided to not attend..
Barry Jenkins’ masterful “Moonlight”
'Moonlight' uses one man's story to offer a remarkable and brilliantly crafted look at lives too rarely seen in cinema...
Film Review: Pablo Larraín's Neruda (2016)
"Inventive, intelligent, and beautifully filmed, Neruda transcends the traditional biopic structure to look at the meaning beyond the details of its subject's life."..
Iranian actress to boycott Oscars
The lead actor in an Iranian drama nominated for an Oscar in the best foreign language film category has said she will boycott this year’s ceremony..
Oscar nominations to: Land of Mine and Silent Nights
Martin Zandvliet's "Land of Mine" and Aske Bang's "Silent Nights" will be taking part in the world's most prestigious film event, selected as nominees in..
Manchester by the Sea
Manchester by the Sea delivers affecting drama populated by full-bodied characters, marking another strong step forward for writer-director Kenneth Lonergan..
Gernika (2016) • Review
The fates of Henry – a cynical American correspondent who has lost his soul – and Teresa, one of the Republic’s censors and in charge of overseeing the news that journalists can send abroad..
This gentle and wholly satisfying two-character tale pairs Motamed-Aria, Iran’s internationally renowned star, with a precocious and highly appealing child actor...
Operation Avalanche
Why do we need to question the authenticity of one of humanity's most awe-inspiring achievements? Matt Johnson and co-writer Josh Boles never try to address this thorny issue..
We Are Many (2014)
A necessary reminder of a gigantic scandal

The story of the biggest demonstration in human history, which took place on 15th February 2003..
Me (2016)
In spite of being warned to stop things she is doing, Azar nevertheless continues with her schemes and soon it becomes apparent that she's addicted to the thrill, she just can't stop..
Shell (2013)
Life’s a gas station

Shell, the captivating debut from the young Scottish filmmaker Scott Graham, finds claustrophobia in the widest-open landscape, and isolation in the closest..
Silence (2016)
"Silence" is a monumental work, and a punishing one. It puts you through hell with no promise of enlightenment, only a set of questions and propositions, sensations and experiences..
'Stefan Zweig:
Farewell to Europe' (2016)

World-famous Austrian writer Stefan Zweig fled the rise of the Nazis - but exile in Brazil brought him no happiness. In 1942, he took his own life..
Sweet Bean (2016)
Movie Review
Sweet Bean's deliberate pace demands patience, but the satisfying simplicity of its story -- and Kirin Kiki's absorbing performance -- yield an array of riches..
'Copenhagen' (2014)
Movie Review

Mark Raso's absorbing film has a delicate nuance that will linger after the popcorn's gone. A guy and a girl bicycle slowly through the streets of..
Movie Review
Every Man for Himself is a single seamless endeavor, a stunning, original work about which there is still a lot to say, but there's time. I trust it will outlive us all...
Luis Bunuel's
'The Exterminating Angel'

A film by Luis Bunuel that is a macabre comedy, a mordant view of human nature that suggests we harbor savage instincts and unspeakable secrets..
Beloved Sisters (2015)
As lengthy and passionate as a drawn-out kiss, Beloved Sisters is a beautifully made romantic drama set in 18th century Germany that's smart, sensual and emotionally resonant..
'I don't vote with my vagina'
Susan Sarandon explains why she's not backing Hillary Clinton. Susan Sarandon has had a troubled relationship with Hillary Clinton, and the actress has..
Whistleblower Julian Assange has given one of his most incendiary interviews ever in a John Pilger Special, courtesy of Dartmouth Films..
'Snowden' • Oliver Stone's New Thrilling Docudrama
The story of Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who revealed the scope of just how little privacy we have in a post-9/11 world..
The Internet's Own Boy • The Story of Aaron Swartz
Programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz achieved groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing..
'Under the Shadow' and the politics of horror
As a mother and daughter struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war torn Tehran of the 80s, a mysterious evil begins to haunt..
Maria Larsson's Everlasting Moments • Review
Rarely is there a film that evokes our sympathy more deeply than "Everlasting Moments." It is a great story of love and hope, told tenderly and..
Utopia (2013) • Review
This powerful film by John Pilger looks at the awful truth behind white Australia's dysfunctional relationship with Indigenous Australians. Exploring offenses practiced by popular media..
Carnage • Review
Brief, brutal and barmy

The message, if any, is that good manners are often skin deep, that compassion and forgiveness are hard to come by, and that when it comes to..
Little Sister (2016) • Review
"Little Sister" is about many things: family relationships, the intersection of the personal and the political, how faith provides comfort in a chaotic world..
Autumn Sonata • Mothers, Daughters, and Monsters
Autumn Sonata was Ingrid Bergman’s swan song in thea­trical movies; when she filmed it, she already had the cancer that would kill her..
"Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words"
A captivating look behind the scenes of the remarkable life of a young Swedish girl who became one of the most celebrated actresses of..
Jafar Panahi • A complete retrospective
As part of the Paris Autumn Festival, the Pompidou Centre is presenting a complete retrospective of Panahi's films, and showing his photographic work..
The War Show • at London Film Festival
'The world becomes increasingly numbed, which is why a documentary like 'The War Show' is so essential.' Venice Days winner is part of the Danish line-up at..
'Kill the Messenger' • Review
A reporter becomes the target of a vicious smear campaign that drives him to the point of suicide after he exposes the CIA’s role in arming Contra rebels..
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo • Review
The powerful businessman Henrik Vanger invites Mikael to an investigation work. He gets surprised when realizes that the service has nothing to do with..
'The Childhood of a Leader' • Review
A personal, poetic look back at a century where history, cinema, psychology and politics intersected in ways that we are still trying to parse..
The Professor and the Madman
'A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary.' Apocalypto co-scribe Farhad Safinia is to make his feature directorial debut with..
'The Immigrant' • Review
Beautiful visuals, James Gray's confident direction, and a powerful performance from Marion Cotillard combine to make The Immigrant a richly rewarding period drama..
From Iran, a Separation
A documentary exploring how the ordinary people of Iran felt about an Iranian movie winning the 2012 Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film..
'Slow West' • Review
“I knew we couldn’t just keep making short films, it was almost unspoken that it was going to lead to a feature. I’ve got so much admiration for the Coens, how they handle tone, their ability to..
Still Life (2013)
The British drama “Still Life” by writer-director Uberto Pasolini is pretty much an exact cinematic equivalent of Paul McCartney’s downcast lament. It begins with three funerals, of different faiths..
'Land of Mine'
is Denmark's Oscar entry

The Danish selection committee unanimously picked Zandvliet's feature over the other two shortlist candidates: Thomas Vinterberg's The Commune and..
Farhadi's 'The Salesman'
nominated for 2017 Oscar

Iran has nominated a film by the country’s Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi for the next Academy Awards. Farhadi's drama has been chosen by..
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)
The story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress, who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice..
Abbas Kiarostami

The world of cinema lost a giant this year. To celebrate his esteem career, Iranian Film Festival will present one of his rare films made outside of Iran..
A Perfect Day (2016)
War's cruel absurdity
“A Perfect Day,” directed by Fernando de León de Aronoa, making his English-language feature debut, is set “Somewhere In The Balkans” and..
THRIVE (2011)
Is free energy possible?

THRIVE is an unconventional documentary that lifts the veil on what's really going on in our world by following the money upstream..
Requiem for the American Dream (2016)
The definitive discourse with Noam Chomsky, widely regarded as the most important intellectual alive, on the defining characteristic of our time..
Night Shift (2015)
Filmmaker and actress Niki Karimi turns to a social drama about a middle-class couple in trouble. Caught up in a downward economic spiral, which they disguise from each other..
Court (2015)
Winner of top prizes at the Venice and Mumbai film festivals, Chaitanya Tamhane's Court is a quietly devastating, absurdist portrait of injustice, caste prejudice, and venal politics in..
Mountain (2015)
The enormous Jewish cemetery overlooking Jerusalem takes centre stage in this quiet, slowly unfolding family drama where a woman questions her isolated existence..
Taxi Tehran (2015)
Review by Naomi Keenan O’Shea
This review is the 2016 winner of the annual Pete Walsh Critical Writing Award. Jafar Panahi’s most recent cinematic..
Abbas Kiarostami dies aged 76
Celebrated Iranian director, whose Taste of Cherry won Cannes’ top prize in 1997, remained in the country after the Islamic revolution and continued to flourish..
'DAUGHTER' (2016)
wins top prize at MIFF
Reza Mirkarimi’s ‘Daughter’ represented Iranian cinema at the 38th Moscow International Film Festival, and became the critics’ favorite, scoring 7.3 out of..
Escobar: Paradise Lost
Benicio del Toro has fun playing the world’s deadliest slob, but there’s too much fabrication in this not-quite biopic. In Colombia, an American surfer meets the woman of his dreams - and then..
'I am Nasser Hejazi'
The legendary goalkeeper
The documentary looks at the life of the legendary Iranian Goalkeeper, Nasser Hejazi, in five chapters narrated by Shahab Hosseini, Bahram Radan..
'Life Itself' (2014)
Life Itself recounts the surprising and entertaining life of renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert. Critics review films, sometimes they even appear in films, but..
The Wave (2016)
Movie review
Well-acted and blessed with a refreshingly humanistic focus, The Wave is a disaster film that makes uncommonly smart use of disaster film clichés..
Rams (Hrútar) (2016)
The film morphs from gentle near-absurdist comedy to something close to tragedy in Rams, a simply but skillfully told tale of the hardships of isolated rural life in Iceland..
Iran's ‘Sound and Fury’
Goes to 19th Shanghai filmfest
‘Sound and Fury’ by Houman Seyedi is among the competing titles in the main competition section of the 19th edition..
Massy Tadjedin’s Last Night
Massy Tadjedin’s feature directorial debut Last Night is a stunning tale of fidelity and marital trust. Tadjedin seduces both her characters and..
Özcan Alper's Future Lasts Forever
A woman struggles with love and personal loss against the backdrop of a land torn by civil war in this drama from filmmaker Ozcan Alper..
Two filmmakers fully embed themselves in a Syrian refugee camp, providing an intimate look at the world's most dire humanitarian crisis. SALAM NEIGHBOR gives a name and a face to the Syrian..
Ken Loach's 'I, Daniel Blake' Takes Palme D'Or
The Palme d’Or went to Ken Loach’s well-regarded I, Daniel Blake, a social drama about an ailing carpenter’s struggle against the bureaucracy of..
Iranian star Shahab Hosseini wins best actor award at Cannes
The Best Actor prize has been awarded to Shahab Hosseini by Kirsten Dunst and Katayoon Shahabi, for his role in..
‘The Salesman’ Signals a Cinematic Resurgence in Iran
Why Asghar Farhadi’s ‘The Salesman’ Signals a Post Nuclear Deal Cinematic Resurgence in Iran? It stood out as..
Behzadi's ‘Inversion’
Cannes Film Review

Behnam Behzadi's new film is a quietly dramatic tale of a woman in Tehran who is not as liberated as she thinks she is. This isn’t Los Angeles, it’s Tehran..
Refn's The Neon Demon
Cannes 2016
“Beauty isn’t everything… it’s the only thing.” Refn’s latest and best, The Neon Demon, is the culmination of his decades-long fascination with human..
Jim Jarmusch's "Paterson"
Cannes 2016

Jim Jarmusch’s new movie is a quiet delight: the story of a gentle, artistic man and his wife which celebrates small-town life and dreams without..
Maren Ade's Toni Erdmann
Cannes review
You don’t often hear the furrowed crowd at Cannes applaud during a picture. They did more at Maren Ade’s singular Tony Erdmann. They did a bit of whooping..
Jeff Nichols' 'Loving'
Exploring American history

Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, are sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 for getting married. The story behind the historic Civil Rights..
The Festival de Cannes has decided to add another film as a Special Screening: Peshmerga by Bernard-Henri Lévy. 'This film, which we have just discovered, offers a close-up look at the Kurdish..'
Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amsalem (2015)
This expertly written, brilliantly acted film documents the painful five-year process for one woman attempting to obtain a divorce..
Joachim Trier’s Louder than bombs
The Quest for Authenticity in Post-Existential Age. In his new film Louder than bombs Norwegian director Joachim Trier masterfully captures..
The Salesman (2016)
Asghar Farhadi's seventh feature joins the Cannes competition. Asghar Farhadi is in the running for the Palme d'Or; David Mackenzie is in Un Certain Regard; Richet has a midnight screening..
Samsara (2012)
The Strangeness and Wonder of our Planet
Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, "Samsara" transports us to the varied..
T Boy (2014)
Short Film from Qatar

A young Indian IT professional who has moved to Doha on the promise of lucrative employment, ends up in a job making tea for the employees of an..
Wit (2001)
When a movie hurts too much
The experience with "Wit" was a revelation. Yes, movies can be immediate and real to us.. The teleplay by Nichols and Emma Thompson is based on..
Olof Palme:
Loved and Hated

Thirty years after he was shot to death on the streets of Stockholm, Olof Palme is still making headlines in Sweden today...
'Fire At Sea' winner of Golden Bear for Best Film
The European migrant crisis has found its cinematic Pietà in Fire At Sea, Italian director Gianfranco Rosi’s powerful, at times shocking but also intensely human..
’24 Weeks’
Berlin Film Review

The second feature from Anne Zohra Berrached addresses one of the most difficult decisions that a woman may have to make in her life..
“Life+1 Day” leads nominations at Iran's Fajr festival
Saeid Rustai’s poverty and drug movie “Life+1 Day” received nine nominations in various categories including best film..
“Lanturi” warns of rise of intolerance
A distinguished director from the new generation of Iranian cinema, Reza Dormishian, warns of the rise of intolerance in society..
'Sonita' & 'The Birth of a Nation’ among big winners at Sundance awards
Park City • The World Cinema Documentary competition yielded another double winner: "Sonita," the story of..
Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet
One of the more pleasant surprises of TIFF 2014, the film adapts the poetry of Lebanese artist, poet, and writer Kahlil Gibran in a series of vignettes similar to Disney’s Fantasia..
Ettore Scola dies at 84
The film director Ettore Scola, a leading figure in Italian cinema for more than three decades, has died at the age of 84.. ‘leaves a huge void in Italian culture’
Oscars So White?
Or Oscars So Dumb?

The outcry over the nomination of 20 white actors, and no black ones, for the coming Academy Awards gained momentum on Monday..
‘A War’ (2015)
Venice Film Review
Tobias Lindholm's engrossing, impeccably sensitive Afghanistan War drama makes good on the promise of 'A Hijacking.'..
The Danish Girl (2015)
a beautiful and moving biopic

The Danish Girl serves as another showcase for Eddie Redmayne's talent -- and poignantly explores thought-provoking themes with a beautifully..
'45 Years' (2015)
A Moving Marital Drama
Make no mistake. “45 Years” is no polite tea-and-toast domestic drama, even if the central characters onscreen are a childless retired couple..
Queen of Earth (2015)
Down the road of depression

We feel something bad is going to happen. Will Catherine kill herself? Kill someone else? Her world has shattered and every way in which she defines..
Tesla's Dream at Wardenclyffe Continues
A century ago, Nikola Tesla dreamed of sending free wireless energy from a mysterious tower and lab called..
Sicario (2015)
Film Review

There are in fact, no good guys in “Sicario,” only men compromised on a sliding scale of grey by the international drug trade..
“Bitter Dream”
screened after a 12-year ban
Last week, the movie received the cultural officials approval for premiering at the Art and Experience Cinemas in Iran, the movie theaters that are..
The Pope's Toilet
Humble Hope in Hard Times

An offbeat charmer, The Pope's Toilet is a humorous, well-crafted tale with plenty of heart and a poignant social message. Inspired by the visit of Pope John Paul..
Under Electric Clouds
The film explores a motif familiar to German Jr film buffs: the tension between freedom and its absence which lies at the centre of life among Russia’s intelligentsia..
Words with Gods
Sometimes Look Up

“Words with Gods” are short cinematic meditations on faith and consciousness masterminded by writer-director Guillermo Arriaga. The full omnibus will..
Iran’s only representative at the 72nd Venice Film Festival, ‘Wednesday, May 9’ by Vahid Jalilvand will compete in the Horizon section of the event. Beginning September 2, the festival offers 55 new..
Hong Kong’s New Wave

Relishing Wong Kar-wai’s first masterpiece, DAYS OF BEING WILD. Hong Kong was the Hollywood of East Asia through the sixties and seventies..
Understanding Asghar Farhadi
An Iranian Canadian critic engages with Farhadi’s films and her own roots. Asghar Farhadi: Life and Cinema is the first English book about the great director..
IFF - San Francisco 2015
Welcome to the 8th Annual Iranian Film Festival in San Francisco, the first independent Iranian film festival outside of Iran. This year, once again, IFF will present the best Iranian films..
Turkish touch in Venice film fest. Orhan Pamuk has created what may be the single most powerfully beautiful, humane and affecting work of contemporary art..
Abluka (Frenzy)
Award-winning Turkish film director Emin Alper’s latest movie will contest this year’s Venice International Film Festival, organizers announced Wednesday. It centers on the story of two brothers..
Inequality for All
In this timely and entertaining documentary, noted economic-policy expert Robert Reich distills the topic of widening income inequality, and addresses the question of what effects..
Where to Invade Next
“The issue of the United States at infinite war is something that has concerned me for quite some time, and provides the necessary satire for this film, said Moore..
Listen Up Philip
if this distinctively funny and disconcerting new film by Alex Ross Perry, is your first exposure to his work, one question you might have on exiting is “What kind of person makes a movie..”
The Matador
"I facilitate fatalities"

Richard Shepard balances the macabre and the sentimental, and understands that although his film contains questions like "don't successful people always...
Detained 50+ times
Why was Laura Poitras Oscar-winning Snowden documentarian detained 50+ times in US airports? Laura Poitras has filed suit to find out why she was stopped and searched...
Orson Welles:
The Great Disruptor

Orson Welles’ passion for innovation spurred both his meteoric rise and his fall from grace. A century after his birth, Orson Welles’ position as a titan of...
Actors pay tribute to Omar Sharif
ANTONIO Banderas, Barbra Streisand and filmmaker Roland Emmerich are leading the tributes to acting icon Omar Sharif, who has died aged 83...
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)
A film that blends conventional elements into something brilliantly original -- and serves as a striking calling card for writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour...
My Sweet Orange Tree (2012)
The film follows the story of Zezé, a little and very imaginative and sensitive but misunderstood boy. He lives in a very humble house with an unemployed and...
The Film of Disquiet (2010)
A restless film based in fragments of The Book of Disquiet, by Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa. Lisbon today. In a room of a house at Douradores Street, a man invents dreams and...
Wild Tales (2015)
Inequality, injustice and the demands of the world we live in cause stress and depression for many people. Some of them, however, explode. This is a movie about those people...
The Man Who Saved The World (2014)
The man who saved the world and who, in his own words, is not a hero, lives in a small apartment full of empty vodka bottles, has lost his family and is...
Amour fou (2015)
Amour Fou is inspired by the life and death of the poet Heinrich von Kleist and his partner in death, Henriette Vogel. Berlin, 1810: Heinrich von Kleist, a despondent young poet/dramatist...
The Age of Adaline (2015)
Not many movies go from "eh" to "wow." "The Age of Adaline" is one of them. The story of a woman who miraculously survives a car wreck and emerges as an ageless being...
Miss Julie (2014)
Liv Ullmann's adaptation of the classic Strindberg play “Miss Julie” tells the story clearer than any words could do. Over the course of a midsummer night in Fermanagh in 1890, an unsettled...
The Palme d’Or for Jacques Audiard and The Grand Prix for Son of Saul
The 68th edition of the Cannes Film Festival drew to a close tonight by unveiling its awards list, which...
‘Nahid’ • Cannes Film Review
Temporary marriage, Iranian-style, takes center stage in director Ida Panahandeh's sensitive, well-acted and reasonably absorbing...
A Palme d’honneur to
Agnès Varda

Agnès Varda is to receive an honorary Palme d’or during the Closing Ceremony of the 68th Festival de Cannes. Previously, only Woody Allen, in 2002,..
Matteo Garrone's
Tale of Tales (2015)
Selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, 'The Tale of Tales' is an upcoming English-language film, starring Salma Hayek,..
Shame (2011)
Brandon is compelled to repeat the same behavior over and over, he never reveals emotion. He lives like a man compelled to follow an inevitable course and all he gets from it is self-loathing...
Cannes Classics 2015
Costa-Gavras as guest of honor, a double celebration of Ingrid Bergman and Orson Welles, Ousmane Sembène the « father of African cinema, » Gaumont with a place of honor, Argentinians...
Thomas Vinterberg's
'Far From the Madding Crowd'

Nicely served on both sides of the camera, this is a concise and involving rendition of a resilient young woman who comes into property in Victorian ...
Lars von Trier • Interview
‘I’ve started drinking again, so I can work’. Lucy Cheung met von Trier at the Zentropa studio in Denmark to talk about sex, alcoholism and his reaction to the Copenhagen shootings...
Martin Scorsese Presents:
Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

Martin Scorsese has recently overseen a project restoring some of Poland's greatest films to their former glory..
Tracks (2014) • Review
A truly outstanding cinema experience
Mia Wasikowska stars in the astonishing true story of Robyn Davidson, who in 1977 set out on a solo 2,700-kilometre...
The Turin Horse • Review
Bela Tarr’s Final Film

Béla Tarr’s final film, provides a fictionalized account of what happened to the horse Friedrich Nietzsche tried to protect from a whipping..
A Most Violent Year (2014)
"What Good is The American Dream If You Can't Sleep At Night Because Of The Things You Did To Achieve It." The film's title refers to an actual, statistical designation: 1981 was the most ...
13 Assassins • Review
A Last Hurrah for the Samurai Code

"13 Assassins" has what many action pictures need, a villain who transcends evil and ascends to a realm of barbaric..
A Tale of Samurai Cooking (2013)
Short-order shogun trains her husband, a young man from a renowned family of samurai chefs, to be a kitchen Kurosawa in this tasty Japanese drama...
Mr. Turner • Review
The interconnectedness of all things

Led by a masterful performance from Timothy Spall and brilliantly directed by Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner is a superior..
Away from Her: The Mercy of Simple Truth
An accomplished directorial debut by Sarah Polley, Away From Her is a touching exploration of the effects of Alzheimer's, in which the tender...
Portugal bids farewell to Manoel de Oliveira
The oldest active filmmaker in the world, Manoel de Oliveira, passed away this week at the age of 106. Besides being the most internationally acclaimed..
Borgen: The Complete Series
Danish television, however is in a Golden Age of genre thrillers like "The Killing", "The Bridge" and "Those Who Kill". Scandinavian films have never been...
MOMMY • XAVIER DOLAN's fifth feature
Dolan's energy and attack is thrilling; his movie is often brilliant and very funny in ways which smash through the barriers marked Incorrect and Inappropriate..
Atlan • winner of iranian Cinema Vérité 1st prize
The story follows a season in the life of a young horse riding instructor and his relationship with his horse. It is a rich and honest portrayal of the harsh life of..
68th Festival de Cannes
poster time

It's poster time at the Festival de Cannes! The 68th Festival de Cannes (13-24 May 2015) has chosen to pay tribute to Ingrid Bergman...
My Old Lady • review
An American inherits an apartment in Paris that comes with an unexpected resident. The movie begins with Kline’s character, coming into Paris full of hope and excitement: his late father, while..
The Imitation Game (2014)
“Sometimes, it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one imagines.” On one hand, this is a tense World War II thriller about a stellar team of Brits who cracked Nazi...
The Theory of Everything
Movie review
A look at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife. Together, they defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine..
Film Review • A Few Cubic Meters of Love
Afghanistan's foreign-language Oscar entry is an earnest but affecting social-issue drama. Set in a shantytown on the outskirts of Tehran where a..
A tale of Gypsy slavery in 19th-century Romania
Radu Jude’s third feature explores the social inequalities of those times, but also the relationship we have with the past...
Jafar Panahi's 'Taxi' • wins Golden Bear at Berlinale
The 65th annual Berlin International Film Festival has drawn to a close with Darren Aronofsky's jury settling on awards for films in competition. Jafar Panahi's "Taxi"
Crazy Face
wins 5 awards at Fajr Film Festival
Tehran, Iran: Last night at the award ceremony of Fajr Film Fesstival, Crazy Face (Rokhe Divaneh) won 5 awards...
Map to the Stars • The Dark Heart of Hollywood
The Weiss family is the archetypical Hollywood dynasty: father Stafford is an analyst and coach, who has made a fortune with his self-help manuals...
Berlin Review:
Jafar Panahi's ​Enjoyable Act Of Dissidence​ 'Taxi'​
Iranian director Jafar Panahi has turned himself into a taxi driver to produce a vibrant portrait of the Iranian capital...
8th Annual Iranian Film Festival • San Francisco
Call for entries are open for the 8th Annual Iranian Film Festival – San Francisco. Deadline to submit films: July 15, 2015. San Francisco...
A Most Wanted Man (2014)
A man trapped in bureaucracy and shackled by a government that doesn’t give him the trust or tools he needs to do his job. He is an intelligence expert in Hamburg, Germany, a place that will...
Under the Skin (2014)
Is it a pretentious gloss on a very old story about men's fear of women, and women's discomfort with their own allure? Does it contain mysteries that can only be unpacked with repeat...
Nightcrawler (2014)
"If it bleeds, it leads"
a film about a private, ruthless loner who pursues his dream his way, always, and whose path through the world is marked by the bloodstains of the people he's...
The Good Lie (2014)
I could tell the good lie and say the movie is perfect. It's not. It's often earnest to a fault and fearful of its deeper, darker implications. Still, you won't leave The Good Lie unmoved...
Boyhood (2014) • Review
Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood'. "Boyhood's" near-perfect scores on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes drown out the voices ...
Big Eyes (2014)
who gets to say what is and is not art? Should popularity be equalled with bad? "Big Eyes" is full of fascinating questions about the meaning of art, the concept of popularity, and and what it means to...
Maria finds herself caught between two worlds. At school this 14-year-old girl has all the typical teenage interests, but when she’s at home with her family...
Birdman (2014)
Thrilling leap forward for director Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman is an ambitious technical showcase powered by a layered story and outstanding performances from...
Inherent Vice (2014)
The phrase "Inherent Vice" refers to "the tendency in physical objects to deteriorate because of the fundamental instability of the components of which they are made...
The Fault in Our Stars • Review
"Pain demands to be felt. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities." It should be agonizing, this tale of doomed love between cancer-stricken teens...
American Sniper • Review
Powered by Clint Eastwood's sure-handed direction and a gripping central performance from Bradley Cooper, American Sniper delivers a tense, vivid tribute to its real-life subject...
Berlinale 2015 Lineup
New films by Jafar Panahi, Werner Herzog and more added to the Competition. Last month, the Berlinale announced the first seven titles lined up for the Competition...
Slavoj Žižek on the Charlie Hebdo massacre
Are the worst really full of passionate intensity? “The best” are no longer able fully to engage, while “the worst” engage in racist, religious, sexist fanaticism...
Force Majeure (Turist)
Ruben Ostlund dissects a family's behaviour following an act of paternal cowardice in an intelligent film with a human side, unveiled in Un Certain Regard...
Gestures • Nuri Bilge Ceylan
More than any other filmmaker today, Nuri Bilge Ceylan seems closer to taking the medium to another level — to something that is literary as well as...
Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan (2014)
Since the story conveys a sense of pervasive political corruption, it has been read as a daring and scathing critique of conditions in Vladimir Putin’s Russia...
'Labor Day' (2013) • Review
It's hard to be a teenager and the man in the house at the same time. The last weekend of summer vacation is going to change the 13-year-old Henry Wheeler's life...
Ida (2013) • Big winner at European Film Awards
Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida was the big winner at this year’s European Film Awards in Riga, picking up five awards, including the top honour of ...
Still Alice (2014) • Review
With a combination of power and grace, Julianne Moore elevates “Still Alice” above its made-for-cable-television trappings, and delivers one of the more memorable performances of her career...
Two Days, One Night • Dardenne Brothers
Sandra, a young Belgian mother, discovers that her workmates have opted for a significant pay bonus, in exchange for her dismissal. She has...
The Possibilities Are Endless (2014) • Review
There’s a disjointed beauty in this visualisation of a man struggling to recollect the facts of his life; a lot of power in the fight to rebuild the link between...
LABOUR OF LOVE (2014) • Aditya Vikram's first feature
Set in the crumbling environs of Calcutta, Labour of Love is a lyrical unfolding of two ordinary lives suspended in the duress of a spiralling recession...
Melbourne (2014)
wins Best Film at Cairo IFF

Iranian film 'Melbourne' wins Best Film at 36th Cairo International Film Festival. Closing ceremony at Giza plateau announces awards...
Masterclass: Joshua Oppenheimer • Interview
Two films, which have put a before and after in modern documentary filmmaking. DOX: TV has talked with director Joshua Oppenheimer - the winner of this year's...
Movie Review
Citizenfour (2014)

Though superlatives can mischaracterize any movie’s qualities, it is not an overstatement, I think, to call “Citizenfour,” the movie of the century...
‘Silent Heart’
San Sebastian Review

Masterfully crafted family drama which tackles its tricky theme with a surfeit of restrained good taste. Bille August’s powerful, nuanced issues item explores...
We are Journalists
Danish documentary from 2014

On 27 December 2009, Ahmad Farahani, an exiled Iranian filmmaker and journalist, sees an innocent man being killed on the street, but neither Ahmad or his...
Film Review:
‘Silent Heart’ by Bille August

Three generations of a family gather over a weekend. The sisters Sanne and Heidi have accepted their terminally-ill mother's desire to die before her disease...
From Denmark to Afghanistan:
Afghan writer-director Shahrbanoo Sadat is raising money for a portrait of the village where she grew up – “where children must work all day, but still have a childhood...
Still an effectively scary film, this is a welcome reissue for Hallowe'en. One of the most evergreen of science-fiction films...
Busan IFF
‘End of Winter’ and ’13’ Share Top Awards

Top prizes at the Busan International Film Festival were shared between Iranian Hooman Seyedi’s “13” and Korean...
Fish & Cat
Busan International Film Festival

Shot in a single take, the spooky and beautiful Fish & Cat is one of the most original films at this year’s festival...
Film of the week: Gone Girl
Dark, intelligent, and stylish. The movie is sick joke, a fable and a lament. It's "He done her wrong" and "She done him wrong." It's "Men are spineless pigs" and "Hell hath no fury like a woman...
The Green Prince
N. Schirman • Interview

Set against the chaotic backdrop of recent events in the Middle East, Nadav Schirman's documentary retraces the details of a highly unprecedented...
Film Review: ‘Timbuktu’
The Nightmarish Perversion of "Justice"

Timbuktu is silent, the doors closed, the streets empty. No more music, no tea, no cigarettes, no bright colors, no laughs...
Boyhood • One of the great films of the decade
Richard Linklater's beautiful time-lapse study of a boy from age five to 18 is a Bildungsroman for modern American cinema. Like the fabled Jesuit,..
Macondo (2014)
Abu Dhabi Film Fest 2014

I discovered Macondo by accident. I had heard there was a settlement on the outskirts of Vienna that had been housing refugees since the 1950s...
Abu Dhabi Film Festival
to Host the Film Foundation

ADFF has announced a collaboration with Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation/ World Cinema Project (WCP). As part of the collaboration, two newly restored...
Short Film "Room 8"
BAFTA winner 2014

Room 8 went on to gain much critical acclaim worldwide and won the Best Live Action Short Film at the 2014 BAFTAs. In 2013, Geoffrey Fletcher directed a...
The Forgiveness of Blood

Winner of the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at the Berlin Film Festival, the powerful second feature from Joshua Marston (MARIA FULL OF GRACE)...
Today (Emrouz) (2014)
By award-winning director

Today is a profound testament to the enduring power of empathy and fellow feeling in an increasingly cruel and prejudicial world...
Iran Selects ‘Today’
for Foreign Language Oscar

Iran has returned to the foreign-language Academy Award race with the selection of Reza Mirkarimi’s “Today” (Emrooz) as its contender...
A look at modern Serbia's youth

A depiction of Serbian youth brought up in a time of economic and moral demise. Told through the character of Luka, a small town football hooligan...
The Making of a Martyr

What makes their journey so compelling, and this portrait so eye-opening, is that these young men are not politically motivated until they are recruited...
The Riahi Brothers'
Everyday Rebellion

Everyday Rebellion is a cinema documentary and cross-media project about the power of creative, nonviolent activism and modern civil disobedience...
Returning from 81 days of solitary detention and under house arrest, China’s most celebrated and provocative artist suffers from a sleeping disorder and memory loss...
The Golden Lion goes to Roy Andersson
the Golden Lion for Best Film went to Swedish director Roy Andersson for A Pigeon Sat on A Branch Reflecting on Existence, the film with the longest title...
Movie review
The Words (2012)

Almost every word Ernest Hemingway wrote in the years immediately before 1922 was lost by his first wife Hadley, who packed the pages in a briefcase...
Red Rose (2014)
Tehran. June 13th 2009

A politically complacent middle-aged man and a young pro-democracy activist debate about the future of their country while hiding from...
Everything we know so far

Rosewater, the much anticipated directorial debut from Jon Stewart which stars Gael García Bernal, premieres at the Telluride Film Festival...
Black Souls (2014)
Portrait of a criminal family

"The mafia is the only working organization in Calabria", an artist with cynical sharpness once said, while a multitude of anthropologists told us...
Venice Days 2014
The Cut: The Armenian Genocide

The latest film by Fatih Akin is in competition at the Venice Film Festival and tells the story of the epic quest of a...
Venice Days 2014
The President

is the story of a dictator of an imaginary country in the Caucasus, who is forced to escape following a coup d’état, and begins a journey to discover...
Venice Days 2014
Indonesia massacre & Iran sanctions impact

Films about a 1960s massacre in Indonesia and the harsh conditions in Iran under present-day international sanctions and...
Venice Days 2014
Bani-Etemad's Tales

Entering the race for the prestigious Golden Lion prize at this year's 71st Venice Film Festival, Iranian director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad's Tales (Ghesse-ha, 2014)...
Venice Days 2014
The Look of Silence

The 71st edition of the Venice Film Festival has welcomed the new documentary by Joshua Oppenheimer, the director of 2012’s The Act of Killing...
Lauren Bacall
smoky-voiced Hollywood legend

James Agee called her “the toughest girl a piously regenerate Hollywood has dreamed of in a long, long while”...
Robin Williams
a big heart and a staggering talent

The news of the death of this mercurial performer has come as a shock - but his brilliance was always tinged with ...
On My Way
Catherine Deneuve hits the road

The film is replete with tributes not only to Truffaut, Techine and other directors Deneuve has acted for earlier in her...
Tony Takitani (2006)

Based on a Haruki Murakami short story, Tony Takitani is a dreamlike and evocative meditation on loneliness. Left to bring himself up by his touring musician father...
Gaza besieged:
tunnels, smuggling and the Israeli blockade

Photographer Bruno Stevens on life for the Palestinians of Gaza living under the Israeli blockage, and the extensive...
Children of Syria
BBC Documentary

With access across the Syrian conflict's frontlines, Lyse Doucet follows the lives of six children over six months and offers insight into a country being torn apart...
Dancing Arabs (2014)
Eyad,a boy from an Arab village has the opportunity to attend a prestigious boarding school in Jerusalem. Eyad tries hard to fit in with the Jewish-Israeli culture of the late 1980s. He develops a close...
James Garner
Rockford Files star, dies aged 86

James Garner, for more than 50 years one of Hollywood's most likable leading men on the big screen and on TV,...
Shadow People • Interview
Shadow People tells the story of people who are on the margins of our society, people who are in the shadows that you cannot see! I wanted to shed light on these people...
Pulp Farsi (2013)
The Bizarre Reality of a Nation

If there was one country, where the word dichotomy had to be used, it would be Iran. Paradoxically religion is everywhere
Kim Ki-Duk film to open Venice Days
Now on his twentieth film South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk has chosen Venice Days for the international debut of his latest effort, “One on One”...
Mood Indigo (2014)
The sets of “Mood Indigo” are breathtaking, one is overwhelmed with images, ideas, words and a fear of blinking lest we miss a single visual spark of this colored visual poem...
7th Annual Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco
Save the Dates for the 7th Annual Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco, a showcase for the independent feature and short films made by or about Iranians from...
Her (2013)
Eternal Love to an Unseen Soul Mate

A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly-purchased operating system that’s designed to...
In Order of Disappearance
A rip-roaring revenge tale

“To be able to laugh about morbid things, the absurd moments in life, can be liberating”. A father becomes a killer on a quest to find the truth behind his son's....
The Terminal (2004)
Viktor Navorski is a visitor to New York from Eastern Europe. His homeland erupts in a fiery coup, while he is in the air en route to America. Stranded at Kennedy Airport with a passport from nowhere...
Blue Jasmine
Perhaps Woody Allen's Cruelest-Ever Film

Anxiety, nightmares and a nervous breakdown, there's only so many traumas a person can withstand until they take...
When Animals Dream
the wolf and the lamb

An initiation story on the transformation of a normal girl who discovers she is a werewolf as she transitions from adolescence into adulthood...
Niki Karimi and Amos Gitai
to Chair Edinburgh juries

Iranian actress and filmmaker Niki Karimi will head the panel of jury for the Best International Feature Film Competition in the upcoming Edinburgh International...
Gilles Jacob
Cannes Honored President

"We need the stars to help the little countries. The big names bring the attention that helps art-house cinema," Mr. Jacob says...
Awards Winners

The Palme d’or was awarded to Nuri Bilge Ceylan for Winter Sleep. It was presented to him by the American actress Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino...
Leila Hatami

Discovered in Asghar Farhadi's film A Separation in 2011, Leila Hatami is one of the nine members of the Jury for this edition of the Festival de Cannes...
Abbas Kiarostami

Poet, painter, photographer... At the age of 73, Abbas Kiarostami is a director whose talent is not only expressed on screen, although it is through his films...
Ken Loach's Jimmy’s Hall
Cannes 2014

A provocative portrait of Ireland in the thirties. Ken Loach turns once again to the portrayal of a powerful and uncompro- mising character. Perhaps one of...
óóA Legendary Marriage

The stupendous Italian actress, Sophia Loren, is the guest of honour at the Festival de Cannes, which has scheduled the screening of a restored version of...
This year, Cannes welcomes Mexican actor Gael García Bernal in two capacities. He will sit on the Feature Film Jury and he will also be on screen, in The Ardor...
The Physician
Philipp Stoelzl's epic film

The adaptation of Noah Gordon's best selling book about a British boy who travels to the medieval East to learn about medicine. The look and feel of the film...
Our favorite at Cannes

“Winter sleep” is the story of a retired actor-turned-hotelier Aydin who runs a B&B in Anatolia with his sister and his wife, and coming to terms with the fact that...
Marriage Italian Style
Cannes Classics 2014

Marcello Mastroianni co-stars as the irrepressibly carnal businessman Domenico, who discovers Loren's Filumena as a young prostitute and keeps her as...
Tatiana Samoilova
Dies at 80

Soviet Film Star Tatiana Samoilova Dies at 80. The actress best known for her performances in Anna Karenina (1967).., was celebrating her 80th birthday...
My Sweet Pepperland
Make laugh, not war

Director Hiner Saleem’s most successful attempt to depict the new Kurdistan with humor and imagination. The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard...
Istanbul Film Festival
Turkish Delights?

There’s so much more to the Istanbul Film Festival than its line-up or curation. “That’s where the protests took place. I was wounded by three plastic bullets ...
Iranian Film Festival
San Francisco

2014 Call for Entries is Open now! San Francisco – Iranian Film Festival, a showcase for the independent feature and short films made by or about Iranians...
ILO ILO (2013)
Winner of the Camera d’Or for best debut feature at Cannes 2013, Anthony Chen’s film is set in Singapore, 1997, during a financial crisis in Asia which saw both unemployment and suicide rates rise...
RUN & JUMP (2013)
Steph Green’s debut has been lauded on the international festival circuit, and was celebrated as the Best Irish Feature at the Galway Film Fleadh last year. An American doctor travels to Ireland to study the...
In Bloom (2013)
Tbilisi, 1992: the Soviet Union has collapsed and the newly independent Georgian state is in turmoil, with food shortages, desperate poverty, rumours of war and vigilantes on the streets...
Audrey Hepburn
As actress and woman

Hepburn as actress and woman seemed an emissary from a finer world than ours. While she is still remembered as a film actor, she also remains a symbol of both...
Sundance Institute
Short Film Challenge

Celebrate progress in the fight against global poverty with storytellers from around the world. Over the last 20 years, global poverty has been cut in half...
The Jury
The 67th Festival de Cannes

The New Zealand director, Jane Campion, winner of the Palme d’or for The Piano, will be the President of the Jury of the 67th Festival de Cannes...
an intimate study of one of the most influential and provocative thinkers of the 20th century. Endlessly curious and gracefully outspoken throughout her career, Susan Sontag became one of...
Cannes 2014
Official Competition Lineup

Cannes has announced the lineup for the Official Competition and Un Certain Regard section, as well as special screenings, for the 67th edition of the festival...
The Serious Game
Pernilla August and Lone Scherfig team up for a new take on The Serious Game. They have joined forces for the third screen adaption of Swedish author Hjalmar Söderberg’s 1912 novel...
Grace of Monaco (2014)
to open the 67th Festival de Cannes

French director Olivier Dahan’s Grace of Monaco is to open the next Festival de Cannes. The world preview will take...
Half of a Yellow Sun (2013)
Based on the Orange prize-winning novel of the same name, Bandele’s adaptation insightfully portrays the Nigerian civil war by exploring its abiding impact on his characters’ lives...
The Lunchbox (2013)
Middle class housewife Ila is trying once again to add some spice to her marriage, this time through her cooking. She desperately hopes that this new recipe will finally arouse some kind of reaction...
Fribourg special focus on Iranian cinema
In Iran, cinema is a weapon of resistance. Iranian cinema is fascinating due to its courageous confrontation with the pain of history by means of a politically charged...
Stratos (2014)
The best of european cinema

By night, Stratos works in a bread factory but by day, he’s a professional hit man. He needs the cash to free Leonidas from...
The Butterfly’s Dream
Two poets who have the constant habit of making bets on things that they do not own, make a bet on a beautiful girl. They will both write a poem for her and whichever Suzan likes, the other will...
Frank Pavich • Interview
director of Jodorowsky's Dune

In 1975, Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, whose films launched and ultimately defined the midnight movie...
Shirin in Love
New Iranian-American Romantic Comedy. “Shirin in Love,” takes the viewer on a ride through one woman’s journey of self-discovery, not just to find who she is as a person, but to find her place in...
Last Flight to Abuja
'The straight-to-video industry gave Nigeria the dubious honor of becoming the second largest in the world just on quantity. We want quality and that’s happening, but it comes at a price'...
The Occupied Soul

If there was ever a film that might metaphorically express the current political situation on the ground in Ukraine, Loznitsa’s narrative feature debut...
Brother Number One
Through Olympian New Zealander Rob Hamill’s story of his brother’s death at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, Brother Number One explores how the regime and its followers killed...
Wes Anderson

A tale from a revered novel that does not exist, inspired by the works of Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, an account of...

There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know. But...
Willem Dafoe To Star in Abel Ferrara's Pasolini Biopic
Willem Dafoe definitely has the chops to take on the enfant terrible of cinema, a visionary of extreme passion whose addiction to controversy...
The Secret Flight (2014)
In 1995 two men set out on a mission: to drop four tons of weapons from a plane over West Bengal in India. But they have very different agendas. Niels Holck is the idealist; a political activist wanting to...
A Thousand Pieces (2014)
A legendary singer-songwriter portrayed 15 years after his death. The story of a man full of contradictions: a singer of protest songs but also of sentimental ballads. A political activist...
The first Iranian VAMPIRE film
Ana Lily Amirpour’s imaginary vision of an Iranian underworld, shot in Los Angelesis, is one where trees look like atomic mushroom clouds, pimps and hookers...
Posits irreconcilable worlds as a Russian leaves the USSR behind. In this crisis-ridden age, few filmmakers redeem the art of cinema as a moral force with the persistent invention and resolute vision...
The Island - Ostrov (2006)
This stunningly photographed parable of guilt, redemption and divine healing, shot on a tiny snow-covered isle in the White Sea, centers on a religious man striving to atone for the sin he committed thirty...
El Greco (2007)
An epic tale of an uncompromising artist and fighter for freedom, Domenicos Theotokopoulos, known to the world as «El Greco». Set in the 16th century, El Grecos search for freedom, and love...
Tell Me of the Seas (2014)
A tale of two mothers and daughters, one imaginary, the other real sharing a cell in prison. Azar is a young mother incarcerated with her young daughter Nina in Evin prison...
Lean and The Revolution
In 1963, Lean Waage Beck, a young blonde danish hairdresser in the United States meets two Iranian brothers, she marries one of them, the other becomes foreign minister in Khomeini's...
Abbas Kiarostami on the jury for short films and Cinéfondation
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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 Cinema’s 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 you’d make a film? Was it something you’d 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 hadn’t 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 I’d 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 wasn’t 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 I’m not a journalist. I found that in fiction you can explore questions in a way that you can’t when you are limited by so called “facts”.  You can go deeper.  You can explore the emotional and the psychological dimensions of a story.  I’m 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 I’m writing about.  It’s 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 View’s 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 aren’t more women coming up in the industry because other women get jealous of them and won’t give them breaks.  I don’t think that’s the case AT ALL.  The scheme was an extremely encouraging and supportive environment.  I consider the other screenwriters on the scheme as friends and I’m 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 isn’t economic parity between the sexes and many of our industries are sexist. I’m often asked about the fact that I’m a woman directing a movie about men.  This irritates me because I’m a filmmaker before I’m 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.  That’s definitely my experience.  There comes a moment when the time and money runs out and you’re forced to stop.  I’m too much of a perfectionist to ever be “done” at any stage of the process.  I’m 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.  That’s the thing that makes all of the pain of making the movie suddenly seem worthwhile.  It’s 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 it’s so hard to make a movie these days.  You can’t be certain which one will be “next”.  The one I’m 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 Women’s Day Gala at the NFT1 BFI Southbank on March 8th.




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 didn‘t 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 wouldn‘t 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 wouldn‘t 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 can‘t 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 wasn‘t 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 hasn‘t gone away. She has got no hair and only one breast. Her husband is having an affair with a beautiful blond at her daughter‘s 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.




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.




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 d’Or, 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, it’s incredible.

Benh Zeitlin, winner of the Caméra d’or 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.




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 country’s 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 Ahadi’s film, The Green Wave, which had its UK premiere at last month’s 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 film’s 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 don’t have to lie to our audience and say we know the truth, and we have the whole truth and we are objective. I don’t believe that.

I believe in complete subjectivity. We don’t 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 can’t 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. I’m 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 aren’t 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 don’t 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 can’t? 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 can’t 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 don’t 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.




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 Kiarostami’s 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 Mozart’s 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 Bohème, 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 Lodoïska at La Scala, which was recorded live for Sony.

In 2005 William took the title role in Handel’s 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 don’t 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 wasn’t 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 don’t know how I could have done it without her or everyone else’s 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 I’m 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 didn’t 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.




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 Farhadi’s 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 couple’s 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 mother’s place while he and Termeh are left to look after his aged father with Alzheimer’s disease. He hastily hires a poor woman named Razieh (Sareh Bayat) as a daytime caretaker, who signs on without telling him she’s 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 Razieh’s hot-headed, debt-ridden husband Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini) takes Nader to court for manslaughter.

continue on




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: 

Web site:

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




Who’s 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, Solzhenitsyn’s 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 doesn’t fool around with people who don’t 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 we’d 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? I’d be mad as hell!!!!

Perhaps, let’s face it, you’d 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 that’s 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 Schlesinger’s “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 and for post your comments in the same article in CWB BLOGS.



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 Bahrami’s “Bohloul” and her last part in a movie was in Bahman Farmanara’s 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.




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.




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 I’ve 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 hadn’t 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 didn’t accept.
In terms of film scenes, I should say I loved some of them but I had to omit them because they didn’t 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 doesn’t 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 elites—even to some cultural policy makers of the Iranian government. (An Interview with Cinema Without Borders)




"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 won’t 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, Ghobadi’s 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 Ghobadi’s 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 didn’t 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 don’t have to wait in order to get permission to make a film, I don’t 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: That’s 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 real—nothing 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; it’s 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 couldn’t 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 Iran—all 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 can’t 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.




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 Arnold’s 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 girl’s view of the world. I think it is hard to make period films entertaining and I don’t 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 don’t 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 60’s 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 don’t, 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 don’t 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)





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)




A Prophet wins inaugural London Film Festival best film award

28 October, 2009 | By Sarah Cooper

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

Jacques Audiard

Jury chair Anjelica Huston said of France’s 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 Hillcoat’s 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 Shani’s Ajami, Israel’s 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 Cissé 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. Cissé’s Tell Me Who You Are received its UK premiere at the festival




Nahid Persson and Farah Diba to compete at Sundance

Nahid Persson Sarvestani’s 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.




S. Mokhberi - Man Equals Man 


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