The Boston Festival of Films from Iran. January 17-26, 2014. The Complexities of Persian life from Iranian filmmakers. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
This annual festival offers varying perspectives on the complexities of Persian life and culture from Iranian filmmakers. The festival opens with another defiant film from Jafar Panahi, who is officially banned from filmmaking by Iranian officials until 2030. Working with Kamboziya Partovi, Closed Curtain (Jan 17 & 18) blurs the delicate line between fiction and reality in this story of a screenwriter hiding with his illegal dog, considered “unclean” under Islamic law. A compliment to Closed Curtain is the documentary A Cinema of Discontent (Jan 24 & 25). Featuring interviews with filmmakers such as Panahi and Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi, it explores censorship codes and the efforts of filmmakers whose independent spirit has been punished. The tension between religious ideals and sexual temptation are at the forefront in the documentary Mory Wants a Wife (Jan 19 & 26). This film is paired with the short film “Temporary,” a fictional account of a young widow who engages in “temporary marriages” (legal under Islamic law) for the price of 200,000 tomans. Truly bizarre and cryptic images fill almost every frame of Mohammad Shirvani’s Fat Shaker (Jan 22 & 24), a film following an oppressive father, his deaf son, and a mysterious woman who enters their lives. Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani stars in The Patience Stone (Jan 18), as a woman free to vent her marital frustrations to her comatose husband. In Parviz (Jan 19) a 50-year-old man is finally kicked out of his father’s house and struggles to adapt to life on his own.
All films in Farsi with English subtitles unless otherwise noted. Online or DVD screeners and hi-res images available for some films.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION:
Fri, Jan 17, 7 pm (RA) $9, $11.
Sat, Jan 18, 3:30 pm (RA) $9, $11.
Closed Curtain by Jafar Panahi and Kamboziya Partovi (2013, 106 min.). A screenwriter hides with his illegal dog, considered “unclean” under Islamic law, but a mysterious woman, Melika, who is on the run from authorities, soon joins him. The two strangers exchange suspicious glances, and the screenwriter is convinced Melika is a spy. A profound meditation on the delicate and blurry line between fiction and real life, Closed Curtain is another defiant film from Panahi, a director who is officially banned from filmmaking by Iranian officials until 2030.
The Patience Stone:
Sat, Jan 18, 7:30 pm (RA) $9, $11.
The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi (2012, 102 min.). In an unnamed country torn apart by war, a young woman (Golshifteh Farahani) watches over her husband, who is left comatose from a gunshot wound. One day, the woman’s vigil changes, and she begins to vent her frustrations about living under his control. Through the words she delivers so audaciously to her husband, the woman seeks to free herself. “A startling fantasy of Muslim feminist empowerment that allows the Iranian-born actress Golshifteh Farahani to put on what amounts to a one-woman show” (The Boston Globe).
Mory Wants a Wife preceded by Temporary:
Sun, Jan 19, 1:30 pm (RA) $9, $11.
Sun, Jan 26, 2:30 pm (RA) $9, $11.
Mory Wants a Wife by Baktash Abtin (2012, 52 min.). The tensions around religious ideals, sexual temptation, tradition, and modernity come to the forefront in this documentary about Morteza Mahmoodzadeh, a “good God-fearing man.” Twice divorced but still devoted to the notion of having a family, Mory Wants a Wife is a fascinating character study about a man trying to find his place in the world.
Temporary by Behzad Azadi (2012, 15 min.). Zahra, a beautiful but morose young widow with a little daughter, engages reluctantly in a one-day temporary marriage for a price of 200,000 tomans to help provide for her daughter.
Sun, Jan 19, 3:30 pm (RA) $9, 11.
Parviz by Majid Barzegar (2012, 107 min.). 50-year-old Parviz is finally kicked out of his childhood home when his father decides to remarry. Parviz has no other choice but surrender his place to his stepmother and leave home. Parviz finds it difficult adjusting to this new solitary life, and he begins to take revenge on his father in increasingly bizarre ways, sliding into his own brand of insanity. A Jury’s Special Mention at the San Sebastian Film Festival for its “compelling and harmonious storytelling, featuring an atypical and constantly surprising anti-hero.”
Wed, Jan 22, 5:30 pm (RA) $9, $11.
Fri, Jan 24, 7:30 pm (RA) $9, $11.
Fat Shaker by Mohammad Shirvani (2013, 85 min.). Truly bizarre and cryptic images fill almost every frame in Shirvani’s film about an oppressive father, his deaf son, and a mysterious woman who enters their lives. The film demands your full attention to see beyond the disjointed scenes that offer a window into a world of corruption and intrusiveness. With jarring camerawork and a preference for close-ups, Shirvani’s film “grips you, shakes you up, and tears you down, all the way through” (The Guardian). In Farsi, Dari, and English with English subtitles.
The Bright Day:
Sat, Jan 25, 12:30 pm (RA) $9, $11.
Sun, Jan 26, 12:30 pm (RA) $9, $11.
The Bright Day by Hossein Shahabi (2013, 86 min.). A kindergarten teacher tries to save the life of a student’s father, who is accused of unintentional homicide. There are seven witnesses to the crime, but no one intends to tell the whole truth because of the victim’s family power and influence. Well-received by Iranian critics and audiences, Shahabi navigates complex social issues with effectiveness and appeal.
Cinema of Discontent:
Fri, Jan 24, 5:30 pm (RA) $9; $11.
Sat, Jan 25, 2:30 pm (RA) $9, $11.
A Cinema of Discontent by Jamsheed Akrami (2013, 85 min.). The international success of Iranian cinema over the years may have veiled the fact that its filmmakers work under harsh circumstances rarely seen elsewhere. This film explores Iranian censorship codes by analyzing dozens of scenes from mainstream and independent films. It features interviews with 12 Iranian filmmakers, including Jafar Panahi, Bahman Ghobadi, and Asghar Farhadi. It also documents the brave efforts of those filmmakers whose independence has been punished by being banned from working, imprisonment, and forced exile.
TICKET & VENUE INFORMATION:
Tickets may be purchased at www.mfa.org/film, by calling the MFA Ticketing Line at 800.440.6975, or in person at any MFA ticket desk. Where two prices are listed, the first is discounted for members, seniors, and students; the second is full price.
Screenings are in Remis Auditorium (RA) in the Linde Family Wing. Remis Auditorium is convenient to both the Huntington and State Street Corporation Fenway entrances.
The Boston Festival of Films from Iran is supported by the ILEX Foundation with assistance from Olga Davidson and Niloo Fotouhi.
The Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Film Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is funded by the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation.
Film at the MFA is sponsored by Bank of America. [cid:3470143653_1593427]
Also made possible with endowment support from the Katharine Stone White Film Fund, the Museum Film Program Endowment Fund, the Dean W. Freed Fund, the Marilyn and Selwyn Kudisch Endowed Fund for the Benefit of the Film Program, the MFA Associates and MFA Senior Associates Fund for Film and Video, and the Margaret L. Hargrove Fund. A gift from an anonymous Friend of Film makes program notes for select events possible. Visits by film and video artists are made possible by the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation Fund and by The Lowell Institute.