2016 Program

The Department of Near Eastern Studies and the Iranian Graduate Students Association at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, is pleased to present our first annual Iranian Film Festival. The cinema of Iran has for decades been regarded as among the most interesting and avant-garde national cinemas of the world, particularly through the work of directors who were most active during the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. However, the remarkable story of Iranian cinema does not end in the early aughts; in recent years, a new generation of filmmakers, many of whom were born after the revolution, have made a name for themselves as they both continue the legacy of their predecessors and depart from it in significant ways. The goal of this festival is to showcase this new wave of Iranian cinema, giving students, faculty, and members of the Ann Arbor community a chance to see what trends and directions this art form is taking.

Program Schedule

All screenings are free and open to the public; they will take place on Sundays in the Rackham Amphitheatre at 4pm.

9/18 – I Am Diego Maradona (Bahram Tavakoli, 2015)

After a rock is thrown through a window, two families become intertwined in a dispute after an incident following an unsuccessful marriage. The couple in question try to hash out what actually went wrong, as the surrounding family members point fingers at one another. Tension builds as all of their other problems seem to bubble to the surface at the same time. Tavakoli masterfully directs this ensemble with charm and cinematic ingenuity.

September 25, 4pm, Rackham Amphitheatre

9/25 – Ashkan, The Charmed Ring and Other Stories (Shahram Mokri, 2009)

At times, the world is filled with things we cannot understand. Ashkan, the Charmed Ring and Other Stories reveals the complicated interlinked chains of the world that people cannot comprehend. Shahrooz and Reza try to rob a jewelry shop despite their blindness. Hotel employee Ashkan tries again and again to kill himself. He meets Shahrooz and Reza and joins in their crime. To Ashkan, this is only another means of suicide. But this is not the whole story.

October 2, 4pm, Rackham Amphitheatre

10/2 – Parviz (Majid Barzegar, 2012), introduced by Amir Ganjavie

Parviz is 50 and does not fit in with social norms. Unmarried and unemployed, he has lived his whole life in his father’s house. When his father decides to remarry, he throws Parviz out overnight. The same neighbors for whom Parviz had taken the children to school for years now look down on him. Then Parviz starts to realize that respect and acceptance do not have to emerge from a social position and there are other ways to make people accept you.

October 9, 4pm, Rackham Amphitheatre

10/9 – Melbourne (Nima Javidi, 2014)

The Australian city of the title symbolizes the dream of a young Tehran couple to immigrate and begin a new life. On the very day of their departure, last-minute efforts to empty their apartment are interrupted by the inopportune request of a neighbor’s nanny that they briefly babysit a sleeping infant. What happens next shakes the couple’s relationship to the core, threatens to make them fugitives, and calls into question the very nature of perception.

October 16, 4pm, Rackham Amphitheatre

10/16 – Risk of Acid Rain (Behtash Sanaeeha, 2015)

Manoochehr is 60 years old. He has retired from the tobacco department where he worked and is now a pensioner. Yet, he continues to go to work since he has nothing else to do. His mother wanted him to marry when she was alive. But to this day, Manoochehr keeps no friends except Khosro. Risk of Acid Rain is a minimalist poetic tale of the bitter reality of loneliness.

October 23, 4pm, Rackham Amphitheatre

10/23 – My Tehran For Sale (Granaz Moussavi, 2009)

Marzieh is a young female actress living in Tehran. The authorities ban her theatre work and she is forced to lead a secret life in order to express herself artistically. At an underground rave, she meets Iranian born Saman, now an Australian citizen, who offers her a way out of her country and the possibility of living without fear.