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29th Annual Festival of Films from Iran

From February 2 through March 3, the Gene Siskel Film Center presents the "29 th Annual Festival of Films from Iran," presenting Chicago premieres of eight films by directors working within and outside of Iran. We open with the U.S. premiere of the documentary MOUTH HARP IN A MINOR KEY: HAMID NAFICY IN/ON EXILE by Maryam Sepehri. The film examines the experience of exile through the life and career of noted film historian and cultural critic Hamid Naficy, author of "A Social History of Iranian Cinema." On February 2, the audience is invited to a post-film reception sponsored by the Muslim American Leadership Alliance .

The films in this year’s series represent transgressive jabs at the status quo in many forms, from the goofy, scathing SLY, a thinly-disguised satire on a hardline former Iranian president, to PIG, which has rude comic fun with the plight of blacklisted Iranian filmmakers. SHEEPLE, a raucous action film, makes subjects including the underworld drug trade and a family honor killing fodder for black comedy.

I WANT TO DANCE, by veteran director Bahman Farmanara, is released following a three-year ban for violating a religious and social dictate. His new TALE OF THE SEA couches references to protest and societal unrest in a drama of marital discord, with popular female stars Fatemeh Motamed-Arya and Leila Hatami.

RONA, AZIM’S MOTHER, portrays a family crisis exacerbated by a law that discriminates against immigrants in Iran. In an opposite take on family matters, the romantic comedy REZA takes a rare light-hearted approach to the dilemma of couple’s separation, despite the fact that they appear to be made for each other.

The Gene Siskel Film Center thanks the many individuals, companies, and agencies in Iran and in the U.S. whose invaluable efforts, good will and support have made this year’s festival possible. Special thanks to: Mohammad Atebbai, Iranian Independents; Farabi Cinema Foundation; Katayoon Shahabi, Noori Pictures; Armin Miladi, Daricheh Cinema; and Nasrine Médard de Chardon, DreamLab Films. Special thanks to promotional partner Kodoom.

--Barbara Scharres


U.S. premiere! Filmmakers in person!

Mouth Harp in a Minor Key: Hamid Naficy In/On Exile

2017, Maryam Sepehri, Iran/USA, 62 min.


  • Sat, Feb 2nd 8:00pm
  • Sun, Feb 3rd 4:45pm

Rona, Azim's Mother

Rona, Mader-e Azim

2018, Jamshid Mahmoudi, Iran/Afghanistan, 89 min.
With Mohsen Tanabandeh, Fatemeh Mirzaei


  • Sat, Feb 9th 6:30pm
  • Sun, Feb 10th 3:00pm



2017, Mani Haghighi, Iran, 108 min.
With Hasan Majuni, Leila Hatami


  • Sat, Feb 9th 8:15pm
  • Sun, Feb 10th 4:45pm


2018, Alireza Motamedi, Iran, 94 min.
With Alireza Motamedi, Sahar Dowlatshahi


  • Sat, Feb 16th 6:00pm
  • Sun, Feb 17th 3:00pm

I Want to Dance

2015, Bahman Farmanara, Iran, 95 min.
With Reza Kianian, Saber Abar


  • Sat, Feb 16th 8:00pm
  • Sun, Feb 17th 5:00pm


Maghz-kaye Koochak Zang-Zadeh

2018, Houman Seyedi, Iran, 102 min.
With Navid Mohammadzadeh, Farhad Aslani


  • Sat, Feb 23rd 6:00pm
  • Sun, Feb 24th 3:00pm



2018, Kamal Tabrizi, Iran, 90 min.
With Hamed Behdad, Vishka Asayesh


  • Sat, Feb 23rd 8:00pm
  • Sun, Feb 24th 5:00pm

Tale of the Sea

Hekayat-e Darya

2018, Bahman Farmanara, Iran, 97 min.
With Bahman Farmanara, Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, Leila Hatami


  • Sat, Mar 2nd 8:00pm
  • Sun, Mar 3rd 5:15pm