fbpx 25th Annual Festival of Films from Iran | Gene Siskel Film Center

25th Annual Festival of Films from Iran

February 7 through March 1

The Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes you to the “25th Annual Festival of Films from Iran,” February 7 through March 1. Providing a view on contemporary Persian culture through the eyes of Iran’s filmmakers, the festival premieres six films showcasing the production of a nation where cinema is on the cutting edge while filmmakers are often simultaneously at risk for practicing their art. Daring continues to be the word that best describes those who meet many challenges in bringing their work to an international audience.

Thanks to the sponsorship of the ILEX Foundation, we host director Shahram Mokri on opening weekend, February 7 and 8, with his groundbreaking feature FISH & CAT. Surreal, steeped in mystery, and often darkly funny, this award-winning film takes Iranian cinema in new genre directions. Formally innovative in a different vein, Payman Haghani’s playful 316 takes an unusual view of history by means of one woman’s fascination with shoes. WHAT’S THE TIME IN YOUR WORLD? by Safi Yazdanian, starring Leila Hatami (A SEPARATION), brings a dreamy, poetic undercurrent to a cryptic romance.

Mohammad Rasoulof’s MANUSCRIPTS DON’T BURN received its world premiere at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where an international audience cheered in support of the director. A film so graphic in its fictionalized portrayal of government persecution of art and artists that the cast cannot be identified for fear of reprisal, it is an eye-opener as much for the risks ventured by the filmmakers as for the truth-based aspects of the story.

Filmed surreptitiously under the guise of a series of shorts following Rakhshan Bani-Etemad’s self-imposed eight-year ban on narrative filmmaking, her TALES evolves in the finest compassionate tradition of socially conscious Iranian cinema, and features stars including Fatemeh Motamed-Aria (the versatile “Meryl Streep of Iran”) and Peyman Moaadi (A SEPARATION). Director Reza Mirkarimi addresses both the conscience and the heart in his film TODAY, Iran’s submission for Oscar consideration, when an aging cab driver encounters a young pregnant woman in deep trouble.

— Barbara Scharres

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: Niloo Fotouhi, Olga M. Davidson, and the ILEX Foundation; Mohammad Atebbai, Iranian Independents; Nasrine Médard de Chardon, DreamLab Films; Katayoon Shahabi and Kimia Shahabi, Noori Pictures; and Jonathan Hertzberg and Gary Palmucci, Kino Lorber Films. Also: Marian Luntz, MFA, Houston; Tom Vick, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Carter Long, MFA, Boston.

The “Festival of Films from Iran” would not be possible without the vital interest and generous support of many friends including: Mehrnaz Saeedvafa, Artistic Consultant; Amir Normandi, Community Affairs Consultant; Simin Hemmati-Rasmussen, Cultural Affairs Consultant; and Narimon Safavi, Pasfarda Arts & Cultural Exchange.


Director in person!



2013, Shahram Mokri, Iran, 134 min.


  • Sat, Feb 7th 7:15pm
  • Sun, Feb 8th 5:15pm
  • Fri, Feb 20th 5:30pm

Chicago premiere!



2013, Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran, 125 min.


  • Fri, Feb 13th 6:00pm
  • Sun, Feb 15th 4:45pm
  • Mon, Feb 16th 7:45pm
  • Wed, Feb 18th 6:00pm