27th Annual Festival of Films from Iran
February 4 - 25
This month the Gene Siskel Film Center presents the "27th Annual Festival of Films from Iran," February 4 through 25, premiering new work from one of the world’s most celebrated and awarded national cinemas. This longest-running showcase for Iranian cinema in North America provides an ever-changing view on contemporary Persian culture through the eyes of Iran’s inventive filmmakers.
On the weekend of February 17-19, we honor and remember the career of Abbas Kiarostami (1940-2016), Iran’s brilliant and much-awarded director and photographer. He changed the face of Iranian cinema through forty-six films, including CLOSE-UP, THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES, TASTE OF CHERRY, and TEN, and earned a well-deserved place in the pantheon of contemporary masters of world cinema.
On Saturday, February 18, critic Jonathan Rosenbaum and Prof. Mehrnaz Saeedvafa honor this beloved artist’s career following a screening of 76 MINUTES AND 15 SECONDS by the director's friend and collaborator Seifollah Samadian. Kiarostami’s Cannes Palme d’Or winning TASTE OF CHERRY screens on February 17, 18, and 19 in a 35mm print.
Women are the focus of five new films presented in the course of the festival, an indication of how an examination of the roles of women in Iranian society and the family continues to be a foremost concern of filmmakers. In the stylistically adventurous LANTOURI, a woman journalist demands justice through a barbaric ancient law for injury inflicted by a spurned suitor. Leila Hatami (A SEPARATION), Iran’s ever-popular international star, plays a cunning con-woman in ME.
Freedom is an illusion for an independent woman betrayed by her siblings in the Cannes Film Festival selection INVERSION. A college student finds that rebellion against her over-protective dad comes with the discovery of family secrets in DAUGHTER. With BREATH, director Narges Abyar emerges as an audacious talent, representing a distinctly female point of view.
— Barbara Scharres, Director of Programming, Gene Siskel Film Center
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: Ahmad Kiarostami; Mohammad Atebbai, Iranian Independents; Nasrine Médard de Chardon, DreamLab Films; Katayoon Shahabi; Kimia Shahabi, Noori Pictures; and Ali Ghasemi.
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.
"FESTIVAL OF FILMS FROM IRAN" DISCOUNT!
Buy a ticket at our regular prices for the first Iranian film on any applicable Saturday or Sunday in February, and get a ticket for the second Iranian film that day at this discount rate with proof of your original purchase: General Admission $7; Students $5; and Members $4. (This discount rate applies to the second film only. Discount available in person at the box office only.)
2016, Reza Dormishian, Iran, 115 min. With Baran Kosari.
“Aesthetically and stylistically LANTOURI is both bracing and exhilarating…the overall effect is dazzling.” — Joe Bendel, J.B. Spins
“Relentless indie spirit for innovation…vibrant and engaging.” — Sean Galle, The Upcoming
A crusading journalist pays a terrible price for toying with the affections of a Robin Hood-like gang leader who becomes obsessed with her. The veracity of each of the film’s multiple points of view is called into question by the director’s boldly experimental style, alternating mockudrama interviews with conflicting story lines in an edgy, rapid-fire narrative. The spurned gangster Pasha makes an acid attack on his hoped-for lover, but his victim reverses her public stand on humane sentencing and calls for retribution under Iran’s ancient “eye for an eye” code of justice. Director Dormishian began his career as an assistant to acclaimed director Dariush Mehrjui. In Persian with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
I / MAN
2016, Soheil Beiraghi, Iran, 84 min. With Leila Hatami, Mani Haghighi.
- Sat, Feb 4th 8:15pm
- Sun, Feb 5th 3:00pm
Internationally acclaimed actress Leila Hatami (A SEPARATION) delights with this atypical and ice-cold portrayal of amoral villainy when her double life as a con artist begins to unravel. Azar (Hatami), a seemingly upright children’s music tutor, is in reality head of her own criminal empire trading in stolen and knock-off goods and forged documents. Arrogantly ruthless in wielding power over her male collaborators and resentful stooges, she is slow to detect the duplicitous game of a woman who seeks her help, or the wiles of a younger pretty-boy musician who casually courts her. In Persian with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
Varoonegi / وارونگی
2016, Behnam Behzadi, Iran, 84 min. With Sahar Dowlatshahi.
“An upbeat tale of woman power.” — Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter
The smothering smog of Tehran becomes a metaphor for the oppression experienced by a successful thirty-something career woman when her older siblings decide to direct the family’s fate in the wake of their mother’s illness. To her overbearing brother and sister, unmarried Niloofar (Dowlatshahi) will always be the baby sister, and she finds her life and tentative romance hijacked, her business closed, and her future decided virtually overnight, as her cherished independence turns out to be an illusion. Director Behzadi (BENDING THE RULES) explores the dynamics of a middle-class family through a woman’s journey toward taking a stand in this official selection of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. In Persian with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
Nafas / نفس
2016, Narges Abyar, Iran, 110 min.
This poignant, puckish and freshly original story of a little girl at the center of a chaotic family signals a new direction in Iranian cinema with its mixed-media approach and its tender woman’s-eye view. From a Carnaby Street-inflected era to the revolution, and from school spats to the Iran-Iraq war, life for daydreaming, bookish young Bahar revolves around pleasing her nutty, ne’er-do-well widowed dad and being a thorn in the side of mean-spirited old-school granny. Director Abyar (TRACK 143) evokes the innocence of childhood and Bahar’s flights of fancy, making the film’s ultimately harsher view of reality all the more stark when it comes. In Persian with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
Taste of Cherry
...Ta’m-e gīlās / طعم گيلاس...
1997, Abbas Kiarostami, Iran/France, 95 min. With Homayoun Ershadi.
“Minimalist yet powerful and life-enhancing…this masterpiece has a powerful epilogue that radiates wonder and euphoria.” — Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
“Exquisite…Kiarostami, like no other filmmaker, has a vision of human scale that is simultaneously epic and precisely miniscule.” — Stephen Holden, The New York Times
The profound intersection of life and death is the provocative mystery at the center of this masterwork in which the middle-aged intellectual Badii (Ershadi) seeks a volunteer to carry out his burial in the aftermath of his planned suicide. Badii takes his search to the twisting mountainous roads outside of Tehran, where prospective helpers include a young soldier, a security guard, and a refugee. In a series of vehicle-bound confrontations, philosophies collide, the rules of man meet the laws of nature, and life in all its elusive vibrancy paradoxically rules. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. In Persian with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)
76 Minutes and 15 Seconds With Abbas Kiarostami
2016, Seifollah Samadian, Iran, 76 min.
- Sat, Feb 18th 8:00pm
- Sun, Feb 19th 5:00pm
“Both moving and intimate in its portrait of the director…Kiarostami springs to life as a smiling, giving man whose entire attention was focused on the world around him.” — Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter
In commemoration of Abbas Kiarostami’s seventy-six years and fifteen days of life, his friend and collaborator Samadian presents a revealing selection of casual behind-the-scenes sequences filmed over many years in the working life of the filmmaker, providing an unprecedented look at Kiarostami the artist in the course of his creative process. Whether meticulously studying tire tracks on a snowy mountain road, giving Juliette Binoche an impromptu Persian lesson in his SUV, or directing assistants in the exacting work of printing his photographs, Kiarostami’s generosity, expansive vision, and humor come to the fore. “Now we have cream puffs,” he says to one hard-working assistant, “We deserve it.” In Persian with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
The feature will be preceded by Kiarostami’s final short TAKE ME HOME (2016, Iran, 16 min., no dialogue).
Dokhtar / دختر
2016, Reza Mirkarimi, Iran, 103 min. With Mahour Alvand, Farhad Aslani.
Giddy girl power meets the complications of life in a layered story in which college-age Setareh’s longing for self-determination comes up against her traditional father’s passionate but controlling love. An impulsive but forbidden trip to see a school friend off to college abroad goes awry, stranding Setareh in far-off Tehran, the object of her angry dad’s search. As always, director Mirkarimi (SO CLOSE, SO FAR; THE CHILD AND THE SOLDIER) brings a delicate spiritual dimension to a narrative that unearths long-hidden family secrets and tests the strength of forgiveness. In Persian with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)