Directed by Shirin Neshat in collaboration with Shoja Azari
Winner of the Silver Lion for best director at the 2009 Venice Film Festival, Shirin Neshat’s feature-film debut represents an assured shift from the gallery-based moving images for which she is known, to the grand screen of the cinema. Devotees of Neshat’s earlier work will recognize her signature visual virtuosity and narrative grace in the story of four women in early 1950s Iran, played by Pegah Ferydoni, Arita Shahrzad, Shabnam Tolouei, and Orsi Toth. Then as now, the ambitions and actions of these women from across the spectrum of Iranian society inform and affect the course of events—public, private, and often political. With history as a backdrop, and imagination extending the limits of lives lived under oppressive conditions, Neshat offers an exquisitely framed window onto these women’s world. An Indiepix release.
Directed by Nader T. Homayoun
A man holds a sickly child in his arms, begging for money from passersby with a tale of how his wife has recently died and he desperately needs help. We soon learn the man is Ibrahim, a recent arrival in the big city, and that the child isn’t really his—the boy’s actually rented from a local gang-lord to make Ibrahim a more effective beggar. Welcome to Tehroun, as Iranians call their capital city.
Nader Homayoun’s debut feature presents a searing portrait of the city’s hidden, seamier side, a world of child trafficking, smuggling of just about anything, and assorted other criminal activities. A sensation in the Critics’ Week at last year’s Venice Film Festival, where it won the audience award, Tehroun marks a new chapter in the fascinating evolution of Iranian cinema.
Every Day Is a Holiday (Chaque jour est une fête)
Directed by Dima El-Horr
A stunning first scene immediately establishes the highly charged atmosphere in Dima El-Horr’s carefully controlled first feature, filled with absurd moments and symbolic gestures. Three women (Hiam Abbass, Manal Khader, Raïa Haïdar) with very different motives board a bus on the Lebanese Day of Liberation to visit their husbands in jail. When the bus is stopped short by a stray bullet, the women are left to find their own way in the hot sun through mountains full of mines, amid sounds of muffled explosions, throngs of refugees, and rumors of massacres. Their perilous journey becomes an internal one towards liberation, as individual life and collective memory blend, and the personal and political are blurred.
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