Celebration of Iranian Cinema at UCLA

This year’s edition of the Archive’s celebration of Iranian Cinema presents an array of established and emerging talents. Six recent features combine with timely documentaries and shorts to present a varied picture of Iran’s diverse cultures, experiences and expressions.
 Directors Shalizeh Arefpour, Khosro Masoumi and Mahdi Moniri; and actress Gohar Kheirandish will attend the events.

Friday, February 5
7:30 p.m.
20th Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema
Iran, 2009
PROD: Rakhshan Bani-Etemad. DIR: Shalizeh Arefpour. SCR: S. Arefpour, Naghmeh Samini. CINE: Hossein Jafarian. EDIT: Sepideh Abdolvahab. CAST: Baran Kosari, Mehrdad Sedighian, Khosro Shakibaei, Farhad Aslani, Zhahleh Sameti.
When Iranian high school student Mahi falls for Heiran, a poor, gallant Afghan refugee, her horrified parents beg her not to ruin her life with the boy. Love has its way until the warnings come true, and love struck Mahi finds herself entangled in an epic story of immigrant woe. Documentarian Shailzeh Arefpour perfectly balances issues and emotions in this moving first feature.
35mm, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 86 min.
IN PERSON: director Shalizeh Arefpour.

Saturday, February 6
7:30 p.m.
20th Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema
Iran, 2009
PROD/DIR: Bahman Gohbadi. SCR: B. Gohbadi, Hossein M. Abkenar, Roxana Saberi. CINE: Turaj Asiani. EDIT: Hayedeh Safiyari. CAST: Negar Shaghaghi, Askan Koshanejad, Hamed Behdad.
Bahman Gohbadi (Turtles Can Fly, shown in our 2005 edition) offers a glimpse of can-do determination. Faced with prohibitions against rock music, bandmates Negar and Ashkan plot to leave Iran for England to make music their way. Their deliberate progress toward this elusive goal takes them through the underground rock scene in a brisk, often comical look, at a side of Iranian life seldom seen on film.
35mm, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 101 min.

Sunday, February 7
7 p.m.
20th Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema
Iran, 2004
PROD: Mahmoud Fallah. DIR/SCR: Khosro Masoumi. CINE: Nader Masoumi. EDIT: Hassan Hassandoust. CAST: Hossein Abedini, Gohar Kheirandish, Hossein Mahjoub, Hurie Mirmohammadi, Arman Nikzad.
Jailed for harvesting trees to support his family, Salar is replaced as breadwinner by his young son Jalal while Jalal’s sister strains to defend her husband, a policeman, from the fury of her mother (Gohar Kheirandish) after he is forced to transport his father-in-law to prison. Director Khosro Masoumi undergirds his analysis of encroaching economic despair with emotional range and power.
35mm, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 90 min.
IN PERSON: director Khosro Masoumi and actress Gohar Kheirandish.

Monday, February 8
7:30 p.m.
20th Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema
Iran, 2008
PROD: Fath’olah Jafari Jozani. DIR/SCR: Khosro Masoumi. CINE: Nader Masoumi. EDIT: Hassan Hassandost. CAST: Elnaz Shakerdoust, Hossein Abdedini, Reza Naji, Jamal Ejali, Maedah Tahmasbi.
After her father is injured in an accident, Shouka is dismayed to find herself betrothed to the developmentally-disabled son of one of the family’s creditors. Wooed by the assistant tailor hired to make her wedding dress, Shouka sees a possible escape, but danger looms in this delicately drawn drama.
35mm, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 91 min.

Feature preceded by:
Iran, 2006
DIR: Javat Vatani. CINE: Farshad Gol Sefidi. EDIT: Mohammad Rasoulof. CAST: Habib Vatani, Golbootheh Badeleh.
A captivating courtship in the snow, depicting one couple’s path to love—comprising many years and footsteps.
DVCam, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 10 min.
IN PERSON: director Khosro Masoumi.

Friday, February 12
7:30 p.m.
20th Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema
PROD/DIR/ED: Mohammad Shirvani. CINE: Hooman Behmanesh, Kambiz Karimi, Mahmoud Reza Sani, M. Shirvani.
Director Mohammad Shirvani (7 Blind Women Filmmakers, shown in our 2009 edition) recounts the spectacular taking of the United States Embassy after the ouster of the Shah and the 444-day “hostage crisis” that followed. With tremendous access and skill, Shirvani cagily interviews actual participants, including U.S. embassy officials and Iranian students, to reconstruct key episodes and deconstruct contentious issues.
DVCam, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 70 min.

Iran, 2008
PROD: Maziar Bahari. DIR: Khatereh Hanachi. CINE: Rita Ebrahimi. EDIT: Hamid Najafi Rad.
Along with more than a million high-school graduates, Parisa studies for difficult and competitive college entrance examinations, thought by many to be a young woman’s best hope for a career in Iran. The familial and spiritual strains of this ritual are well rendered by director Khatereh Hanachi, as Parisa and her family face numerous sacrifices to realize a dream.
DVCam, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 50 min.

Sunday, February 14
7 p.m.
20th Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema
Iran, 2007
PROD/DIR: Mahdi Moniri. CINE: Seyed Hassan, Seyedi Parishan. EDIT: Mohammad Moeen Karimoddini.
A pastorale of great beauty and poignancy, director Mahdi Moniri’s lyrical documentary foregrounds a poor boy’s resilience and courage. Young Tinar lives alone in the mountains of northern Iran. Abandoned by his recently widowed and re-married father, he supports himself as a cow herder, surviving emotionally on long-held hopes of attending school or joining urban relatives who might care for him.
DVCam, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 77 min.

Iran, 2009
PROD: Amir Samavati. DIR: Payman Haghani. SCR: P. Haghani, Hamid-Reza Keshani. CAST: Hassan Pourshirazi, Asha Mehrabi, Reza Afshar, Maryam Khodarahmi, Bagher Soroosh.
Director Payman Haghani’s first feature concerns Reza, a factory worker who learns that he is infertile. His frustrated wife Zari files successfully for divorce and Reza has to raise money to pay back her dowry. Reduced to basics, Reza scrounges for the necessary cash until an industrial accident suddenly gives him an idea.
DVCam, color and b/w, in Persian with English subtitles, 78 min.
IN PERSON: director Mahdi Moniri.

Friday, February 19
7:30 p.m.
20th Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema
Iran, 2008
PROD: Saeed Rashtian. DIR/SCR: Abbas Mohammadi. CINE: Reza Jalali. EDIT: Masoumeh Shah Nazari.
The moving portrait of a school for Afghani refugee children in Iran that gives its students a place to feel safe and acknowledged, to study their shared past and dream of a return to their home country.
DVCam, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 26 min.

Iran, 2008
PROD/DIR/SCR: Hadi Afarideh. CINE: Ashkan Ashkani. EDIT: Hamid Najafi Rad.
One woman’s saga studying and performing a style of epic theater previously reserved only for men. Her fierce determination leads to some pushback, but more often wins admiration and respect.
DVCam, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 34 min.

Iran, 2008
PROD/DIR/SCR: Reza Haeri. CINE: Ehsan Kaffash. EDIT: Fardin Saheb-Zamani.
A witty, personal portrait of a man who creates beautiful vestments for Iranian clerics, this entertaining short reveals the circumstances that sometimes accompany the pomp.
DVCam, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 30 min.

Saturday, February 20
7:30 p.m.
Iran, 2009
PROD/DIR/SCR: Asghar Farhadi. CINE: Hossein Jafarian. EDIT: Hayedeh Safarian. CAST: Taraneh Alidousti, Golshifteh Farahani, Mani Haghighi, Shahab Hosseini, Merila Zarei.
Asghar Farhadi (Beautiful City, shown in our 2005 edition) returns with this captivating drama, Iran’s entry to the 2010 Academy Awards. When schoolteacher Elly is whisked away by friends on a pleasure trip to the Caspian Sea, their true agenda is revealed: to marry her off to the recently divorced Ahmad. The fib is the first of many in what soon becomes a mystery when Elly suddenly disappears.
35mm, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 119 min.

VENUE: All programs screen at the Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood Village, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90024 (corner of Wilshire & Westwood Blvds.). TICKETS: FREE admission to “Archive Documentary Spotlight” on Feb. 13; “Family Flicks” on Feb. 21; and “This Is Your Life” on Feb. 28. Advance tickets for other programs at the Billy Wilder Theater are available for $10 at www.cinema.ucla.edu. Tickets are also available at the Billy Wilder Theater box office starting one hour before showtime: $9, general admission; $8, students, seniors and UCLA Alumni Association members with ID.

PARKING: At the Billy Wilder Theater: after 6 p.m., $3 in the lot under the Billy Wilder Theater. Enter from Westwood Blvd., just north of Wilshire. Before 6 p.m., $3 for the first three hours with Museum validation. INFO: www.cinema.ucla.edu / 310.206.FILM


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