Rakhshan Banietemad at REDCAT screening, Nov 18


On Monday November 18 at 8:30 PM FILM AT REDCAT PRESENTS the world premiere of The Hidden Cost of Violence made by Rakhshsn Banietemad from Jack H. Skirball Series.

Iran’s most celebrated female filmmaker, Rakhshan Banietemad, screens two passionate and fascinating explorations of the impact of the recent electoral processes in Iran. We Are Half of Iran’s Population (Ma Nimi Az Jameiate Iranim, 2009, video, 42 min) shows a diverse coalition of women’s rights activists engaged in the political debate. In the world premiere of See You Tomorrow Elina! (Farda Mibinamet Elina, 2013, DVD, 52 min), Banietemad returns to the kindergarten where she had enrolled her daughter, Baran-now an actress and activist who has since appeared in many of Banietemad’s narrative films. The film compares the violence witnessed by Iranian kindergarten students during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s with that of the recent political protests following the country’s 2009 elections.  In Person: Rakhshan Banietemad
We Are Half of Iran’s Population
Iran 2009, video, color, 42 min. Persian with English subtitles.
The documentary was made during the months preceding 2009’s controversial elections in Iran. Filming a diverse coalition of women’s rights activists discussing their opinions on pressing contemporary issues, Banietemad asked three of the four presidential candidates to view the footage for comment, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  declining to participate. A number of the activists seen in the film were later arrested in the post-election protests.

See You Tomorrow Elina!
Iran 2013, DVD, color, 52 min. Persian with English subtitles.
“In the 1980s, when my daughter, Baran, was a child, the Iran-Iraq war was raging, and many cities, including Tehran, were bombed. Nights were sleepless and filled with fear while in the morning life and its routines had to go on.
 Every morning when taking Baran to kindergarten, I was wondering how these children deal with the stress while separated from their parents for hours during the day – and these questions about the effects of war, violence and fear on children havehaunted me for years. How does Mahnaz, the kind kindergarten teacher, answer the endless questions of kids who can’t grasp the meaning of violence?
Some twenty years later, in the month of Bahman 1389 (February 2010), I returned to visit Mahnaz and her kindergarten; at the same time, people were protesting against the results of the 1388 (2009) elections: once again, children were witnessing violence and conflicts.” (Rakhshan Banietemad)
One of Iran’s most celebrated directors, Rakhshan Banietemad embodies two important trends in Iranian cinema – the nation’s long and diverse tradition of innovative documentary filmmaking, dating back before the 1979 revolution, and Iran’s perhaps surprising number of women directors…. Banietemad began her career making documentaries for television before making a name for herself as a fiction filmmaker in the late 1980s with a series of pointed social satires.
Nargess (1992) marked Banietemad’s shift to a decidedly more personal mode of filmmaking and announced a new focus on the difficulties faced by various kinds of outsiders, and especially women, negotiating their roles in an unstable society. Banietemad’s narrative films typically feature female protagonists and engrossing melodrama, romantic triangles, familial conflicts and the struggles of women to balance family, love and work. Setting her melodramas within resolutely gritty and war-torn settings peopled by petty criminals, drug addicts and loners, Banietemad’s narrative films maintain a strong commitment to socially grounded realism. Refusing any trace of the sentimental, Banietemad’s melodramas are striking examples of popular cinema used as a forceful probe into social problems long familiar – like the place of women – and relatively new – like the ravages of drug addiction.

Over the last several years, as political reform, reaction and unrest have rippled across Iran, Banietemad has returned to documentary to portray a country at the crossroads, taking the urgent pulse of an extremely young population confronting the discontents of the Islamic revolution, of women seizing a newfound freedom but also chafing at the lingering obstacles of religious tradition.    – Harvard Film Archive

Selected Filmography
1984 Consumer Culture (Farahang-e-Massraffi) (TV doc)
1985 Employment of the Rural Migrants in Town (Mohojereen
Roustai) (TV doc)
1986 Economic Measures at the Time of War Ta’dabir Eghtessadi-
y-Janghi (TV doc)
1987 Centralization (Tamarkoze) (TV doc)
1989 Off-Limits (Kharej az Mahdoudeh)
1989 Canary Yellow (Zard-e Qanari)
1990 Foreign Currency (Pul-e Khareji)
1992 Nargess
1992-94 Report of 1993 (doc, video)
1992-94 Spring to Spring (doc, video)
1992-94 To Whom Are You Showing These Films? (doc, video)
1995 The Blue-Veiled (Rusari-ye Abi)
1996 The Last Visit to Ms. Iran Daftari (doc, video)
1997 Under the Skin of the City (Zir-e Pust-e Shahr) (doc, video)
1998 The May Lady (Banoo-ye Ordibehesht)
1999 Baran and the Native (Baran-O-Bumi) (short)
2000 Under the Skin of the City (Zir-e Pust-e Shahr)
2002 Our Times (Ruzegar-e ma) (doc)
2005 Gilane (co-directed with Mohsen Abdolvahab)
2006 Mainline (Khoon bazi) (co-directed with Mohsen Abdolvahab)
2009 We Are Half of Iran’s Population (Ma Nimi Az Jameiate Iranim,
(doc, video)
2012 Kahrizak, Four Views (Kahrizak, chahar negah) (segment)
2013 See You Tomorrow Elina! (Farda Mibinamet Elina) (doc, video)

Curated by Steve Anker and Bérénice Reynaud. Funded in part with generous support from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


About Author

James Koenig

ames Koenig is someone whose voice is heard in various arts arenas. He graduated from Northwestern University with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in voice continuing studies in Italy, Germany, and California. As a classical singer he has sung in opera and concert venues around the United States and in Europe. He also enjoys teaching, directing, and writing. He is the founder/director of the eighteen-year-old Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. He says “My life seems to be filled with translations, sub-titles, super-titles, and sub-texts!” As a writer he has written theatrical pieces, articles for Odyssey Classical Music Publications in the U.K., journalistic pieces for a variety of publications, and a novel, as well as choral and liturgical works. He has been a contributor to a number of film publications including Cinema Without Borders. He was decorated by the Finnish government as a Knight of the Order of the Finnish Lion for his musical and cultural contributions.

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