Darius Kadivar


Oliver Stone meets Turkish Tourism Minister Erkan Mumcu in Istanbul

Tourists visit the ruins of the palace of King Darius of Achaemenid (522-486 BC) in the ancient Persian city of Persepolis, near Shiraz in southwestern Iran. Persepolis was the main royal residence and ceremonial center of the Achaemenid empire of Persia (550-330 BC), but was later burned and plundered by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. Some Iranians are up in arms again at the United States, this time because of Hollywood's version of Alexander the Great's conquest of ancient Persia. The movie 'Alexander' has yet to appear in Iran, but in Shiraz -- not far from Persepolis -- it is likely to upset a people who prefer to see their Persian forefathers as the founders of civilisation and a matter of national pride(AFP/Behrouz Mehri)


Panorama of Azerbaijan Republic Cinema to be held in Tehran

TEHRAN, Jan. 2 (MNA) -- Azeri films are to be shown in Tehran from January 10 to 14 in an event entitled The Panorama of Azerbaijan Republic Cinema.

Five feature length films, as well as 12 short films, documentaries, and animations by prominent Azeri directors such as Jamil Farajov, Ramiz Mirzayev, and Shamil Najafzadeh will be screened at the cinematheque of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

The museum is located on North Kargar St. in Laleh Park.

Iran’s Young Cinema Society helped organize the Iranian Cinema Week in Baku in October.


New Iranian American Film: THE FLORIST directed by LADAN YALZADEH






Some Persians find Hollywood’s Alexander not so great

31 December 2004

SHIRAZ, Iran - Some Iranians are up in arms again at the United States -- this time because of Hollywood’s version of Alexander the Great’s conquest of ancient Persia.

According to Hassan Moussavi, who teaches history at Shiraz University, Oliver Stone’s latest blockbuster is merely the latest in a long line of affronts to the national esteem of the Persians.

“There is not even any proof that this Alexander even existed,” asserted Moussavi, who said he was “fed up” with history’s ongoing fascination with the Macedonian king, who died in 323 BC at the age of 32 after capturing most of what was then the known world.

“We should be clearer about which Alexander we are talking about. There are 300 of them in our history books, but no archaeological relic proves the existence of this particular one,” said Moussavi.

Grave historical errors

The movie “Alexander” has yet to appear in Iran, but here in Shiraz -- not far from the ancient city of Persepolis that Alexander destroyed along with the Persian empire of Darius III -- it is likely to upset a people who prefer to see their Persian forefathers as the founders of civilisation and a matter of national pride.

Furthermore, Iranians have so far had to make do with a one-sided account of Alexander’s exploits, given that historians say that Darius III -- who while on the throne was proclaimed the “king of kings” -- left little in the way of historical documents.

So viewers will have to make do with watching the Persian king suffering defeat at the hands of the lesser-numbered Macedonian forces, and then flee in his chariot from the young blond-haired conqueror played by Irishman Colin Farrell.

For Moussavi, Oliver Stone’s film “is built on a biased and partisan vision of history, and will only add to centuries of distrust towards the West”.

Another Iranian historian, Kaveh Farrokh, has also complained of ”grave historical errors.”

Rewriting history to entertain

In a report in the Internet site of Iran’s National Heritage Organisation, he compained that “the ancient Iranians are portrayed in a way that is comical, if not insulting.”

Roxana, the Persian wife of Alexander portrayed in the film by African-American actress Rosario Dawson, “was not black just like Alexander was not a Scandinavian”, Farrokh complained over what he sees as the film’s depiction of a Nordic blond defeating dark-skinned people.

Choosing Dawson to play Roxana, he said, “is just like choosing an Asian to portray Queen Victoria”.

“It seems that when it comes to the Iranians and their identity, we are permitted to rewrite history to entertain,” he said, adding he was hoping for the day when a film would tackle the life of Sassanid king Shapour I (241-272 AD) who “defeated three Roman emperors”.

But according to Iranian archaeologist Shahryar Adle, Iranians should stop worrying about Alexander and instead embrace him as a man who came, married and never went back.

“The Europeans and the Greeks have seized on Alexander as a champion of the West against the East,” he said. “But it was not Europe which won, because he was transformed into a Persian prince.”

“Our nation has defeated so many others,” added Mohammad Moghaddam, the maker of a documentary on Alexander’s travels through Iran, “that we should not be weighed down by one or two defeats.”

Photo courtesy: alexander.macedonia.culture.gr


>>>Ahvaz Scandal!!


>>>"During the Crusades of the 12th Century, Balian of Ibelin (Bloom), a young blacksmithin Jerusalem, rises to protect his people from foreign invaders."

from Ridley Talks Kingdom of Heaven
Right click here to save

Director Ridley Scott is attacking the Middle Ages as the subject of a forthcoming
Epic expected in 2005. The director of the successful blockbuster Epic Gladiator with Russel Crowe has finished the shooting of this film set in the Middle Ages.

The film has created a debate before finishing production given the particularly delicate subject of the Clash of Civilizations and the Holy War between Islam and Christianity in the Post 9/11 world. Scott has nevertheless insisted that the script was written in a way to give a balanced viewpoint both from a Muslim and Christian angle.

After the Oliver Stone controversial "Alexander", Scott (also an Award Winning Director
of such classics as the "Duellists", "Alien" or "Blade Runner" ) under fire in the press this year and by critics defends his film in several interviews such as the following ones:




In anycase this proves once again if necessary: the intimate and often complex relationship between Films and Historical accuracy or interpretation.


>>>Iranian film wins top award, Silver Peacock for Thai director

Iranian film-maker Asghar Farhadi's "The Beautiful City" walked away with the top prize Golden Peacock in the Asian competitive section of International Film Festival of India here this evening. The Siver Peacock for the most promising Asian director went to Thailand's Ekachai Uekrongthan for his "Beautiful Boxer" while the special jury award--also a Silver Peacock--was bagged by Iranian actor Farmarz Gharibian for his role in "The Beautiful City".

More than 60 films had taken part in the competitive category of the Festival. PTI


>>>Kiarostami still on News Headlines

Abbas Kiarostami, the internationally known Persian Film-maker and director that has finished one of the episodes of the film Ticket is still on Headlines. The other two episodes of Tickets were made by Ken Loach, and Ermano Olmi. Ticket is the story of a train traveling from the north of Italy to Rome. Kiarostami who has recently become infatuated with digital cinema had suggested to the other two directors to produce this film digitally. The producers of Ticket are from Italy and England.
At the moment veneration of Kiarostami is going on at the Thessaloniki film festival. Kiarostami had criticized the postponement of the screening of his film Wind will take us which is going to be displayed before the coming Fajr International Film Festival. This is the so-called 'dead time' that Kiarostami had in mind when the screening of his film was postponed. He had also said that the screening of this film has been quite a painful procedure and the responsible people look for the worse time for its display. This is the situation in his homeland when outside he is one of the directors mentioned in the book Hundred films of the History of Cinema by Christian Thompson, the Danish jury of the Tehran Short Film Festival and receives the prestigious international Imperial medallion of Japanese Art Foundation.


>>>A slice of Iranian cinema

By Vinita Bharadwaj, Staff Reporter

Bitter Dream is a dark comedy while Tear of the Cold is a romantic epic

A bitter-sweet comedy and a romantic epic are the themes of the two Iranian offerings at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).

The two films [Bitter Dream and Tear of the Cold] were selected with the intention of showing the diversity of the Iranian film industry,? said Antonia Carver, the assistant programmer for the Contemporary World Cinema section of DIFF.

Talking to Tabloid, she said that some international film critics found the work of Iranian filmmakers interesting because of the political climate in which they operate and work from.

?It?s definitely a very layered cinema, but as an industry, Iranian films are very intelligently put together. They concentrate more on people stories and the visuals focus well on nature,? she said.

Acknowledging the many metaphors used in Iranian films as one of their characteristics, Carver added that directors and producers have successfully managed to get around the many constraints that exist within the country.

?Some films do have political tones, but it?s not a common facet of all Iranian films, she said, highlighting the example of Tear of the Cold as being set in the period of the Iran-Iraq war, but having no significant role in the rest of the film.

?There is no overt politics,? she said of the film that is described as a tense, romantic epic set on the snowy border between Iran and Kurdistan.

?It?s a beautiful film that traces the love-hate story of a Kurdish shepherdess and an Iranian soldier.?

While both films have been well received in Iran, Carver also has high praise for Bitter Dream. ?It?s a dark comedy and a first feature film for the director [Mohsen Amiryoussefi],? she said.

Amiryoussefi has donned the role of producer, director, scriptwriter and editor in the film that is set in a cemetery in his hometown, Sedeh, near Esfahan. ?A peculiarity of Iranian films is their use of non-actors,? Carver said.

Bitter Dream is proof of this, as the protagonist is played by the real life person, on whom it is based. ?Abbas Esfandiari is a body-washer at the cemetery, where the film is set and just acts out his real persona on screen,? Carver said.

Both the films selected are reflections of the talent and creativity available in Iranian cinema and Carver urges people to watch both in order to understand the variety of mindsets and ideas that come out of Iranian society.


>>>UK Film company making the $ 80 000 000 film on Cyrus the Great

I think you would like to see this: Go to the webpage below and then click on "production" and then "Cyrus". A film to be directed by Alex Jovey:


Everything from synopsis, to storyboards and cast wish list is in this website. This project was in the drawers for quite a few years it seems it is on its way to finally take off.


>>>Princess to Star in New E! Reality Series

LOS ANGELES, November 4: The granddaughter of HH Princess Shams of Iran's Pahlavi Dynasty is the subject of a new E! Networks comedy/reality hybrid series in which she must find a good job and a suitable love interest or risk losing a hefty financial pipeline from her family.

The 10-part Love is in the Heir is set to launch on E! Entertainment Television in the U.S. on November 28 at 10 p.m. It focuses on Princess Ann Claire, a pampered, London-raised 31-year-old who has left her regal background behind to settle in Los Angeles, in pursuit of a recording deal. Parents HH Prince Shahboz Pahlbod and Beatrice Anne are giving her until December to find a "real" job–or achieve her musical aspirations–and a love interest that meets their standards. If she fails, she can either move back to London to live with her parents, or remain in Los Angeles and be cut off from the family funds.

"We think viewers will enjoy the day in and day out escapades of Princess Ann Claire, her journey to become the next country music sensation, and the trials and tribulations she faces as she attempts to balance pleasing her family with following her own dreams," said Mark Sonnenberg, the executive VP of entertainment at E! Networks.

To produce the segments in London, E! in the U.S. is working with its international division. Sonnenberg noted, "[We] look forward to pursuing more co-productions in the future."


Monica Bellucci Joins Prince Of Persia Cast (Xbox)
A sight worth seeing, but she will only be providing voicing talents.
By Rainier Van Autrijve | Nov. 8, 2004

Actress Monica Bellucci, best known for her role in The Matrix: Reloaded and The Matrix: Revolutions, has joined the Hollywood cast lending their talent in one way or another to Ubisoft's upcoming action/adventure game Prince Of Persia Warrior Within.

Monica Bellucci will voice Kaileen, a helpless servant to the Empress of Time, adding a sensual realism to the deeply-immersive storyline.

People who checked out the recent Warrior Within demo may have noticed that the Prince Of Persia sequel also features music from metal band Godsmack. If you like your music a little bit slower Prince Of Persia Warrior Within also features an original cinematic score including classical melodies composed by Inon Zur, and a musical score by the Hollywood Studio Symphony.

The Old Man said to the Prince, "Your fate has been written. You will die." Enter the dark underworld of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, the sword-slashing sequel to the critically acclaimed Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Hunted by Dahaka, an immortal incarnation of Fate seeking divine retribution, the Prince embarks upon a path of both carnage and mystery to defy his preordained death. His journey leads to the infernal core of a cursed island stronghold harboring mankind's greatest fears. Only through grim resolve, bitter defiance and the mastery of deadly new combat arts can the Prince rise to a new level of warriorship -- and emerge from this ultimate trial with his life.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time will be available on Xbox, PS, GCN and PC later this month.





>>>Iraqi-American Actress Scores Big Off-Broadway

By Barbara Schoetzau

14 December 2004

Heather Raffo
Photo Courtesy Met.com


Iraqi American playwright and actress Heather Raffo has scored a big hit off-Broadway with Nine Parts of Desire, a one-woman play in which she portrays a cross-section of Iraqi women.

Nine Parts of Desire is one of the few New York theater successes this year. The play has garnered rave reviews and been extended three times since it opened in October.

SCENE FROM PLAY: "Okay, I saw that routine. This is not Iraqis, no. Iraqis are not so degraded as this. Some people, they took bricks, from palaces only. Yeah, there were too many anyway. I heard a Marine saying 'Go in Ali Baba. Go in. Take what is yours.' They wanted us to have everything. Freedom to have!"

Critics have applauded the 34-year-old actress-playwright as a fresh new voice in American theater. But Heather Raffo says theater was not the ideal career choice for the daughter of an American mother and an Iraqi immigrant father growing up in the Midwestern state of Michigan.

"In fact, he refused to come visit me at college if I was going to study acting," she recalls. "He said, 'No, I will never come visit you.' I think it was two-weeks later that he was there with piles of fruits and vegetables saying 'Well, I happened to be driving by.' It was two hours from our house!"

Ms. Raffo says she and her father think of themselves as Americans, not Iraqi Americans. But after the 1991 Gulf War she went to Iraq to meet her relatives and discovered a great affinity with Iraqi women. She began collecting stories about Iraqi women and was already working on Nine Parts of Desire when terrorists attacked the United States on September 11th, 2001.

"I have been watching a lot of Arab American change in New York since September 11," she adds. "People did not really have to think about it. My dad says, 'Why would you call me an Arab American? Why would you call me an Iraqi American? I came here. I changed my citizenship. I live here.' So I respect that. I think that that is what being an American is. I was born in America. I do not look necessarily Iraqi or ethnic. I do not have an accent. I have never had to deal with aspects of being other."

Nine Parts of Desire debuted in Scotland at the Edinburgh Festival and played in London before it opened in New York. The cast of characters includes the innocent, the guilty, and the complicit. They are young, old, bitter, hopeful. In this scene, Ms. Raffo portrays an angry expatriate Iraqi.

SCENE FROM PLAY: "The mistake is not this war. My god, mistake. Mistake is supporting Saddam all his life. Giving him all these weapons. 'Please go fight this war with Iran, eh?' Every time there was an uprising. And he gassed Halabja, 5000 die in seconds. He drained the marshes, all the Marsh Arabs and now finally God, finally, after all these years they find him an old man in a hole and they want to give this man a fair trial?"

One of the play's most powerful characters is a grieving mother who lives outside of the Al Amaria bomb shelter, where a coalition bombing raid killed her children in 1991.

SCENE FROM PLAY: "I named my daughter Ghada. Ghada, it means tomorrow. So I am Umm Ghada, mother of Ghada. It is a sign of joy and respect to call a parent by their kunia [kinship]. In Baghdad, I am famous now as Umm Ghada because I do live here in yellow trailer outside Amaria bomb shelter since the bombing 13 February 1991."

Ms. Raffo says some of her characters are based on real people. Others are composites.

"The Bedouin character, for instance, is based on someone I know," she explains. "The sort of political character that is an expatriate in London is based on someone I know. What I have also done is I have combined some psyches and characters like the woman who lives in the bomb shelter. I was at a bomb shelter when I was in Iraq that was bombed in 1991. I also did some research into the woman who did set up the trailer there and does take people through."

Despite their differences and their suffering, Ms. Raffo says her nine women are united by their spirit. It is that spirit, she says, that guided her, not politics.

"A lot of people ask me, 'What are the politics of the play? Where do you stand? Why should I have a stand? Why can I not tell all of these aspects and allow you to live with the confusion of that?'" she notes.

Ms. Raffo says her goal is to encourage audiences to think about the complexity of Iraq instead of viewing it in black and white. If the critics are correct, she has achieved that goal.


>>>Film production facing crisis in Iran: Kiarostami :


India News > Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 16 : Art Film production is facing serious crisis in Iran with authorities imposing controls over independent thought and audience running after commercial films, Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami said today.

Addressing a meet-the-press programme here as part of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), Kiarostami said though films from Iran were getting noticed with new treatment styles and humaneness of subjects, film-makers had to surmount numerous difficulties to make films.

Kiarostami, once described by Japanese master Kurosawa as Satyajit Ray's successor from Asia, said authorities in Iran were even trying to take away the "originality" of a work.

The director said he was once asked by censors to cut out a line of Omar Khayyam from his film."I told them that they may censor me, but not Khayyam," he said, adding four of his latest films could not be released in Iran.

Kiarostami said censorship was always harmful to cinema. "When they remove what has been conceived by the director, the film loses its meaning as a whole," he said.

He said he could not shed his identity as an Iranian film-maker though he was making films outside the country.

Kiarostami is the first Iranian director to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes festival for his film `Taste of Cherry' in 1997. His two films, `Five dedicated to Ozu' and `Ten on Ten' are being screened at the IFFK. PTI