Iranian film making is
enjoying an increase in popularity worldwide because of the quality of
films made. Below are descriptions of some recent movies and also videos
for sale. As more Iranian films become available for sale we will list
The House of Sand the
latest Iranian film made in the United States
Based Upon: The novel,
"House of Sand and Fog", by Andre Dubus III, which was part of
the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, which resulted in it becoming a bestseller
(although Vadim started work on the screenplay before that happened).
Dubus' father wrote the short story that was the basis of In the
(10/7/02) This film, like the novel, is set in 1991, thirteen years
after the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1978. It's not being
"modernized" to being set in 2003 as that would make them have
to add 12 years to the ages of Behrani's children.
Premise: When her husband leaves her abruptly, an alcoholic
woman, Kathy Nicolo (Connelly), unable to keep up with the paperwork
finds her house in the hills of California seized in foreclosure by
sheriff deputies (including one that she becomes romantically involved
with, played by Eldard), and put up for public auction. It's quickly
bought by an exiled Iranian air force colonel (Kingsley), who sees it as
the dream home for his family now that they've become American citizens.
Now, Nicolo is obsessed with getting the house back, regardless of what
she has to do. Which side will win this tug-of-war over a place to call
Filming: Production started on October 7th, 2002 in Carpinteria,
California (the location of the house being used) on a budget of $16.5
million, with some set work also being done in Los Angeles.
Fall, 2003 (probably a limited release at first)
Distributor: DreamWorks Pictures
Production Company: Cobalt Media Group.
Connelly (kathy Nicolo), Ben Kingsley (Colonel Mssoud Amir Behrani),
Shohreh Aghdashloo (Colonel's wife)....
And here is a short list:
·The Day I Became a Woman, Marzieh Meshkini
Silver Hugo for Best First Film, 2000 Chicago International Film
Festival; Best Director, 2000 Thessaloniki Film Festival; UNESCO Award,
Isvema Award, CinemAvvenire Award, 2000 Venice Film Festival
This film tells three separate stories of women, on the island of Kish,
at different stages of their life. First, there's the 9-year-old girl (Akhar)
who's told she can no longer play with her male friends because she's a
woman now (hence the title). The second story is about a woman (Toloui)
who rides in a bicycle race against her husband's wishes. Finally,
there's an elderly woman (Sedighi) who's in town on a shopping spree
after acquiring new wealth.
·Dayereh (The Circle), Jafar Panahi
Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival 2000 --
A woman gives birth to a baby girl. Little does she know, but she
and her daughter are already unwanted. Three women are released from
prison and their need for money leads them to take desperate measures.
An unmarried woman seeking an abortion is rejected from her father's
house by the violent threats of her brothers. Their crimes are vague,
their guilt or innocence unimportant. Their paths cross, the suspense of
their intrigues heightens. Their plights are often too tragically
similar. Their world is one of constant surveillance, bureaucracy and
age-old inequalities. But this stifling world cannot extinguish the
spirit, strength and courage of the circle of women.
·The White Balloon, Jafar Panahi
Written by Abbas Kiarostami. Panahi was Kiarostami's former assistant.
This sweet story which takes place in a poor family shows the
perseverance of a young girl to resolve the problem of losing her money,
the money which she acquired by persistence. Cannes Film
Festival Winner - This sweet film is bursting with universal appeal, as
it offers an engaging picture of everyday humanity.
·Hidden Half, Tahmineh Milani (2001)
A husband is sent on a fact finding mission by the government, which
will determine the fate of a female political prisoner. The wife knew
the woman in question over twenty years ago when they both were
searching for truth (during the revolution). She writes a letter to her
husband describing the events that led to the imprisonment of the woman.
·The Wind Will Carry Us, Abbas Kiarostami (1999)
A serene film with a life and death theme, suffused with humor and
irony. It is a story about a group of men from Tehran go to the tiny
Kurdish village of Siah Dareh to witness the local mourning ceremony.
However, as the main character waits for the woman to die so he can
witness the ceremony, his priority changes.
·A Taste Of Cherry, Abbas Kiarostami (1997)
·Abbas Kiarostami @ zeitgeistfilm.com
Winner of the top prize at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, Palme d'Or .
Considered a masterpiece and Best Film of the Year.
A Taste of Cherry is an existential fable of weight and clarity from
director Abbas Kiarostami. It is a story about a man who is determined
to commit suicide at nightfall, but seeks a living assistant to check
his hand-dug grave the following morning. If he is dead, the person will
fill the grave with dirt; if not, he will help the man out of the hole
-in either event receiving a handsome reward for the task. He drives
around searching for and interviewing various candidates for this
"job," each lends a new perspective on what it is that makes
life worth living in the hopes to convince him to reconsider his plan. *
A film you can watch again and again. Includes theatrical trailer and
exclusive interview with Mr. Kiarostami. Available
·Kandahar, Mohsen Makhmalbaf (2000)
An Afghan female journalist who grew up in Canada attempts to slip
across the Iranian border to Kandahar to save her sister who has decided
to commit suicide during the solar eclipse. The sister's depression is a
result of the hardships, a result of the oppression of the Taliban. This
well-paced film combines a story of suspense with good acting and
cinematography. It was inspired by a true story. Richard Corliss of Time
magazine named it "Best Film of the Year." Available in fall
·Gabbeh, Mohsen Makhmalbaf
This elegantly lyrical, stunningly visual fable allows a
peek into a non-Western culture and the way it records its history. My
Thumb Is Up on this one!
·Color of Paradise, Majid Majidi
A wonderful and moving movie showing the conflict between a father and
his young blind son. The father is widowed and wishes to remarry but
sees the blind son as a liability and considers giving the boy to a
blind carpenter. The carpenter, the boy's sisters and grandmother's love
for the boy provide a balance to the fathers apparent selfishness.
Beautiful scenery of Northern Iran. This is a very moving film, one that
you will not forget.
·Children of Heaven, Majid Majidi
Award winner at Cannes and Sundance and the first Iranian film nominated
for an Oscar, this tender and loving story is about a brother and sister
whose life is still sweet in spite of economic hardship. As the brother
loses his sister shoes, the two of them come up with a creative solution
to replace them. Majid Majidi reminds us of the immediacy
and essence of childhood and takes us on a great ride through a
wonderful and ancient culture with characters that are fearlessly
believable in this wonderful film. Four Stars!
·Willow And Wind, Mohammad Ali Talebi (1999)
A film about a young boy/student who has not seen the rain before moving
to North of Iran where it rains most of the time. Another young boy
/student is held responsible for breaking a large window and he has to
replace it before the next day. The story shows friendship between this
two young boys and how they overcame the difficulties presented to them.
·The Tree Of Life, Farhad Mehranfar (1998)
Best actress, Fajr Film Festival, Environmental Prize, castellinaria FF.
A beautiful setting, a rich story that takes place with a nomadic tribe
who live in the misty forests of Talesh mountains in the spectacular
scenic Gilan province. The film shows the ceremonies and belief of these
fascinating tribal people who still live according to the ancient
customs and lifestyle which synchronizes with the seasons.
His previous work "Paper Airplanes" was a hit.
·Dance Of Dust, Abolfazl Jalili (1991)
Awards: Silver Leopard, 51st Locarno International Film Festival. Best
Asian Film, 11th Tokyo International Film Festival. A moving masterwork
about the harsh life of a young boy who lives and works in a brick kiln.
The extreme poverty that the boy lives in has been considered to be an
unpatriotic image of Iran, but only the ignorant do not know that
poverty is everywhere and this film is a harsh reminder that today's
world still has much poverty.
·Leila, Dariush Mehrjui
Set firmly in the urban world of contemporary Tehran, this story of a
couple pressured by family and tradition into destroying their happy
union is a window into a world uneasily straddling the past and present.
Mehrjui's subdued, subtle approach rolls with the gentle rhythms of a
slow-paced society like many of his contemporaries, but underneath the
surface calm is a churning sea of emotions. Dariush Mehrjui has been
described as the godfather of Iranian cinema, and has repeatedly clashed
with Iranian censors while pushing the envelope of social issues. This
understated but vivid tragedy is witness to his place in cinematic