Mohsen Makhmalbaf's Salam Cinema and Parviz Kimiavi's O.K. Mister at the Guggenheim Museum PastMay 21-30, 2016 - New York, NY, United States
Parviz Kimiavi, 1978, 75 mins
Once upon a time in a remote village near Persepolis, the first director of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (now British Petroleum), one William Knox D’Arcy, mysteriously resurfaces. He hires Cinderella to bewitch the villagers and exploit the oil field under their feet. O.K. Mister is an astonishing social satire, mixing pop art with ethnography. Kimiavi’s fantastic allegory of cultural imperialism and the potential of peasant resistance anticipated the 1979 Revolution, which took place only a few months after the film was made.
Saturday, May 21 at 1pm and Monday, May 23 at 1pm
Salam Cinema: Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1994, 75 mins
As an indication of Makhmalbaf’s popularity in Iran by the early 1990s, his open casting call for Salam Cinema yielded several thousand applicants, a virtual riot that we see at the beginning of the film—a non-narrative documentary chronicling some of these auditions. Here, Makhmalbaf’s role as provocateur is only incidentally aimed at the audience; it’s mainly directed at the hapless applicants whom he mercilessly bullies, taunts, and plays with. Makhmalbaf’s sadistic and authoritarian mind games—such as pitting friends and relatives against one another (“The one that cries the fastest knows the most about love”)—carry a clear message about the social power of cinema and the problematic nature of authorship. But whether it’s a useful lesson or a callous excuse for exploitation is a question he seems to leave deliberately open. When one brutalized teenage girl throws one of his testy questions back at him (“Would you rather be an artist or a humane person?”) he refuses to answer. “It’s the camera that’s so cruel,” he later claims… without much conviction. Salam Cinema is a raw antagonization of truth and power.
Friday, May 27 at 1 pm, Saturday, May 28 at 1 pm, Sunday, May 29 at 1pm, and Monday, May 30 at 1 pm
Free with museum admission (Adults $15, Students/Seniors $10)
Part of Hello Guggenheim: Film and Video Curated by Bidoun Projects
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