Iranian Films at Philadelphia Film Festival: New Directions in Iranian Cinema Past

Nov 10-20, 2016 - Philadelphia, PA, United States

New Directions in Iranian Cinema
Beginning with the 1979 hostage crisis, exacerbated by US intervention during the Iran-Iraq War, and canonized by President Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech few countries have been as feared or misunderstood by the American public as Iran. As diplomatic relations begin to normalize between our two countries a great wealth of artists, musicians, and filmmakers have begun to surface. Synthesizing elements of the French New Wave with existential nihilism inherent to the current generation of Iranian artists and intellectuals, the works shown in this program represent an exciting new direction in Iranian Cinema.

This four-film showcase demonstrates a variety of perspectives and identities that dispel the common stereotypes associated with Iran, and in a broader context, Muslim majority countries in the Middle East.

Friday, Nov. 11 | 5:30–6:45pm | International House of Philadelphia, 3701 Chestnut St Philadelphia
61 mins | Documentary | Iran
Director: Moein Karrimooddini

Beautifully shot feature that unfolds more like a drama than a documentary, Atlan tells the story of Turkman horse trainer Ali in the rural Northeastern region of Iran. Horses are an inseparable part of life in the semi-traditional environment of the Turkmen Sahara. One horse called Ilhlan is Ali’s favorite, but he must sell Ilhlan in order to pay for his wedding. The diary-like narrative is presented via Ali’s voice-over and accompanied by beautiful, broad vistas of the inhospitable Turkmen landscape, impressions of the well-attended races, and images of powerful horses.

A slice of life film that depicts a subject few outside the region have laid eyes on, this film embodies an exciting new movement within Iranian cinema.
Tickets: $8 General $6 Students/Seniors

Atomic Heart
Monday, Nov. 14 | 2:45–4:20pm | Community College of Philadelphia, Winnet Building N 17th St between Callowhill & Spring Garden
94 mins | Drama | Iran
Writer/Director: Ali Ahmadzade

Set in urban Tehran, this uncertainty-inducing film offers a surrealist reflection on contemporary Iranian culture. Two girlfriends, Arineh and Nobahar try to make their way home after a night of partying. After getting in an accident, a mysterious stranger pays off the driver of the car they hit; his only request their company. They soon discover that nothing is as simple as it seems as lines between dreams and reality become increasingly blurry.

Part of the New Directions in Iranian Cinema Showcase, this film blends meticulous camera composition and a plot laden with magic realism to convey a story steeped with criticism of Iranian society, gender bias, and US imposed economic sanctions.
Tickets: FREE RSVP

Tuesday, Nov. 15 | 11:45am–1:15pm | Community College of Philadelphia, Winnet Building N 17th St between Callowhill & Spring Garden
31 mins | Documentary, Experimental | Iran
Director: Sam Kalantari

A mannequin is an often articulated doll used by artists, tailors, dressmakers, window dressers and others especially to display or fit clothing. This film is the narrative of creation and existence of some mannequins. Although they are created equally, omnipotent fate prevents the equal denouement. So to an extent this film is perhaps the tale of fate.

An intriguing experimental documentary short with minimal spoken dialogue that takes seemingly banal imagery and makes it grotesque.
Tickets: FREE RSVP

Atousa’s Laughter
Friday, Nov. 18 | 9:30–10:50pm | Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St Philadelphia
76 mins | Drama, Suspense | Iran
Director: Alireza Farid Shamsabad

Twelve strangers embark on the Trans-Asia Express, a four-day train journey from Tehran to Istanbul. Amongst them are Marjan, a girl with a bag full of money and embezzlement documents, Moosa, a man searching for his lost sister, Atousa a beautiful femme fatale, Dr.Taheri, the train’s physician, and a couple of tourists. When Marjan’s bag is stolen, everyone becomes a suspect.

Overcoming spatial constrictions with innovative camera technique to tell its captivating story, this film was shot entirely on a moving train in five days.

Director Alireza Farid Shamsabad expected in attendance for post-film Q&A after their East Coast Premiere.
Tickets: $8 General $6 Students/Seniors


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Mohammad Reza Golzar – Mohammad Reza Golzar (Persian: محمد رضا گلزار, born April 16, 1975 in Tehran, Iran), is an Iranian actor and musician who has gained success only inside of Iran. In 1994, he was ...

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