Three Faces (2018)

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Image via miff.com.au

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Jafar Panahi is not one of my favourite Iranian directors. His self-conscious self-referential technique of centring his films around his persona as a director has always kept me at a distance from his films, although I understand the relevance given his 20-year travel and directing ban. Three Faces follows this same style but, for the first time, I felt he kept himself to the margins of the story and let the real star, Behnaz Jafari, shine. Continue reading

Israfil (2017)

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Image via iran.britishcouncil.org

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The second feature from Iranian director Ida Panahandeh, Israfil is a quiet exploration of the repercussions of the cultural oppression dealt with much more histrionically in Leila. Unlike Leila, where the thoughts of the protagonists were spelt out to us, Panahandeh lets us watch and feel and imagine. Continue reading

Leila (1997)

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Cultural oppression is a battering ram that destroys everything in its path. There are those who help wield it and those who throw their hands up in protest but do nothing. So it is with the lives of Leila (Leila Hatami) and Reza (Ali Mosaffa). Married because of family expectation but finding love and companionship, their problems begin when Leila finds she can’t have children. Continue reading

Negar (2017)

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Image via filcin.com

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Introduced by the director of the Iranian Film Festival Australia (IFFA) as a rare example of an Iranian action film, I expected a touch of Hollywood and a breakneck pace but Negar was much more. Better described as a subdued psychological thriller, Negar weaves a fragmented but compelling story as the eponymous heroine struggles to understand her father’s apparent suicide. Continue reading