Fireworks Wednesday (2006)

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Written and directed in 2006 by Iranian Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, The Past, The Salesman) this story of a young, engaged, Tehrani woman as she becomes embroiled in a failing marriage has his signature style. We are immersed in the minutiae of an ordinary day with with one character, in this case Roohi (Taraneh Alidoosti – Elly in About Elly and Rana in The Salesman), who is a catalyst and the pivot point around which the story revolves. Continue reading

Lantouri (2016)

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Lex talionis; this is a judicial term I will not quickly forget. In the Iranian justice system it is the right of a victim to retaliation, to demand that the punishment inflicted correspond in degree and kind to the offence. This was touched on in Sound and Fury, where a victim’s family had the power to forgive or to ask for the death penalty. In Lantouri, retribution and forgiveness are at the core of the story and we get to see it from many viewpoints. Continue reading

Sound and Fury (Khashm Va Hayahoo) (2016)

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sound-and-furyI love film festivals. The weekend I chose to be in Melbourne, the Iranian Film festival just happened to be on. As my loyal readers will know, I have a penchant for Iranian films – Rhino Season, Manuscripts Don’t Burn, Crimson Gold, The Past, A Separation, Radio Dreams, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. And at festivals you end up seeing films you know nothing about, that will probably never get a release in Australia. A risk, yes, but a risk worth taking for this surprising film that I chose only because of its time slot and the beautiful B&W image above. Continue reading

A Dragon Arrives! (2016)

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A DRAGON ARRIVES 2I have no idea what this Iranian film is about. It’s stylish, unconventional and full of beautiful moments and promise but ultimately I felt I was missing out on a cultural context that may have made sense of the story. It begins as a drama with a man, Babak, recounting to an investigator the events that had led up to that moment. We then see the events unfold; he is sent to make a report on a man who has killed himself on the island of Qeshm. He was an ‘exile’ living alone in a derelict boat in the middle of a desert cemetery and Babak can see that he was murdered. His investigations begin to reveal surreal and confusing facts. Continue reading

Starless Dreams (2016)

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STARLESS-DREAMS-1This is a beautifully made Iranian documentary that immerses itself in the lives of teenagers in a ‘rehabilitation and correction’ centre, which seems to be a cross between a juvenile justice centre and a refuge. With no narration, we see these young women establish lives and friendships in the centre and slowly hear their individual stories. Continue reading

Radio Dreams (2016)

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RADIO-DREAMS-3My favourite film of the festival so far. Not quite a 5 star but a solid 4.5. This sweet, deadpan, gorgeously rendered exploration of cultural displacement is set in an Iranian radio station in San Francisco. The band Metallica has promised to call in to jam with Afghani band Kabul Dreams; Mr Royani, the wild-haired director of programming sees it as a symbolic gesture of reconciliation in the aftermath of 9/11. Continue reading