Iranian Cinema

Close Up – Iranian Cinema: Past, Present and Future by Hamid Dabashi

Hamid Dabashi presents a comprehensive, passionate, and insightful personal account on the evolution of Iranian art cinema in Close Up – Iranian Cinema: Past, Present and Future. By presenting the works of key films and filmmakers within the contextual framework of Iranian history – in particular, from the state-sponsored, forced modernization programs initiated by the… read more »

Nargess, 1992

An indistinguishable man and woman run frantically through a dimly lit street as they attempt to outrun a police car that is doggedly pursuing them. Separating near a dead-end alley, the unidentified woman – unable to keep pace – hides behind a mound of garbage while the man, Adel (Abolfazl Poorarab), heads for a busy… read more »

Smell of Camphor, Frgrance of Jasmine, 2000

An early encounter in Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine humorously, but astutely illustrates the aimlessly resigned plight of the impassive, perennially unemployed director Bahman Farjami (Bahman Farmanara) as he apologetically acknowledges to a former actor turned businessman that he hasn’t made a film in 24 years. The episode, which occurs after Bahman visits the… read more »

Ten, 2002

Ten is a captivating, humorous, and understated film by Abbas Kiarostami that follows a series of (ten) conversations by a divorced middle-class woman as she engages a series of passengers in a dialogue while navigating the streets of Tehran: her precocious son who feels suffocated by his parents’ competition for his allegiance and affection; her… read more »

The Wind Will Carry Us, 1999

A group of men from the city of Tehran traverse the rural Iranian countryside on a jeep, guided by a set of descriptive, yet unavoidably imprecise directions, seemingly lost. The driver (Behzad Dourani), respectfully called “Engineer” by the villagers, eventually encounters his appointed contact along the side of the road: a gentle, courteous boy named… read more »

A Taste of Cherry, 1997

An impassive, middle-aged man drives through the busy urban traffic of the city, and is approached by several day laborers for hire. He has a specific task in mind, but drives away without saying a word. His name is Mr. Badii (Homayon Ershadi), and he is seeking an assistant for his planned suicide. He stops… read more »

Through the Olive Trees, 1994

A director, played by an actor (Mohamad Ali Keshavarz), speaks in aside about a real-life devastating earthquake in rural Iran. The director has returned to the village of Koker to work on a new film (an actual Kiarostami film) entitled Life and Nothing More… (And Life Goes On…). The young women have been assembled for… read more »

Life and Nothing More…/And Life Goes On…, 1991

On a chaotic and congested highway toll interchange, an off-camera toll clerk listens impassively to a humanitarian public service radio broadcast from a Red Crescent spokesperson urging listeners to consider adoption of the many children who have been left orphaned as a result of the recent devastating earthquake in northern Iran. An unnamed, middle-aged film… read more »

Close-Up, 1990

Close-Up opens to a shot of a newspaper reporter (Hossein Farazmand) fetching two police officers on a taxi to go to a house on Golzar Street. A mild mannered, unassuming man (Hossein Sabzian) is led away by the officers as the reporter goes door-to-door in search of a tape recorder for the exclusive interview. The… read more »

The Cyclist, 1987

A poor, Afgan immigrant well digger named Nasim (Moharram Zaynalzadeh) distractedly watches on with his son as a friend performs his daredevil motorcycle act. Nasim’s thoughts are consumed by his gravely ill wife, and the hospital’s reluctance to continue to provide treatment without receiving payment for her incurred medical expenses. Unable to raise enough money… read more »