Event Date: 
02/04/2011 - 7:00pm - 02/27/2011 - 7:00pm
Event location
Billy Wilder Theater
City or Town: 
Los Angeles
State or Province: 


Program funding generously provided by the Farhang Foundation and the United States Department of State.

Since 1990, UCLA Film & Television Archive has closely followed contemporary trends in Iranian cinema. A long and distinguished film practice of many fascinating tributaries, Iranian film has given voice to complex discourses, dreams and social realities within Iran, communicating these internally and to the world. An invaluable, international bridge, the cinema has been a unique site of dialogue between Iranian artists and American audiences, and a touchstone to Iranian expatriate communities within the United States. This year, we supplement a diverse program of contemporary works with a curation of Iranian film classics, reflecting Iran’s engagement with the subject of its own cinema and with the fame of its auteur directors, as well as selected films produced by other countries that helped shape the nation’s international image (some of these classic films have never been screened publicly in the United States). These have been specially chosen by Hamid Naficy, currently Professor of Radio-Television-Film and the Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in Communication at Northwestern University, and an alumnus of UCLA who curated our inaugural Iranian program in 1990. We are pleased to welcome Dr. Naficy back to UCLA, and to present this latest celebration of Iranian cinema, spanning many genres and times.

We hope to welcome a number of the filmmakers in this series to Los Angeles as well. Please check back for updates on in-person guests for this program.

Special Thanks to: Mark Amin; Ahmad Gramian; Mohammad Hassan Khosnevis—National Film Archive of Iran; UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies; Carter Long—Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Marian Luntz—Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Barbara Scharres—Gene Siskel Film Center; Shirin Naderi; Leila Hosseini—Documentary & Experimental Film Center; Mahsa Fariba—Farabi Cinema Foundation; Katayoon Shahabi and Navid Karimpour—Sheherazad Media International; Berenice Reynaud—Redcat; Jordan Elgrably—Levantine Cultural Center; Abbas Hojatpanah; Bazil Giani.

All films from Iran, in Persian with English subtitles unless otherwise noted.


Friday February 4 2011, 7:00PM* ( Online Tickets (Only) Sold Out)


(2010) Directed by Tahmineh Milani

Recently released from prison, Ziba, Maryam, Leila and Sara embark on a new life mission: to get revenge against all men for ruining their lives. Feigning streetwalking as a lure, they kidnap a number of womanizers and hypocrites, deriding them and taking their money. But they also discover a more complicated picture of the battle between the sexes than they originally expected.
Producer: Mohammad Nikbin. Screenwriter: Tahmineh Milani. Cinematographer: Alireza Zarrindast. Cast: Ladan Mostofi, Mahnaz Afshar, Elsa Firouz Azar. 35mm, 103 min.

* Please note the early start time.


Saturday February 5 2011, 7:30PM ( Buy Ticket )


(2010) Directed by Alireza Davoodnejad

Elderly Aziz is weighed down with concern for her drug-addicted granddaughter Maryam, but supportively tries to understand the young woman’s addiction and protect her from the worst excesses of her sad life. The eighteenth feature by Alireza Davoodnejad (who began his career as a screenwriter in Tehran at age seventeen), Salve is a poignant picture of both the distance, and the connections, between generations.
Producer: Alireza Davoodnejad. Screenwriter: Alireza Davoodnejad. Cinematographer: Reza Sheikhi. Editor: Masoumeh Shah Nazari. Cast: Alireza Davoodnejad, Ehteram Habibian, Tanaz Tabatabaei. 35mm, 95 min.

Preceded by:

This discussion (moderated by Dr. Hamid Naficy) will assemble filmmakers who have been able to join us for this month’s presentation of contemporary films and historic cinema landmarks from Tehran. Please check back for more details.
Approx. 60 min.


Sunday February 6 2011, 7:00PM


(1932) Directed by Avanes Ohanian

Traditional Mr. Haji objects to the cinema on moral grounds. But when his daughter, her fiance, and Haji’s manservant conspire with a film director to secretly make a film with Haji as the subject, movie star Haji’s resolve is sorely tested in the last analysis. This rare cinematic jewel is a delight to watch both as a historical work that represents the old Tehran in the throes of modernization and as a prescient work of art that defines the inherent tensions between modernity and tradition still at work in the Iranian society and cinema of today.
Live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla.

Producer: Avanes Ohanian. Screenwriter: Avanes Ohanian. Cinematographer: Ebrahim Moradi, Paolo Potemkin. Cast: Habiollah Morad, Asia Qostanian, Abbasqoli Edalatpur. Digital Projection, silent, B/W, 100 min.

(1933) Directed by Ardeshir Irani

The first Iranian talking picture, shot in India with an Indian cast trained to act as Iranians, The Lor Girl tells the story of Golonar (“Pomegranate Blossom”), who dances in tea-houses and inns on the Lorestan-Khuzistan road, heroically surviving on her own in the world. The film captured the public imagination and was shown simultaneously in two theaters in Tehran for nearly seven months. . Sepenta went on to direct four more Persian talkies in India for the Iranian market.
Producer: Ardeshir Irani, Abdohossein Sepenta. Screenwriter: Abdohossein Sepenta. Cinematographer: Rostam Irani. Cast: Sohrab Poori, Roohangiz Sami-Nejad, Abdohossein Sepenta. 35mm, B/W, 90 min.

* Please note the early start time.


Monday February 7 2011, 7:30PM 


(2009) Directed by Rakhshan Bani-E’temad

Filmed three months before the June 2009 presidential elections, this documentary gathers several women’s rights activists who raise pressing issues for the benefit of presidential candidates, including a demand that Iran join the United Nations’ convention on discrimination against women. Three candidates (not including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) are later seen viewing the footage with their wives. An indispensable document of contemporary social concerns.
Producer: Rakhshan Bani-E’temad. Camera: Reza Teimoori. Editor: Reza Bahrami Nezhad. DV, 47 min.

(2009) Directed by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad

This documentary profiles a women’s shelter in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Tehran, seeking refuge from the ravages of poverty, abuse and legacies of substance abuse.
DV, 53 min.


Wednesday February 9 2011, 7:30PM ( Buy Ticket )


(2010) Directed by Mohammad Rasoulof

This enigmatic feature tells the story of Rahmat, an elderly man who collects the tears of souls in pain. Traveling by boat to scenes of sorrow through a seascape dotted with salty white islands and cliffs, he encounters a woman consigned to the sea for rejecting an unwanted marriage, an artist punished for his choice of colors and other unfortunates. An allegory of persecution, Rasoulof’s elegant feature is both timely and timeless.
Producer: Mohammad Rasoulof. Screenwriter: Mohammad Rasoulof. Cinematographer: Ebrahim Ghafouri. Editor: Jafar Panahi. Cast: Hasan Pourshirazi, Younes Ghazali, Mohammad Rabbani. DigiBeta, 93 min.

Preceded by:
(2008) Directed by Hesan Farahmand

Producer: Nader Rezaee. Screenwriter: Hesan Farahmand. Cinematographer: Farshad Bashirzade. Cast: Fatameh Montazeri, Rahim Hakimi, Mohamad Hakimi. Beta-SP, 16 min.


Saturday February 12 2011, 7:30PM ( Buy Ticket )


(1969) Directed by Masud Kimiai

Fati, sister of neighborhood tough guys Farman and Qaisar, is raped and impregnated by a rival tough. She commits suicide from shame. When Farman takes on the culprits, he is knifed to death, causing Qaisar to go on a tragic revenge spree. A seminal and popular film that was compared with Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, it ignited the Iranian New Film movement before the revolution.
Producer: Abbas Shabaviz. Screenwriter: Masud Kimiai. Cinematographer: Maziar Partow. Cast: Behrouz Vossoughi, Naser Malekmotii, Bahman Mofid. 35mm, B/W, 105 min.

(2009) Directed by Mahmood Rahmani

In this one sequence-plan documentary a man recalls childhood memories and his strong sixth sense (Molf-e Gand) during the Iran-Iraq war. With incredible power of expression, he turns his bittersweet memories into eye-catching images which virtually take form before the eyes of the viewer. Meanwhile, the younger filmmaker strives to understand another generation's struggle.
Producer: Mahmood Rahmani. Beta-SP, 53 min.


Sunday February 13 2011, 7:00PM* 


(1925, United States) Directed by Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, and Marguerite Harrison

Filmmakers Cooper and Schoedsack (later famous for King Kong) follow the Bakhtiari herdsmen of Persia, making their arduous seasonal migration over the mighty Karun River and the highest point of Zagros Mountains, Zardeh Kuh, in search of better pastures. A pivotal work of film ethnography, this stirring American documentary casts both an admiring and an objectifying eye on the indigenous tribal culture. While its visuals are sympathetic, lauding tribal ingenuity and stamina, the intertitles, written by studio writers, are Orientalist and degrading.
Producer: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Marguerite Harrison. Screenplay: Terry Ramsaye. Cinematographer: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Marguerite Harrison. Cast: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Marguerite Harrison. HDcam, Color, B/W, 71 min.

(1978, France) Directed by Albert Lamorisse

Commissioned by the pre-revolutionary government of Iran, this film was entrusted to famed French director Albert Lamorisse (The Red Balloon) who fashioned it as a valentine to a magnificent ancient land, featuring flyover shots of breathtaking natural wonders and architectural patterns—all from the point of view of the various winds that inhabit the land. Lamorisse tragically died in a helicopter crash over the Karaj Dam in the late 1970s while filming scenes demanded by the Shah (privileging modern urban and industrial sites), and the film was not finished and released until 1978… in the last days before the Islamic revolution.
Producer: Albert Lamorisse. Cinematographer: Guy Tabary. Editor: Denise de Casablanca, Claude Lamorisse. DV, 71 min.

* Please note the early start time.


Friday February 18 2011, 7:30PM 

Print provided by Global Film Initiative and the Global Lens Collection

(2009) Directed by Granaz Moussavi

Marzieh, a young actress in Tehran, chafes under official pressures that suppress her theater work. When she meets Saman at an underground rave, the Iranian-born Australian citizen offers her a way out of Iran, and the possibility of a new way of living. In her first feature, director (and renowned poet) Granaz Moussavi crafts a timely story of a generation living double-lives in their own country.
Producer: Kate Croser. Screenwriter: Granaz Moussavi. Cinematographer: Bonnie Elliott. Editor: Bryan Mason. Cast: Marzieh Vafamehr, Amir Chegini, Asha Mehrabi. DigiBeta, 97 min.

Preceded by:

(2008) Directed by Reza Haeri

Reza Haeri’s penetrating, free-form documentary observes clothing as a metaphor for social control and conflict in post-revolutionary Iran.
Screenwriter: Reza Haeri, Sahand Abbidi. Cinematographer: Mostafa Ghaheri. Editor: Reza Haeri. DV, Color and B/W, 30 min.

Saturday February 19 2011, 7:30PM ( Buy Ticket )


(1990) Directed by Abbas Kiarostami

Abbas Kiarostami documents a real-life case in which a blue-collar impostor pretending to be famed director Mohsen Makhmalbaf conned a family into believing they would star in his next film. Both the case and this film demonstrate Iranian’s profound love of cinema and the respect they have for their art-house film directors, such as Makhmalbaf and Kiarostami. The figure of the “famous director” looms large in this strange and touching tale, as the protagonist seems not to have been motivated by profit. Those involved in the original story re-enact their roles in this unique and moving documentary.
Producer: Ali Reza Zarin. Screenwriter: Abbas Kiarostami. Cinematographer: Alireza Zarrindast. Cast: Hossain Sabzian, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Abolfazl Ahankhah. 35mm, 98 min.

Preceded by:

(1998) Directed by Reza Haeri

With humor and precision, the filmmaker tries to gauge the sentiments of ordinary people on the streets of Tehran about the famed director Abbas Kiarostami.
DV, 30 min.

Sunday February 20 2011, 7:00PM*

(2010) Directed by Dariush Mehrjui and Mehdi Karampour

This anthology film in two parts opens with “The Days of Acquaintance,” directed by Dariush Mehrjui, in which an ordinary family takes a zany, whirlwind tour of Tehran’s famous sites to pass the time after their house caves in. In director Mehdi Karampour’s “The Last String”, members of a rock group struggle amongst themselves to find a way forward after their upcoming public performance is cancelled by government authorities.
Producer: M.A. Hossein-Nejad. Screenwriter: Vahide Mohammadafar, Mehdi Karampour, Khosro Naquibi. Cast: Reza Yazdani, Raana Azadivar, Borzou Arjomand, Katayoun Amir Ebrahimi, Pantea Bahram, Rahman Hosseini. 35mm, 101 min.

* Please note the early start time.

Sunday February 27 2011, 7:00PM* ( Buy Ticket )


(2010) Directed by Vahid Vakilifar

Winner of the Black Pearl Award for Best Narrative Film by a new director at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Vahid Vakilifar’s first feature portrays the lives of migrant laborers in the Persian Gulf region. Following its subjects with documentary-style observation, Vakilifar depicts their labor, recreation and environment with an elegance and stateliness befitting the story of trans-national migration, of which they are a part.
Producer: Mohammad Rasoulof. Screenwriter: Vahid Vakilifar. Cinematographer: Mohammad-Reza Jahanpanah. Editor: Vahid Vakilifar. Cast: Hossein Farzizadeh, Ghobad Rhamaninassab, Abdolrassoul Daryapeyma. HDcam, 84 min.

* Please note the early start time.

Tickets at www.cinema.ucla.edu/calendar/calendardetails.aspx?details_type=2&id=436