Iranian cinema began long before 1997, but became an international phenomenon that year with the release of two landmark films: Mohsen Makhmalbaf's Gabbeh and Abbas Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry. Since then critics have cited this as the start of an Iranian New Wave, a resurgence similar to the French movement of the 1950s and 60s, the German movement of the 60s and 70s and the Hong Kong movement of the 80s and 90s.
(dir. Mania Akbari, Iran, 2007, 72 minutes)
Seven vignettes, featuring the same two actors as different characters, explore the heartbreak and joy of relationships. Some problems are universal, while others reveal the harsh realities of modern-day Iran, especially for women. Cast: Bijan Daneshmand and Mania Akbari. In Farsi with English subtitles.
(dir. Majid Majidi, Iran, 2001, 94 minutes)
In a Tehran building site, a 17-year-old Iranian named Lateef is known more for his antics than his hard work. Things take an unexpected turn when an Afghan coworker falls from the building and the worker's son, Rahmat, becomes the new provider for his family. But even as Lateef finds himself drawn to Rahmet, it's not until Lateef finds out that Rahmat is actually a young woman that both of their lives are changed forever. Cast: Hossein Abedini, Reza Naji, Zahra Bahrami, Hossein Rahimi, Hossein Mahjoob. In Farsi with English subtitles.
(dir. Majid Majidi, Iran, 2000. 90 minutes)
Mohammad joyfully returns to his tiny village on summer vacation from the Institute for the Blind, unaware of his father's intentions to disown him. Engaged to be married, the widowed man has kept Mohammad a secret from his fiancee, certain the boy's disability will destroy his only chance for happiness. With the wedding swiftly approaching Mohammad's future hangs precariously in the balanc eas his father struggles against his destiny, unable to see the wonder of life and love that's so clear to his son. Cast: Hosein Mahjoob, Salameh Feyzi, Mohsen Ramezani, Elham Sharifi, Farahnaz Safari. In Farsi with English subtitles.
(dir. Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, Iran, 2004, 97 minutes)
Behind the headline of a murder and a suicide, lies the story of a lonely man whose deep feelings of humiliation push him over the edge. Cast: Hossain Emadeddin, Azita Rayeji, Kamyar Sheisi, Shahram Vaziri. In Farsi with English subtites.
(dir. Manuchehr Mosayyeri, Iran, 2003)
Haji Enayat sends his wife and children to Iraq for a pilgrimage. While his family is gone, he marries a beautiful young woman who has traveled to Iran from the US for business. Then his wife returns and finds out about the marriage. In Farsi with English subtitles.
(dir. Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Iran, 2001, 85 minutes 90 minutes)
Nafas, an Afghan-born Canadian journalist, returns to her homeland in a desperate attempt to reach her sister, who, overcome with grief after being injured by a landmine and her despair over the Taliban's oppression of women, has vowed that she will commit suicide at the time of the next solar eclipse, only three days away. Cast: Niloufar Pazira, Hassan Tantai, Sadou Teymouri, Hoyatala Hakimi. In Farsi, Pashtu, Polish and English with English subtitles. Available in DVD and video formats.
(dir. Dariush Mehrjui, Iran, 1996, 102 minutes)
A wife in Iran who cannot have children is pressured by her in-laws into persuading her husband to take another wife so that he may have sons. A portrayal of the clash between tradition and modern marriage in Iran. Cast: Leila Hatami, Ali Mossafa, J. Sheikhi, M. Sharifinia, T. Mehrzad, A. Payvar. In Farsi with English subtitles.
(dir. Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, 1996, 91 minutes)
A father and son travel to Quoker and meet earthquake survivors who desperately and valiantly work to reconstruct their lives. The film investigates the aftermath of a devastating 1990 earthquake which killed some 50,000 people in northern Iran. Cast: Farhad Kheradmand, Puya Pievar. In farsi with English subtitles.
(dir. Jafar Panahi, Iran, 2006, 92 minutes)
During the 2006 Iran-Bahrain match, the Tehran soccer stadium roars with 100,000 cheering men and, officially, no women. According to Islamic custom, women are not permitted to watch or participate in men's sports. Many of the ambitious young female fans who manage to sneak into the arena are caught and sent to a holding pen, guarded by male soldiers their own age. Duty makes these young men and women adversaries, but duty can't overcome their shared dreams, their mutual attraction, and ultimately their overriding sense of national pride and humanity. This film was banned in Iran. In Farsi with English subtitles.
(dir. Bahman Farmanara, Iran, 2000, 93 minutes)
A funny look at the traditional versus the modern in Iran. Baham Farjami, a filmmaker who has not directed for 20 years due to censorship, experiences a strange set of coincidences that convince him that the Angel of Death is near. In Farsi with English subtitles.
(dir. Maryam Keshavarz, Iran, 2004, 69 minutes)
A documentary that follows three couples negotiating love during the Ashura festival in the ancient city of Shiraz, Iran. For many Iranians the festival is the ultimate symbol of love where women abandon legal curfews and men weep in public. While the older generation performs cathartic rituals, the city's youth are left to their own devices - cruising the public squares, hoping for a sideways glance or a passed note from a potential lover - while avoiding the patrolling morality police. Caught between traditions thousands of years old and a 21st century perspective informed by satellite TV and the internet, they struggle to find a place for romance amid the strict moral codes of their country. In this engaging documentary, Iranians, young and old, married and single, speak candidly about love, marriage, and sex, revealing the truth about what it s like to seek and find love in modern Iran, In Farsi with English subtitles.
(dir. Marziyeh Meshkini, Iran, 2000, 78 minutes)
This three-part film celebrates the lives of three women: a child, an adult, and an old woman. The young girl discovers that on her ninth birthday she must hide her hair under a burka and stop playing with boys; so she sneaks out for one last ice cream with her young male friend. Another woman participates in a bicycle race and is chased by her husband and family, berating her for falling down on her wifely duties. And the old lady hires a gaggle of boys to drive her around and help her buy furniture. Each story has something to say about Iran's oppression of women, but chooses to celebrate the freedoms that can be found within that oppression. The director is the wife of director Samira Makhmalbaf (The Apple, Blackboards). In Farsi with English subtitles.
(dir. Ebrahim Forouzesh, Iran, 1987, 76 minutes)
"A four year old boy (Mohammed Aladpoush) is left at home with his baby brother while his mother goes out shopping. She has told him to give the baby his bottle while she is away. However, the boy has a different idea about what he should do, and consumes most of the bottle himself. The hungry baby's cries arouse the neighbors to try and get into the apartment, but it is locked, and the four-year old can't (or, more likely, won't) let them in. Despite a number of near-disasters, the enterprising young boy manages things just well enough (with the occasional help of shouted advice from frantic neighbors) so that serious calamities are avoided. Screenplay by written by Abbas Kiarostami." - AllMovieGuide. Cast: Mahnaz Anasrian, Fatemeh Asar, Amir Pourhassan, Emad Taheri. In Farsi with English subtitles.
(dir. Kambuzia Partovi, Iran, 2005, 105 minutes)
This film depicts an independent-minded widow who bucks tradition to run her dead husband's truck stop café. When an Iranian widow takes over her husband's truck stop restaurant after his death, she must hide in the kitchen so she doesn't cause a scandal. Now her brother-in-law wants to be with her for the cafe, while a customer just wants to be with her. Cast: Fereshteh Sadre Orafaei, Parviz Parastoei, Nikolas Papadopolous, Svieta Mikhalishina, Vanchos Constantin, Esmaiel Soltanian, Jafar Vahabpour. From the screenwriter of The Circle. In Farsi, Greek, Turkish and Russian with English subtitles.
(dir. Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, 1987, 83 minutes)
An 8 year old boy must return his friend's notebook he took by mistake, lest his friend be punished by expulsion from school. He faces challenges and obstacles while searching for his friend. Cast: Babak Ahmadpour, Ahmad Ahmadpour. In Farsi with English subtitles.