YBCA: IRAN BEYOND CENSORSHIP


Not only does Michael Sicinski's Cinema Scope feature "When the Salt Attacks the Sea: The Films of Mohammad Rasoulof" outline the current status of imprisoned filmmakers Jahar Panafi and Mohammad Rasoulof, but it questions how international attention has been primarily focused on Panahi, with "rather secondary" coverage on Rasoulof, "given that he is a director of lesser stature." Sicinski seeks to redress that imbalance.

Tellingly enough, even here in San Francisco the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) programmed Rasoulof's latest The White Meadows (2009) as a last-minute addition to their film series "Iran Beyond Censorship." Fortunately, the San Francisco-based Global Film Initiative (GFI)--who have selected The White Meadows for their 2011 Global Lens Film Series--were able to provide YBCA with a 35mm print for the "Iran Beyond Censorship" series.

The series runs as follows:

Sunday, March 20, 2011, 2:00PM
Offside (Jafar Panahi)
--It is illegal for females to attend soccer matches in Iran. In Offside, a disparate group of girls, united only by their desire to see their beloved team play live, disguise themselves as boys, risking arrest to try to get into the game. All of them are caught and taken to a holding area, where they are tortured by being able to hear the roar of the crowd without being able to see what is happening in the match. (2006, 93 min, 35mm)

Preceded by The Accordion, Panahi's last finished film before his arrest, about two child beggars. (2010, 8 min, digital)

Friday, March 25, 2011, 7:30PM
Saturday, March 26, 2011, 7:30PM
Close-up (Abbas Kiarostami)
--Internationally revered Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has created some of the most inventive and transcendent cinema of the last thirty years, and Close-Up is his most radical work. This fiction-documentary hybrid uses a real-life sensational event--a young man arrested on charges that he fraudulently impersonated a well-known filmmaker--as the basis for a multi-layered investigation into cinema, identity, and the artistic process. With its universal themes and strange narrative knots, Close-Up continues to resonate with viewers. (1990, 97 min, (new!) 35mm)

Sunday, March 27, 2011, 2:00PM
Crimson Gold (Jafar Panahi)
--A murder and a suicide occur early one morning in a jewelry store. Behind this headline lies the story of a desperate man's feelings of humiliation in a world of social injustice. Hussein's job delivering pizzas allows him a full view of the contrast between rich and poor. Every night he delivers to neighborhoods he will never live in, but Hussein will taste the luxurious life for just one night. Screenplay by Abbas Kiarostami. (2003, 95 min, 35mm)

Sunday, March 27, 2011, 4:00PM
The White Meadows (Mohammad Rasoulof)
--Though he has received less attention because his work is not as well known in the West, filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof was sentenced alongside Panahi to six years in prison. The charges were "assembly, collusion, and propagandizing against the regime." We present his newest film, edited by Panahi. In this dreamlike yet earthbound work, a boatman navigates the waters of a surreal coastal land, collecting the tears of its inhabitants. Profoundly hypnotic, the film can be read as an allegory of intolerance, brutality and mystified routine that resonates far beyond any one state's borders. (2009, 93 min, 35mm)

Cross-published on The Evening Class.
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