Iran Through the Lens

Kaurismaki, Kusturica, Kiarostami: These are directors to live by at the moment. The last of the three is profiled at the Iranian Film Festival in two documentaries by Irish director Mark Cousins: all by himself in On the Road with Kiarostami, and in Cinema Iran alongside his peers, the people responsible for a massive uprising of talent visible over Iran's last couple of decades. These peers include our favorite Iranian filmmakers, the father-daughter team of Mohsen and Samira Makhmalbaf, responsible for The Bicyclist and The Blackboard, respectively. Elsewhere at the festival, find Muslim stand-up comedy, a documentary about international women filmmakers, and Alireza Ghanie's Lesson from Bam, a feature about children in the aftermath of a huge earthquake. We can't help but think of Bahman Ghobadi's Turtles Can Fly, although Bam is probably not as Greek-tragedy-level depressing as all that. The starkly pretty Iranian countryside stars in both films and many others from this rich national scene.
Sept. 27-28, 11 a.m., 2008

 
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