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The Official Iran Challenge - May 2019

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OldAle1
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The Official Iran Challenge - May 2019

#1

Post by OldAle1 » April 30th, 2019, 2:52 pm

سینمای ایران
Cinema of Iran


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Previous ScreenshotsShow

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1. Khook / The Pig (Mani Haghighi, 2018)

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2. Khesht va Ayeneh / Brick and Mirror (Ebrahim Golestan, 1965)

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3. Khake Sar Beh Mohr / The Sealed Soil (Marva Nabili, 1977)

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4. Do zan / Two Women (Tahmineh Milani, 1999)

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5. Faryade nimeshab / The Midnight Terror (Samuel Khachikian, 1961)

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6. Nun va Goldoon / A Moment of Innocence (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1996)

Goal

Watch Iranian films! Runs May 1 through May 31.
List of eligible countires - Please see note in the next postShow
Iran
Rules:
- Rewatches allowed, even encouraged!
- Features, documentaries, mini-series, shorts and regular TV series allowed.
- A feature film (at least 40 min) counts as one entry.
- A total of 60 minutes of short films (less than 40 min) count as one point.
- For mini-series each part counts as a point; if the series has episodes of variable length and/or under 40 minutes, then each 60 minutes counts as a point.
- A total of 60 minutes of TV Episodes count as a point

Stats & Formatting:
- Title (year, Country) is the preferred format. Please be careful with titles and years - there are many very similar titles, and many are quite obscure.
- For TV episodes, please use "Series Title: Episode Title" as the title
- New posts are preferred over edited posts

Official Lists
Film magazine's Best Iranian Films (2009)
Asian Cinema: A Field Guide Titles 574-632

Unofficial Lists
Crystal Simorgh Winners - winners of the Best Film (domestic) at the Fajr Film Festival in Tehran
Iranian Cinema - list compiled by icm member timec
Kenji's Essential Iranian Films
Directory of World Cinema: Iran - list from PeacefulAnarchy - Peaceful, where does this list originate?

Participants

Rank Participant Count
1 OldAle1 35
2 jeroeno 29
3 72allincallme 24
4 Nathan Treadway 13
5 sol 12
6 Knaldskalle 11
7 jdidaco 8
8 flavo5000 6
9 3eyes 4
9 maxwelldeux 4
11 cinephage 3
11 blocho 2
13 sebby 1
13 albajos 1




*Information and rulings on questionable films in the following post, please check there first if you have doubts about eligibility*
Last edited by OldAle1 on May 22nd, 2019, 8:24 pm, edited 46 times in total.

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#2

Post by OldAle1 » April 30th, 2019, 2:52 pm

Orson Welles's two "Iranian" films

Both F for Fake and The Other Side of the Wind are listed as part-Iranian productions. Orson was getting money wherever he could in the 70s and some financing came from an Iranian company, SACI - which is only credited with these two films on IMDb. Neither film has any other connection to Iran that I can find and I don't consider them Iranian and will NOT be counting them for the purposes of this challenge.

Other co-productions

There are a few other Iranian co-productions in the pre-revolutionary era, including a couple of westerns that will count as Doubles -

And Now...Make Your Peace With God (1968) a spaghetti starring Iranian Mohamad Ali Fardan
Ölüm fermani a Turkish-Iranian western

The first can be found in English dub on YouTube.

There aren't a lot of co-productions from the post-revolutionary era (1980-) for obvious reasons.

General rule of thumb: if it has any real connection to Iran or Persian culture and has Iran listed as a production country, it's fine.


Cannes

Also eligible for the In Competition at Cannes challenge this month:

Through the Olive Trees, Kiarostami, 1994
Taste of Cherry, Kiarostami, 1997 (winner of the Palm)
Tales of Kish, Jalili/Mohsen Makhmalbaf/Taghvai, 1999
Blackboards, Samira Makhmalbaf, 2000
Kandahar, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 2001
Ten, Kiarostami, 2002
At Five in the Afternoon, Samira Makhmalbaf, 2003
The Past, Farhadi, 2013 (co-production between several countries)
The Salesman, Farhadi, 2016
3 Faces, Panahi, 2018

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#3

Post by sol » April 30th, 2019, 3:44 pm

Questions of eligibility:

The Past (2013, Asghar Farhadi) - French-Iranian co-production from an Iranian director

EDIT: I see you have cleverly sneaked in and edited the post above this while I was replying. :P

Under the Shadow (2016, Babak Anvari) - co-production between Iran, Qatar and some other places, filmed entirely in Persian

I've decided this is finally the month to see my first Farhadi film. I don't want to jump in straight away with A Separation. I have The Past and The Salesman on Region 4 DVD (if the former is eligible) and I can stream Fireworks Wednesday and About Elly through Kanopy, so those are my options. The Past intrigues me the most, but I'll take any feedback and recommendations. I would like to "build up" to his best stuff if that's possible.
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#4

Post by OldAle1 » April 30th, 2019, 3:53 pm

sol wrote:
April 30th, 2019, 3:44 pm
Questions of eligibility:

The Past (2013, Asghar Farhadi) - French-Iranian co-production from an Iranian director

Under the Shadow (2016, Babak Anvari) - co-production between Iran, Qatar and some other places, filmed entirely in Persian

I've decided this is finally the month to see my first Farhadi film. I don't want to jump in straight away with A Separation. I have The Past and The Salesman on Region 4 DVD (if the former is eligible) and I can stream Fireworks Wednesday and About Elly through Kanopy, so those are my options. The Past intrigues me the most, but I'll take any feedback and recommendations. I would like to "build up" to his best stuff if that's possible.
Those two are both OK. My preference would be for people to stick to Iranian films made in Iran by Iranian filmmakers, but I know a lot of people don't like the anal approach to these things, and of course then we leave out some great films from Iranian directors who have managed to go abroad and come back, like Farhadi and Kiarostami. And I don't want to alienate people just dipping their feet into this cinema.

As to Farhadi, I like them all to one degree or another (haven't seen the newest yet), but I did think that The Past and Salesman were a slight step down from the previous few; he's one of those guys who works out the same themes over and over and I guess the last couple felt a *little* stale, though I still liked them. My first was A Separation and my favorite would be a toss-up between that, The Beautiful City, and About Elly with the latter probably the winner if I was forced to pick. I think his films are similar enough thematically and stylistically that if you really love one of them you are pretty likely to get something out of the rest - though I'm always wrong when I say that as we have a plethora of anti-auteurists around here.

As far as viewing order - eh, as with many directors, chronological would be good, but as you don't list Dancing in the Dust I'd say start with Fireworks Wednesday.
Last edited by OldAle1 on April 30th, 2019, 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#5

Post by 72allinncallme » April 30th, 2019, 3:55 pm

I’m in. Thank you for hosting OldAle. Aiming for bronze on the official list (+41).

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#6

Post by albajos » April 30th, 2019, 4:02 pm

Are there any Iranian Westerns? Seems like the computer says "no"
After all, Western are considered a US influence, and Iran are not to happy with the culture import.
But maybe there would potentially be some before 1979?

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#7

Post by OldAle1 » April 30th, 2019, 4:07 pm

albajos wrote:
April 30th, 2019, 4:02 pm
Are there any Iranian Westerns? Seems like the computer says "no"
After all, Western are considered a US influence, and Iran are not to happy with the culture import.
But maybe there would potentially be some before 1979?
See my second post - two films. IMDb also lists this

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2626034/reference

I dunno, looks like a mockumentary or something, might be eligible (if anybody can find it) for the western challenge but that's up to that host.

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#8

Post by albajos » April 30th, 2019, 4:23 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
April 30th, 2019, 4:07 pm
albajos wrote:
April 30th, 2019, 4:02 pm
Are there any Iranian Westerns? Seems like the computer says "no"
After all, Western are considered a US influence, and Iran are not to happy with the culture import.
But maybe there would potentially be some before 1979?
See my second post - two films. IMDb also lists this

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2626034/reference

I dunno, looks like a mockumentary or something, might be eligible (if anybody can find it) for the western challenge but that's up to that host.
The italian one only list a production companie from Italy. Nothing from Iran.
So I would be skipping that one.

So three that might be eligible (imo) would be:
Ölüm fermani (1970)
Se delavar (1971)
Man Negahdar Jamali Western Misazam (2012)

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#9

Post by OldAle1 » April 30th, 2019, 4:27 pm

Well, Se delavar isn't listed as a western on IMDb though the image suggests one. Eh, in any case, it's not enough films to worry me and should people find any of these 3 or 4 films and watch them I'm OK with counting them. I also don't necessarily trust IMDb production information that well and without being able to read Turkish, Italian, or Farsi, I can't really investigate too much further, and it's not really worth it.

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#10

Post by maxwelldeux » April 30th, 2019, 5:53 pm

sol wrote:
April 30th, 2019, 3:44 pm
I've decided this is finally the month to see my first Farhadi film. I don't want to jump in straight away with A Separation. I have The Past and The Salesman on Region 4 DVD (if the former is eligible) and I can stream Fireworks Wednesday and About Elly through Kanopy, so those are my options. The Past intrigues me the most, but I'll take any feedback and recommendations. I would like to "build up" to his best stuff if that's possible.
About Elly was my first, and I found it very approachable. A Separation is a lot more intense and complex in terms of morality. Of course, those are the only two I've seen, but I guess I'd recommend starting with Elly.

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#11

Post by 3eyes » April 30th, 2019, 6:04 pm

I will be focusing on this challenge. First goal is to complete my 5-set of Iranian films based on Western literature.

Check out this resource: https://www.imvbox.com/

This is a website offering tons of Iranian films and TV shows - free without English subs (CC), $5.99/month with. Not all have CC available, but sometimes you can request it. Since it's a website, accessibility options (mine, anyhow) are limited to computer and iPad.

But: I have 21 to go for a silver on the Iran list, and if I tried I could make it, or almost.

They're scrupulous about copyright, so you won't find many movies by Kiarostami or most other big-name directors. Only Farsi, not Kurdish. Pretty skimpy on pre-revolutionary stuff, as far as I can tell. Still, may be worth it if you can get a bronze for less than the price of a theater ticket.
Last edited by 3eyes on April 30th, 2019, 10:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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#12

Post by Nathan Treadway » April 30th, 2019, 6:42 pm

Oh, absolutely in! Goal is to finally get to bronze on the Iranian list (26). I really don't know how much further one can go on that list because of availability and/or subtitles, but, we shall see!

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#13

Post by jeroeno » April 30th, 2019, 7:59 pm

Yeah in for the bronze at least.

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#14

Post by Knaldskalle » May 1st, 2019, 12:29 am

In. Definitely not aiming for bronze or anything of that caliber. Might get 10 or so in, I imagine.
Personal film goals for 2019.
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#15

Post by maxwelldeux » May 1st, 2019, 6:32 pm

1. A Taste of Cherry (1997)

This had a bit of a slow start, but soon sucked me right in. The scenery was pretty awesome to look at, and the frequent wide shots allowed that to show. The film was conversational with a variety of people, and you just got to meet and get to know a wide swath of characters and their struggles. The overlay of life and death and money struggles made the film very contemplative. Cool kick-off to the challenge!

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#16

Post by Nathan Treadway » May 1st, 2019, 7:03 pm

maxwelldeux wrote:
May 1st, 2019, 6:32 pm
1. A Taste of Cherry (1997)

This had a bit of a slow start, but soon sucked me right in. The scenery was pretty awesome to look at, and the frequent wide shots allowed that to show. The film was conversational with a variety of people, and you just got to meet and get to know a wide swath of characters and their struggles. The overlay of life and death and money struggles made the film very contemplative. Cool kick-off to the challenge!
Kiarostami has argued that this is the conclusion, if one wants to make something of the so-called "Koker" trilogy (which he says isn't a trilogy, and that the films are not connected).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koker_trilogy

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#17

Post by OldAle1 » May 2nd, 2019, 2:54 pm

I'm starting out, for the first few days at least, with pre-revolutionary films from the 60s and 70s. I know most people don't write reviews and probably don't read a lot of them either but I'm going to try to mention something about the print and subtitle quality of each of these, as so many exist only in execrable condition on YT or whatnot, so if you're vaguely interested in this stuff but aren't always willing to strain your eyes, I'll try to give you the lowdown.

Day 1 - Genre films 1965/7

1. Shabe ghuzi / Night of the Hunchback (Farokh Ghafari, 1965)

An interesting, visually quite noirish comedy-drama, mostly the former for the majority of the running time, about a hunchback in a small theater troupe who apparently dies while with two of his troupe members, and then gets shuffled around between several characters either trying to use him (or the papers he has on him, which incriminate some of the other characters in a crime) or hide the body. There are some serious underpinnings about class, about the wealthy and westernized (much of the film takes place in a large building where there's a party we only get brief scenes from, where American rock and roll is playing loudly) vs the poor or middle class who are more traditional, which you see in a lot of Iranian films of this period, but some of the intricacies were lost on me, in part because of less than comprehensive (English soft over French hardsubs) subtitles. And I didn't really find it all that funny either, and in fact it becomes rather nightmarish in the last act as several characters are desperate to hide the body - or hide their own misdeeds - and there are fight scenes and chases and a possible suicide. A strange film that I definitely enjoyed watching as it went in some odd directions, though I'm very undecided and conflicted in the end. The print was decent enough, so a copy with more complete subs might make all the difference - yeah like that'll happen.

2. Ganje qarun / Croesus' Treasure (Syamak Yasami, 1965)

This film unfortunately comes in a very poor, only borderline watchable print (YouTube) with hardcoded English subs printed below Farsi subs, which are sometimes below the frame or blotted out (white on white). But it's pretty easy to understand for the most part, so I wouldn't necessarily push people away on account of the quality if they're used to looking at sub-par older copied-from-VHS type stuff - what I would do is push people away from bothering because it's not a very good film. This is pretty much obvious, moralistic claptrap about a wealthy miser, Karun, who wants to kill himself because he can't get over leaving his wife and son 25 years earlier, and how lonely he is now, who gets saved by a young man whose father had left him 25 years earlier and... I think you can see where this is going. It feels very much like a Hollywood melodramedy of the 30s-40s, with half a dozen Bolllywood-style musical numbers thrown in for good measure. It''s not entirely awful - it takes place largely in Isfahan and was shot there, so we get some nice shots of the Si-o-se-pol bridge, a landmark 17th century work

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though it doesn't look quite so impressive in b/w or the horrible print. Given the high percentage of Iranian films that take place in Tehran or in small villages or rural areas I'm always glad to see a few different cityscapes. And I rather liked Aramais Vartan Yousefians as Karun, the miser/father figure, and the ending while overly sentimental is a little odd and a less simple wrap-up than you might find in most similar earlier Hollywood films - but on the whole this is obviously not the kind of film that the current reputation of Iranian cinema rests on.

3. Vampir, Zan-e khoon-asham / The Female Vampire (Mostafa Oskooyi, 1967)

Another film that comes in absolutely wretched condition, low-res and washed out, though at least the (amateur) subs were readable and fairly comprehensive. This is a strange one, mixing elements of both Iranian and western horror (vampires and jinns), folk tales and music (though I wouldn't call is a musical despite an extended wedding sequence with music and dancing) and a strange and hard to understand moral element. Basically we have a young man from Tehran who visits a friend in the smaller provincial city of Nishapur, a historically important place that was home to the poets Attar and and Omar Khayyam, and there is a garden with monuments or tombs to these and others that figures prominently; lots of beautiful architecture on display like this

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but as in the previous film, given that we're only seeing a very grainy and dim b/w image it's not nearly so impressive. The young man falls in love with a young woman, promises to stay with her, then inexplicably leaves and ends up in Tehran where a series of increasingly strange scenes follow, and eventually it becomes clear that we are in a dream-world or illusion of some kind. I really don't know what to make of this in the end, as an experience it was very "mixed" but as with the first film in this group, I have some expectation that it's a better film than this poor visual rendition shows. Can't imagine, unfortunately, that we'll ever get really good copies of most of these pre-revolutionary films, but like the characters in this film I guess I''ll live in dreams.
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#18

Post by Knaldskalle » May 2nd, 2019, 3:31 pm

1. Offside (Panahi, 2006). I've been wanting to see this ever since it came out, but I did feel a tiny bit disappointed. I think I was just expecting too much, 'cause it's not a bad film, not at all.
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#19

Post by sebby » May 2nd, 2019, 10:29 pm

01 sib 1998 4/10

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#20

Post by 3eyes » May 3rd, 2019, 2:21 am

1. Shabhaye roshan / White nights (Iran 03)
Iranian take on Dostoevsky's short story - pretty faithful considering the cultural difference.

@oldale: Where did you find Night of the Hunchback? I was waiting for subs to appear on the Weighty Place, but by the time they did I no longer had access.
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#21

Post by jeroeno » May 3rd, 2019, 4:12 am

01. Kimia (Alchemy) (1995)
02. Gilane (2004)
03. Lakposhtha parvaz mikonand (Turtles Can Fly) (2004)

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#22

Post by Knaldskalle » May 3rd, 2019, 4:39 am

2. This is Not a Film (Panahi, 2011). Indeed, it's more of a video diary of a man persecuted and trying to deal with it in some productive way. Interesting watch, though more for its many implications than actual content.

Iran alsoShow
1. Offside (Panahi, 2006)
2. This is Not a Film (Panahi, 2011)
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#23

Post by sol » May 3rd, 2019, 1:54 pm

1. Under the Shadow (2016)

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This horror film benefits from a fairly unique setting (war-torn 1980s Iran) and monster (djinn) compared to the countless western horror flicks out there, but I didn't think that the filmmakers ever maximised this potential. The social commentary was negligible; aside for a single arrest for not wearing a hijab in public, the film does not really tap into the oppression of women, nor does the film really touch on the ins and outs of the Iraq-Iran war. It was sort of interesting though as a look into a rational woman starting to believe superstitions she had long discounted.
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#24

Post by OldAle1 » May 3rd, 2019, 3:52 pm

Walnuts, Roses and PoetryShow

Day 1 - Genre films 1965/7

1. Shabe ghuzi / Night of the Hunchback (Farokh Ghafari, 1965)
2. Ganje qarun / Croesus' Treasure (Syamak Yasami, 1965)
3. Vampir, Zan-e khoon-asham / The Female Vampire (Mostafa Oskooyi, 1967)
Day 2 - Iranian noir, 1961

4. Faryade nimeshab / The Midnight Terror (Samuel Khachikian, 1961)

I've wanted to see some Khachikian films since coming across several trailers a few years ago, which show a very different, action-packed and violent Iranian cinema, one that seems heavily influenced by American and western European crime and adventures films of the postwar era. This trailer, for Marg dar baran / Death in the Rain, will give you the best idea - alas I haven't been able to find a subbed copy.



But the film I watched - also on YT in an average-quality copy (average for 60s Iranian films that is) that sports quite good subs - turned out to be a lot of fun as well. Mohammad Ali Fardin, one of the biggest stars of the period, who also started directing the year after this film was released, plays jobless loser Amir, who is drowning his sorrows in a bar owned by counterfeiter Afshar, a violent and jealous psycho who enters the scene being attacked by a group of his subordinates after he's killed one of them for trying to carry on with his wife. Amir decides that four on one isn't fair and so lends a hand, and Afshar rewards him by hiring him to be a personal bodyguard and his right-hand man. Amir tries to be an upright guy and only takes the job under duress, and because he needs money to marry his fiancee, but soon finds out that it may not be worth it. Nothing here is particularly unfamiliar to those steeped in the latter part of classic-era noir, whether American, British, French or from elsewhere, though this has more violence (mostly fistfights) than many, and it's got a slightly overdone moralistic tone that detracts just slightly from the typical noir pessimism and determinism. But overall despite the fairly typical nature of the narrative it's well worth seeing for the performances of the two leads and above all for Kchachikian's direction, particularly in the action scenes which manage to be quite dynamic without a lot of editing - a gliding camera that follows the action from a distance as it moves up and down stairs or from room to room.

Not top-drawer noir or for that matter top-drawer Iranian cinema of the 60s, but well done and consistently engaging for sure. I definitely hope to find more of Khachikian's work someday, and this BFI article written a couple of years ago to coincide with a small retro in Bologna does give some hope - but also sadness, as many of these films are apparently gone or only exist in very poor copies. And of course getting them to official video/HD is another story...

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#25

Post by 72allinncallme » May 3rd, 2019, 6:46 pm

1. Shorts:
An shab ke barun amad (1967) 35min
P mesle pelican (1972) 27min

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#26

Post by jeroeno » May 4th, 2019, 8:41 am

04. Shabhaye roshan (White Nights) (2003)
05. Shab-neshini dar jahannam (A Party in Hell) (1956)

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#27

Post by OldAle1 » May 4th, 2019, 4:02 pm

Walnuts, Roses and PoetryShow

Day 1 - Genre films 1965/7

1. Shabe ghuzi / Night of the Hunchback (Farokh Ghafari, 1965)
2. Ganje qarun / Croesus' Treasure (Syamak Yasami, 1965)
3. Vampir, Zan-e khoon-asham / The Female Vampire (Mostafa Oskooyi, 1967)

Day 2 - Iranian noir, 1961

4. Faryade nimeshab / The Midnight Terror (Samuel Khachikian, 1961)
Day 3 - Going West; Going to Tehran 1968/70

5. Ed ora... raccomanda l'anima a Dio! / Mardaneh bekosh / Stranger Say Your Prayers / etc, etc (Demofilo Fidani, 1968)

Listed as a part-Iranian production, with one producer (Hooshang Kaveh) and one of the trio of protagonists (Mohammad Ali Fardin) hailing from the land of roses. How much other involvement there may have been, I don't know - this is one of the more obscure spaghettis and there's nothing I can find about where it was filmed or the nature of the production - why an Iranian actor? It's true that Iranian films in this period were doing a lot of the same things Italian films were doing - cannibalizing genres, trying to rip off better-known productions from the USA or Europe, etc, but info on Iranian films from the 60s is even scarcer than for the low-end spaghettis. So I dunno what made Fardin go to Italy or Spain or wherever this was filmed, but he certainly fits the look of the western hero - or villain - reasonably well -

Image

He's the guy on the left, a prospector who wants to find the men who stole his gold and left him for dead; Fabio Testi on the right is the only surviving member of a family gunned down years before who wants revenge - and a signature on his property claim, stolen by the killers. They're travelling by stage to Denver City when the coach is held up, only to be rescued by the third of the trio, Jeff Cameron, who also has a reason to go to Denver City which is...I don't know. Not much in this film is explained well, and motivations for the large cast of bad guys, women, and good guys seem to come down to greed or revenge, period. Sloppy editing, mediocre music, half-assed gunfights and fistfights all add up to one of the weakest Italian westerns I've seen - and one of the worst Iranian films. Fardin shows some charisma here and doesn't seem out of his element but this seems to have been his only foreign venture, though again who knows given the incomplete data available. He had also developed a career as a writer/director by this point, and in fact one of his bigger hits, the musical Soltan ghalba / King of the Hearts appeared this same year.

6. Aghaye Halou / Mr. Naive (Dariush Mehrjui, 1970)

Mehrjui got his start doing genre pics himself, with the Eurospy-influenced Almaas 33 / Diamond 33 starring Persian-speaking American actress Nancy Kovack, in 1967, but he quickly turned to more serious work, and 1969's Gaav / The Cow is probably the single film most responsible for the growth of arthouse cinema in the country. That film takes a very jaundiced view of rural life, to say the least, and I wonder if this follow-up, a look at how a naive village bumpkin gets treated when he comes to Tehran to find a bride, might have been made as something of a corrective - see, people in the big cities aren't any better than those in small towns. It certainly is effective - the city here is one of corruption, deceit, heavy drinking, prostitution, and most especially the clever taking advantage of the weak or the uneducated - the naive, as the title suggests. Our hero - I'm not sure he's every named, but this was another terrible YouTube print with subs that were often white-on-white - gets off the bus with his many bags for the week-long vacation where he hopes to find his bride, and immediately has his suitcase stolen. From there things only get worse - he takes hours to find the man who had come to his village and befriended him, only to find out the guy is a scam artist, he falls in love with a dress-shop model and that doesn't work out well either, and so on. Mehrjui (still working as of this year) makes the young man bewildered and gullible for sure, and he almost verges on parody, but Ali Nasserian plays him with an inner strength and a combination of Walter Mitty-like dreaminess and the soul of a poet (a book of poetry seems to be his most precious possession) that makes him very sympathetic and relatively believable. It's a nightmare world that he enters into, and given that much of it is played for comedy - quite cruel comedy in many ways - we have little doubt that our little village man will survive, but we wonder at the end what cost the end of innocence? One of the better films on this theme I've seen and once again I hope to be able to see a more watchable copy someday.

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#28

Post by jeroeno » May 5th, 2019, 5:40 am

06. Shabe Yalda (Yalda Night) (2001)
07. Nar-o-nay (Pomegranate and Cane) (1989)
08. Shabah-e kazhdom (Spectre of Scorpion) (1987)

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#29

Post by albajos » May 5th, 2019, 3:15 pm

01. Bacheha-Ye aseman (1997) aka Children of Heaven Iran 8 official lists 3 214 checks

Off. list progress
+1 Film magazine's Best Iranian Films (2009) (4,1%)

!seen 1

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#30

Post by OldAle1 » May 5th, 2019, 3:40 pm

Walnuts, Roses and PoetryShow

Day 1 - Genre films 1965/7

1. Shabe ghuzi / Night of the Hunchback (Farokh Ghafari, 1965)
2. Ganje qarun / Croesus' Treasure (Syamak Yasami, 1965)
3. Vampir, Zan-e khoon-asham / The Female Vampire (Mostafa Oskooyi, 1967)

Day 2 - Iranian noir, 1961

4. Faryade nimeshab / The Midnight Terror (Samuel Khachikian, 1961)

Day 3 - Going West; Going to Tehran 1968/70

5. Ed ora... raccomanda l'anima a Dio! / Mardaneh bekosh / Stranger Say Your Prayers / etc, etc (Demofilo Fidani, 1968)
6. Aghaye Halou / Mr. Naive (Dariush Mehrjui, 1970)
Day 4 - Kimiai and Naderi in the early 70s

7. Reza motori / Reza, the Motorcylist (Masud Kiimiai, 1970)

I was reading somewhere within the last few days about how Kimiai consistently sides with the poor and the downtrodden, and how his films are typically rebellions against both power and social norms - though clearly there has been a shift in tone and in some of the content since the revolution, since the director stayed in the country and has continued to work. But his focus on crime and violence seems to have remained since his earliest work in the 60s, and this early film belongs fully to the tradition inhabited by his most famous film Gheisar from the year before. Behrez Vossoughi, who played the title role in that film, here appears in a dual role as the title character, a small-time criminal who steals a safe from a factory at night in a suspenseful opening scene, but then steals the cash away from his three accomplices - and Farokh Khan, an effete and snotty intellectual who is pledged to marry Farangis, daughter of a wealthy couple. Farokh is writing a novel about disturbed or crazy people and gets permission to spend a day in a psycho ward, where coincidentally Reza is being housed after he's captured and pretends to be a lunatic. A switch occurs - this is sort of clumsily elided and I wonder if it's the editing of the finished film that's the problem or perhaps missing footage - and Reza is the one released after a day. He ends up impressing his fiancee with how much he has changed, and it has an effect on him, ultimately dooming him to feel that he no longer belongs to either the world of petty crime and the underclass, nor to the educated elite world; there's no place for him. It's not the most subtle film and I think it needed a bit more time to develop some of the themes, but I'm rapidly coming to think that Vossoughi is one of the greatest actors in the world and he's terrific here, and the feel for the grit of Tehran 50 years ago is palpable, especially in the more action-oriented sequences. This copy was maybe slightly above average in quality for this period, with highly readable if not terribly fluent subs; Abbas Kiarostami designed the death-mask-like opening titles.

8. Dash akol (Masud Kimiai, 1971)

Vossoughi again, in an uncharacteristic film from the director from what I know. It's adapted from a short story by Sadegh Hedayat - best known for the novel Boof-e koor / The Blind Own which has been adapted several times, most notably perhaps by Raoul Ruiz in 1987 - about an honorable man who finds himself in the role of a surrogate father to the family of his friend when the friend dies, and suffering from an unrequited love for the much-too-young daughter. It takes place in Shiraz and it's a period piece, I'd guess dating to about a hundred years ago, and it's got a totally different style and rhythm to it than the other Kimiai films I've seen, or for that matter most other Iranian cinema; it feels closer in some ways to a Japanese samurai film, with Dash akol the noble warrior constrained by his principles and moral rectitude in a world that on the surface pays homage to them, but when it gets right down to it isn't much interested in him. Vossoughi is amazing here and the makeup is tremendous - I didn't recognize him at all - playing a character with a deep melancholy, never fully explained in part perhaps because he isn't willing to get at it's roots himself, constantly having to ward off the bullying, aggressive behavior of his main rival, Kakarostam, and eventually slipping into alcohol-fueled dreams and self-abnegation. The film has a tableau-like visual feel to it, with the impressive sets - or locations, this is a case where I can't really tell - always suggesting a monumental, storied past which Dash akol himself seems to belong to rather than the present. Pretty decent copy with all right subs.

9. Saz Dahani / Harmonica (Amir Naderi, 1974)

The first color film I've seen for this challenge, and it's quite bright, heavily saturated color at that, though also fairly naturalistic - no Hollywood Technicolor gloss here. It's set on the Persian Gulf coast, in a hot tropical-desert sun-drenched fishing village that seems to belong to another time, apart from the western-style clothes we see on some of the young boys who are our main characters. The women wear burkas or masks for the most part - though filmed before the Revolution, this could easily be mistaken for a film from the 1980s in it's focus on children and it's conservative setting. Essentially we have a story where one kid, apparently a little better off than the others, privileged and always wearing a long clean white shirt while the others run around with just shorts, receives a harmonica from his father and spends the film trading a few seconds time playing it to all the other kids for favors. One kid, a rather chunky young man named Amiroo, is so infatuated with the chance to blow on the instrument - these kids basically have nothing - that he submits to all kinds of indignities, including carrying the rich kid around on his back, for which he gets labelled a donkey. I suspect that this is a pointed jab at the Shah - whose father essentially made himself monarch and made all kinds of unsupported claims about the Pahlavi family - and how a despot can be made simply by having a little more than the people around him, and trading worthless favors for more and more power. But even without that specific reference, which may or may not be what Naderi had in mind, it''s an effective, short and simple treatment of the ways in which we allow others to dominate us, and how dangerous it is to give in too much to simple passions. A fine quality copy with generally quite good yellow subs.

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#31

Post by jdidaco » May 6th, 2019, 2:12 am

Thanks for hosting, OldAle1!

Abolfazl Jalili double-bill,

1. Bahar (Spring, Abolfazl Jalili, 1986) 8/10
2. La gale (Scabies, Abolfazl Jalili, 1989) 10/10 (l)

"When will I be released?"

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#32

Post by jeroeno » May 6th, 2019, 4:49 am

09. Sara (1993)

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#33

Post by cinephage » May 6th, 2019, 10:02 am

01. Talaye sorkh, by Jafar Panahi (2003) 9/10

Fantastic opening sequence, and a deeply haunting film. We follow a depressive man, who struggles to live in the world he once fought to build. Very intense and subtle.

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#34

Post by sol » May 6th, 2019, 10:31 am

The Wind Will Carry UsShow
1. Under the Shadow (2016)

2. Fireworks Wednesday (2006)

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Taraneh Alidoosti is excellent as the wide-eyed protagonist (see above), pulled between spying for one lady (who believes her husband is having an affair) and pretending to be the niece of the suspected mistress who does not want her home-run beauty salon shut down. With all this leading up to Alidoosti's own impending nuptials, director Asghar Farhadi presents an engaging look at relationship anxiety with immersive camerawork that follows the characters around. Some plot details are left hanging, but this is generally engaging stuff with ample mystery as to who is secretly doing what.
Former IMDb message boards user /// iCM | IMDb | My Top 500+ Favourite Films /// Long live the new flesh!
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#35

Post by flavo5000 » May 6th, 2019, 1:06 pm

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1. Mahi va gorbeh (2013) a.k.a. Fish & Cat
Eschewing a traditional horror format, this one is shot as one 2.5 hour tracking shot covering a group of college students at a kite gathering in the woods (this is a thing I guess?) and the creepy dudes running a restaurant nearby. While the overarching narrative is more in line with a horror movie, I'd hesitate to classify it as such given it's experimental style and complete lack of actual scares. It's an interesting film to watch but ultimately feels entirely too long and meandering at times.

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2. ZAR (2017)
ZAR on the other hand is definitely a more traditional horror movie with jump scares a-plenty, a ouija board scene and ghosts with bleeding eyes. It's fine for what it is but is certainly not as good as Under the Shadow. Although I guess if you are looking for a more standard Iranian horror movie as compared to stuff like A Girl Who Walks Home Alone At Night or the aforementioned Fish & Cat, then this one will suffice.
SpoilerShow
1. Mahi va gorbeh (2013)
2. ZAR (2017)
SpoilerShow

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#36

Post by maxwelldeux » May 6th, 2019, 4:14 pm

sol wrote:
May 6th, 2019, 10:31 am
2. Fireworks Wednesday (2006)
Oh good - I have that borrowed from the library... I'll report back soon.

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#37

Post by OldAle1 » May 6th, 2019, 4:15 pm

Walnuts, Roses and PoetryShow

Day 1 - Genre films 1965/7

1. Shabe ghuzi / Night of the Hunchback (Farokh Ghafari, 1965)
2. Ganje qarun / Croesus' Treasure (Syamak Yasami, 1965)
3. Vampir, Zan-e khoon-asham / The Female Vampire (Mostafa Oskooyi, 1967)

Day 2 - Iranian noir, 1961

4. Faryade nimeshab / The Midnight Terror (Samuel Khachikian, 1961)

Day 3 - Going West; Going to Tehran 1968/70

5. Ed ora... raccomanda l'anima a Dio! / Mardaneh bekosh / Stranger Say Your Prayers / etc, etc (Demofilo Fidani, 1968)
6. Aghaye Halou / Mr. Naive (Dariush Mehrjui, 1970)

Day 4 - Kimiai and Naderi in the early 70s

7. Reza motori / Reza, the Motorcylist (Masud Kiimiai, 1970)
8. Dash akol (Masud Kimiai, 1971)
9. Saz Dahani / Harmonica (Amir Naderi, 1974)
Day 5 - Farmanara's historical fiction

10. Shazdeh Ehtejab / Prince Ehtejab (Bahman Farmanara, 1974)

Prince Ehtejab, aka Khosrow, one of the last heirs of the Qajar dynasty that had ruled Iran for 150 years, sits dying of tuberculosis in a lonely mansion, remembering his own sins and malice in the treatment of his now-dead wife among others, and also reflecting on the brutality of his ancestors, specifically a grandfather who shot his own mother to death and walled up hundreds of people alive. This is based on a novel - which got it's author into trouble with the Shah, interesting as the film at least is a criticism of the earlier regime, not the Pahlavi "dynasty" specifically; I guess somebody in authority recognized that criticism of one family of despots could easily be seen as criticism of despots in general. This is a beautifully shot film and I found it engaging enough in it's temporal movements, but it's also one of those films that feels rather opaque to me, without any great knowledge of the period (roughly 1850-1925) covered or the real-life people they are at least loosely based on. Really good quality print, OK white hardsubs.

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#38

Post by OldAle1 » May 7th, 2019, 2:55 pm

Walnuts, Roses and PoetryShow

Day 1 - Genre films 1965/7

1. Shabe ghuzi / Night of the Hunchback (Farokh Ghafari, 1965)
2. Ganje qarun / Croesus' Treasure (Syamak Yasami, 1965)
3. Vampir, Zan-e khoon-asham / The Female Vampire (Mostafa Oskooyi, 1967)

Day 2 - Iranian noir, 1961

4. Faryade nimeshab / The Midnight Terror (Samuel Khachikian, 1961)

Day 3 - Going West; Going to Tehran 1968/70

5. Ed ora... raccomanda l'anima a Dio! / Mardaneh bekosh / Stranger Say Your Prayers / etc, etc (Demofilo Fidani, 1968)
6. Aghaye Halou / Mr. Naive (Dariush Mehrjui, 1970)

Day 4 - Kimiai and Naderi in the early 70s

7. Reza motori / Reza, the Motorcylist (Masud Kiimiai, 1970)
8. Dash akol (Masud Kimiai, 1971)
9. Saz Dahani / Harmonica (Amir Naderi, 1974)

Day 5 - Farmanara's historical fiction

10. Shazdeh Ehtejab / Prince Ehtejab (Bahman Farmanara, 1974)
Day 6 - three auteurs in the 70s

11. Postchi / The Postman (Dariush Mehrjui, 1972)

Mehrjui's fourth feature seems to me like it could form the third part in a loose thematic trilogy - the first two parts being 1969's Gaav and 1970's Aghaye Halou. All three are rather misanthropic works dealing with delusion and fantasy, all taking rather harsh looks at different elements of society. While the first and greatest of these deals with a madman obsessed with his cow and portrays the venality and ignorance of small village life, and the second shows a man under the delusion that life will be better in Tehran, and that he'll meet the woman of his dreams, Postchi offers the titular character as a lottery-obsessed man willing to risk his job and any kind of honor or self-worth he might have for money. The setting in this case isn't so clear - it seems to take place on the outskirts of some town, but mostly in a rural environment or in the environs of the crumbling mansion owned by the town's aging and dissolute lord played by Ezzatolah Entezami, who has key roles in all three of these Mehrjui films. There are also themes of masculinity and impotence relating to our protagonist, the lord and the doctor/veterinarian who seems to treat all the animals and people in the area (illegally as it turns out) and in the end it just feels like everyone in this world is scheming for his or her self, with little regard to society at large or other people. There is also an increasing element of absurdity that manifests and in the end it's clear that all is breaking down, life can't go on like this. I liked it, but overall probably not as much as most of the other 10 films I've seen from the director. Decent copy and subs.

12. Gharibeh Va Meh / Stranger and the Fog (Bahram Beizai, 1976)

I'm going to start out by mentioning that this was one of the worst-looking copies of any film that I've ever seen, and if it didn't entice me immediately in the first few minutes - and if I weren't an increasingly huge fan of the director, maybe second only to Kiarostami in his generation at this point in my estimation, I wouldn't have persevered. Low resolution nth-generation VHS rip with THREE watermarks onscreen at all times, the lower-left one obscuring half of the subs that aren't already obscured by being below the bottom of the chopped-off frame. I spent a good deal of time looking for something better but no such luck though it apparently HAD been on MUBI and perhaps looked like this -

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as opposed to what I watched:

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And yet... I got enough out of even this wretched viewing experience to believe this is probably a masterpiece. Its an enigmatic, mystical-mythical story of a young man who is found unconscious in a boat off the shore of a small fishing village; he knows little more than his name, Ayat, and that men are after him. The villagers take him in but are suspicious, and make him undergo trials of strength and drinking against the biggest, strongest man there, after which he is generally accepted, though some of the relatives of the woman he falls in love with, a young widow named Rana with an infant, remain troubled. Eventually his doom seems likely to come for him, and the village is involved whether they like it or not. There's a really good IMDb review which gets into more detail, I'd recommend that if you're interested and don't care too much about spoilers that your read that - or if you trust me, really love Beizai already, and/or have a high tolerance for crappy quality video copies, just check it out. For me there was enough here in Beizai's mise en scene, the ciematography which at moments shows it's brilliance despite the dimness of the transfer, the editing and sound - it pulled me into this strange world, even if there was clearly some stuff going on that I couldn't understand. The IMDb reviewer mentions the influences of world cinema, Tarkovsky and Kurosawa in particular; I'd also perhaps add Orson Welles. Not only does a climactic battle sequence offer some of the grit and muck and chaos of the Battle of Shrewsbury from Chimes at Midnight, but there's a secondary character who looks and sounds an awful lot like a 35-40 year old Welles.

13. Dar Ghorbat / In der Fremde / Far From Home (Sohrab Shaheed Saless, 1975)

Saless' first film as an exile, a German-Iranian co-production about Turkish laborers getting by in some large German city, in particular Hussein, a short dumpy guy who wants to meet a girl, but suffers from a lack of fluency in the language and also from the racism towards the gastarbeiter in general, though the racism angle in the film is relatively subdued. This is a fairly dreary film suffused with melancholy and near-hopelessness, with Hussein engaged in performing the same repetitive task at his job over and over, coming back to the same apartment he shares with several others, walking up the several flights of stairs and saying "Guten Abend" to the old lady who peers at him from the door of a lower floor apartment as he trudges upward. It's very well done though I guess I don't see the greatness here that propelled this into a DTC slot; Saless' previous two Iranian features are both more interesting IMO, though all three films are quite "minimalist" and rather dreary. But certainly as an early example of the Diaspora film in regards to Iran, it has some importance.

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#39

Post by maxwelldeux » May 7th, 2019, 4:45 pm

And Iran, Iran so far awayShow
1. A Taste of Cherry (1997)
2. The Salesman (2016)
Well, hell. This was one of the most rewarding watches I've had in a while... actually Gold Diggers of 1933 was the last movie that got me this excited. Anyway... fascinating film. Great look at people dealing with a tragedy. The moral complexity of tracking down and confronting the person who did it. The effects on everyone around. Just so much to love and dig into. Damn... easy addition to the top of my Middle Eastern list, and near the top of my all-time favorites. :wub:

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#40

Post by Knaldskalle » May 8th, 2019, 2:53 am

3. Where Is My Friend's Home? (Kiarostami, 1987). Very moving movie with the simplest of premises, an 8-year old boy accidentally brings home the wrong homework book from school, so he seeks out his friend's house in the next village to return it so that the friend won't get into trouble. Simple, yet so sincerely done that you can't help but be invested in it.

4. Homework (Kiarostami, 1989). Interesting, and slightly disturbing, documentary with 1st-2nd grade children giving interviews about their homework habits. A lot of them have trouble with it because their parent are illiterate and a lot of them are beaten when they don't do it or don't do it well. Despite the superficial similarity to the above film it's very different.

5. About Elly (Farhadi, 2009). Interesting drama, revolving around a group of "youngish" couples that go to the sea for a long weekend. Everything's honky-dory on the surface, but when Elly vanishes things start falling apart fast. What struck me the most about it (and which noone has apparently commented on on iCM) is how everyone lied. I don't think there was one single person who was truthful throughout the movie. I think this one will stay with me for a while, it had some real "meat" to it.

Iran alsoShow
1. Offside (Panahi, 2006)
2. This is Not a Film (Panahi, 2011)
3. Where Is My Friend's Home? (Kiarostami, 1987)
4. Homework (Kiarostami, 1989)
5. About Elly (Farhadi, 2009)
Personal film goals for 2019.
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