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Iranian Film Fest Returns to High

"Iranian Film Today" Set for 10th year at High Museum
August 24–September 29, 2007

ATLANTA, July 26, 2007 – The tenth annual Iranian Film Today festival opens at the High Museum this month, featuring ground-breaking films from award-winning filmmakers. Beginning Friday, August 24, and continuing through Saturday, September 29, the eight-film series offers an exceptional sampling of Iranian filmmaking, from absurdist comedy to poignant character study, from raucous road-movie to humble love story.

“The award-winning films in Iranian Film Today are compelling works of art that also explore a society most often defined in the United States by news bites and political speeches,” said Linda Dubler, Curator of Media Arts at the High. “The humor, passion and insight with which these directors address issues of women’s place in society, unemployment, marriage and human rights will be a revelation to anyone discovering Persian film, an art that blurs the boundaries between fiction and documentary.”

Iranian Film Today begins on Friday, August 24, with Santouri, The Music Man from director Dariush Mehrjui, a hit at the 2007 Fajr Film Festival. This drama centers on Ali, a young singer and santour player who, after injuring his hand in a fight, is unable to play, sliding into depression and drug abuse. The director, producer, and two stars will be present at the screening.

Winner of the Best Screenplay award at the Fajr Film Festival, Men at Work, on Saturday, August 25, is writer-director Mani Haghighi’s comedy of the absurd. In her Tribeca Film Festival review, Variety’s Deborah Young called the film “delightfully droll. . . . Sophisticated audiences will enjoy this thoroughly modern spoof on masculine fixations, played out in frank, realistic dialogue.”

On Saturday, September 8, Café Setareh from director Saman Moghadam presents three interrelated stories of working-class women in Tehran, exploring how codes of moral conduct, family obligation and gender roles affect Faribah, a café owner coping with an alcoholic husband; Salome, a young woman who dreams of marriage; and middle-aged Moluk, who has her eye on a younger man. Variety’s Robert Koehler called the film “finely nuanced . . . a dramatic poem . . . beautifully and realistically captured.

The raucous, comedic road-movie Half Moon showing on Saturday, September 15, features Mamo, an elderly Kurdish musician who is determined to play in Iraq, where under Saddam Hussein, Kurdish music had been silenced for 35 years. With his ten talented sons and a banned female singer, he embarks on a musical odyssey complicated by bribe-hungry officials, random gun fire and a village elder’s dire predictions. Bahman Ghobadi directed.

On Friday, September 28, A Few Days Later. . . from actress-director Niki Karimi paints a portrait of a modern Iranian woman, Shahrzad, whose busy work schedule distracts her from her boyfriend and the disabled son they are raising together. In the Toronto Film Festival catalogue, Dimitri Eipides notes that the film “. . . pays close attention to how everyday life unfolds regardless of emotional upheaval.”

Winner of the 2006 Golden Hugo for best feature at the Chicago International Film Festival, Asghar Farhadi’s Fireworks Wednesday, on Saturday, September 29, concludes the film series. The fireworks of the Persian New Year are echoed in the lives of an affluent couple and their young maid in what Variety’s Deborah Young called a “beautifully paced drama about marital infidelity . . . psychologically intricate and dramatically engrossing.”

The tenth annual Iranian Film Today would not be possible without the assistance of Iranian cinema specialist Reza Sohrabi, who generously donated his time and expertise to this program.

Film Series Schedule

All films are screened at 8 p.m. (unless otherwise noted here) in the Richard H. Rich Theatre, located in the Memorial Arts Building, next to the High Museum at Peachtree and 15th Streets in midtown Atlanta. All films are in Persian with subtitles. Half Moon is in Persian and Kurdish with subtitles.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by visiting the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office, calling 404-733-5000, or going online at Admission prices are $5 for the public; $4 for Museum members, students and seniors; patron-level members enter free. Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the night of the screening.

Tickets for Santouri, The Music Man are $10 general admission and $8 for Museum members, students and seniors. Patron-level members enter free.

For more information, click here for the High Museum website.