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February 23, 2011

Iranian Film blogathon


Some might find it odd, but it was my mother, at that time a resident of Jerusalem, and a fervent Zionist, who encouraged me to see my first Iranian film. That film happened to be Gabbeh by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The film is mostly about a young woman and a rug, a specific kind of Persian rug. There's more to the film than that, but I've been watching Iranian films since then.

I made a point of sending by niece a DVD of Jafar Panahi's Offside for two reasons. First, I thought it important that as a teenage girl that she sees a film with strong, positive, female characters around her age. Second, I wanted to give her some glimpse into Iran and Iranians that would counter the usual impression provided by U.S. mass media. Third, I wanted to let her know that there are sometimes worthwhile films that don't show up at the neighborhood multiplex.

For myself, just because I don't write about Iranian films doesn't mean I don't watch them. I do have a couple of posts from years back with links provided here. One is for two films written by Abbas Kiarostami, one directed by Kiarostami and the other directed by Jafar Panahi. This was posted back when this blog was still in its infancy, when my skills at HTML were more primitive than they are now, and before I learned how to add screen caps.

The second posting is about a book and a DVD that look back at the history of filmmaking in Iran. While there is some kind of sense about Iranian film from about the late 1990s on, there is only an extremely limited amount of material letting us know of the films and filmmakers from earlier eras.

For much more on Iranian cinema, please visit the blogathon home site at The Sheila Variations.

Posted by peter at February 23, 2011 05:43 AM


Peter - thank you, thank you! I would love to hear how your niece responded to Offside. I saw it here in New York at BAM and some parents had brought their kids, and the kids seemed to just love it. It was really heartening.

And thanks, too, for the book reviews. Fascinating.

Posted by: sheila at February 23, 2011 09:51 AM