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Entries in Iranian Cinema (13)

Saturday
May272017

Cannes Prizes Pt 1: Sidebar Glories and Oscar Dreams

Congratulations to this poodle below from The Meyerowitz Stories who won the coveted Palme Dog

The Palme Dog is not an official prize from the festival itself but it's always fun to see who wins. Past years winners have been the utterly adorable bulldog from Paterson (2016), the Maltese from Arabian Nights (2014), Uggie from The Artist (2011) and so on. The Palme Dog people also gave an honorary to the bomb sniffing dogs working Cannes to ensure the safety of the industry professionals attending. 

But wait that's not all. Two of the official Cannes juries also named their winners in advance of tomorrow's main closing night ceremony. Read about them after the jump...

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Monday
May082017

The Furniture: The Salesman Crafts His Own Stage

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail. Here's Daniel Walber...

Asghar Farhadi's Oscar winning The Salesman begins with a set. The opening credits appear over the quiet stage of a small Tehran theater, nearly ready to debut a new production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. We see the bed before the actors who will lie in it, neon lights illuminated for an empty house. It is a quite literal setting of the stage before the drama begins.

It’s not a play adaptation, but it often feels like one. There are few locations and the cast is small. And, as in many play adaptations, the production design does a lot of heavy lifting...

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Friday
Dec092016

Interview: Oscar-Winner Asghar Farhadi Returns with "The Salesman"

by Nathaniel R

Two award winners: Asghar Farhadi with his star Shahab Hosseni

Asghar Farhadi's fame is finally catching up to his talent. After his international breakthrough with A Separation (2011) which won the Oscar and the Globe Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and became a significant arthouse hit internationally, the Iranian auteur has had three other movies travel to cinemas abroad. The acclaimed About Elly (2009) found renewed life and finally a US release, and his two follow up pictures The Past (2013) and The Salesman (2016) both took home coveted acting prizes from Cannes.

The Salesman, which will begin its US release in January after an Oscar-qualifying week recently in Los Angeles, is Farhadi's fourth consecutive film to be chosen by Iran to represent the country at the Academy Awards. Like A Separation, it's a stunner which begins simply before a fraught incident sends out large ripples complicating the story and the characterizations. We talked to Farhadi about the pressure of representing Iran, his Oscar night journey, and his creative process. The interview is after the jump...

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Saturday
Oct222016

Middleburg Day 2: The Salesman, Manchester by the Sea, Women in Hollywood

by Nathaniel R

On the first full day at the Middleburg Film Festival after that cathartic teary opening with Lion, I attempted to schedule a horseback ride for the full Middleburg experience. The town is known for its rich horses & hunting history and you can see horses and foxes in sculpture form and in signs and logos in the charming little town. Rain got in the way of a ride but all was not lost since a beautiful black and white cat named Callisto greeted me inside the stable at practically a full gallop and began rubbing up all over me. Dear reader, I can assure you that her love was requited! She was 21 years old but super friendly, spry and playful so the country life has obviously been kind to her. One can assume the horses also love her as she hasn't been stepped on. 

So back to the movies I went, a perfect activity for rainy days even when you aren't at a film festival.

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Tuesday
Oct182016

Reviews: "Desierto" and "Under the Shadow"

by Nathaniel R

Jeffrey Dean Morgan & Gael García Bernal in "Desierto"

Two more Oscar submissions are now in limited release in the US: Mexico's Desierto and the UK's Tehran set film Under the Shadows. Both are what you might call horror films though one suspects only the latter would accept the label. 

Desierto
We'll go anywhere with Gael García Bernal, who has blessed us with a number of fine road trip / travel movies in his career like Y Tu Mama Tambien, The Motorcycle Diaries , and The Loneliest Planet. In short, he's the perfect choice as a protagonist if you want us to sign up for a gruelling journey...

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Thursday
Oct222015

Women's Pictures - Ana Lily Amirpour's A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

Let's be honest: as of 2014, the vampire sucked. Over its 150+ year history, the vampire has evolved from the exotic, erotic monster of Le Fanu's Carmilla and Stoker's Dracula, to Lugosi's low budget lothario, to the dangerously sexy rebels of The Lost Boys, to the brooding romantics of Anne Rice and Joss Whedon, to the defanged teenage fantasies of American preteen girls.While I don't begrudge girls their sexual fantasies, the fact remains that the vampire, in its current glittery form, is a far cry from the symbol of sexuality and otherness that it had been at its inception. With notable exceptions like Thirst and Let the Right One In, vampires have spent the last 30 years getting weaker, whiter, more often male, and very American. With A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Iranian American writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour is here to change all that.

It's difficult to define A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night as just one movie: it's a vampire flick, a spaghetti western, a love story, a feminist fantasy, and an allegory about Iran. The plot is fairly simple to describe: a young man named Arash (Arash Marandi) living in a corrupt city in Iran (known only as Bad City) falls in love with The Girl (Sheila Vand), a streetwalking vampire who preys on drugdealers and beggars. But don't dismiss this as a weak narrative film.

More...

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Wednesday
Oct142015

Oscar's Foreign Race Pt 5: We do love our trivia!

"everything u ever wanted to know about the foreign film category
*...but were afraid to ask"

Pt 1 81 Trailers | Pt 2 Women Directors & Debuts | Pt 3 Zoology | Pt 4 I know that face! 

who will follow Pawel Pawlikowski (Poland's IDA) to an Oscar win for Foreign Language Film?OKAY OKAY. We promise to calm down now.

We hope you've enjoyed our week long attempt to get you really pumped up for an Oscar category that's sometimes hard to get invested: Best Foreign Language Film. The films can be hard to track down making this competition less accessible, so we try our statistics and anecdotes and lists to pique your curiosity!  

But from here on out we'll try to track down as many as we can and actually see them. Imagine it: seeing movies! Please do share this series on twitter and facebook and whatnot. It's so much work and so many websites just depressingly print text only lists of titles and call it a day! We've already reviewed or done interviews from 11 of the pictures: Argentina's The Clan, Austria's Goodnight Mommy (now in theaters), Colombia's Embrace of the Serpent, Dominican Republic's Sand Dollars, France's Mustang, Germany's Labyrinth of Lies (now in theaters!), Hungary's Son of Saul, Norway's The Wave, Portugal's Arabian Nights Volume 2, Sweden's A Pigeon Sat on a Branch, and Taiwan's The Assassin (opens Friday!). Off blog we've lined up screenings of 8 more in the next two weeks so we'll be sure to report. We'll never get to 81 but we can try.

ONE FINAL ROUND OF TRIVIA AFTER THE JUMP
Let's talk running times, previous Oscar nominees, and returning directors who've been submitted before.

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Wednesday
Sep302015

HBO’s LGBT History: Be Like Others (2008)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

Last week we looked at Bernard and Doris, which gave us a chance to wax on about two underrated actors, Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes. This week, we look abroad as we pause to think about Tanaz Eshaghian’s documentary Be Like Others (also known as Transsexual in Iran). More...

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