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[OT] Sarai Film Series V

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Subject: Sarai Film Series V
Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2001 00:12:53 +0530

Asian film cultures: Iranian cinema

The Sarai weekly film screenings resume with a second series on Asian
Film Cultures from August 24th 2001. A series of seven Iranian Films
will be screened, as always on every Friday at 4:30 pm, in the Seminar
Room, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, 29 Rajpur Road,
Delhi- 54.
We are grateful to the Iranian Cultural Centre and Vijay Tankha, St.
Stephens's College Cine Club for making this series possible.

August 24th 2001
The White Balloon
1995, 85 minutes?
Director: Jafar Panahi

The White Balloon tells the story of a young girl's desire for a pretty
goldfish to start her New Year's holiday. Snake charmers, a distracted
dry cleaner tailor, a lonely and talkative soldier and other assorted
adults get in the way of her goal. Screenplay writer Abbas Kiorastami
noted that `the screenplay dealt with the Iranian New Year and people
who for whatever reason cannot celebrate the setting in of the New Year
with traditional ceremonies. The screenplay focused on marginal
characters who gradually replaced the major characters and actually had
the say.

August 31st 2001
The Cyclist
1989, 75?minutes
Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf

The cyclist of the title is Nassim, an Afghan refugee in need of money
to pay his wife's medical expenses. With work difficult to come by, a
sleazy promoter suggests he undertake a bicycle marathon. Touting him as
the Afghani superman, the huckster wagers that Nassim will circle a
small area on the outskirts of town, day and night, for a week. While he
rides, a carnival of society's dispossessed grows alongside the
desperate cyclist. Gamblers, bookies, buskers, food vendors, and leprous
gawkers watch from the sidelines, cynically using Nassim's suffering for
their own purposes.

September 7th 2001
Marriage of the Blessed
1989, 75 minutes
Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf

Makhmalbaf's controversial take on the Iran-Iraq war concerns a
shell-shocked veteran struggling to readjust to civilian life. Haji
(Mahmud Bigham), the recently discharged protagonist, is a
photojournalist engaged to the daughter of a wealthy family. Tormented
by nightmarish visions of his time at the front, obsessed with famine in
Africa and the chaos in Lebanon, and unable to cope with the everyday
indifference to poverty and injustice on the streets of Tehran, he
hurtles towards another mental breakdown as his wedding approaches.

September 14th 2001
1990, 90 minutes
Director: Abbas Kiorastami

Close-up is based on actual events, and tells the story of Ali Sabzian,
an unemployed young man who insinuates himself into the life of a
wealthy family for a week by passing himself off as the well-known film
director Makhmalbaf. The impersonation was ultimately exposed and
Sabzian was arrested, charged, and tried as a confidence man. After
reading of the case in a magazine, Kiarostami gained permission to film
the court proceedings, and then afterwards managed to convince the
principals -- the real-life Sabzian and his alleged victims-- to play
themselves in a dramatic reenactment of the events leading up to trial.
The director then blended the verite trial footage with the dramatic
reconstructions; the result is this remarkable, ironic, one-of-a-kind,
house-of-mirrors film.

September 21st 2001
Where is my friend's home,
1987, 90 minutes
Director: Abbas Kiorastami

In a village in the mountains-to which Kiarostami would return for two
more films-Ahmad returns from school to begin his homework, but realizes
he's taken his pal's notebook by mistake. Teacher has decreed that
homework always be done in the same book. Escaping his mother's eagle
eye, he sets out to return it to his friend-but en route, remembers he
doesn't know where the kid lives.?

September 28th 2001
And life goes on
1992, 91 minutes
Director: Abbas Kiorastami

Amid the rubble of the '90 earthquake, actually reconstructed for the
film, a man who has lost a sister and five nieces, still busies himself
rigging a TV antenna because, as he says with a smile, the World Cup
comes only every four years. A film director and his son keep bumping
into characters from Where Is My Friend's Home, even as they anxiously
search for the two boys who were its stars.


Maybe Some Other Time,
Director: Bahram Bayzai

Maybe . . . Some Other Time is the story of a pregnant middle-class
woman, Kian, a foster child in search of the reasons for her uncertainty
about her own identity. In a scene orchestrated by her jealous husband,
she encounters a replica of her biological mother in a painting laid
aside on the floor of an antique cellar. In a quest for answers she also
finds her previously unknown twin sister Vida, an accomplished restorer
and painter who is married to the owner of the antique cellar,

October 5th 2001
Children of Heaven
1997, 90 minutes
Director: Majid Majidi

A little girl can't go to school without her shoes in Majid Majidi's
Children of Heaven. Little Zahra's older brother, Ali actually lost the
shoes during an expedition to the local grocer. This perpetually worried
boy, who doesn't want his parents to find out about his lapse,
eventually comes up with a makeshift solution to the problem. His sister
will wear his sneakers to school in the morning; he will take them in
the afternoon. Naturally their attempts to synchronize their schedules
lead to complications. Later, Ali enters a race, promising his sister
that he will finish in third place - the third-place prize being a pair
of sneakers.

Sarai: The New Media Initiative
Centre for the Study of Developing Societies
29,Rajpur Road, Delhi - 54
Phone:  91-11-3951190
Fax: 91-11-2943450