24th Annual Houston Iranian Film Festival

Arts and Entertainment

January 5, 2017

From: Houston Iranian Film Festival

The 24th festival (January 2024 at the MFAH; January 25 at Rice Cinema) presents films provided by distributors and filmmakers based in Tehran, Canada, and the U.S. The lineup features entertaining, inspiring, and touching films in multiple genres, including comedy, drama, documentary, and animation. Among the familiar actors in this year's selections are Leila Hatami; Shahab Hosseini, named best actor at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival; and Niki Karimi, a guest in 2004. The festival also honors influential filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, who passed away in July.

Schedule of Films:

January 20, 2017

7 p.m - 8:20 p.m: I (Me)

Director: Soheil Beiraghi

Leila Hatami (A Separation) gives a tour-de-force performance as an ambitious hustler navigating Tehran's complicated subculture. Solitary and determined, she is involved in everything from smuggling refugees to brokering million-dollar land sales, somehow managing to dodge the local police. The heroine lives alone in a huge empty apartment, where she receives instructions on flash drives delivered in pizza boxes. Briefly distracted by the attention of an attractive motorcycle-riding musician, she summons her focus to resume her nefarious activities until a trusted confidant betrays her.

8:30 p.m 10:10 p.m: Chaharshanbeh, 19 Ordibehesht

Director: Vahid Jalivand

A generous Tehran businessman places an ad to give away a small fortune to a deserving person. Interlocking stories follow women responding to the opportunity, including an unglamorous Niki Karimi, who plays the wife of a seriously ill man who needs surgery; and newcomer Sahar Ahmadpour as a young newlywed who has not yet told her family she is married. Meanwhile, the overwhelmed philanthropist (played by director Vahid Jalivand) keeps his reasons for giving away the money to himself. Wednesday, May 9 is an internationally award-winning film that explores the relationship between need and desire, the difference between charity and obligation, and the conflict between love and family loyalty.

January 21, 2017

7 p.m 8:55 p.m: Lantouri

Director: Reza Dormishian

With a bold storytelling style, director Reza Dormishian touches on themes of human rights and criminal justice in this powerful drama about journalist Maryam and the man who becomes obsessed with her. Lantouri is the name of a gang of petty criminals in Tehran. Pasha, a member of the gang, falls in love with Maryam, who is also a social activist and has started a "No to Violence" campaign in which she tries to convince families of crime victims to forgive the perpetrators. When Maryam rejects Pasha, he harms her in a shocking act of violence that gains widespread attention. In response, Maryam appeals to the court, requesting lex talionis the law, applicable in Iran, of "an eye for an eye."

9:15 p.m 11 p.m: A Dragon Arrives! (Ejdeha Vared Mishavad!)

Director: Mani Haghighi

This edgy tale shifts back and forth in time and demands close attention. Based on the experiences of the filmmaker's grandfather, a movie sound engineer who disappeared mysteriously in the 1960s, the film follows three men who encounter an abandoned ship in the middle of a desert, adjacent to a cemetery that may be haunted. Their story unfolds through anecdotes told in the present, alternating with excerpts from their unusual experiences decades earlier. Unlike any other Iranian film you have ever seen, A Dragon Arrives! is described by Film Comment as "full of allusions to Iranian popular cinema of the 1960s and 1970s, in gloriously outré colors, with a healthy dose of grimly Surrealist humor that never gets old. It's heady stuff, and pleasantly crazy."

5 p.m 6:40 p.m: Radio Dreams

January 22, 2017

Director: Babak Jalali

An eccentric Iranian writer pursues his ambitious goal of bringing together American heavy-metal band Metallica and Afghanistan's first rock band, Kabul Dreams, at a satellite radio station in San Francisco. Radio Dreams follows Hamid, who has moved to the U.S. to pursue his writing career. He works at a small Persian radio station, seeking artistic satisfaction through the esoteric programming he puts together for his audience. Meanwhile, the owners of the station try to cash in on Hamid's only idea they consider commercially viable an on-air jam session with Kabul Dreams and their longtime idols, Metallica.

January 24, 2017

7 p.m 9:05 p.m: The Salesman (Forushande)

Director: Asghar Farhadi

This new film from acclaimed director Asghar Farhadi (About Elly; A Separation) debuted at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, winning the award for best screenplay as well as best actor for Shahab Hosseini. In The Salesman, married couple Emad (Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) forced out of their apartment because of building damage must move into a new place. Soon, they experience a sudden, traumatic incident. Meanwhile, they are performing in an amateur production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, and their stage personalities start to infiltrate their real lives. Farhadi keeps the audience riveted as this absorbing, Neorealist drama unfolds.

Fest Date: January 20 - 24, 2017

Location: Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet Street, Houston, TX 77005

Tickets: General admission is $10. MFAH members, students with ID, and seniors (65+) receive a $2 discount.

For More Information - https://www.mfah.org/calendar/series/houston-iranian-film-festival