25th Annual Houston Iranian Film Festival

Arts and Entertainment

January 16, 2018

From: Houston Iranian Film Festival

Film Schedule:

Friday, January 19, 2018

7 p.m.–9 p.m.: Breath (Nafas)

This bittersweet family drama from filmmaker and novelist Narges Abyar is Iran’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2018 Academy Awards. The story takes place in Yazd between 1977 and 1980, a tumultuous time spanning the Iranian Revolution and Iran–Iraq War.

Breath features a riveting performance by Sareh Nour Mousavi as Bahar, a spirited little girl who lives with her father and grandmother after losing her mother. Bahar loves to read and uses her vivid imagination, fantasy, and folklore to escape the turmoil that surrounds her. The film earned multiple honors at the Fajr Film Festival and was critically praised for its innovative depiction of war as experienced from a child’s perspective.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

7 p.m.–8:45 p.m: Ava

Coming of age in Iran, Ava (Mahour Jabbari) faces pressure to conform to the expectations of her parents, her school, and her teenaged friends. When she learns that her parents were once flagrant rule-breakers themselves, Ava begins to rebel, pitting her parents against each other.

Ava masterfully demonstrates how an authoritarian culture can force denial and detachment, particularly among young women during their formative, yet vulnerable, high school years. The film is the debut feature of Sadaf Foroughi, an Iranian-born writer and producer now residing in Canada, who based the film on her own adolescent experiences.

9 p.m.–10:30 p.m: Tehran Taboo

An edgy animated film for adult audiences, Tehran Taboo follows three strong-willed women and one young man who cross paths in Tehran while each pursues morally questionable activities.

From a prostitute whose young son waits nearby during her transactions, to a musician whose one-night stand has disturbing consequences, it is clear that breaking taboos can be a means of personal emancipation. As first-time director Ali Soozandeh explains, “Everyone sees these taboos, but no one talks about them. There is a huge silence at the center of the society that no one breaks. That was the big question I wanted to ask: Why do we all play along?” Tehran Taboo was the first animated feature in the prestigious Critics’ Week at the Cannes International Film Festival.

Friday, January 26, 2018

7 p.m.–8:30 p.m: Disappearance (Napadid shodan)

Over the course of one long night, teen couple Sara and Hamed visit a series of hospitals, terrified that their first romantic encounter may have dire consequences. However, none of the doctors will provide Sara the medical attention she needs without the presence of a parent. The couple’s desperation increases as they must hide what is happening from their parents—resulting in an expanding web of lies that changes their lives forever.

Praising the strong performances by the young lead actors, the Toronto International Film Festival observed that the film “shows us the complex reality of Iran’s strict cultural mores while casting a compassionate gaze upon the resilience of youth.”

Saturday, January 27, 2018

7 p.m.–9 p.m: 24 Frames

24 Frames is a contemplative photo-film essay started by filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami and, after his death in 2016, completed by his son Ahmad. The film comprises short vignettes based on photographs Abbas Kiarostami took over 40 years.

Upon the film’s premiere at Cannes, Barbara Scharres wrote on rogerebert.com: “These sequences are breathtaking in the beauty of the photography, and startling in the acuteness and vibrant curiosity of the vision. Each is a mini-drama evolving in its own time. Kiarostami’s love of snowy landscapes, the sea, the forces of nature, and his fascination with the unsentimental drama of the animal world bring home the intelligence and patient vision of the artist behind the camera.”

Sunday, January 28, 2018

5 p.m.–6:35 p.m: Negar

This absorbing drama is a mystery-thriller with a touch of the supernatural. When her father’s death is ruled a suicide, Negar (Negar Javaherian) does not agree with the decision. Handsome Peyman, who worked for her father, tries to help Negar find peace of mind—but when Negar investigates on her own, she sees visions of what really happened. Father and daughter have discussions and relive family moments, and he provides her with clues in real time that steer her toward the truth. Negar discovers her father was in business with a ruthless criminal, and she vows revenge, but the new insights cause her to cast suspicion on everyone around her.

Fest Date: January 19 - 28, 2018

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

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

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