Houston Iranian Film Festival 2016

Arts and Entertainment

January 7, 2016

From: Houston Iranian Film Festival

For the 23rd edition of the longest-running MFAH film festival, the Museum is honored by the presence of actress Fatemeh Motamed Arya. She is scheduled to attend a rare, Tuesday-night screening on February 2, accompanied by her husband, actor Ahmad Hamed. Another highlight of this year's festival is a new documentary about artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, who is represented in the Museum's permanent collection. The Houston Iranian Film Festival continues at Asia Society Texas Center and Rice Cinema.

Film selections were made in collaboration with Tom Vick of the Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Smithsonian Institution's museums of Asian art; Carter Long of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Barbara Scharres of the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago. 

Schedule of Films:

January 22, 2016

7 p.m: Tales

Ghesse-ha

Directed by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad

Interlocking stories of disparate characters trying to make sense of modern-day Iran. One of that country's leading women directors tells interlocking stories set in Tehran with a predominantly female cast. The film is woven together with incidents and personalities that appear in more than one story and features talented stage actors.

January 23, 2016

7 p.m: Melbourne

Directed by Nima Javidi

Variety exclaims, "This remarkable debut transcends cultural barriers with its compellingly universal and thoroughly engrossing premise." Indeed, this drama starring Payman Moaadi (A Separation) and Negar Javaherian as a couple moving to Australia for graduate studies offers an unnerving tone reminiscent of Hitchcock. As they prepare, characters come and go, while the hustle and bustle hides a dreadful reality. Suddenly, the couple is plunged into a craftily orchestrated nightmare that offers no easy solutions.

8:45 p.m: 316

Directed by Payman Haghani

An aging woman (Sara Vazirzadeh) narrates her life story through memories dominated by the shoes belonging to those she loved. She recounts her childhood when she anxiously waited until she could wear high heels, her life during wartime, meeting her husband, and having children and grandchildren. Payman Haghani's (A Man Who Ate His Cherries) imaginative second film examines the narrative structure in most creative ways: even though audiences do not see the faces of each character, the emotional reaction is just as rewarding as the film unfolds.

January 29, 2016

7 p.m: Monir

Directed by Bahman Kiarostami

This 2014 documentary looks at the life and work of Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, who first came to attention in the 1970s, when she pioneered new forms of geometric mirror works. She created an artistic language that was informed by ancient Iranian craft as well as modern American masters such as Barnett Newman and Frank Stella. Farmanfarmaian is one of the most innovative and influential artists of the Middle East; her method of constructing mirror mosaics reflects on the political changes in her own country and her subsequent migration to New York. Monir, which features a musical score by composer Hooshyar Khayam and the Kronos Quartet, meets up with the artist back in Tehran. Her return after 30 years sparked an artistic rebirth for Farmanfarmaian, who turned 90 in 2014 and is at the peak of her career.

8:30 p.m: Jafar Panahi's "Taxi"   

Directed by Jafar Panahi

Over the years, the Museum has presented films by leading Iranian director Jafar Panahi, whose international acclaim began with The White Balloon in 1995 and continues through the films made since his house arrest: This Is Not a Film (2011) and Closed Curtain (2013). The theatrical premiere of his latest release, ​Taxi which won the Golden Bear at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival furthers that commitment.

January 30, 2016

7 p.m: I Am Diego Maradona

Directed by Bahram Tavakoli

Man Diego Maradona hastam

A writer narrates his story with multiple beginnings, middles, and ends. When the work is stolen by a friend, the author receives little sympathy from his family. The film introduces more and more characters who become involved in criminal mischief, kidnapping, and attempted murder or do they?

Laugh-out-loud moments are interspersed with dark humor that reward audiences along for the wild ride. This comedy-drama garnered 11 nominations at the 33rd Fajr Film Festival, where actor/filmmaker Houman Seyyedi won Best Supporting Actor.

9 p.m: Jafar Panahi's "Taxi"   

Directed by Jafar Panahi

Over the years, the Museum has presented films by leading Iranian director Jafar Panahi, whose international acclaim began with The White Balloon in 1995 and continues through the films made since his house arrest: This Is Not a Film (2011) and Closed Curtain (2013). The theatrical premiere of his latest release, ​Taxi which won the Golden Bear at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival furthers that commitment.

February 2, 2016

7 p.m: Avalanche

Directed by Morteza Farshbaf

In Person: Actress Fatemeh Motamed Arya (Simin)

The remarkable Fatemeh Motamed Arya (Simin) gives a nuanced, tour-de-force performance as Homa, a senior nurse taking care of an old woman during a snowstorm that has hit Iran and shut down the city. The strain of Homa's responsibilities and the claustrophobic situation bring on insomnia and a personal crisis.

Fest Date: January 22 - February 2, 2016

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

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

For More Information - http://www.mfah.org/films/series/10/