Boston Muslim Film Festival: Panahi's "Offside;" Qurbani’s "Shahada"

Offering films that engage with contentious issues of faith and politics and inspired by a spirit of tolerance and compassion, the Boston Muslim Film Festival draws to a close over the next two weeks. Here are two upcoming films:

Screening for free tonight at 6 p.m. at the Goethe Institute, the German-Afghani director Burhan Qurbani's "Shahada" vitalizes the multi-narrative schematics of "Babel" or "Crash" with the intensity and authenticity of such Fatih Akin films as "Head-on." Divided into chapters titled after the Five Pillars of Islam, the film follows the intersecting paths of three second generation Muslim young people who, with varying success attempt to reconcile their faith with such challenges as abortion, adultery, and sexual identity that  they encounter in contemporary Berlin.

Screening tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at ArtsEmerson,  "Offside" (2006) might be the last film made by the great Jafar Panahi if the tyrants in charge of Iran have their way. The story of young women who get caught when they dress like boys in order to evade a men-only policy and get to see the Iran team's 2006 World Cup qualifying match against Bahrain, it embraces its themes of justice and gender equality with wit, irony, and great moral clarity. The film was banned and never screened in Iran, and three years later Panahi was arrested and recently sentenced to six years in prison and a prohibition from making films for twenty years.

Prior to the screening, Tom Meek,  "Boston Phoenix" critic and President of the Boston Society of Film critics, will read that organization's statement condemning Panahi's persecution and that of fellow Iranian filmmaker Mohamad Rousalof. He will also suggest how you might add your voice to the protest.

The Goethe Institute is at 170 Beacon St, Boston. 617.262.6050.

ArtsEmerson is in the Paramount Center, 559 Washington Street.  617.824.8000 


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