Two more lists from Phoenix contributors.
Aside from the glitz and parties and nonstop illusions, sometimes a film festival, and a film, can, in some small way, change the world. The independent distributor Palisades Tartan picked up the latest work by the incarcerated and banned Iranian filmmaker, Jafar Panahi. Back in December the Islamic Republic sentenced Panahi to six years in prison and banned him from making films for 20 years for the obscure crime of “assembly and
colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s
national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.
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."
The turmoil in Egypt
dominates the news from the Middle East,
overshadowing the recent oppressive measures imposed by the Iranian despots.
Apparently in an attempt to stifle any anti-regime
resistance inspired by the events in Cairo, the Tehran government has hanged at least 73 people in recent weeks, many of them political prisoners.
Persecuted filmmaker Jafar Panahi
finally got his day in court a couple of weeks ago, whatever that might mean in
the Iranian justice system, and released a statement defending
his right to create such amoral, treasonous films as "Offside" (2007)
and "Crimson Gold." (2003). In
it he said in part, "[Y]ou are putting not only us on trial but the socially
conscious, humanistic, and artistic Iranian cinema as well, a cinema which
tries to stay beyond good and evil, a cinema that does not judge nor surrender
to power or money but tries to honestly reflect a realistic image of the
Here are two kinds of political demonstrations.
First, the Iranian Republican Guards Corps test-firing a
ballistic missile with a range sufficient to hit Israel, Moscow, parts of Europe and US military targets
as a way to break the ice for an upcoming meeting in Geneva on Thursday with
U.N. Security council members to discuss its nuclear program.
A couple of days ago, as
reported in the "New York Times,"
Mahmoud Ahmadenijad proclaimed to the UN that the Iranian "people
entrusted me once more with a large majority" in a ballot he described as
"glorious and fully democratic." Wordlessly and
far more elequently earlier this month the great Iranian filmmaker Jafar
Panahi challenged that claim when he and the other members of the jury for the Montreal Film
Festival took the stage wearing green scarves -
green being the color of those opposing, Ahmadenijad's