November 7, 2015 |
Hana Saeidi, the bright young niece of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, climbs into the taxi that her uncle is driving on the streets of Tehran. She is holding a camera, excited about her first film class in school. Her teacher has provided a list of rules to make a "distributable" movie. Among the key rules: "No sordid realism. " In the small and brilliant Jafar Panahi's Taxi , the internationally renowned director has been reduced to making his own brand of "sordid realism" on the sly - that is, realism free of the restrictions of Sharia law. With a small camera mounted on the dashboard of a car, Panahi drives along, picking up passengers and recording them as they debate politics and religion, crime and punishment, Woody Allen and Akira Kurosawa.
November 8, 2015 |
Jafar Panahi's Taxi. The Iranian filmmaker, technically under house arrest and banned from making movies in his homeland, drives a cab around Tehran, picking up passengers and capturing their conversations, their troubles, their hopes and fears on a tiny dashboard camera. From the confines of an automobile, a whole world emerges. No MPAA rating Bridge of Spies. Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance star in Steven Spielberg's taut Cold War thriller, a based-on-true-events spy-swap yarn set in New York and Berlin, steeped in paranoia and period detail.
May 18, 2007 |
Greatness is a word often associated with Iranian cinema. But fun? Practically never. Jafar Panahi's exuberant and subversive "Offside," however, scores on both points. The director of such harrowing masterworks as "The Circle" and "Crimson Gold" lightens up with this absurdist story of a gaggle of teenage girls who get busted trying to sneak into Tehran's males-only soccer stadium to watch a World Cup qualifying game against Bahrain. Foul-mouthed, sassy and quite delightfully sports-crazed, these chicks (as they're called by all the men who struggle to control them, at least in the subtitles)
May 8, 1998 |
A sequel of sorts to The White Balloon - Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi's wonderful and wanderful tale of a Tehran girl's small adventures alone in the big city - The Mirror again focuses its cameras on diminutive Mina Mohammad Khani. This precocious and self-possessed child, with her squeaky voice and searching, saucer-shaped eyes, by no means fits the Hollywood notion of cute. Yet little Mina owns the camera, and Panahi and his crew (and Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, who in this case contributed the script)
March 19, 2004 |
The 2003 Cannes winner Crimson Gold comes from Iranian director Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon, The Circle) - from a script by Iran's filmmaking patriarch, Abbas Kiarostami. Set in modern-day Tehran, it is a mesmerizing, and devastating, story. Crimson Gold follows a seriously overweight working stiff by the name of Hussein (Hussein Emadeddin), who delivers pizzas on his motorbike for a living. Rebuffed and humiliated by the proprietor of a swanky European-style jewelry shop where he has gone with his future brother-in-law, Hussein commits a sudden, lurching act of violence.
May 18, 2007 |
You've scored a ticket to the World Cup qualifying match and stadium guards deny you entrance. What's your next move? If you're a soccer-mad girl in Offside, a girl dressed as a boy because Iranian females are not permitted to attend sporting events, you strike, you go for the goal, you will not be denied. Exhilarating, exuberant and drolly funny, Jafar Panahi's film is a sly piece of social commentary filmed stealthily, quasi-documentary style, during the 2006 qualifying match between Iran and Bahrain at Tehran's Azadi stadium.
May 25, 2001 |
The news from the maternity ward isn't good. It's not that anything's wrong with the baby, or the mother, in the Tehran hospital - they're both in fine health. Only that the newborn infant, which ultrasound readings had suggested was a boy, has turned out to be a girl. And in the modern-day Iran of Jafar Panahi's The Circle, females are decidedly second-class citizens, fated to a life of narrow possibilities. The new grandmother waiting outside the maternity-ward door is so stricken with fear in anticipation of the reaction from her son-in-law's family that she flees the hospital, a look of grim terror in her eyes.
April 19, 1996 |
Epically stubborn and willful, Razieh, the 7-year-old heroine of filmmaker Jafar Panahi's keenly observed The White Balloon, spies a fat, frilly goldfish in a Tehran marketplace, and she wants it. Boy, does she ever. In this simple, unhurried odyssey through the dusty side streets and winding alleys of Iran's capital, Razieh (Aida Mohammad-khani) whines and wheedles until she separates a banknote from her mother and runs back to the shopkeeper to make her purchase. It is New Year's Eve in the Muslim city, and stores are in the last bustling throes of commerce before closing for the country's weeklong holiday.
October 27, 2012
Iranian activists win EU award TEHRAN, Iran - The European Union gave its most prestigious human-rights award on Friday to two convicted Iranian activists, the imprisoned lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and the formerly imprisoned filmmaker Jafar Panahi. The award, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, which has previously gone to international figures such as Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, comes at a time of deepening tensions between Iran and the West.