3 items from 2013
Los Angeles hosts annual showcase featuring extensive array of work from contemporary and veteran film-makers
The annual celebration of Iranian cinema run by the University of California, Los Angeles, is a vital occasion for two dynamic and overlapping constituencies: cinephiles and Iranians in Los Angeles. The festival's screenings routinely draw large audiences, eager to see films from a nation distinguished by its rich and sustained contribution to world cinema. This year's programme underscored the depth and diversity of cinematic voices in Iranian life.
In recent years, the archive has expanded the scope to include older films, working with Iran's national film archive and exiled filmmakers such as Parviz Sayyad to present seminal works such as The Lor Girl (Dokhtar-e Lor; 1933), directed by Ardeshir Irani; Masoud Kimiai's Caesar (Qaisar; 1969); and Sayyad's own Dead End (Bon Bast; 1977). This year, the festival began with a screening of Bahram Beyzaie's first feature film, »
★★☆☆☆ Winner of the Tiger Award at this year's Rotterdam Film Festival, Mohammad Shirvani's Fat Shaker (Larzanandeye charbi, 2013) went on to become the first ever Iranian film to screen at Sundance. Now receiving its UK premiere in Edinburgh, the surreal stylistics of Shirvani's absurdist drama have already evoked extreme controversy in its native Iran. Centred around the destructive relationship shared by a morbidly obese man and his deaf son, Fat Shaker observes the pair's rituals through a nauseating documentary-like approach, with scenes purposely rearranged to further complicate an already bewildering narrative.
Using his disabled yet attractive son to entrap and blackmail young women, this overweight, alcoholic father is a constant source of tyrannical abuse and belittlement, culminating in an illusory portrait of paternal repression clearly intended to mirror the severity of a traditionalist government. Through a series of needlessly cryptic episodes that combine surrealist imagery with impenetrable storytelling, this oppressive »
- CineVue UK
Could another Iranian filmmaker be in trouble with his government at home? First-time Sundance Film Festival writer-director Mohammad Shirvani, whose film “Fat Shaker” screened in the New Frontier program this week, believes he now has cause for concern. According to Shirvani, who spoke through a translator, several fundamentalist websites (Javanonline.com, rajanews.com and kalame.com, among them) attacked his film Sunday as “anti-Iranian,” despite the fact that he had made the film under Ministry of Culture guidelines. Filmed in February 2012, “Fat Shaker” details the relationship between an obese father, his deaf son and a beautiful woman who enters and changes their lives. Performed in the English, Farsi and Dari languages, “Fat Shaker” premiered Friday, Jan. 18, and also played in Salt Lake City Monday night. “The regime characterizes any work shown in outside festivals that may be viewed as anti-government »
- Jay A. Fernandez
3 items from 2013
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