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Iranian film festival 2014


Iranian Film Festival held its 7th festival in San Francisco Sep. 27-28, 2014. They screened many features, shorts, animations and documentaries over the two days. The film that I saw primarily highlighted the social and cultural challenges of modern Iranian life The notables films for me were:

  • Hush! Girls Don’t Scream (2013), by Pouran Derakhshandeh, the story of a young woman who breaks down in the eve of her wedding because of suppressed and ignored sexual abuse in her childhood.
  • Trapped (2013), by Parviz Shahbazi, a thriller about a young woman who ends up picking a roommate with a lot More >

A Delicious Vampire Movie in Farsi! And So Much More…


A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a visually stunning black-n-white, romantic horror (vampire) film, all in Persian (with English subtitles) set in a fictitious dark and lonely town presumably in Iran called Bad City! Written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour (her first feature film) with lead Iranian-American actress Sheila Vand, who delivers a great performance. Her co-star is Germany-based Iranian actor Arash Marandi.

Vand plays a lonely and mysterious girl who inches the morbid streets of Bad City in a chador at nights looking for victims and perhaps love. She’s a vampire that seems to More >

Spirits’ Lullaby by Dang Show


Spirits’ Lullaby is a beautiful song and performance by Dang Show recorded live from a 2007 concert of theirs in Tehran. The lyrics are by Rumi (the 13th century Persian mystic and sufi) from his Shams collection. Dang Show does an amazing job here with a nice jazz arrangement that includes piano and saxophone. It’s truly a lullaby, 9 minutes of pure joy. Enjoy it.

Dang Show is a Persian band based in Iran founded by two brothers Taha Parsa and Reza Shaya in 2004. Their intent was a fresh interpretation of Iranian folk music with a fusion style music which incorporates jazz and creates More >

We lost a great artist way too soon


Kami Kotobi

He was a gentle soul with a subtle smile. I had the chance to meet him on a couple of occasions. The first time was in Orange County a few years ago, where he lived. The second time it was at an art exhibit in San Francisco where his painting Iranian Woman, one of the winners of the SNAC (Social Network Art Competition) 2012, was on exhibit. I so wish there had been a third time. In fact a week before he passed on I was in OC. I wanted to go visit him, see his work close up and have a conversation with him.

I am at complete peace with the universe only and only when I paint or More >

Remembering Lotfi Mansouri, an influential opera director


Mr. Lotfi Mansouri, the general director of the San Francisco Opera from 1988 to 2001, passed away in late August 2013 in San Francisco at the age of 84. He was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Prior to SF Opera, he was the general director of the Canadian Opera Company from 1976 to 1988. He spent six years with the Zurich Opera (1960 – 1966) as the stage director, and then worked with the Geneva Opera for a decade.

Mr. Mansouri was a prolific showman and knew the intricacies of the stage business well. He produced and directed numerous operas during his career.

He was passionate about More >

2013 Iranian Film Festival, San Francisco


The 6th San Francisco Iranian Film Festival was held September 28-29, 2013, and screened tens of feature and short films over the two days. The Sepanta Awards announced for the first time by the organizers of the festival in 15 categories are noted below.

The anticipated film in the festival was Meeting Leila (2012), directed by Adel Yaraghi who also co-wrote the screenplay with Abbas Kiarostami, the world-renowned film director. Leila Hatami plays the lead role for which she received the Best Actress award. Hatami has become quite well-known since her strong performance in Asghar Farhadi’s More >

Fereydoon Moshiri and the wolf within


The other day I came across a Cherokee proverb that was shared on Facebook:

There is a battle of two wolves inside us all. One is evil — he is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, lies, inferiority and ego. The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth. The wolf that wins? The one you feed.”

A basic search on the internet results in many references to the legend of the two wolves, mostly stated as a dialogue between an old man and his grandson, such as this one.

It reminded me of the poem Gorg (گرگ) by the popular 20th century Iranian poet, Fereydoon More >

Iranians in the 7th Asian Film Awards


2011 seemed like a big year for Iranian cinema on the world stage — mostly because of one film and director: Asghar Farhadi and his film A Separation (a powerful drama about life’s challenges for a middle-class couple in Tehran on the verge of divorce, which people from all over could relate to), won both a Golden Globe and an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category in USA in 2012. The film was also Oscar-nominated for the Best Original Screenplay. Mr Farhadi and his wonderful film received numerous other accolades around the globe including the Golden Bear Award for Best Motion More >

The Cyrus Cylinder on tour in USA in 2013


Cyrus Cylinder. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most interesting objects from the ancient times, is the famed Cylinder of Cyrus the Great, king of Persia (600 BC – 530 BC). The cylinder was discovered in Babylon (modern Iraq) in 1879 during a British Museum excavation (and unfortunately damaged). It now resides in the British Museum in London, but it will be on tour in five major cities across the United States from March through December 2013.

Cyrus Cylinder is a source of pride for Iranians as it’s a reminder of the glorious past of the ancient Persian empire under the rule of Cyrus. More >

A Cube of Sugar, a sweet Iranian Film


This year San Francisco Film Society‘s International Film Festival held in April – May 2012 featured a number of Iranian films. One interesting film was Chicken with Plums by the Paris-based Iranian author and director Marjane Satrapi, co-directed by Vincent Paronnaud. This film (which I think is more French than Iranian) as well as other works by Satrapi deserve their own discussion and I hope to cover some of that in another time.

I want to dedicate this piece to a delightful new Iranian film, A Cube of Sugar, produced and directed by Reza Mirkarimi. It’s a visual, colorful and uplifting More >

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