Iranian Film Festival

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, is known for his implacable intolerance, so chances are he hasn’t seen any of the features in the Iranian Film Festival. (If he had, we’re pretty sure there would’ve been another bonfire in Tehran’s Azadi Square.)

The offering of films includes Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and Jafar Panahi’s ironically named This Is Not a Film. Shot in secret on a digital camera and iPhone, the footage was transferred to a USB drive and then, incredibly, hidden inside a cake to be smuggled into France. Film is a day-in-the-life of famed director Panahi, one of Iranian cinema’s leading young turks, who was arrested in 2010 for “certain offenses” against the Republic (translation: his support for the Green Revolution). As he awaited the verdict on his appeal of the excessive six-year prison sentence and 20-year ban on filmmaking, he detailed the project he was working on before his arrest. Though his case inspired protests from the international film community, the Iranian court upheld its original verdict and Panahi is currently in prison.

Other films on the schedule include Bahram Tavakoli's Here Without Me, an odd Iranian twist to Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie, and Morteza Farshba's bleak road comedy Mourning. This Is Not a Film screens at 7 p.m. today and 5 p.m. January 29. Screenings through January 29. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For a complete schedule, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org. $6 to $7.
Jan. 20-22; Jan. 27-29, 2012

 
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