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Iran Film Festival at Smithsonian Institute

The screening program includes the late auteur Abbas Kiarostami’s final film ‘24 Frames’ as well as celebrated movies ‘Blockade’ by Mohsen Qaraee, ‘Breath’ by Narges Abyar, ‘Negar’ by Rambod Javan and ‘Simulation’ by Abed Abest among others
Iran Film Festival at  Smithsonian Institute (Graphic Design: Vahid Sabet)Iran Film Festival at  Smithsonian Institute (Graphic Design: Vahid Sabet)

Smithsonian Institution will hold the 22nd Annual Iranian Film Festival: ‘Iran Inside and Out’ from January 12-February 23 at its Meyer Auditorium in Washington.

The festival is an opportunity to see an often-misrepresented country and culture in a different light. A strong selection of 12 cinematic productions by Iran-based directors will be screened at the event, according to the website of the host venue, Freersackler.si.edu.

On the first day of the festival, ‘Blockage’ will be screened. It is a 2016 production by Mohsen Qaraee which won the Busan International Film Festival’s New Currents award.

Qaraee’s film is a fast-paced, intense social drama about street vendors and a corrupt officer in charge of controlling them. It is about a man named Qasem working for the Tehran Municipality. His job is to prevent vendors from selling on the crowded sidewalks. However, he is to be fired because of some covert deals with selected vendors. Hamed Behdad, Baran Kosari, Mohsen Kiaee, Nader Fallah and Giti Qasemi are in the cast.

‘Breath,’ a feature film by Narges Abyar will be screened on Jan. 14. It tells the bittersweet tale of a book-loving girl growing up during the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

‘Simulation’ by Abed Abest is planned for Jan. 21. The directorial debut of Abest unfolds in reverse chronological order, in a completely black space decorated only with bright-green furniture. It tells the story of three young men who decide to visit an older man they know vaguely, but things do not proceed as smoothly as they had anticipated.

Rambod Javan’s latest creation ‘Negar’ will be screened on February 4. Javan’s fourth feature film is centered on a young girl named Negar whose father is dead. The police have ruled it a suicide. One night, Negar has a dream about her father in which he gives her clues about what really happened. Waking up, Negar is set to find the truth.

Screening of ‘24 Frames’, the final film by the late auteur Abbas Kiarostami (1940-2016), is slated for Feb. 18.

Comprised of 24 vignettes, each four-and-a-half minutes long, the film shows a series of 23 photos, from his own collection taken over 40 years, and one painting by Dutch artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569), all expanded into a flowing live-action tableau, or (as the movie calls it) a ‘frame’, using copious and all-but-invisible digital technology.

Other films featured by the festival are listed on the venue’s website.

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