Wednesday, October 18

Film celebration intends to show Iranian reality


A&E


Iran was labeled as a third member of what President Bush termed
the “Axis of Evil,” but the UCLA Film and Television
Archive believes there is a need for understanding the country
before drawing such conclusions.

“Often Americans have very sophistic ideas about Iran
since the Revolution and the Iran hostage crisis,” said David
Pendleton, programmer at the archive.

The 13th Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema will attempt to
show Iran from the inside out, for good or for bad, starting today
at the James Bridges Theater.

The overtures to war that are currently taking place in the
Middle East may justify why some have rather presumptuous thoughts
toward Iran. Iran, like its neighbor Iraq, is thought to be
harboring terrorist networks and building a nuclear weapons
program, according to Secretary of State Colin Powell.

In addition to its tarnished international image, Iran has a
history of repressing political dissidents and censoring its
filmmakers. The film celebration will help bring light to Iranian
cinema and issues. In Manijeh Hekmat’s “Women’s
Prison,” four starving women must face roaches and
lice-infested blankets in an Iranian prison in 1984.

Another Iranian film that deals with women is “Ten,”
which is directed by prominent filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami.
“Ten” tracks the life of a middle-class woman as she
runs errands using her car in present-day Tehran, facing problems
as mundane as finding parking to complex ones like marriage and
parenting.

While only one of the Iranian films ““
“Runaway” ““ is a documentary, the purpose of
these other films is equally as educational.

“Don’t think of these films as entertaining
Hollywood films. Look at them as basically documentary films, (as
an introduction) to Iranian cinema and issues in Iran,” said
Latifeh Hagigi, professor of Near Eastern languages and
cultures.

Though it at first may seem strange for a festival of Iranian
films to find an audience half way across the world, it’s not
quite so strange considering Los Angeles’ large Iranian
population.

“The Iranian population in Los Angeles is larger than any
cities in Iran except for (its capital) Tehran,” Pendleton
said.

For more info, call (310) 206-FILM or log on to
www.cinema.ucla.edu.

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