The Lost Cinema is a film essay on the Iranian New Wave, a film movement which blossomed in the 70s as a protest against a local film industry dominated by shallow, socially uninformed domestic films and excessive exhibition of Hollywood and European imports. Despite the movement’s contribution to the political awareness of the Iranian middle class, the New-Wave films, along with all other pre-revolutionary titles, were banned due to their non-conformity to the severely restrictive censorship codes imposed by the Islamic government after the 1979 Revolution. The ban has effectively shelved half a century of film heritage in Iran.
U.S.-based film professor Jamsheed Akrami sheds light on a significant trend of politically themed films through analyzing selected films and interviews with Iranian filmmakers. Insightful comments are provided by scholars Andrew Sarris, William Beeman, Louis Forsdale, and John Downing.Learn more
Nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Ajami is a bold crime drama set on the margins of an Arab ghetto. Working with a cast of non-actors in the real streets of Ajami itself, the film deftly meshes characters and conflicts with unsentimental compassion, uncompromising realism, and harrowing violence.Learn more
Oscar Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, BEAUFORT chronicles the final days of an Israeli army unit's tense, painful withdrawal in 2000 from a strategic bunker inside a 12th century Crusader fortress near the Lebanese border, marking the end of nearly two decades of controversial occupation.Learn more
Winner of the script prize at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, Karin Albou's La Petite Jerusalem pits intimacy against sex and ideology against divinity, "with candor, sympathy and excellent cinematography," (Nathan Lee, The New York Times). Offering an unusual glimpse into an unseen, cloistered world, the film sensitively lays bare the souls and passions of two sisters in search of sexual and spiritual identity.Learn more
Annemarie Jacir's politically charged feature debut is the story of Soraya, a Brooklyn-born woman who travels to Palestine to retrieve her grandfather's savings, frozen in a Jaffa bank account after his 1948 exile. Her status as a dispossessed exile and encounter with contemporary politics provides a rare glimpse in to the Middle East of today.Learn more
Through a clever mix of stop motion animation and interviews, The Wanted 18 recreates an astonishing true story: the Israeli army's pursuit of 18 cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared "a threat to the national security of the state of Israel."Learn more
“Friendly Persuasion” examines the critical issues of Iranian cinema by framing several key questions and providing informed responses through commentary, scene analysis, and interviews with top Iranian filmmakers. The questions focus on international flowering, censorship codes, role of the government, representation of women, and a world-class children's film movement.
The filmmakers interviewed represent a diverse group of Iranian auteurs including new-wave visionaries Abbas Kiarostami, Dariush Mehrjui, Bahram Bayzai, and Masoud Kimiaie as well as the post-revolutionaries Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Jafar Panahi, Rakhshan Bani Etemad, Majid Majidi, and Tahmineh Milani. The film scholar Richard Pena provides an insightful commentary.Learn more
A young filmmaker in post-revolution Egypt enters the previously forbidden underworld of the Cairo police to discover the injustice within their ranks that's motivated abuse of citizens and subsequent corruption that ignited revolution in that country.Learn more