The Circle (2000), By Jafar Panahi -- Image: Celluloid Dreams

“Film Series: A Tribute to Iranian Filmmaker Jafar Panahi”, a film series that highlights the global artistic and social significance of the work of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, will be held at the Asia Society and Museum in New York from Feb. 25-Mar. 11, 2011.

Even before he made international headlines for his recent affiliation with the Green Movement in Iran, Panahi was celebrated as one of the most influential cinematic voices.

He has received international recognition for his work, garnering the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion, the Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear, and the Cannes Film Festival’s Camera d’Or awards.

Panahi is known for his realistic and unflinching portrayal of contemporary Iranian life, treating his subjects, often women and people living on the margins of society, with deep humanism. Using non-professional actors to play characters very much like themselves, his films evoke a social urgency.

Panahi was recently sentenced to a six-year prison term and a 20-year ban on filmmaking for his association with the Green Movement. The sentence is being appealed.

Also Part of the series, A Tribute to Iranian Filmmaker Jafar Panahi is “Panel: A Tribute to Jafar Panahi and Creative Expression in Iran”.

The panel highlights the cinematic achievement of filmmaker Jafar Panahi and explores the current state of creative expression in Iran.

Speakers include: Hamid Dabashi (Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University—Moderator) Hadi Ghaemi (Executive Director, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran) Negar Mottahedeh (Associate Professor of Literature, Duke University) Richard Peña (Program Director, Film Society of Lincoln Center/Professor of Film Studies, Columbia University).

This series is part of Creative Voices of Islam in Asia, a three-year initiative made possible by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, and will feature three films by Panahi: Offside, Crimson Gold, The Circle

All films in Persian with English subtitles.

Click here for more info.

Dir. Jafar Panahi. Iran. 2006. 93 min. 35mm.
Saturday, February 26, 2011, 3:00 pm

Defying the law that prohibits women from attending sporting events, several Iranian young women disguise themselves as men to crash the qualifying game between Iran and Bahrain for the 2006 World Cup at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium. Mostly shot in real time during the actual game and featuring non-professional actors, the film, at once comedy, political allegory and suspense, is an engaging tale about lively young women fighting for freedom.

Film introduced by Negar Mottahedeh, Associate Professor of Literature, Duke University.

Crimson Gold
Dir. Jafar Panahi. Iran. 2003. 95 min. 35mm.
Friday, March 4, 2011, 6:45 pm

Hussein, a pizza delivery man and Iran-Iraq war veteran, rides his motorcycle in Tehran to deliver orders. His job takes him to wealthy homes where he witnesses firsthand the life of the privileged. This day-to-day experience leaves him feeling invisible and humiliated. Circumstances lead to a violent robbery in a jewelry store, where Hussein takes on a final destructive path. Starring a real-life pizza delivery man, Crimson Gold takes a sharp look at economic disparity in a society where unrest is always waiting to explode. The screenplay, written by Abbas Kiarostami, is based on an actual event.

Film introduced by Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University.

The Circle
Dir. Jafar Panahi. Iran. 2000. 91 min. 35mm.
Friday, March 11, 2011, 6:45 pm

Several women, each having spent time in jail, find themselves in the punishing bustle of Tehran. One woman tries to return home but cannot get on a bus unaccompanied by a close male relative. Another woman seeking an abortion is threatened with violence. Others take desperate measures to find money. All are trapped in a circle of fate for women living in an oppressive society, whether in or out of jail.

Film introduced by Negar Mottahedeh, Associate Professor of Literature, Duke University.

The White Meadows

Dir. Mohammad Rasoulof. Iran. 2009. 93 min. 35mm.
Friday, February 25, 2011, 6:45 pm

In this dreamlike film, a boatman navigates the increasingly brackish waters around a coastal land, collecting the stories of heartaches and tears of its inhabitants. As he witnesses misguided attempts to appease the gods and make the land green again, whether by offering a bride to the sea or penalizing a painter who sees in different colors, the boatman remains powerless. The deeply poetic film is an allegory of intolerance, brutality, and superstition. Film edited by Jafar Panahi. Director Rasoulof received a six-year jail sentence along with Panahi. Both are appealing their sentences.

Film introduced by Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University.

Co-presented with The Global Film Initiative.