Acclaimed Iranian Films at Sundance
Three raved about Iranian films debuted at the Sundance Film Festival this year: “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” “Sepideh”, and “Appropriate Behavior”.
• “A Girl Walks Alone Home at Night” is an Iranian Vampire Western described as a love story set in a fictitious Iranian ghost town reeking of death and loneliness, where a strange and jaded population is haunted by a lonesome vampire who preys upon the city’s most depraved denizens. Shot in widescreen black and white and entirely in Farsi, everything from the characters, the look, a modern soundtrack of 60’s inspired Western guitar music and Iranian pop make the film a mythical mash-up of genre and culture. Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, Starring Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Dominic Rains, Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marnó, Milad Eghbali
• “Sepideh” In a rural village far from Tehran, the night sky glows brilliantly, unimpeded by light pollution, and a teenage girl named Sepideh dreams of becoming a renowned astronomer. Lugging a telescope as tall as herself, Sepideh spends her nights stargazing, inspired by Anousheh Ansari, the first Iranian in space. But achieving such a lofty ambition is easier said than done for an Iranian girl. Her uncle threatens something rash if Sepideh persists in her unladylike behavior, and her widowed mother warns that she cannot pay for the necessary schooling. Unphased, Sepideh composes impassioned missives to Albert Einstein and keeps her eyes on the prize. Yet when she’s passed over for a university scholarship and suitors come knocking at the door, her determination is seriously tested. Directed by Berit Madsen, with Sepideh Hooshyar, Sedigheh Hooshyar, Hadi Hooshyar, Mohammad Hooshyar, Ashar Kabiri, Anousheh Ansari.
• “Appropriate Behavior,” written, starring and directed by Brooklyn-based filmmaker Desiree Akhavan. The movie about Shirin who is struggling to become an ideal Persian daughter, politically correct bisexual and hip young Brooklynite. She fails miserably in her attempt at all identities, and being without a cliché to hold onto can be a lonely experience. After being dumped by her girlfriend Maxine, Shirin faces an unimaginable task: trading the idyllic lesbian haven of Park Slope for a shared artist’s loft in Bushwick. Unable to let go of the memories of their excruciating highs and lows, the endearingly superficial narcissist finds herself plotting to win back her ex. Directed by Desiree Akhavan. With Desiree Akhavan, Rebecca Henderson, Scott Adsit, Halley Feiffer.
Traveling the Silk Road
This is a chance to experience the Silk Road as it was 1,000 years ago — oasis cities, night markets, camel caravans, spice merchants, and ancient science tools devised by sailors and scholars!
During its golden age (AD 600 to 1200), the Silk Road opened up the world to new ideas and products. It stretched 4,600 miles through scorching desert sands and freezing snowy mountain passes, from eastern China through Central Asia to the Middle East. But along the way, travelers stopped in cities that, at the time, were the most tolerant and advanced places on Earth. Now those cities come alive in the exhibit Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World.
As smells of spice and music from ancient Chinese instruments fill the air, visitors explore bazaars filled with gems and crafts; a silk-making workshop with live silkworms; ancient scrolls filled with the secrets of technology and religion beliefs; the inside of a long-ago cargo ship; and astronomy tools that helped mariners navigate the seas.
Through April 13, 2014. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.900 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90007 Phone: (213) 763-DINO. Open seven days a week, 9:30 am – 5 pm.