Another Birth. Iranian Cinema Here and Now 

The reflection of the current social situation within a cinematic work is one of the most avidly discussed phenomena in the history of film. In our times, the need to consider whether a specific image is meaningful to us is even more pressing than questions surrounding the nature of film itself. When can we truly define a given film – be it a recent or a much earlier example – as being contemporary and topical, relevant to us, that is, in the here and now?


Iranian cinema has always treated this theme in a singular and highly personal way: From its very inception, associated with the tradition of Persian miniatures, through the commercial successes accompanying the dawn of independent film in the 1960s and 1970s, and on to poetic and political cinema, which has been evolving constantly since the earliest days following the Iranian Revolution. Expressed through the unrivalled verse of poet and filmmaker Forugh Farrokhzad, Iranian film is experiencing continual rebirth. It is being born again and again since it is not concerned merely with content, themes, social issues and so on, but chiefly with the filmmaker’s perspective, the essence of film, which does not yield to the pressure of everyday events, and is also capable, moreover, of playing such things down.

In these times when we are “overwhelmed by a deafening noise”, as a result of which it has become increasingly more difficult for us to distinguish between what is true and what is false, film continues to provide refuge to an art which focuses on the barely perceptible, and to be a haven for intimate communication, for listening to and showing one’s respect for others. Iranian cinema has always believed in the sensuality of the gaze and of the filmic image-as-revelation (a perfect example in this respect is the title of one of the pivotal Iranian films of the 1960s, Brick and Mirror, directed by Ebrahim Golestan).

Having been nourished by precisely this cultural context, Iranian cinema is primed for further renaissance. In recent years it has spoken as if with a new and powerful voice, and with an authentic desire to shoot films and thus, primarily in poetic terms, to liberate itself. Its striking modernity is rooted in its spiritual connection to the previous generations of filmmakers and effects an indefinable tendency which, as it progresses, already seems intent on transcending itself. In short, Iranian film is enjoying a permanent revival and is therefore (perpetually) in the here and now.

Tireless young directors, as they mature, are seeking to fashion their own cinematic language, one that is innovative, unique, and speaks with great warmth about life as well as film. These are not merely independent filmmakers, but also ambassadors promoting an alternative view of the filmic image and of a reality that we cannot interpret using our customary tools: in order to recognise what they have invented we are obliged to reinvent ourselves.

For this reason we have put together a selection of films and filmmakers with a focus on the last four years. We would like to tell the story of a volcanic eruption and to bring into the open the most intimate, the most unheard and the most urgent voices, the voices of those, for whom openness to difference and the other-than-ordinary represent the basic ingredients for hope and creativity.

This collection includes films for whose creators madness is an absolute source of creativity. Films reminiscent of homages to the Kafkaesque hover between the present and the future. Films with big ideas shot on tiny cameras. Films as poems. Films in which youth bursts forth in all its contradictions. Films by female directors who, while overcoming obstacles, have come up with a hitherto unimagined and independent viewpoint. Films that are melancholic, or comic, war films, sci-fi movies, films about love. Films within films, and even films that are self-reflexive.

We present nine titles, of which two are world premieres and many are international premieres. We have three debuts, four sophomore endeavours, one third and one fourth film, all of which demonstrate the maturation of filmmakers all of whom are still in the prime of their creativity. Nine unique and intensely personal testimonies which form parts of a mosaic, in itself an open and collective work. While they speak about their own world, they also comment on ours, offering the possibility of a different and better existence worth fighting for. They denounce indifference and take the risk of displaying a committed attitude, the risk involved in assuming a moral posture. They are changing film culture, and they are changing our lives as they do so.

Lorenzo Esposito

  • Black and White River Černobílá řeka / Roodkhan'e siah sefid
    Directed by: Farzin Mohammadi
    Iran, 2019, 92 min

  • Creation Between Two Surfaces Stvoření mezi dvěma povrchy / Afarinesh beyne do sath
    Directed by: Hossein Rajabian
    Iran, 2019, 95 min

  • Dream's Gate Brána snů / Darvazeye royaha
    Directed by: Negin Ahmadi
    Iran, France, Norway, 2023, 78 min

  • K9 K9 / K9
    Directed by: Vahid Vakilifar
    Iran, 2022, 140 min

  • The Locust Trnovník / Malakh
    Directed by: Faeze Azizkhani
    Iran, Germany, 2021, 79 min

  • No End Bez konce / Bi payan
    Directed by: Nader Saeivar
    Germany, Iran, Turkey, 2021, 112 min

  • The Skin Kůže / Poost
    Directed by: Bahram Ark, Bahman Ark
    Iran, 2020, 90 min

  • A Trip to the Moon Cesta na měsíc / Safar be mah
    Directed by: Mohammadreza Shayannejad
    Iran, 2020, 85 min

  • Zapata Zapata / Amozadegan
    Directed by: Danesh Eghbashavi
    Iran, 2023, 78 min


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