Iranian movie night: Crimson Gold (Jafar Panahi, 2003)

Sunday 22 January 2023, Iranian movie night: Crimson Gold, directed by Jafar Panahi, written by Abbas Kiarostami, 2003, 95 minutes. In Farsi with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, film starts at 20:30.

The film depicts an impoverished pizza delivery man’s failed attempt to rob a jewelry store and the events that drove him to his crime. The story is based on real events that Panahi first heard about when Kiarostami told him the story while they were stuck in a traffic jam on their way to one of Kiarostami’s photographic exhibits. Panahi was extremely moved by the story and Kiarostami agreed to write the script for him to direct. Panahi submitted the film to the Cannes Film Festival without being granted a permit from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Panahi had applied for the permit but the Ministry demanded several cuts be made to the film. Panahi refused and submitted the film anyway. Like The Circle, Crimson Gold was banned in Iran.
In December 2010, Jafar Panahi has been sentenced to a six-year jail sentence and a 20-year ban on directing any films, writing screenplays, giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media and from leaving the country. He was prosecuted for attempting “to commit crimes against the country’s national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic”. In October 2011, a court in Tehran upheld Panahi’s sentence and ban. Following the decision, Panahi was placed under house arrest. He had since been allowed to move more freely but he couldn’t travel outside Iran.
End 2022, as the revolt is spreading all around Iran following Mahsa Amini’s death, a new Panahi film is released, No Bears, secretly shot in a mountain village near by the Turkish border. Panahi finished his film shortly before getting arrested in July 2022 when he went to the prosecutor’s office to follow up on the situation of other film-makers, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad. He was the third director detained in less than a week.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Free entrance. You want to screen a movie, let us know: joe [at] lists [dot] squat [dot] net

Iranian Movie night: Kandahar (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 2001)

Sunday 5 september 2021, Iranian Movie night: Kandahar (by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 2001, 85 minutes). In Farsi and Pashto, with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, Film starts at 20:30. Free admission.

Kandahar (Dari-Persian: قندهار Qandahar) is a 2001 Iranian film directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, set in Afghanistan during the rule of the Taliban. Its original Persian title is Safar-e Ghandehar, which means “Journey to Kandahar”, and it is alternatively known as The Sun Behind the Moon. The film is based on a partly true, partly fictionalized story of a successful Afghan-Canadian, played by Nelofer Pazira, who returns to Afghanistan after receiving a letter from her sister, who was left behind when the family escaped, that she plans on committing suicide on the last solar eclipse of the millennium.

Kandahar was filmed mostly in Iran, including at the Niatak refugee camp, but also secretly in Afghanistan itself. Most people, including Nelofer Pazira, played themselves. The film premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, but did not get much attention at first. After 9/11, however, it was widely shown. Kandahar won Makhmalbaf the Federico Fellini Prize from UNESCO in 2001.

Synopsis: Nafas is a reporter who was born in Afghanistan, but fled with her family to Canada when she was a child. However, her sister wasn’t so lucky; she lost her legs to a land mine while young, and when Nafas and her family left the country, her sister was accidentally left behind. Nafas receives a letter from her sister announcing that she’s decided to commit suicide during the final eclipse before the dawn of the 21st century; desperate to spare her sister’s life, Nafas makes haste to Afghanistan, where she joins a caravan of refugees who, for a variety of reasons, are returning to the war-torn nation. As Nafas searches for her sister, she soon gets a clear and disturbing portrait of the toll the Taliban regime has taken upon its people.

Other movies made by Mohsen Makhmalbaf screened at Joe’s Garage:
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Iranian New Wave Cinema Nomad Tribes of Iran Special: ‘Gabbeh’ (1996)

GabbehgabbehSunday May 22th 2016, Iranian new wave cinema: Gabbeh (1996). In Farsi with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begins at 9pm. Free admission.

Gabbeh is a 1996 Iranian film directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Gabbeh is a brilliantly colorful, profoundly romantic ode to beauty, nature, love and art. Mohsen Makhmalbaf originally traveled to the remote steppes of southeastern Iran to document the lives of an almost extinct tribe of nomads. For centuries, these wandering families created special carpets – Gabbeh – that served both as artistic expression and autobiographical record of the lives of the weavers. Spellbound by the exotic countryside, and by the tales behind the Gabbehs, Makhmalbaf’s intended documentary evolved into a fictional love story which uses a gabbeh as a magic story – telling device weaving past and present’ fantasy and reality.

On the banks of a stream, an old woman and her husband are washing their Gabbeh. From this carpet comes forth a beautiful young woman – aptly named Gabbeh – who shares her epic tale: she is desperately in love with a mysterious horseman who follows her clan from after. Though her father has agreed to let her marry the man, season after season, the horseman follows Gabbeh—always present, always waiting, howling songs of love after nightfall.

Delicately interlaced with this simple and touching love story are the people whose lives are shaped by the rhythms of nature, and who instinctively express the joys and sorrows of life through song, poetry, and the tales they tell in their brilliantly-hued weavings.

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Iranian New Wave Cinema: Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame (2007)

Buddha_Collapsed_Out_of_ShameSunday April 17th 2016, Iranian New Wave Cinema: Buddha collapsed out of shame (Hana Makhmalbaf, 2007). In Dari with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begins at 9pm. Free admission.

Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame (Persian:بودا از شرم فرو ریخت : Buda az sharm foru rikht) is a 2007 Iranian film directed by Hana Makhmalbaf. The story takes place in modern Afghanistan following the removal of the Taliban and revolves around a 5-year-old Afghan girl who wants to attend a newly opened school. The girl Bakhtay (Nikbakht Noruz) lives in the caves under the remains of the Buddhas of Bamiyan which were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. Bakhtay becomes obsessed with the idea of going to school but must fight against a society influenced by conditions suffered during the strict Taliban rule including male domination, war, poverty and dire children’s games.

Amidst the wreckage beneath the ruined statue of the Buddha, thousands of families struggle to survive. Baktay, a six-year-old Afghan girl is challenged to go to school by her neighbour’s son who reads in front of their cave. Having found the money to buy a precious notebook, and taking her mother’s lipstick for a pencil, Baktay sets out. On her way, she is harassed by boys playing games that mimic the terrible violence they have witnessed, that has always surrounded them. The boys want to stone the little girl, to blow her up as the Taliban blew up the Buddha, to shoot her like Americans. Will Baktay be able to escape these violent war games and reach the school?

Director’s View:
In a period of 25 years Afghanistan has experienced many rulers; the communist Russians, Al-Qaeda and the Islamic extremists Taliban and western or laic Christians. Each of these rulers in order to save Afghanistan from the hegemony of the other have initially attacked and destroyed this country. The present day destructions in Afghanistan are not limited to cities and homes. Now the children of this land in their games fire at each other with wooden arms and play the stoning game with little girls and place mines under each other’s feet in humor. How will these children who mock the game of war in childhood like adults play with each other and the future of humanity?

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Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Doors open at 8pm, film begins at 9pm, free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net

Kurdish new wave cinema: Half Moon (2006)

HalfMoonSunday March 20th 2016, Kurdish new wave cinema: Half Moon (2006). In Sorani Kurdish and Farsi with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begins at 9pm. Free admission.

Half Moon (Kurdish: Nîwe Mang/Nîvê Heyvê) is a 2006 film written and directed by Iranian Kurdish filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi. Half Moon is a joint production of Iran, Austria, France and Iraq. This movie was commissioned by the New Crowned Hope festival, a celebration of the 250th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the story plot has been inspired in part by Mozart’s Requiem.


Synopsis: Mamo, an old renowned Kurdish musician, has begun a journey to Iraq with his sons to perform a concert after the fall of Saddam Hossein. Kako, a middle-aged man and a huge fan of Mamo’s, enthusiastically escorts them in an orange mini bus which he has borrowed from a friend. Mamo gathers his sons one by one from different areas. The last son who joins the team insists on speaking to Mamo in private. He explains to Mamo that the Wise man of the village has predicted that Mamo should not go on the trip because, as the full moon nears, something awful will happen to him. Mamo persists on continuing his journey. He claims that he must continue his trip despite all the obstacles because he was not allowed to perform in Iraq for many years. Mamo intends to take Hesho, a female singer who lives with 1334 other women in exile, as part of his team. But the strength of Hesho’s voice has dwindled along with her self confidence. While crossing the borders, Mamo’s team faces many difficulties as their journey is wrought with adventure and disaster each step of the way. […Lees verder]

Iranian New Wave Cinema: The Silence (1998)

Silence_by_Mohsen_MakhmalbafSunday February 21st 2016, Iranian new wave cinema: The Silence (1998) by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begins at 9pm. Free admission.

The Silence (Persian: سکوت‎‎) is an Iranian film from 1998. It is directed by the well known Iranian film maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The movie is about a little boy who has the onerous task of earning money for his family, but is always enchanted and distracted by music. It is set in Tajikistan.

Synopsis: Khorshid lives with his mom in a house near a river somewhere in Tajikistan. The landlord comes around every morning to ask for the rent. Khorshid has to provide the money or else they’ll have to leave. His blindness has given him an amazing skill in tuning musical instruments which gets him a job at an instrument making workshop. But the problem is That Khorshid is mesmerized by sonorous music all the time; whenever he hears a great musician play, he loses track of time and place. For this, he always gets lost and gets to work late. How is he going to make a balance between his love of music and his task as a breadwinner. […Lees verder]

Iranian new wave cinema: Afghan Alphabet (2002)

20160131_iranian_new_wave_cinema_afghan_alphabetSunday January 31st 2016, Iranian new wave cinema: Afghan Alphabet (2002) by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begin at 9pm. Free admission.

The Afghan Alphabet (Persian: الفبای افغان‎‎, Alefbay-e afghan) is a 2002 documentary by Mohsen Makhmalbaf showing the life of children in the Afghan villages bordering Iran, and how their life and culture were affected by the Taliban regime.


Mohsen Makhmalbaf tracks the children who do not attend school in the border villages between Iran and Afghanistan with his digital camera and questions why they are not being educated. He finds girls studying in UNICEF classes in one region. One of the girls is not willing to come out of her burqa despite the fact that she has run away from Afghanistan and the Taliban are not present here. She is more afraid of the horrifying god that the Taliban have created than the Taliban.

In 2002 about 3 million Afghan refugees were living in Iran. From those about 700,000 were Afghan children who were not allowed to go to Iranian schools because of their illegal status in Iran. After this movie was made, this subject became controversial and finally the Islamic Consultative Assembly passed a bill to allow Afghani children to go to school and it resulted in 500,000 kids getting education.

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Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Doors open at 8pm, film begins at 9pm, free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net

Iranian Movie Night: Ten (2002)

Ten_DVDSunday December 6th 2015, Iranian Movie Night: Ten by Abbas Kiarostami (2002, 89 minutes). In Persian with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begin at 9pm. Free admission.

Ten (10) is a 2002 Iranian film directed by Abbas Kiarostami and starring Mania Akbari. The film was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. Ten is divided into ten scenes, each of which depict a conversation between an unchanging female driver (played by Mania Akbari) and a variety of passengers as she drives around Tehran. Her passengers include her young son (played by Akbari’s real life son, Amin Maher), her sister, a bride, a prostitute, and a woman on her way to prayer. One of the major plots during the film is the driver’s divorce from her (barely seen) husband, and the conflict that this causes between mother and son.

Many of the cast were untrained as actors, and the film has an improvisatory element. Elements of the characters were based on the actual life of the main actress and her son. The film was recorded on two digital cameras, one attached to each side of a moving car, showing the driver and passenger respectively.The film explores personal social problems arising in Iranian society, particularly the problems of women.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Doors open at 8pm, film begins at 9pm, free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net