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UCLA Film & Television Archive: 20th Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema

ABOUT-ELLY-iBilly Wilder Theater in Westwood
February 5th – 20th 2010

Iran’s entry to the 2010 Academy Awards, About Elly, on Feb. 20
Actress Gohar Kheirandish in person on Feb. 7
A new feature from director Bahman Gohbadi on Feb. 6
Director Shalizeh Arefpour in person on Feb. 5

All films from Iran and in Persian with English subtitles, unless otherwise noted.

Friday February 5th at 7:30PM

heiran-posterHEIRAN (2009)

When Iranian high school student Mahi falls for Heiran, a poor, gallant Afghani refugee, her horrified parents beg her not to ruin her life with the boy.  Love has its way until the warnings come true, and love struck Mahi finds herself entangled in an epic story of immigrant woe.  Documentarian Shailzeh Arefpour perfectly balances issues and emotions in this moving first feature.

35mm, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 86 min.

PROD: Rakshan Bani-Etemad.  DIR: Shalizeh Arefpour.  SCR: S. Arefpour, Naghmeh Samini.  CINE: Hossein Jafarian.  EDIT: Sepideh Abdolvahab.  CAST: Baran Kosari, Mehrdad Sedighian, Khosro Shakibaei, Farhad Aslani, Zhahleh Sameti.

IN PERSON:  director Shalizeh Arefpour.

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Saturday February 6th at 7:30PM


Bahman Gohbadi (Turtles Can Fly, shown in our 2005 edition) offers a glimpse of can-do determination.  Faced with prohibitions against rock music, bandmates Negar and Ashkan plot to leave Iran for England to make music their way. Their deliberate progress toward this elusive goal takes them through the underground rock scene in a brisk, often comical look, at a side of Iranian life seldom seen on film.

35mm, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 101 min.

PROD/DIR: Bahman Gohbadi.  SCR: B. Gohbadi, Hossein M. Abkenar, Roxana Saberi.  CINE: Turaj Asiani.  EDIT: Hayedeh Safiyari.  CAST: Negar Shaghaghi, Askan Koshanejad, Hamed Behdad.

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Sunday February 7th at 7:00PM

Tradition-killing-loversTRADITION OF KILLING LOVERS (2004)

Jailed for harvesting trees to support his family, Salar is replaced as breadwinner by his young son Jalal while Jalal’s sister strains to defend her husband, a policeman, from the fury of her mother (Gohar Kheirandish) after he is forced to transport his father-in-law to prison.  Director Khosro Masoumi undergirds his analysis of encroaching economic despair with emotional range and power.

35mm, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 90 min.

PROD: Mahmoud Fallah.  DIR/SCR: Khosro Masoumi.  CINE: Nader Masoumi.  EDIT: Hassan Hassandoust.  CAST: Hossein Abedini, Gohar Kheirandish, Hossein Mahjoub, Hurie Mirmohammadi, Arman Nikzad.

IN PERSON:  actress Gohar Kheirandish.


Monday February 8th at 7:30PM

wind_blows_in_meadowWIND BLOWS IN THE MEADOW (2008)

After her father is injured in an accident, Shouka is dismayed to find herself betrothed to the developmentally-disabled son of one of the family’s creditors.  Wooed by the assistant tailor hired to make her wedding dress, Shouka sees a possible escape, but danger looms in this delicately drawn drama.

35mm, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 91 min.

PROD: Fath’olah Jafari Jozani.  DIR/SCR: Khosro Masoumi.  CINE: Nader Masoumi.  EDIT: Hassan Hassandost.  CAST: Elnaz Shakerdoust, Hossein Abdedini, Reza Naji, Jamal Ejali, Maedah Tahmasbi.

Feature preceded by:

KNOT (2006)

A captivating courtship in the snow, depicting one couple’s path to love’comprising many years and footsteps.

DVCam, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 10 min.

DIR: Javat Vatani.  CINE: Farshad Gol Sefidi.  EDIT: Mohammad Rasoulof.  CAST: Habib Vatani, Golbootheh Badeleh.


Friday February 12th at 7:30PM

444-DAY FACE-OFF (2008)

Director Mohammad Shirvani (7 Blind Women Filmmakers, shown in our 2009 edition) recounts the spectacular taking of the United States Embassy after the ouster of the Shah and the 444-day ‘hostage crisis’ that followed.  With tremendous access and skill, Shirvani cagily interviews actual participants, including U.S. embassy officials and Iranian students, to reconstruct key episodes and deconstruct contentious issues.

DVCam, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 70 min.

PROD/DIR/ED: Mohammad Shirvani.  CINE: Hooman Behmanesh, Kambiz Karimi, Mahmoud Reza Sani, M. Shirvani.

Countdownposter_TT3forweb1COUNTDOWN (2008)

Along with more than a million high-school graduates, Parisa studies for difficult and competitive college entrance examinations, thought by many to be a young woman’s best hope for a career in Iran.  The familial and spiritual strains of this ritual are well rendered by director Khatereh Hanachi, as Parisa and her family face numerous sacrifices to realize a dream.

DVCam, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 50 min.

PROD: Maziar Bahari.  DIR: Khatereh Hanachi.  CINE: Rita Ebrahimi.  EDIT: Hamid Najafi Rad.


Sunday February 14th at 7:00PM

tinar-4.720x405TINAR (2007)

A pastorale of great beauty and poignancy, director Mahdi Moniri’s lyrical documentary foregrounds a poor boy’s resilience and courage.  Young Tinar lives alone in the mountains of northern Iran.  Abandoned by his recently widowed and re-married father, he supports himself as a cow herder, surviving emotionally on long-held hopes of attending school or joining urban relatives who might care for him.

DVCam, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 77 min.

PROD/DIR: Mahdi Moniri.  CINE: Seyed Hassan, Seyedi Parishan.  EDIT: Mohammad Moeen Karimoddini.


Director Payman Haghani’s first feature concerns Reza, a factory worker who learns that he is infertile.  His frustrated wife Zari files successfully for divorce and Reza has to raise money to pay back her dowry.  Reduced to basics, Reza scrounges for the necessary cash until an industrial accident suddenly gives him an idea.

DVCam, color and b/w, in Persian with English subtitles, 78 min.

PROD: Amir Samavati.  DIR: Payman Haghani.  SCR: P. Haghani, Hamid-Reza Keshani.  CAST: Hassan Pourshirazi, Asha Mehrabi, Reza Afshar, Maryam Khodarahmi, Bagher Soroosh.

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Friday February 19th at 7:30PM

mylittlecountrydetail_046166MY LITTLE COUNTRY (2008)

The moving portrait of a school for Afghani refugee children in Iran that gives its students a place to feel safe and acknowledged, to study their shared past and dream of a return to their home country.

DVCam, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 26 min.

PROD: Saeed Rashtian.  DIR/SCR: Abbas Mohammadi.  CINE: Reza Jalali.  EDIT: Masoumeh Shah Nazari.

the_story_of_gordafarid_400pxTHE LEGEND OF GORDAFARID (2008)

One woman’s saga studying and performing a style of epic theater previously reserved only for men.  Her fierce determination leads to some pushback, but more often wins admiration and respect.

DVCam, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 34 min.

PROD/DIR/SCR: Hadi Afarideh.  CINE: Ashkan Ashkani.  EDIT: Hamid Najafi Rad.


A witty, personal portrait of a man who creates beautiful vestments for Iranian clerics, this entertaining short reveals the circumstances that sometimes accompany the pomp.

DVCam, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 30 min.

PROD/DIR/SCR: Reza Haeri.  CINE: Ehsan Kaffash.  EDIT: Fardin Saheb-Zamani.


Saturday February 20th at 7:30PM


Asghar Farhadi (Beautiful City, shown in our 2005 edition) returns with this captivating drama, Iran’s entry to the
2010 Academy Awards. When schoolteacher Elly is whisked away by friends on a pleasure trip to the Caspian Sea, their true agenda is revealed: to marry her off to the recently divorced Ahmad.  The fib is the first of many in what soon becomes a mystery when Elly suddenly disappears.

35mm, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 119 min.

PROD/DIR/SCR: Asghar Farhadi.  CINE: Hossein Jafarian.  EDIT: Hayedeh Safarian.  CAST: Taraneh Alidousti, Golshifteh Farahani, Mani Haghighi, Shahab Hosseini, Merila Zarei.

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The Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood Village
10899 Wilshire Blvd. (corner of Wilshire & Westwood Blvds.).

Advance tickets for other programs at the Billy Wilder Theater are available for $10 at

Tickets are also available at the Billy Wilder Theater box office starting one hour before showtime: $9, general admission; $8, students, seniors and UCLA Alumni Association members with ID.

After 6 p.m., $3 in the lot under the Billy Wilder Theater. Enter from Westwood Blvd., just north of Wilshire.  Before 6 p.m., $3 for the first three hours with Museum validation.

INFO: / 310.206.FILM