Art and Experience:

The AFI (American Film Institute) Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Washington D.C. is hosting the Festival of Films from Iran.

The annual series that opened Friday provides a look at both the latest films from Iran and selected classics, which this year include retrospectives dedicated to filmmakers Shahram Mokri and two-time Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi.

The festival began with a screening of Farhadi’s acclaimed movie “Fireworks Wednesday” starring Taraneh Alidoosti and Hedyeh Tehrani.

The suspenseful drama tells the story of marital intrigue and betrayal set against the backdrop of the Persian New Year. Ruhi, a young bride-to-be, is hired as a maid for an affluent family in Tehran. Upon arriving she is suddenly thrust into an explosive domestic conflict. The wife is convinced her husband is having an affair with a recently divorced woman living next door and enlists Ruhi as a spy, to follow her husband and confirm her suspicions. What Ruhi discovers, however, threatens not only their marriage but her own future.

One more screening has also been arranged for the film for April 6.

The festival went on Saturday with reviewing Mokri’s first feature “Ashkan, the Charmed Ring and Other Stories”, a delightfully offbeat black-and-white comedy about the mysterious workings of fate, played out in deadpan Jim Jarmusch-like vignettes.

His second feature “Fish & Cat” also was screened at the same time. The film is an unclassifiable, brilliant single-shot meditation on 1970s American slasher films like “Friday the 13th”, but filtered through a purely art-house lens.

Panah Panahi’s striking feature debut “Hit the Road” has also been selected to be screened. The charming, sharp-witted and deeply moving comic drama will be reviewed on April 7.

It follows a family of four — two middle-aged parents and their sons, one a taciturn adult, the other an ebullient six-year-old — as they drive across the Iranian countryside. Over the course of the trip, they bond over memories of the past, grapple with fears of the unknown and fuss over their sick dog.

The festival, which is being organized with contributions from the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and the ILEX Foundation, will run until April 27.

Farhadi’s Oscar-winning movies “A Separation” and “The Salesman” and Mokri’s latest drama “Careless Crime”, winner of the Premio Bisato d’Oro for Best Original Screenplay at the Venice Film Festival, will be reviewed at the event, which is part of the festival that started on February 4.

Source: Tehrantimes