The Houston Iranian Film Festival celebrates its 25th edition in 2018! This year’s lineup gives audiences a chance to see some unique, daring female perspectives on the many obstacles women face in Iran today.
Here are a few highlights of female-oriented films in the festival, which runs January 19 to 28.
The latest release from filmmaker Narges Abyar is set between 1977 and 1980—a tumultuous time spanning the Iranian Revolution and Iran–Iraq War. Breath (Nafas) tells the story of war and revolution through the eyes of Bahar, an imaginative 9-year-old girl who spends her time daydreaming as a way to make sense of the world’s harsh realities. This bittersweet drama is Iran’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards—the first time the country’s selection is a film by a female director. Breath screens on January 19.
“I wanted the world to understand all the limitations an Iranian girl faces.” —Narges Abyar
Sadaf Foroughi’s bold and insightful debut film, Ava is a coming-of-age tale about a 16-year-old student who faces the societal pressures placed upon young women by parents, school, and peers. From her perspective as an Iranian-born filmmaker, Foroughi elegantly tells a tale of adolescence, rebellion, and how tradition can be oppressive to young Iranian women. Ava screens on January 20.
“It is, first of all, a story about human beings, about love, dreams, hope. It’s a universal story about a young girl trying to get free.” ––Sadaf Foroughi
One of Iran’s most acclaimed and controversial films of 2017 is director Ali Soozandeh’s first feature film, Tehran Taboo. This fearless look into double standards follows the stories of three women and one man whose paths cross in Tehran, where tradition, sex, drugs, and corruption coexist despite strict religious laws. Using the animation technique of rotoscoping, Soozandeh is able to explore provocative themes without restrictions of censorship. Tehran Taboo screens on January 20. For mature audiences only!
“Everyone sees these taboos, but no one talks about them. That was the big question I wanted to ask: Why do we all play along?” ––Ali Soozandeh
See these three films and more in the 25th Houston Iranian Film Festival, January 19–28!