World Cinema Café is a free weekly community screening series held in the SNF Parkway’s historic main theatre, offering a cross-section of historical and contemporary cinema from around the globe. Featuring films on the periphery and movies that break the canon – intentionally or by circumstance – World Cinema Café points to a new vision in filmmaking.
Each season of World Cinema Café will focus on films from a different part of the world and put them in the context of international cinema’s past, present, and future, with titles rarely seen in U.S. theatres. Join us to experience these fantastic and wide-ranging films from all over the globe, and expand your taste for international movies!
Fall 2022 will explore cinema from Iran and the Iranian diaspora.
World Cinema Cafe is made possible by generous contributions from Robert Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker.
FALL 2022 SCREENINGS
France & United States, 2007
dir. Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi
Screening on November 17, 2022
Resources + Sources
Like all national cinemas, Iranian movie history bears the marks of the political and cultural shifts of the region. Early cinema equipment first arrived in Iran as a diversion for Mozaffar al-Din Shah’s royal court in 1900 and developed into a commercial entertainment slowly over the next three decades. Before the start of the Islamic revolution in the late 1970s, Iranians enjoyed commercial films at hundreds of cinemas located all across the country. Movies reached wide audiences, and mostly consisted of simple fable-like tales and dubbed versions of Western films, but also included more formally daring titles of a burgeoning new wave movement spearheaded by directors Hajir Darioush, Dariush Mehrjui, Masoud Kimiai, Nasser Taghvai, Bahram Beyzai and Marva Nabili. After the revolution, most films were seen as anti-Muslim and thus were restricted or even banned. Many cinemas closed or were burned and several prominent directors left the country to pursue production in other regions of the world. Iranian cinema rebounded in the early ‘80s, operating under heavy censorship guidelines based on strict Islamic doctrine that continue to affect both exhibition and production. In spite of these restrictions, Iranian movie-makers continue to create complex and beautiful movies that enjoy sustained international recognition as one of the world’s most important national cinemas since the early ‘90s.
Currently, Iran is undergoing another moment of severe political and cultural change. Since the arrest, and subsequent death, of 22-year-old Zhina (Mahsa) Amini on September 13, 2022, Iran has been embroiled in constant protest and repressive state violence. Amini was arrested by Iran’s “morality police” for allegedly failing to wear her hijab correctly. Two days later, she was dead after falling into a coma. Starting with Amini’s funeral in the Kurdish town of Saqqez in Northern Iran, protests broke out all over the country, and have now reached every Iranian province.
Protesters represent wide demographics of Iranian citizens, including men, women, young students, and oil workers. The majority of the protests are led by young Iranian women, fighting not only the stringent hijab requirements, but the inherently sexist, conservative, and violent government in Iran. Many historians are relating the current protests to the 1978 Iranian Revolution, which ultimately led to the dethroning of the Shah and creation of the current Islamic Republic of Iran. Needless to say, these protests are likely to change Iran’s political landscape. To contextualize the sheer scale of these protests for Americans, eflux writers Iman Ganji and Jose Rosales write, “Imagine the burning-down of the Third Precinct in Minneapolis in response to the murder of George Floyd, but in every major city in all fifty states over the course of an entire month.”
Iranian artists, university professors, and filmmakers have joined the protests in droves, and these aren’t the first protests of their kind that Iranian creative communities have been involved with. Jafar Panahi, the filmmaker who wrote and directed Jafar Panahi’s Taxi, included in this World Cinema Café series, is currently serving a six-year sentence for supporting protests back in 2010 as well as speaking out against the July 2022 Evin prison arrests of fellow filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad. The forces behind the current Iranian protests have been bubbling just under the surface for years, finally erupting in a wave of unafraid, powerful demands for substantial change in Iran, led by the Kurdish feminist slogan: “Woman, Life, Freedom” (زن زندگی آزادی ·).
Iranian journalist and activist
TW & IG: @masih.alinejad
Iranian actress & a member of the Council on Forgein Relations board
TW & IG: @nazaninboniadi
Slingers links Iranians’ local and international struggles as part of a broader movement research platform to amplify new formations around social justice.
From : Iran
a feminist coalition of unheard Iranian voices
TW & IG: @from____iran
Atena Daemi is an Iranian civil rights activist, children’s rights activist, human rights activist and political prisoner in Iran.
TW & IG: @atenadaemi
Middle East Matters
A community organization
Iranian activist account – in Persian language
TW & IG: @1500tasvir
Samantha Bergenson, “Jafar Panahi Ordered to Serve Six Years in Jail: ‘This Is a Kidnapping.’” Indiewire, 19 July 2022
Iman Ganji and Jose Rosales, “Tomorrow Was Shahrivar 1401: Notes on the Iranian Uprisings.”
e-flux Notes, 19 October 2022
Adam Adada, “How Iran’s Protests Have Spread Across the Country.” Wall Street Journal, 27 October 2022
Seyma Bayram & Diba Mohtasham, “Iran’s protesters find inspiration in a Kurdish revolutionary slogan.” National Public Radio, 27 October 2022
Brianna Scott & Linah Mohammad, “Ongoing Protests In Iran Echo A Century-Old Revolution.” National Public Radio, 18 October 2022
Mita Lad, “Iran – Post Revolution.” Film Reference.
Shahin Parhami, ““Iranian Cinema: Before the Revolution.” Off Screen, November 1999
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Not in My Neighborhood
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Soleil Ô (Oh Sun)
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Eyimofe (This is My Desire)
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Sew the Winter to My Skin
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Night of the Kings
Ivory Coast, 2020
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