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Iranian filmmaking at two extremes

by Steven Zeitchik.

Cinematically speaking, few countries have experienced as wild a roller coaster ride as Iran in the past 14 months. Over this period, one or more of its filmmakers have a) won the country’s first foreign-language Oscar, b) faced an extraordinary ban on filmmaking, c) seen their creative ferment recognized throughout Europe, d) packed up and moved their productions far from the Middle East.

“I guess you could sayIranian cinema is in both the best and the worst of times,” said Massoud Bakhshi, director of “A Respectable Family,” a semi-autobiographical tale about a man haunted by the Iran-Iraq war that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last week.

Many of those extremes were indeed on display at the world’s most prestigious film confab. The country was represented by a pair of films, Abbas Kiarostami’s multi-generational drama”Like Someone in Love,” in competition, and Bakhshi’s “Family,” in the Director’s Fortnight. The two — warmly if not wildly received — represent opposite approaches taken by contemporary Iranian filmmakers: Kiarostami has chosen to shoot far from his native land while Bakhshi is attempting to tell his stories working within the system.

Read the rest of this article from LA Times.

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