Examples from the Contemporary Iranian film repertoire will be screened on four Friday evenings. The facade of the Secession will be used as a projection screen, the audience will sit in the installation.
July 27, 9pm
Children of the Prophet, 2006
Director: Sudabeh Mortezai, 86 min
A discussion on “Islam zwischen Tradition und Moderne” with Sudabeh Mortezai, Azra Akšamija and Mouhanad Khorchide will follow the film.
Children of the Prophet follows four groups of protagonists in Teheran during the Shiite ritual of Moharram, an annually held observance of the martyrdom of Imam Hossein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.
“The film dives into a very archaic religious ritual that plays itself out in a very modern urban context. This tension between tradition and the modern fascinates me. In today’s Iran the archaic and the postmodern co-exist in a surreal, almost schizophrenic way. The new doesn’t necessarily supplant the old. The various layers permeate one another. With the Moharram-ritual, it’s easy to observe how different people, according to their social backgrounds, deal with religion and traditions and how they modify them to fit their particular needs.” Sudabeh Mortezai
Sudabeh Mortezai, born 1968 in Ludwigsburg, Germany, grew up in Tehran and Vienna. She received her MA in theater and film studies from the University of Vienna in 1994. She worked as a programmer for film festivals and organized a number of film events as the manager and curator of Filmcasino, an independent arthouse theater in Vienna. After completing UCLA’s Certificate Program in Film, TV, and Digital Entertainment Media in 2003, Sudabeh directed and produced several short films before making her feature-length documentary Children of the Prophet in 2006. Lives and works in Vienna.
August 10, 9pm
Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 75 min.
In this poetic film from Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, an elderly couple is involved in the ritual of cleaning their gabbeh, a beautiful, intricately designed rug. Suddenly, a woman who resembles one of the figures depicted on the carpet emerges from the gabbeh. She recounts the history of her nomadic clan and the story of her love for a man from outside her tribe. This magical musing on love and art won numerous film festival awards.
August 24, 9pm
Marmoulak (The Lizard), 2004
Director: Kamal Tabrizi
Reza is a petty thief who escapes jail by posing as a mullah. When he has to stay in disguise longer than he expected, he accidentally becomes the revered leader of a small-town mosque, bringing people flooding in with his on the hoof sermons featuring sexual innuendo and references to ‘brother’ Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. (Michael Hayden)
September 7, 9pm
Zir-e Noor-e Maah (Under the Moonlight), 2001
Director: Seyyed Reza Mir-Karimi
A seminary student on the verge of realizing his lifelong dream of joining the clergy gains a better understanding of the outside world when his clerical supplies are stolen in this humanistic drama. As Seyyed Hassan scours the suburban landscape in a desperate effort to identify the young thief, he soon comes into contact with a number of citizens whose understanding of the clergy is middling at best. His search intensifying, Sayyed’s education in the outside world proves as essential to his future role in the church as the long hours he spent studying in seminary school. (Jason Buchanan)