sun 22/09/2019

Iran

The President

What’s it really like to be a dictator? Or president, if we put it more circumspectly, as Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf does in his new film of that name – though this President clearly believes he’s of the “for-life” variety, if not even a...

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Xerxes, Longborough Opera

One hardly expects operas about historical figures to bother much with the actual facts of their lives. But Handel’s Xerxes must nevertheless rank as an extreme case. Instead of bridging the Hellespont and invading Greece with a million men – a...

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A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

A skateboarding female vampire in a striped Brêton top. A James Dean look-alike with a junkie father. A prostitute as confessor. Spaghetti western-influenced music. The black-and-white A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a smorgasbord of attention-...

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Manuscripts Don't Burn

Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof’s Manuscripts Don’t Burn will raise many questions for its viewers, not least the practical one: just how was it made at all?Rasoulof has had plenty of problems with the regime in his native country over the years...

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A Story of Children and Film

Every cinephile is going to have a personal perspective on Mark Cousins’ A Story of Children and Film, an engrossing, affectionate, and frequently revelatory look over how aspects of childhood, and children, have been portrayed on screen over more...

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Homeland, Series 3 Finale, Channel 4

Homeland's coming home? Well not exactly, but the conclusion to this crazy, mixed-up third series did suddenly feel as if the writers had finally managed to express something that they'd been groping towards for the last three months. Namely, if the...

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Arab Nights, Soho Theatre

Given the present Middle East uproar, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that contemporary versions of The 1001 Arabian Nights are sprouting everywhere. With their variety of stories and roots in countries undergoing such political upheaval...

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Light from the Middle East: New Photography, Victoria & Albert Museum

This compilation of nearly 90 photographs by 30 photographers from 13 different countries of the Middle East is literally and metaphorically illuminating. The Paris-based Iranian photographer Abbas puts it thus: “I write with light.”Framed in three...

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Argo

No one can resist a story based on declassified truth and in Argo’s case, no one should. The broad strokes of this so-ridiculous-it-must-be-true tale involve six American hostages who escape the siege of the Iranian Embassy in 1979. They hole up at...

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Shappi Khorsandi, Soho Theatre

If the first rule of being a novelist is to write about what you know, then the first rule of comedy is to be yourself. And in that respect Shappi Khorsandi starts with an advantage, as being herself means she's warm and likeable and the audience...

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Circumstance

Recent Iranian cinema has seen the best of times - and the worst of times. From the 1990s onwards the phenomenon of the "Iranian New Wave" has captured worldwide festival attention, with directors like Abbas Kiarostami, and father and daughter pair...

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This is Not a Film

With only a modest, handheld camera and an iPhone at his disposal, the internationally acclaimed Iranian director Jafar Panahi shot this film in secret whilst under house arrest. His close friend, and co-director of this film, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb,...

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