The UK Iranian Film Festival, now in its 4th year, is the only leading festival dedicated in screening the new films from Iranian cinema. This year, the festival runs from 1 November to 9 November in various sites including Cine Lumiere in Kensington and The Greenwood Theatre in London Bridge.
Iranian cinema is considered by many film scholars as the most potent and integral stem of cinema, laced with influences from the French New Wave. Iranian films are usually intertwined with poetic realism, almost always focusing on the day-to-day lives of ordinary people and often depicting the political and social effects in art-house style.
When it comes to Iranian cinema, the director you're most likely to know is Abbas Kiarostami – the country's most famous director. In terms of significance, he is Iran’s equivalent to Britain’s Ken Loach. Kiarostami began his career in the early 70s and is highly respected internationally. Though none of his films are showing at the festival, he's a great way to introduce yourself to Iranian cinema and we'd recommend catching Through The Olive Trees, Close-Up, Taste of Cherry, Like Someone in Love and Ten.
Last year, Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation was a favourite at the film ceremonies, winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Film and a Golden Globe too. This year, the festival opens with Farhadi’s new feature film, The Past. Set in Paris, an Iranian man has deserted his French wife to move back to his homeland. Meanwhile his wife starts a new relationship.
Others from this year’s line-up include Meeting Leila, a romantic comedy following a perfumer with an acute sense of smell who is trying to persuade her fiance to quit smoking. Nowhere Nobody follows the story of a cashier frustrated by the constraints of the simple life; this film explores the philosophical links between money and happiness. I Am His Wife promises to be a particularly interesting feature exploring the life of a middle-class family living in post-1979 Iran, focusing on womanhood in a post-revolution country.
Ticket prices are £12-£14. To see the full line-up this year, visit the UK Iranian Film Festival website and be sure to click on the red ‘CINEMA TICKET’ icon (very easy to miss!) to purchase your tickets.
By Natasha Saifolahi
UK Iranian Film Festival runs from 1 - 9 November.