When I started the blog two years ago, one of my goals was to shine a light on little seen Iranian films for the English speaking audience. Clicking on the ‘Iranian Cinema’ tab on the blog’s header tells me that I’ve failed miserably, having posted less than 10 times about Iranian films in total. When the Sight & Sound poll was released, I noticed that Abbas Kiarostami’s Close-Up (Namaye Nazdik) was the highest ranking Iranian film on the list and it actually made the top 50. Though I personally love the film to no end, I was surprised that it ranked so highly given that it isn’t revered nearly as much in its home country.
|Guess who? A Separation's Leila Hatami as a young boy in Kamalolmolk (1984) directed by her late father Ali Hatami|
Looking further down the list, there are quite a few films by Kiarostami and others like Makhmalbaf, Mehrjui and Farrokhzad that I’m quite happy to see have found a foothold, strong or weak, among the critical community outside Iran. Initially, I wanted to seize the opportunity and write about all the Iranian films that appear on the list as a way to compensate for my inactivity in that area. But that sort of defeats the purpose. Those films already have their supporters, after all. So I cast my net wider.
Starting on Monday, September 24th, after TIFF craziness and my coverage at The Film Experience is over, I will be writing about an Iranian film every Monday. I will cover all the titles that appear on the Sight & Sound list but I won’t stop there. Many of my favourites – in fact, most of my personal top ten, which are mostly available in North America, by the way – understandably don’t show up on their list, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth your time. So be sure to check back in three weeks!