Those Who Said No: a slickly made and polished film that is less than honest about the politics of the activists it champions

Nima Sarvestani, “Those Who Said No” (2015) A very polished film, complete with stereotypical mournful droning music in parts, this Iranian / Swedish documentary follows proceedings of the Iran Tribunal, a people’s court hosted at The Hague, in its investigation of alleged violations of human rights and crimes against humanity committed by the Islamic Republic …

No Date, No Signature: a traffic collision leads to an investigation of class conflict and an unsympathetic bureaucracy in a gritty realist drama

Vahid Jalilvand, “No Date, No Signature” (2017) A chance encounter between two characters who would never have met otherwise becomes an examination of class conflict in an impoverished society where, it seems, bureaucracy and legalism are more important than being true to one’s conscience in this painfully gritty, realist film, the second by upcoming Iranian …

The Baby: a snapshot of modern Tehran and young people caught between traditional family values and the temptations of city and university life

Ali Asgari, “The Baby / Bacheh” (2014) In the space of 16 minutes, we’re drawn into a gritty world of urban bleakness and desperation that is modern Tehran under Shi’ite Islamic theocratic rule. Narges (Sahar Sotoudeh) who may or may not be studying at university is looking for someone to mind her newborn baby (Safoora …

Tehran Taxi / Jafar Panahi’s Taxi: purporting to be a snapshot of life in Tehran but an examination of life and behaviour under a police state

Jafar Panahi, “Tehran Taxi” aka “Jafar Panahi’s Taxi” (2015) Banned by the Iranian government in 2010 from making films, director Jafar Panahi nevertheless managed to make at least three more films (as of this time of review) in ingenious if not always original ways. His 2015 comedy / drama flick “Tehran Taxi”, following in the foot-steps …

Wild Iran: interesting film on a photographer’s journey across Iran

Herbert Ostwald, “Wild Iran” (2011) This documentary follows the Iranian-German wildlife photographer and environmentalist Benny Rebel on a 6-week journey across Iran taking photographs and videos of endangered species of animals in their natural habitats in the country’s national parks. The film zigzags through a variety of landscapes from the semi-tropical forests of northern Iran …

The House is Black: a meditation on human condition, suffering and the beauty of creation in a leper colony

Forough Farrokhzad, “The House is Black” / “Khaneh siah ast” (1962) Made about 50 years ago but still very confronting, “The House is Black” is the only film ever made by Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad. About five years after making the film, Farrokhzad died in a car accident. The documentary focusses on the daily lives …