When did you last watch an Iranian film? Or better yet, where is the last time you saw or learned anything about Iran? Odds are the news is where most Americans encounter any stories about Iran and usually, it’s not good news. Well, filmmaking is quite alive in Iran and the stories they tell are not what’s on the newscaster’s minds. They are mostly about the lives of everyday Iranians who experience the joys and sorrows of working hard and getting to tomorrow. Included in IRAN: Axis of People is a documentary about an Iranian girl who just wants to ride her bike on the city street but is reprimanded again and again for doing so as a girl. Gando is another documentary that relates the story of a girl who went to the river to fetch some water but encountered a crocodile?! This is evidently a regular problem for this village. Then there are several stunning animations about the worlds we humans have created around us. Iran truly is an axis around which stories of everyday people’s lives rotate. Films on this reel include…
ONE NICE DAY – An elementary school teacher is given the opportunity to give away one new bookbag to a student in his class. To decide, everyone writes a name on a piece of paper and tosses it into a bag. The teacher will pull out the winner. Little did he know… the fix was in! 🙂 (2014 / 3 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Sousan Salamat / live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)
BORDERLESS – Delaram is a teenage girl who was born with Down syndrome. She is very aware of being treated differently by others and feels that there is a border between everyone she encounters. Delaram has come up with a unique coping mechanism to maintain happiness in her life. The imagination can be a powerful tool. (2020 / 13 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Behrad Sahebgharani / live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)
GANDO – In the Sistan and Baluchistan provinces of Iran running water is scarce. Villagers must go to local ponds and rivers to get what they need on a daily basis. Once you are on the river bank you must be very careful because gando (Iranian crocodiles) live there as well. This documentary tells the story of a nine-year-old girl named Hawa who lost her arm one-day getting water. It’s also a story about, despite the gando being a threat, the villagers respect the gando because they believe they help bring the water. (2020 / 8 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Teymour Ghaderi / documentary / Persian w/English subtitles)
WOODEN SWORD – Two young boys meet on a park bench while waiting for their fathers to return. Little do they know their fathers have not formed a friendship similar to what they just have. Is what they see next might stay with them forever. (2019 / 7 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dirs Behzad Alavi, Sousan Salamat/ live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)
THE ROTATION – There is a war between two tribes over claiming the sun in the sky. As a result of that war, the sun is annihilated and the volcano erupts. Those two tribes perish and a new sun is made by lava. Several centuries pass and the new tribes continue to war over their claim to the sun in the sky. The sad cycle continues. (2020 / 7 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Hazhir As’adi / animation / no dialogue)
RAINBOW – A young flower vendor working a street corner comes across something that is not his. The events that follow show his regret and misunderstanding of other people’s intentions. (2020 / 11 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Mohammad Khalili/ live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)
A GIRL FROM PARSIAN …is an insightful documentary about a group of young Iranian women who wish to ride their bikes and the resistance they encounter from men of all ages. (2019 / 20 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Parinaz Hashemi Mobarakeh / documentary / Persian w/English subtitles)
THE ELEVENTH STEP – A little lion cub, born in a zoo, lives in a cage that is only ten steps long. On the eleventh step he bangs his head against the bars, but one day the zookeeper leaves the cage door open…. (2020 / 11 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Maryam Kashkoolinia / animation / Persian w/English subtitles)
RAYA – Raya’s family is having a dispute with the landlord and eviction is on the horizon. She and several of her friends also have a problem with a teacher at school and they decide to take matters into their own hands. Raya learns the hard way how not to deal with problems she might have with other people. Thankfully she demonstrates this knowledge shortly after. (2019 / 14 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Sepideh Berenji / live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)
Two orphaned siblings (ten-year-old Pari and her brother, eight-year-old Chotu) leave an abusive aunt in search for medical help to bring back Chotu’s eyesight. In a mystical tale they encounter the best and the worst of Indian society on their search for a Bollywood star who offers financial assistance. During their quest you can feel the heat, smell the curries, enjoy the colors and music from the other side of the world.
Winner BEST FILM Generation KPlus Berlin Crystal Bear 2015
“T-Rex” is an intimate, true coming-of-age story about a new kind of American heroine. in 2012, women’s boxing debuted at the 2012 Olympics. Fighting for gold from the USA is Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, just 17 years old and by far the youngest competitor. From the hard knock streets of Flint, Mich., Claressa is undefeated and utterly confident. Her fierceness extends beyond the ring as he protects her family at any cost, even when their instability and addictions threaten to derail her dream. Claressa does have one stable force in her life. Coach Jason Crutchfield has trained her since she was just a scrawny 11-year-old hanging out at his gym. Jason always wanted a champion, but never thought it’d be a girl. Her relationships with her coach and her family grow tense as she gets closer to her dream, but Claressa is determined. She desperately wants to take her family to a better, safer place and winning a gold medal could be her only chance.
How do children born into poverty find hope? This documentary follows the lives of a garbage picker, a music teacher and a group of children from Cateura, Paraguay. In this slum, they create musical instruments entirely out of garbage: first out of necessity, but the project became so much more. LANDFILL HARMONIC brings us on their journey from local village orchestra to world traveling (internet fueled) troupe whose trajectory of success is enhanced by their trash-into-music message.
Winner of the 2015 Audience Choice Award SXSW
Winner of the 2015 Audience Choice Award AFI
A true-to-life film about fulfilling potential and overcoming destiny, “I am Kalam” has touched hearts across India and worldwide. Chhotu, a bright yet impoverished Rajasthani boy, dreams of gaining an education while he works at a roadside cafe. When he hears an inspirational message from President Kalam, he changes his name to Kalam and commits to studying independently whenever he can. He befriends a local prince, but the two must fraternize in secret. Through their forbidden friendship and a case of misjudged intentions, Kalam struggles to find his place and tries to meet the president. A heartwarming narrative, “I Am Kalam” speaks not only to the dreams of many uneducated children in India but to anyone who has dared to seek a better life for himself.
In a tale akin to “Romeo and Juliet,” the strong bond between two children is threatened by their parents’ differences. Malú is from an upper-class family and her single mother does not want her to play with Jorgito, as she thinks his background coarse and commonplace. Jorgito’s mother, a poor Socialist, proud of her family’s social standing, places similar restrictions on her son. When the children learn that Malú’s mother is planning to leave Cuba, they decide to travel to the other side of the island to find Malú’s father and persuade him against signing the forms that would allow it.
Once dubbed “the most famous man in the world,” Charlie Chaplin has long been recognized as one of the preeminent icons of both comedy and cinema. From 1914 until 1967, Chaplin wrote, directed, produced and starred in more than 80 films, quickly advancing from basic slapstick to a unique comic style: immaculately constructed, deeply human, and always hilarious. “Modern Times” is one of his most acclaimed works that can make a child (or the child in us) laugh with abandon while truly empathizing with his iconic character, the down-and-out Tramp.
Because of its cultural significance, “Modern Times” was selected by the Library of Congress in 1989 for preservation in the National Film Registry.
In partnership with RISD Museum and Gallery Night Providence, PCFF 2014 brought back one of 2013’s audience favorites for a command – and free! – performance. “Le Tableau” is set within the world of an idyllic but incomplete painting, long ago abandoned by its painter. In his absence, the figures in the painting have taken over the narrative to serve their own ends. After the screening, you will be invited to explore, with the guidance of museum educators, RISD’s own collection of All-Dones, Sketchies and Halfies!
“Enchanting! This consistently enjoyable, inventive and beautifully crafted tale is a color riot suitable for all ages! A constant feast for the eyes!” – Variety (8/12)
A charming and intriguing kids’ film from India, “Gattu” is about an orphan being raised by a strict uncle constantly frustrated by his nephew’s inability to focus on work. Gattu is obsessed instead with kite-flying, and in particular with defeating the mysterious Kali, a black kite that rules the skies. To do this, Gattu is prepared to steal, lie, and even go to school! The only problem—he is illiterate. Nonetheless, our hero takes up the challenge, proving anything might be possible when the will is strong enough. Nominated for Best Children’s Feature Film at the 2012 Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
One of the most famous shots in silent comedy: a man in a straw hat and horn-rimmed glasses, hanging from the minute hand of a clock 12 stories above the street – and yet not many people have seen “Safety Last!” The comic genius of silent star Harold Lloyd is eternal. Chaplin is the innocent Tramp, Keaton the stoic outsider, but Lloyd—the modern guy striving for success—is us. With its torrent of perfectly executed gags and astonishing stunts, “Safety Last!” is the perfect introduction to this luminary of the silent era.