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)

 

Consistently ranked among the greatest films ever made, Buster Keaton’s THE GENERAL continues to inspire awe and laughter with every viewing. Rejected by the Confederate army and taken for a coward by his beloved Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), young Johnny Gray (Keaton) is given a chance to redeem himself when Yankee spies steal his cherished locomotive (“The General”). Johnny wages a one-man war against hijackers, an errant cannon and the unpredictable hand of fate while roaring along the iron rails.

ALMOST FRIENDS is a documentary about two Israeli girls—an Arab and a Jew—who live only 40 miles away but in many ways live worlds apart. Participating in an online program that fosters educational exchange and friendship, the two girls correspond with caution and eventually meet face-to-face. The experience is profoundly moving for them, their families, and the audiences who see this touching film. But when conflict spans generations, change is slow and “almost” anything might be a start…

 

In this lighthearted German farce, the citizens of Bollersdorf take great pride in being perfectly average in everything: weight, age, household members and more. Bollersdorf is so average, in fact, that a market research company uses the town as a testing ground. Fortunately, a ragtag group of kindergarteners known as the Coati Gang, doesn’t fall for it. With the help of their grandparents, the gang sets out to make its town “extra” ordinary using creativity, pluck and ingenuity. A hilarious and heartwarming live-action adventure.

Director David Fine’s documentary takes something many American youths are familiar with (basketball), and moves us on a true-life journey to a land many of us are unfamiliar with (Iraq). The result is extraordinary. “Salaam Dunk” is an insightful look into young Iraqi life as experienced by a current women’s college basketball team. The players are a fascinating and genuinely inspiring bunch, and the squad’s mere existence provides a stirring example of the possibilities for young Iraqis outside the country’s war zones. What they overcome on the court, you have seen in other movies; what they must overcome in their Iraqi society, you have not.

The Blue Gnomes that live in a mountain are in charge of the “magic silver” that brings sunlight to every day. The Red Gnomes are farm Gnomes with low opinions of those uppity Blues. After the magic silver is stolen by a gnome , the theft brings out the best between the two gnome groups to restore the daylight. With gnome hats to die for and a sleigh chase Tarantino would envy, this is the film that broke opening-day box-office records in Norway.

Abila, 14, lives in the violent slum jungle of Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya. He is a Luo – one of the many Kenyan tribes. He is smitten with Shiku, who is the same age, but she is a Kikuyu, and that is the problem. Boys and girls from different tribes are not encouraged to mix. But Abila has another problem. At the start of the film, he finds his father in a disturbing state. His mother says it’s a hangover, but Abila has a feeling there’s more going on. He finds out that his father’s soul has been stolen by a Nyawawa, a female spirit. Despite the hostility of the surroundings, Abila and Shiku set off together to save the soul of Abila’s father.

You could say that the location is the real protagonist of this film. Shot in 13 days, this film was made in Kibera, where more than one million people live and battle for survival. Its residents acted the film’s parts.

This film emerged from a workshop and benefited from production support by the famous German director Tom Tykwer. Above all, the camera work is of a level that is seldom seen in African pictures. The authentic background in combination with the outside support turned “Soul Boy” into a sparkling – and surprisingly professional-looking — short film.

“Louder than a Bomb” is a film about passion, competition, teamwork and trust. It’s about the joy of being young and the pain of growing up. It’s about speaking out, making noise and finding your voice. It also happens to be about poetry.

Every year, more than 600 teenagers from more than 60 Chicago-area schools gather for the world’s largest youth poetry slam, a competition called “Louder Than a Bomb.” Founded in 2001, Louder Than a Bomb is the only event of its kind in the country—a youth poetry slam built from the beginning around teams. Rather than emphasize individual poets and performances, the structure demands that kids collaborate: presenting, critiquing and rewriting their peers’ pieces. To succeed, teams have to create an environment of mutual trust and support. For many kids, being a part of such an environment—in an academic context—is life-changing.

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!

REVIEWS:

“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)