Friday, March 9, 2012

Hating IRAN: "The Shahs of Sunset" (video)

Wisdom Quarterly
Blame Ryan Seacrest, the bane of American media, for the drumbeat of war to come.

Did you ever want to go back in time to bomb Italy -- or pull up to the present and bomb the Jersey shoreline -- while watching Snooki make a revolting spectacle of herself?

On the heels of MTV's successful Italian (Roman) scripted "reality" TV show comes Seacrest's copycat Iranian (Persian) spectacle. The only problem is that this motley crew is a little harder on the eyes than the gavones on MTV. Good luck, Bravo Network. The show is bound to make an American war on Iran more likely.

  • Ryan Seacrest, executive producer of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” has teamed up with “Real Housewives” franchise creator Andy Cohen for “Shahs of Sunset.” The docu-soap is said to follow a group of young Persian-American friends [living in Beverly Hills...] More
Loving Iran
() "The best Iranian film of all time!" - Wisdom Quarterly

"Persepolis" is the poignant story of a young girl coming-of-age in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It is through the eyes of precocious and outspoken 9-year-old Marjane that we see a people's hopes dashed as fundamentalists take power -- forcing the veil on women and imprisoning thousands.

Clever and fearless, she outsmarts the "social guardians" and discovers punk rock, decadent Scandinavian ABBA, and Iron Maiden. Yet when her uncle is senselessly executed and as bombs fall around Tehran in the Iran/Iraq war, the daily fear that permeates life in Iran is palpable.

As she gets older, Marjane's boldness causes her parents to worry over her continued safety. And so, at age 14, they make the difficult decision to send her to school in Austria. Vulnerable and alone in a strange land, she endures the typical ordeals of a teenager. In addition, Marjane has to combat being equated with the religious fundamentalism and extremism she fled her country to escape.

Over time, she gains acceptance, and even experiences love, but after high school she finds herself alone and horribly homesick. Though it means putting on the veil and living in a tyrannical society, Marjane decides to return to Iran to be close to her family.

Watch non-English version free

After a difficult period of adjustment, she enters art school and marries, all the while continuing to speak out against the hypocrisy she witnesses. At age 24, she realizes that while she is deeply Iranian, she cannot live in Iran. She then makes the heartbreaking decision (

This is Not a Film and A Separation
() "This is Not a Film" directed by Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb. "Turn Censorship into Art" (IndieWire).

This clandestine documentary, shot partially on an iPhone and smuggled into France in a cake for a last-minute submission to the Cannes Film Festival, depicts the day-to-day life of acclaimed Iranian director Jafar Panahi (Offside, The Circle) during his house arrest in his Tehran apartment. While appealing his sentence -- six years in prison and a 20 year ban from film making -- Panahi is seen talking to his family and lawyer on the phone, discussing his plight with Mirtahmasb, and reflecting on the meaning of the art of film making.

() As the stand out film of the 2011 Berlin Film Festival and winner of the Golden Bear, "A Separation" is a suspenseful and intelligent drama detailing the fractures and tensions at the heart of Iranian society.

Winning the Academy Award guarantees attention for this film. Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, the film boasts a range of superb performances from the ensemble cast who collectively received the Silver Bears for both Best Actor and Best Actress at the Berlinale. The compelling narrative is driven by a taut and finely written script rooted in the particular of Iranian society but which transcends its setting to create a stunning morality play with universal resonance.

When his wife (Leila Hatami) leaves him, Nader (Peyman Moadi) hires a young woman (Sareh Bayat) to take care of his suffering father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi). But he doesn't know his new maid is not only pregnant, but also working without her unstable husband's (Shahab Hosseini) permission. Soon, Nader finds himself entangled in a web of lies manipulation and public confrontations. A Separation is the first ever Iranian film to be awarded the Golden Bear.

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