While films depicting the Arab Spring are just beginning to emerge, this Iranian film season is inspired by the Iranian ‘Green Wave’ protests of 2009 that retrospectively seem to foretell the wider unrest across the Muslim world in 2011. The season coincides with a new film, The Green Wave, released at the IFI on 21st October that deals with the background of those protests.
The Green Wave was prompted by the alleged theft of a supposedly democratic election from a pro-reform candidate. One of the movement’s main grievances of was the relegation of women to second-class citizens. This season attempts to select work which represents artists that were involved in the Green Wave and their concerns about the rights of women in contemporary Iran. The punishments imposed on many of the represented filmmakers – including Pegah Ahangarani, Mahnaz Mohammadi, Mohammad Rasoulof and Jafar Panahi make for chilling reading.
Highlights of the season include The Circle, winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival that forgoes allegory for a challenging direct critique of women’s place in society; Offside which follows a young girl trying to sneak into a men-only football match and which won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival; and ‘Our Times/We Are Half of Iran’s Population’, a selection of work from Rakshan Bani-E’temad who is considered to be Iran’s premiere female director.