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February 9, 2020

Forty years of Iranian cinema


February 9, 2020

Pakistan National Council of the Arts & The Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamabad join hands to celebrate introduction to 40 years if Iranian cinema at PNCA Auditorium with memorable film clips from the past four decades and screened film ‘Damascus Time’ Friday in PNCA Auditorium.

Iran has produced rich cinema reservoir in the past four decades with directors like Majid Majidi coming up with some of the best children films ever produced in any capital ranging from titles like ‘Color of Paradise to Children of Heaven to Baran.’

The last 40 years have brought some of the best work in cinema produced with passion, dedication, sincerity, courage, and above all, innocence away from the clutches of commercial considerations and box-office receipts. This could happen only in Iran. The cinematic jewels created in the past four decades by dozens of imaginative filmmakers and screenwriters like Abbas Kiarostami, Majid Majidi, Dariush Mehrjui and Asghar Farhadi have won international acclaim and ovation. Cinema Farabi, Fajr International Film Festival and other organisations are the pillars which promote Iranian films but that is only the half the truth. The other half of it is the talent and word of mouth spread over from all the distinguished international film festivals (Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto and Busan) where participation of films and filmmakers from Iran is considered a prerequisite. No other country can claim that credit and ownership. Iranian films have had an amazing journey from 1979 to 2020. Director Asghar Farhadi has won two Academy Awards (Oscar) for films ‘A Separation’ and ‘The Salesman.’ His films have been rich with creativity and cinematic brilliance. Matters of daily life, marital conflict and children have been filmed with simplicity and realism. These and other films have no theatrical elements to please and cater to the lowest common denominator of film formula addiction. This is because these films are based on harsh realities of life of ordinary people who suffer the tragedies of life but also triumph with the best of what life has to offer them.

The new film Damascus Time, directed by Ebrahim Hatamikia, brings up the relationship between a father and his son who both try to save life of civilians. Damascus Time portrays deadly attacks, terrorists, suicide missions, ruins, deserts, tons of ammunition and violent encounters. It is part- fiction but part of it is also based on real events, which the world has faced in the recent years.

And many of us have remained oblivious to this human destruction and loss.

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