Two Euro Festivals to Celebrate Iranian Cinema

Fabrizio Maltese
Asghar Farhadi

Scotland's Edinburgh festival and Switzerland's Fribourg fest will partner on a major retrospective of cinema from Iran.

LONDON – A retrospective of Iranian cinema from 1933 to 2006 will be jointly mounted by the Fribourg International Film Festival (FIFF) in Switzerland and Scotland's Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF).

The two events are collaborating on the retrospective called "The History of Iranian Cinema by Its Creators."

FIFF will launch the retrospective program at its 28th edition, for which 14 major Iranian directors have named 27 titles, from 1933 to 2006.

The 14 directors picking titles are Mania Akbari, Kaveh Bakhtiari, Bahram Beyzaie, Asghar Farhadi, Sepideh Farsi, Mahmoud Ghaffari, Bahman Ghobadi, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Shahram Mokri, Amir Naderi, Jafar Panahi, Shirin Neshat, Rafi Pitts and Mohammad Rasoulof.

The organizers noted that the view of Iranian cinema available to worldwide audiences has been subject to numerous restrictions, which have obscured the continuity of Iranian filmmaking before and after the 1979 revolution.

That continuity is the concern of this major retrospective, for which leading contemporary Iranian directors have been contacted to choose and introduce the key works of Iranian film history.

The complete list of titles to be screened will be unveiled at FIFF’s lineup announcement, which is scheduled for March 12, 2014.

The Cinematheque Suisse (National Film Archives) will also, simultaneously with FIFF, screen part of this historical event.

EIFF will continue the program during its 68th edition in June 2014, introducing further retrospective selections by contemporary Iranian filmmakers, together with new works.

FIFF artistic director Thierry Jobin said the idea was born "not out of any political motivation, but out of a deep frustration."

He said: "Year after year we are impressed by Iranian movies without getting the full picture. This unique retrospective will, no doubt, confirm some of our common understandings of Iranian cinema. But it will also offer many amazing rediscoveries and, through powerful movies, a better understanding of Iran and of its culture. I would like to thank all the filmmakers for their confidence."

EIFF artistic director Chris Fujiwara said: "The series promises a powerful re-writing of film history through the recovery and re-affirmation of neglected connections. Film festivals have a great responsibility to the past heritage and the current and future understanding of cinema, and I consider this program a step toward fulfilling that responsibility."

FIFF runs March 29-April 5, while EIFF runs from June 18-June 29.