Top 10 Iranian films to watch during Christmas

It’s been a turbulent year for Iran, a country Protests rocked him After the death of 22-year-old Masha Amini in September. Many rallied against the country’s hijab laws, and showed signs of solidarity with Iran’s female population.

Although highly censored, Iranian films have gained international attention over the years and offer a unique opportunity for film fans to discover a vibrant cinematic language, as well as a window into a culture misunderstood by many in the Western world.

Many may have heard the names of famous Iranian directors such as Majid Majidi, Asghar Farhadi, Marjan Satrapi, and Abbas Kiarostami, due to which these directors won awards in prestigious international film festivals. They, like many others, continue to show how flourishing Iran’s film production is. My colleague even picked one 2022 Iranian gem for us Best movies of the year.

So, come Christmas, when you will undoubtedly find some spare time to rest after a big meal, we highly recommend that you forgo whatever big Hollywood production you are thinking of watching, and instead find inspiration in our top ten list of modern Iranian classics.

1- Paran (2001)

Many critics and movie lovers agree that this is the best Iranian movie of all time. Its screenplay, cinematography, and transformations are absolutely stunning. “Baran” means “rain” in Persian, and this 2001 film by Majid Majidi (the first Iranian director to be nominated at an Academy Awards) tells the story of a construction site worker who falls in love with an Afghan laborer, only to discover that she is a woman disguised as a man out for a living. live. The film won Best Film at the Montreal World Film Festival, and Best Screenplay and Best Director at the Gijón International Film Festival. must see.

2- Separation (2011)

A 2011 drama that tells the story of a couple who want to separate but are denied a divorce. He also deals with the depression their daughter is going through, as well as the plight of a caregiver assigned to care for a father-in-law who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Beautifully told and layered, it won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, becoming the first Iranian film to win the award.

3- Persepolis (2007)

This fantastic animated drama is based on the autobiography of Marjane Satrapi (who wrote and directed the film) and the graphic novel of the same name. Set against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution, it tells the story of its genesis. The film won the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

4- Marmolac (2004)

lizard (in Persian, Marmolac) is a 2004 Iranian comedy-drama film directed by Kamal Tabrizi, starring Parviz Parastoi as Reza “The Lizard” Moghelli, a petty thief who escapes from prison and pretends to be a mullah. He must remain in this role for much longer than he expected, inadvertently inspiring the villagers to perform good deeds. This is the first Iranian film that satirizes the mullahs, as it makes fun of the clergy, religion, Iranian society, and life in general.

5- Chicken with Plums (2011)

Although it’s a French film and was made in Germany at Babelsberg Studios in Potsdam, this is on our list because it was directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Baronaud. Plum chicken (Chicken with plum) Adapted from Satrapi’s graphic novel of the same name. The film follows how famous musician Nasir Ali Khan (Mathieu Amalric) loses the will to live when his violin breaks. Unable to find a replacement for the machine, Nasir decided to retreat to his bed and wait for death. It’s a poetic, beautiful, memorable movie that’s well worth your time.

6- Children of Paradise (1997)

Another masterpiece by Majid Majidi, Heaven’s children is a 1997 Iranian family drama about a brother and sister and their adventures over a lost pair of shoes. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1998 and unfortunately lost to the Italian film Life is beautiful by Roberto Benigni. The film reached an international audience after being nominated for an Academy Award, and was shown in several European, South American, and Asian countries between 1999 and 2001.

7- Up Close (1990)

In one of the greatest examples of blending reality and fiction in near-seamless ways, Abbas Kiarostami’s work poses complex questions about identity. When a movie buff impersonates his favorite director, a chain of events unfolds as he plans his next fake movie. It is factual that the movie is based on a true story and stars the actual people involved. All so brilliantly meta and a great watch.

8- Sneak (2006)

It is forbidden for women to attend sporting events in Iran, but that hasn’t stopped many of them, who go so far as to dress like men to enter. Jafar PanahiHis poignant and insightful film is set during the 2006 World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Bahrain, and follows several girls who, despite being eliminated, cheer their team happily as any fan would.

9- A Taste of Cherry (1997)

Directed by Abbas Kiarostami in 1997, this film is profound, depressing, and controversial. The film tells the story of a man’s journey after he commits suicide, looking for someone to bury. However, the movie leaves you with no answers at the end – so watch this great movie with fair warning. The film won the Palme d’Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, sharing it with Shuhei Imamura’s Japanese masterpiece. eel.

10- Birdsong (2008)

When ostrich farm worker Karim (played by Berlin Silver Bear winner Reza Naji) is forced to find a new job in the city to pay for his daughter’s hearing aid, the rural and urban worlds collide in Iran. With the captivating grace that characterizes Majid Majidi’s films, poverty and misery are observed here not with pathos but with an optimistic, undefeated perspective.

There we have it, and be sure to check out our review of another soon-to-be Iranian classic—this year Jeddah Khaki (Hit The Road)the first film by Bana Panahi.

Happy bids to all of you.

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