Experience The World through The Art of Cinema


There will be a panel discussion following the film.

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 13, 2005, AT 6:00 P.M.

Documentary Cinema

Beizai Uncensored
A Documentary by: Behnam Mokri

The documentary is a fascinating analytical look at Beizai's filmmaking career, political and social themes of his works as well as his unique filmmaking style.

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Salam Cinema
A Film by Mohsen Makhmalbaf

To celebrate cinema's centenary, one of Iran's foremost director's, Mohsen Makhmalbaf puts an advert in the local newspapers looking for candidates to act in his new film. The film opens with scenes of chaos as 5000 Tehranis arrive to audition for a part - Makhmalbaf isn't too sure how to proceed from here but his assistants manage to whittle down the crowd to a more manageable size of a hundred prospective actors. Sat behind a desk, Makhmalbaf tries to determine who shall be able to make it into the film - or so it seems to them.

Salam Cinema plays with our perception of what cinema is supposed to be and what it is. Despite the appearance of being a simple documentary about Makhmalbaf auditioning people for his new film, the viewer rapidly understands the film he is making is in fact what we are watching... Makhmalbaf seems to be playing himself but is displaying a rather strange view of directing and acting - for him, an actor must be able to cry or laugh within 10 seconds; if not, they are no actor.

Taking the film too literally would be a grave mistake: it would make for rather dull viewing if it were nothing more than an audition session with a rather stupid director. The political parallels are rather discreet though often detectable - the unquestioned authority of the director, his control of people's behavior and what is seen by the audience probably made for some uncomfortable viewing in governmental circles though the film's setting made it difficult to censor...

Although it will probably mainly appeal to viewers with a good knowledge of Iranian cinema, the questions raised by Salam Cinema are universal in nature and just as relevant in the West as they are in Iran: what do films reveal? Are they a true reflection of our society or a fictive state of mind? Where does truth end and fiction begin?

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