Experience The World through The Art of Cinema


Painful, tragic, exasperating, irritating, exile and migration are not and never have been a negative influence on the arts. We probably ought to think of exile or migration as one of the conditions under which we moderns live and exercise our creativity. We might also note that living within a tranquil, balanced, satisfied social, economical, and political order rarely provide creative inspiration and stimulation.

There are many reasons for filmmakers working in a strange land, far from home; their place of origin. The theme of exile and émigré filmmakers, as their works illustrate, can be addressed within a wide range of contexts. However, the films of two Iranian exile and émigré filmmakers we will be presenting in the Film Society show that the concern of their cinematic practice is at once specific to the social, political, cultural, and national context within which the works were produced. The films in this program acknowledge a distinct aesthetic sensibility and social consciousness that is the result of the mix of creative talent and collaborative energies. They also show that the history of the cinema from its inception has been shaped by international contributions.


SUNDAY JUNE 26, 2005, AT 6:30 P.M.

A short animation by Delara Rasouli

EAGLE is based on a poem by Naser Khusraw Qubadiani. It took Delara Rasouli two years to make this beautiful animation film.
Dr. Zaman Stanizai's English translation corresponds verse by verse, except for the final poetic commentary, to the original format of Qubadiani's Persian poem. Since the original is in classical form, it is only befitting to give its English rendition an equally classical rhyme verse and tone which will never be as beautiful as the Persian one, but there are linguistic limitations beyond our resolve and there are aims beyond our reach.




Heights of Arrogance
By Naser Khusraw Qubadiani

English Rendition
By Zaman Stanizai, Ph.D.

From a perching rock took an eagle flight
to bemuse its prey for a wholesome bite.

In the span of wings and its soaring height,
arrogance proclaimed ‘providential might’:

“Far beneath my wings must this world stay right,
not a fluttering fly can evade my sight.”

Through the thrills of pride it disowned its fright,
unaware that fate shall bring what might.

When the yawning jaws of a bow sent straight,
hostile arrow aimed at the eagle’s fate.

From celestial sphere head and tail it fell
like a flapping fish, hitting ground, a smite.

Ah! that arrow’s tip by a feather made light
had been eagle’s own, now its flesh it bites.

The disclaimer came a bemoaning call
“self-inflicted” a wound on the eagle’s side.

Ego’s trip can entrap through boastful conceit
mindful must we remain of deceptive contrite.

Los Angeles, California June17, 2005


A film by Parviz Sayyad

It is difficult to pinpoint Iranian-born director Parvis Sayyad's point of view in Checkpoint, but perhaps this is intentional. Set in 1980 during the Iran hostage crisis, the film is set on the U.S.-Canadian border. A busload of college students is detained by the authorities, who take their sweet time checking out the visas of the eight Iranian students on board. As this minor irritation blossoms into a full-scale confrontation, the Iranian students begin taking sides and espousing their individual ideologies. Dogmatic but undeniably involving, the American-financed Checkpoint was first shown at the Locarno Film Festival. Hal Erickson


Stuck in an enclosed space with a bunch of screaming Iranians: not your average American filmgoer's idea of a fun time.Yet Parviz Sayyad's tragicomic Checkpoint is a surprisingly entertaining exercise in didactic conflict. A busload of Michigan college students, returning from a field trip to Ontario, is stopped at the U.S.-Canadian border. It's a the long winter night comes on, the Persian contingent splits pretty evenly-and vocally- along Marxist/Muslim and thank-God-I-got-out- of-that-crazy-place-while-the-getting-was good lines. The few natural born citizens who decide to stick it out with their classmates are, like good Americans, overwhelmingly befuddled by what, it all means.

Acting ranges from amateurish (most of the Anglos) to outstanding (most of the Iranians, especially Mary Apick, the star of Sayyad's acclaime Dead End and his first film outside of Iran, the 1983 ]be Mission). And while Sayyad airs all sides of the Iranian issue at length, it's clear where his sympathies lie: the pro-Khomeini faction is portrayed as duped at best, and it's a bourgeois Iranian-American businessman (played by the director)who ultimately holds the key to straightening matters out. Still, you can't expect anyone to make an objective film about this thing, and somebody has got to make them. Sayyad, at least, does it with intelligence and a degree of narrative acumen. -Strauss

Featuring Mary Apick, Parviz Sayyad,
and Houshang Touzie

Special Guests: Mary Apick, Parviz Sayyad, Yousef Shahab, and Delara Rasouli

Mary Apick:

For the first time in the history of Iranian Cinema, Ms. Apick, an Iranian leading actress of screen and stage, received the Best Actress award at the Moscow International Film Festival (1977 ) for her memorable performance in Dead End, a film by Parviz Sayyad)