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Iranian Film Festival at UNC

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Today, no world film festival is complete without a couple of new Iranian films. And this weekend, some of the best of the last few years will be screening at the Carolina Student Union.

The four-day event is called The Day I Became a Woman: Portrayals of Gender and Society in Iranian Cinema. Things kick off Wednesday, Oct. 8, with an opening address by director Persheng Sadegh-Vaziri at 6:30 p.m., followed by her latest, Women Like Us, a film that profiles five women from different strata of Iranian society.

Elsewhere in the program, we'll have an opportunity to see films from three members of the most prolific filmmaking family in the world: the House of Makhmalbaf. Patriarch Mohsen is represented by two timely 2001 films: On Wednesday, The Afghan Alphabet will screen at 9 p.m., and on Friday at 9 p.m., Kandahar will unspool. Elsewhere in the fest, his daughter Samira's The Apple (she was 18 when she made it) will be shown on Thursday at 8 p.m. Then, on Saturday night, The Joy of Madness, a new documentary by another Makhmalbaf daughter--14-year-old Hana--will be screened at 7:30 p.m.

But the undisputed master of Iranian cinema is Abbas Kiarostami (Taste of Cherries, The Wind Will Carry Us). On Friday at 7:15 p.m., Kiarostami's Ten, his 2002 film that received all-too-brief a run last summer, will get a revival. This film follows the director's trademark technique of long interlocutions inside moving automobiles, but this time it emphasizes Iranian women.

On Saturday, after a closing address by Columbia University's Dr. Hamid Dabashi at 6:30 p.m., the event will conclude at 9 p.m. with the film that lends its name to the festival, Marzieh Meshkini's The Day I Became a Woman. The allegorical brilliance of this film--a cinematic triptych that depicts a girl, a young adult and an elderly woman--gives it a power to transcend its immediate context and become a film about women everywhere.

The Iranian Film Festival will run October 8th through October 11th at UNC-Chapel Hill's Carolina Student Union. Admission is free to all films and events. For more information, visit www.unc.edu/pcs/filmfest.html .

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