January 28, 2021
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s 28th annual Festival of Films from Iran features award-winning films, from social documentaries to dark comedies, plus conversations with two of Iran’s most prominent filmmakers.
This online festival is co-curated by Tom Vick of the Freer and Sackler; Marian Luntz and Tracy Stephenson of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and independent film programmers Kristen Hoskins and Carter Long.Generous funding is provided by the ILEX Foundation.
Did you know that the Festival of Films from Iran is the longest-running MFAH film festival? The festival makes its 28th consecutive appearance in 2021 with a curated online edition opening January 22 in three cities: Boston, Houston, and Washington, DC.
This year, the MFAH collaborates with the Department of Time + Space in Boston and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art in Washington, DC. As always, the lineup showcases exciting new movies by talented directors from Iran’s renowned film industry.
Award Winners The 2021 edition brings seven selections, including new work from award-winning filmmakers Shahram Mokri, who visited the MFAH in 2015, and Mohammad Rasoulof, who has faced prison sentences from the Iran government because of his films. Winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, Rasoulof’s There Is No Evil focuses on the innumerable ways capital punishment affects four individuals. Awarded best screenplay at the Venice Film Festival, Mokri’s Careless Crime examines a tragic act of protest within a time-shifting interpretation on the importance of cinema in Iranian culture. Register here for the free virtual conversation with Shahram Mokri on February 4 at 6 p.m.
Family and Friends Past relationships are the center of two dramas. Mona Zandi Haghighi’s African Violet examines the issues arising when an ex-wife and her new husband take in her elderly ex-husband to save him from a nursing home. Secrets emerge in Dance with Me when friends gather in the country to celebrate a birthday, and the host reveals surprising news.
Music and Mystery Gracefully, the John Steven Kellett Freedom of Vision Award-winner from Houston’s 2020 QFest, tenderly documents the life of an 80-year-old former drag artist banned from performing since 1979 after the Iranian Revolution. Bandar Band is a hopeful, music-infused road movie following three musicians across a flood-ravaged Iran on their way to a battle-of-the-bands contest in Tehran. The Slaughterhouse details an ex-convict’s dilemma when his father asks for help covering up a crime.