Art / film / iran / Press and Past Listings / Radio / Sexual Politics / Theatre and Film

Leeds International Film Festival – Monday 7th November

This week’s show takes a look at the Leeds International Film Festival, and the two films in the line-up that deal with Iranian culture.

“Miss Dalloway, a young woman from Tehran’s high society, is sent to Paris by her parents to protect her from the political violence in Iran. She falls in love with Gecko, the bellhop at her hotel, but the bloodshed resurfaces through the Internet. A 21st century love story steeped in Internet and tangled up in history.

Thus is the official description of a film by Hungarian-Swedish director David Dusa. Using all types of media, the film depicts against a lush Parisian setting, the unlikely love affair between a politically-minded upper class Iranian girl and a carefree hotel bell-boy who practises parkour, and for whom Iran is a place of traffic-jams.

Through it’s use of multimedia footage the film also explores the powerful voice the internet provided in Iran after the 2009 presidential elections, the precursor to the recent Middle Eastern ‘facebook revolutions’, where, outraged at the apparent rigging of the vote, Iranians took to the streets and broadcast the reality of state violence with mobile phone footage. Anahita, sent to Paris from Tehran trapped in anxious anticipation of news from friends back home, whilst Rachid expresses his comparative freedom through his confluent parkour running around the rooftops of Paris, ironically the setting of much of the grass-roots protests that continued in Iran.

Meanwhile Daughters of Malakeh by Jet Homoet and Sharog Heshmat Manesh is a documentary that follows Sharog Hashmat Manesh’s sister Maryam who at 45 after years of being the breadwinner for her family, is getting married. Despite being a blushing bride, Maryam is aware of the independence she will be giving up. With resonances of other films that study the way women in Iran today work within the law to maintain freedoms, Maryam puts a condition on her wedding that, in lieu of a fair-sized dowry, the prenup must state that she has the right to divorce her husband, should the marriage not work out. Yet under Iranian law only husbands can divorce wives and the state supersedes any other legal agreement.

We chat with Sanaz Raji a PHD candidate who is hosting a Q & A after one of the films.This show will be repeated Sunday 20.30 GMT www.resonancefm.com/listen

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