By Gary Berg-Cross
Spring is not yet here, but film festival time in DC has started. The cultural stretching 17th annual Iranian Film Festival is on at the Freer and Sackler Galleries (co-curated with the Carter Long of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Marian Luntz of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.) The films are in Persian but with English subtitles. Rhino Season (a haunting love story spanning three decades is next up Friday, February 1, 7 pm and you can the trailer.
The series kicked off with an award winner called “Modest Reception: (Paziraie Sadeh ) The latest work of director/actor Mani Haqiqi who also stars with Taraneh Alidoosti.
Here is a bit of a Synopsis:
Mysteriously tasked with giving away huge sums of money by whatever means possible, Kaveh and Layla drive through the remote, war-torn and poor mountains of Iran with a trunkful of cash which they lie about and throw at every poor and unfortunate person they meet. They are deeply troubled by it all and complicate the lives of others with their own manipulations seemingly aimed purely at degradation.
Perhaps the message is about the destructive possibilities of wealth without wisdom in a world that need both. What begins as a seemingly harmless game soon reveals itself to be a twisted bout of charity as the power, humiliation, and shame inherent in their act plays out between the privileged couple and the impoverished villagers.
The Film won the Free Spirit Award at the Warsaw Film Festival in last October as a film with unique structure, strong ideas, various mixes of Islam and secularism colliding and excellent performances, if a bit puzzling.