BEIRUT — Iran’s expatriate filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf is facing withering condemnation in his homeland for attending a film festival in Israel, the Islamic Republi’s archfoe.
The acclaimed director, considered a pioneer of moviemaking in Iran, traveled to the Jerusalem Film Festival this month to screen his latest work, “The Gardener,” which explores the conflict between two generations about the role of religion in society.
Javad Shamgdari, the head of Iran’s official cinema organization, penned a letter to the leadership of the Iranian cinema museum demanding the removal of all of the director’s awards and trophies.
“Makhmalbaf made his first 10 films in Iran using the money of the state-run organizations to learn cinema,” Shamgdari was quoted as saying by the semiofficial Mehr news agency. “Now he has fallen into the arms of the occupier, the murderous Zionist regime.”
Read the rest of the Times piece here.
We’re very pleased to open NICKY’S FAMILY July 19. Today the L.A. Times published a piece about Sir Nicholas Winton, a very modest hero whose life-saving accomplishments went unacknowledged for decades: “Winton said he didn’t talk about his accomplishments because ‘there were more important things going on than to dwell in the past.'”
Beginning July 19 we’ll be screening NICKY’S FAMILY, the acclaimed documentary about Nicholas Winton, an Englishman who organized the rescue of 669 Czech and Slovak children just before the outbreak of World War II: He was a big part of what we now know as the Kindertransport. This hero is still alive and in May CNN marked the occasion of his 104th birthday by broadcasting this piece about him and the new film.
With government surveillance in the news, IFC Films’ release of DIRTY WARS could not be more timely. The documentary follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Mercenary Army, as he traces the rise of the Joint Special Operations Command, the most secret fighting force in U.S. history.
Reason.com just posted Scahill’s reactions to unfolding events.
On June 1, Santa Monica Press will release Rainer on Film: Thirty Years of Film Writing in a Turbulent and Transformative Era. It is film critic Peter Rainer’s first collection and includes his writing about many movies seen on Laemmle screens. From Santa Monica Press:
“This collection of Peter Rainer’s film criticism spans the course of his illustrious thirty-year career, which dates back to the early 1980s. It is drawn from a wide range of publications, including the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Los Angeles magazine, the Los Angeles Times, New Times, and New York magazine, and is arranged thematically with chapters such as “Overrated, Underseen,” “Issues (Mostly Hot Button),” “Comedies (Intentional and Unintentional),” and “Literary and Theatrical Adaptations.” Rainer covers films both well-known and obscure and writes in depth about many film auteurs—Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, the Coen brothers, Mike Leigh—and New Generation icons, such as Sofia Coppola and Paul Thomas Anderson. No film buff’s collection is complete without this comprehensive compilation that showcases the best work from a master contemporary film critic.
“Peter Rainer is the film critic for the Christian Science Monitor, a columnist for Bloomberg News, the president of the National Society of Film Critics, and a regular reviewer for FilmWeek on NPR. Previously, he was the film critic at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles magazine, New York magazine, and New Times Los Angeles, where he was a finalist in 1998 for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism. In 2010 he won the National Entertainment Journalism Award for Best Online Entertainment Critic.”
The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis has a new dispatch from Cannes, and as usual she is utterly compelling in her analysis of the art and business of movies. Click here and you’ll find her piece along with a wealth of links to the New York Times’ coverage of the world’s most important film festival.