Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged Iran

My Tehran for Sale

Granaz Moussavi’s documentary-style film (winner of an Independent Spirit Award in 2009) is an understated peek inside the contradictory nature of everyday life in Iran. My Tehran for Sale opens with a scene that would probably be familiar to many Westerners: young adults at a rave. Things suddenly take a turn when Iranian moral police raid the barn where the party is being held to arrest and assault party-goers.

Death to the Dictator!: A Young Man Casts a Vote in Iran’s 2009 Election and Pays a Devastating Price

Less than one year after Iranian demonstrators took to the streets to protest the fraudulent re-election of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President of the Islamic Republic, writer Afsaneh Moqadam tells the true story of Mohsen Abbaspour, a man in his early twenties who votes for the Reformist party and its leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Swept up in the euphoria of possible change, the once politically apathetic Mohsen finds himself alongside his friends and fellow reformists in the streets posing the greatest challenge to Iranian authorities since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The Last Living Slut: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage

The Last Living Slut: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage, written by Iran native Roxana Shirazi, was a complete and utter waste of my time. The book was championed by writers Neil Strauss and Anthony Bozza, who met up with Shirazi one faithful day and immediately became enthralled by her tails of debauchery with bad up and coming rock ‘n’ roll bands, as well as some oldies, but not so goodies like Guns N’ Roses.

Women Without Men

The story of director Shirin Neshat is almost as compelling as her first feature. Born in religiously conservative Qazvin, Iran, Neshat has been using visual art to explore gender relations under Islam for nearly two decades, traveling back and forth between the States and Iran to enrich her perspective. But because her work has been so politically outspoken, Neshat has been exiled from her native country since 1996.


A beautiful album, Monika Jalili’s Élan evokes a romantic, and at times, haunting journey through a collection of popular, acoustic Iranian songs. The talented New York-born vocalist originally trained in musical theater, and shares her enchanting voice and love of Iranian poetry in a simple yet sincere album, which features tracks in Persian, Azeri, English, and French.

Tehran Has No More Pomegranates

Massoud Bakshim’s Tehran Has No More Pomegranates identifies itself as “a musical, historical, comedy, docu-drama, love story, experimental film.” Attempts to classify the film—as a postmodern visual stew, as a sarcastic video collage-portrait, as a half-tribute-half-roast—don’t quite encapsulate the its nuances.

Football Under Cover

I encountered one major problem with Football Under Cover very early on: it wouldn’t play either on my U.S. regional DVD player or through a few of the many video players on my computer. Eventually, I managed to get it to run in Windows Media Center and sat down to watch. The earliest scenes were so well done, I started to doubt my own memory.

Laughing without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American at Home and Abroad

Laughing without an Accent is Firoozeh Dumas’s second book, after her debut memoir Funny in Farsi. Dumas is an Iranian-American who writes about the similarities and differences in Iranian cultures through her own experiences growing up in Iran and America.

The Stoning of Soraya M.

The Stoning of Soraya M. is a shocking and heartbreaking story of female oppression. The film, adapted from the 1994 book by the late Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam, is based on a true story.

Utopia and Epitaph

Utopia and Epitaph aren’t quite what documentaries are supposed to be, but, surprisingly, that’s a very good thing. In most documentaries, there’s narration and context, exposition and editorializing. The filmmaker boxes the viewer in with a comfy explanation of why “this” matters, and guides him or her on the sort of journey of other people’s lives that allows the interested, yet uninvolved, tourist’s view of the world.

Forbidden Sun Dance

My body belongs to me. I make the choice of whether or not I use contraception, dance like a silly garden gnome, use drugs like booze, and paint my toenails green or pink or leave them natural.

ARUSI Persian Wedding

In ARUSI Persian Wedding, Marjan Tehrani trails her brother Alex and his wife Heather as they prepare to wed in Iran. In fact, the couple is wed twice in the film—making it thrice in total. One wedding is in preparation—so they may travel as husband and wife—and the traditional ceremony that ends the film, which is the point of the documentary, is the couple's second on-screen wedding. Tehrani touches ever-so-briefly on themes that would have given the movie more impact had they been explored further.

Slumdog Millionaire (or I Want to Sue the Indian Government: Memories of Gods, Lovers, and Slumdogs)

An old Native American curse goes like this, “May all your dreams come true!” For many years, I had a dream; I wanted very badly to visit mysterious India. Last month my wish unexpectedly came true. Forbidden Sun Dance, my most recent documentary, was selected to compete in the Tri-Continental Human Rights Film Festival in India.

Things I’ve Been Silent About

Things I’ve Been Silent About is the second memoir for bestselling author Azar Nafisi. Offering a larger lens into her life than Reading Lolita in Tehran, Nafisi tells her life’s story and the story of her country of Iran.

Displaced Allegories: Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema

Professor Negar Mottahedeh's critical study of post-revolutionary Iranian film industry, Displaced Allegories, is an intelligent, stimulating, and well-written analysis of "a woman's cinema" after 1979. The cinematic industry has been widely criticized by Iranian feminists for its problematic and stereotypical representation of women.

Love Iranian-American Style

Finding love is never easy. But having to deal with what your family expects, especially when it contradicts the current society that you are a part of, makes it that much harder. Tanaz is an Iranian-American woman, who has pursued an education and is now a filmmaker. However, she is 26 years old and unmarried, which is unacceptable in her family’s eyes.

The Journal of Short Film: Volume V

Every film in this volume is so impressive, so full of the detail and thought that makes a film not just good or even great, but f*cking phenomenal _that it’s difficult to say anything more than _just buy a subscription already.