Monday, September 15, 2008

West County Dems for Iranian cinema

West County Democrats have come around to where all film junkies finally arrive: Iranian cinema is the stuff!

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, West County Democrats (it's just nice to repeat that unlikely phrase) are screening for free the 1997 film Children of Heaven by Iranian writer/director Majid Majidi at UFCW Local 655, 300 Weidman Rd. in Ballwin.

Cribbing a synopsis from Wikipedia (that's blogger's CliffNotes, to you and me):

"Ali takes his little sister Zahra's shoes to the shoemaker to be repaired, but loses them on the way home. The siblings decide to keep the predicament a secret from their parents, knowing that there is no money to buy a replacement pair and fearing that they will be punished. They devise a scheme to share Ali's sneakers: Zahra will wear them to school in the morning and hand them off to Ali at midday so he can attend afternoon classes. This uncomfortable arrangement leads to one adventure after another as they attempt to hide the plan from their parents and teachers, attend to their schoolwork and errands, and acquire a new pair of shoes for Zahra. Zahra sees the shoes on a schoolmate's feet, and follows her home, but the two soon become friends. Ali enters a high-profile children's footrace in the hope of receiving the third prize of a new pair of sneakers."

"We used hidden cameras to capture the presence of real life," Majidi has said about the making of this film. "There were some loose-ends, that is, things that happened that were like mistakes, but they enhanced the realistic performance. The cameras were also hidden from the key actors, again adding to the natural feel. It actually made filming more difficult and involved, hiding the camera and crew, but the results were much more relaxed performances."

But the West County Dems won't have Majidi and they probably won't be talking much about cinematography and the happy mistakes so crucial to making a good movie.

They will have Dr. Fatemeh Keshavarz, professor and chair of the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures at Washington University, and will talk about "Iranian culture as portrayed in the film to help us gain a better understanding of contemporary Iran."

Dr. Keshavarz is honorary co-chair of Iranians for Peace, which "works tirelessly to promote peace and dialogue between the U.S. and Iran," we're told. I'm for that. Looking at her website, I'd say I'm for her!

"Free movie!" West County Dems enthuse. "Free Refreshments! Bring a friend!"
Listed contact: ANNE BADER, 314-991-2988 or

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