Iranian Essay, Experimental, and Documentary Films

Location: Rubenstein Arts Center Film Theater

– Curated and Introduced by Yasaman Baghban

(Ehsan Khoshbakht, 2019, 84 min, Iran, Farsi with English Subtitles, DCP)

Sex, drugs, rock 'n roll ― Iranian style! A personal journey through the history of Iranian popular cinema before the revolution and the world of "filmfarsi," a term referring to the rowdy and melodramatic genre films made from the early 1950s to 1979. Filmfarsi provides a fascinating archaeology of what The Guardian calls "the biggest secret in cinema history" ― a compelling window into a lost past. This documentary uncovers a cinema of titillation, action, and big emotions that presented a troubling mirror for Iran as it struggled to reconcile religious traditions with the turbulence of modernity and influences of the West. Four years in the making, Filmfarsi features clips from more than 100 films, almost all banned in their country of production.

– Preceded by 2 short films:

(Mohammadreza Farzad, 2022, 16 min, Iran, Farsi with English Subtitles, DCP)

Inspired by two stories by Gregory Burnham and Edward Lowe, this poetic and experimental essay film is a new look at the ill-fated relationship and human book with life and numbers.

The Charcoal Alley
(Niyaz Saghari, 1998, 6 min, Iran, Persian with English Subtitles, Digital)

A 1998 Persian language experimental documentary directed by Niyaz Saghari.

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As we welcome audiences back for in-person screening events, we are prioritizing the health and safety of our extended community. Keeping each other safe during events will require collaboration and we are grateful for your support. Screen/Society and the Rubenstein Arts Center will adhere to all university, local, and state regulations on and off campus, which are subject to change on short notice depending on public health conditions.

Vaccination Status: We strongly encourage audience members to be fully vaccinated or have a recent negative PCR test before attending an event.  Duke University currently requires all students and employees to be vaccinated. More information on Duke University’s COVID-19 response.

Masking: Current Duke University guidelines for events apply to all presentations on campus.  As of 09/22/2022, masks are no longer mandatory for indoor screenings, though the policy could change again in the future. Masking remains one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others, and is strongly recommended, especially in indoor settings. We should respect an individual’s decision to wear a mask even if it is not required.

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Seating: For our screenings, seating is based on a first-come basis. We encourage everyone to be respectful during performances and maintain distancing as they feel comfortable.

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Hand Hygiene: Hand sanitizer stations are positioned throughout campus venues for your convenience.

Healthy Team: All employees and vendors are required to be symptom free before entering the building, as well as wear masks at all times, and frequently wash their hands during shifts.


Contact: Hank Okazaki


Sponsor: Duke Cinematic Arts, Master of Fine Arts in Experimental & Documentary Arts