June 14, 2006: TEHRAN – A group of Iranian cinema directors met Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Tuesday. The Leader said that the need for the development of Iran’s cinema is strongly felt, and the important art of cinema is essential for the country. Cinematic officials can play their role in developing the country by boosting hope, motivation, and self-confidence and promoting Islamic beliefs in society, he added. Ayatollah Khamenei stressed the need for cinematic officials to focus on the Iranian nation’s sacrifices during the eight-year Iraqi-imposed war. The directors discussed cinematic, artistic, cultural, and social issues with the Leader. They also emphasized the necessity to make efforts to establish a national cinema, to boost relations between officials and directors and artists, to better focus on artistic and cultural values in movies, particularly on the theme of the family, and to avoid imitating Western and Indian styles. Tahmineh Milani, Fereidun Jeirani, Rasul Sadramoli, Majid Majidi, and Ebrahim Hatamikia were among the directors who attended the meeting. (See on tehrantimes.com).
She says: ” … the danger in filmmaking is that you can begin the process with one ministry official and by the time your film is complete, someone new has taken his place who might not like your work (it took seven years to get ‘Two Women’ approved) … Filmmaking is very much dependent on our political and social situation in Iran” … (see on NewEnglandFilm.com).
Tahmineh Milani – Iran
Iran’s director Makhmalbaf under the spotlight in Munich: TEHRAN, May 23, 2006 (MNA) — Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf will be honored at the 23rd Munich International Film Festival, which is to be held from July 15-22, the student news agency ISNA reported here Tuesday. The festival will also be screening his credits’ retrospective. Makhmalbaf is writing his new film’s screenplay in Afghanistan. The festival also honored other Iranian filmmakers such Mohammad-Ali Talebi and Tahmineh Milani at the 21st and 22nd editions respectively. The annual event aims to highlight the blockbusters of the cinema world. (See this on Mehrnews.com, and also on ISNA.ir).
Interview with Tahmineh Milani – Iran. Picture this: you’re relaxing with your family, ensconced in the cozy confines of your home, when officials burst in, grab you without an explanation and throw you into solitary confinement. Your spouse can’t save you and doesn’t even know where you are. Your house and office are raided, and your personal belongings are snatched. Freedom vanishes in an instant. On August 27th, Tahmineh Milani endured such a nightmare. Iran’s favorite female filmmaker was seized in her home and tossed into jail where she sat in the darkness while frantic questions whizzed through her mind. Nearly three months later, in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Milani, 41, and her husband, Mohammad Nikbin, 48, are sitting around a conference room table rehashing her tale. Milani blinks her heavily made-up eyes and fixes her powerful gaze on me. She speaks in rapid Farsi and her words tumble after each other, saturated in sarcasm. Even with the language barrier I can sense her spunk. She speaks little English, so her husband translates her quip … and … and … Milani was born in Tabriz in 1960. “She studied architecture at the University of Tehran, but her main interest was always cinema,” Nikbin explains. “Her parents were not that eager for her to pursue film because it had a bad reputation in Iran before the revolution.” To appease her family but satisfy her heart, Milani simultaneously studied architecture and started working as a set designer, script girl, and assistant to prominent directors in Iran. Her debut feature, “Children of Divorce” was co-winner of the Best First Film Prize at the 8th Fajr Film Festival in 1989, and her international breakthrough came in 1990 with, “The Legend of A Sigh.” (Read all this and more on the site of NewEnglandFilm.com).
(Excerpt) … Sometimes the conflicting forces exist within the same state apparatus, as in Iran, where the feminist film director and screenwriter, Tahmineh Milani was arrested by the Revolutionary Court on August 27, 2001, and held for some days for interrogation, during which time her house was searched and items were confiscated. Tahmineh Milani is one of Iran’s few established women film-makers; her best known film is Two Women (1999). She was arrested in connection with her most recent film, The Hidden Half (2001), although the film had been approved by the Ministry of Culture, and charged with “supporting those waging war against God and misusing the arts in support of counterrevolutionary and armed opposition groups.” These crimes are punishable by execution under Islamic law in Iran. Based on a contemporary novel, The Hidden Half depicts a married woman’s memories of an affair in the early 1980s, just after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and focusses on left-wing student groups which were active in the struggle against the Shah but were suppressed by Islamic factions after the revolution in 1979. The court felt that it showed leftist revolutionaries in too sympathetic a light, and was disturbed by an interview with Milani in a liberal newspaper just after the film’s release, when she said that everything in the film was true and at least ten of her friends had been executed. She was released on bail, after an intervention on her behalf by President Khatami, but the charges have not been dropped. More than 1,500 people have signed an international declaration of solidarity on her behalf. (Read more on Women’s World).
About a filmfestival in Los Angeles, on January 2000: Excerpt … (The film series also includes) … feminist writer-director Tahmineh Milani’s “The Legend of a Sigh”; “Sweet Agony,” the acclaimed latest entry into the ranks of Iranian films like those of Kiarostami and Makhmalbaf that have used non-professional actors to fabulous effect; a collection of remarkable documentaries; and a two-feature homage to the late Sohrab Shahid-Saless, who greatly influenced the directors of the New Iranian Cinema. (See all on Google Groups soc.culture.iranian/…).
Review of Tahmineh Milani’s Film “The Fifth Reaction,” which won the audience award at Chicago’s 14th Festival of Films from Iran, is a feminist crowd-pleaser … (see group soc.culture.iranian/…).
Review of the film ‘Two Women, 1999, by Dennis Schwartz (excerpt): … It’s based on a true story. Milani waited seven years for government censors to approve her script, which proves to be a
strong accusation of Iran’s traditional attitudes toward women … It’s an incredible story about the unimaginable suffering of one woman, who might as well speak for all of the women in Iran, who at one despairing moment cries out “I am a human being!” but her cries are only met with indifference. The story is told from a flashback, where one of the woman is calling her architect friend to tell her she needs her support because her husband is dying in the hospital. The flashback picks up from the time the two friends met at the university, and how one prospered in the new freedom of Tehran and the other was made miserable by getting stuck with a traditionalist husband in a stifling small town with no way out. The film details only the life of the one whose life
becomes unbearable … (see on Google Groups rec.arts.movies.reviews/…).
(Written in August 31, 2001).Mrs Milani is well known for her liberal and feminist views and her latest film, The Hidden Half, deals with an explosive mixture of the role of women and anti-Islamic rebels. In the past year, several journalists and writers have been arrested and correspondents say Mrs Milani’s arrest suggests the hard-line judiciary is now targeting other intellectuals. A statement from the public relations office of Tehran’s Islamic Revolution Court said that Mrs Milani, “showed support in her work for the counter-revolutionary groups which wage war against God.” No mistake: She had “exploited art” it said, adding that “judicial investigations continue”. On Thursday, there had been reports that the film director had been arrested by mistake. The Hidden Half tells the story of a married woman who reminisces about a romantic affair with a left-wing rebel after the 1979 Islamic revolution. It was officially approved by Iran’s Culture Ministry, which is controlled by reformists loyal to President Mohammad Khatami and is still being shown in Iranian cinemas. ‘Male-dominated’: Iran’s film industry has won international acclaim in recent years, and correspondents say film makers have had greater freedom to tackle subjects previously considered taboo. In a recent interview, Mrs Milani said that feminism was a way of “fighting (Iran’s) male-dominated system”. Reformists and conservatives are engaged in a long-running battle for supremacy of Iran’s political institutions. The president and parliament are reformists, while the courts and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are sticking to the hard-line principles of the 1979 revolution. (See this page of BBC news).
Fifty-two documentaries on 52 Iranian filmmakers are made in the project initiated by Iranian director Reza Mirkarimi last October 2005. Khosro Sinaii along with Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Bahman Farmanara, Majid Majidi, Kianush Ayyari, Kiumars Purahmad, Ebrahim Hatamikia, Kamal Tabrizi, Abolfazl Jalili, Ahmadreza Darvish, Tahmineh Milani, and a number of other Iranian directors have been short-listed … (read the whole on Mehrnews.com).
links to other women presentations: