Freer and Sackler Galleries » Films

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Iranian Film Festival: "Wolkaan"

This screening is held at the National Gallery of Art, East Building. Two unfolding family stories, one set in Tehran, the other somewhere in Middle America, dip into odd and seemingly unrelated episodes. Their juxtaposition, however, suggests a "rich meditation on diaspora, memory, and loss" (Danis Goulet). (Dir.: Bahar Noorizadeh, Canada/Iran/United States, 2015, 30 min, DCP, English and Persian with English subtitles). Event Location: National Gallery of Art, East Building. Cost: Free. Saturday, February 13, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Iranian Film Festival: "Monir"

This screening is held at the National Gallery of Art, East Building. This documentary by Bahman Kiarostami (whose films Statues of Tehran and The Treasure Cave played to full houses at the Freer in October) looks at the life and work of Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian. She first came to attention in the 1970s, when she pioneered new forms of geometric mirror works. Farmanfarmaian created an artistic language that was informed by ancient Iranian craft as well as by modern American masters such as Barnett Newman and Frank Stella. Monir provides a closeup view into a woman’s artistic career that has spanned more than half a century. It explores a range of factors that have made her one of the most innovative and influential artists of the Middle East, from her method of constructing mirror mosaics to her past, which took her from Iran to New York. After thirty years, she has returned to Tehran, sparking an artistic rebirth. With a musical score by composer Hooshyar Khayam and the Kronos… Event Location: National Gallery of Art, East Building. Cost: Free. Saturday, February 13, 2016, 2:30 PM.

Iranian Film Festival: "Jafar Panahi's Taxi"

This screening is held at AFI Silver Theatre.  Watch the trailer.  The New York Times’ A.O. Scott praised Jafar Panahi’s Taxi as the work of “one of the most humane and imaginative practitioners of the art currently working . . . one of the most captivating cinematic experiences of this year.” The winner of the top award at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival, this is the third film Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon, Offside) has made in defiance of a twenty-year ban on filmmaking that the Iranian government imposed on him in 2010. In it, the affable director crisscrosses Tehran behind the wheel of a taxi, giving rides to a variety of denizens, ranging from a pirated DVD dealer to his charmingly chatty young niece, to the human rights lawyer who worked with him when he was in prison. While the tone of Taxi is lighter than that of his previous violations of the ban, This is Not a Film and Closed Curtain, it continues to wittily challenge the very notion of banning cinema in a time when everyone carries a… Event Location: AFI Silver Theatre. Cost: Free. Saturday, February 20, 2016, 5:00 PM.

Iranian Film Festival: "Melbourne"

This screening is held at AFI Silver Theatre. Watch the trailer. Director Nima Javidi’s “remarkable debut,” wrote Variety’s Peter Debruge, “transcends cultural barriers with its compellingly universal and thoroughly engrossing premise.” Set entirely in the apartment of a young couple getting ready for a trip to Australia, it features gripping performances from two of Iran’s most talented actors, Peyman Moaadi and Negar Javaherian. Amid the bustle of final preparations, an unexpected tragedy forces the couple to debate decisions with serious moral implications and no easy answers. (Dir.: Nima Javidi, Iran, 2014, 91 min. DCP, Persian with English subtitles). Event Location: AFI Silver Theatre. Cost: Free. Sunday, February 21, 2016, 5:00 PM.

Iranian Film Festival: "316"

This screening is held at AFI Silver Theatre. Watch the trailer.  Can the story of a nation be told entirely through shoes? The endearing narrator of this charming film from Payman Haghani (A Man Who Ate His Cherries) thinks so. An old woman who has lived through Iran’s tumultuous recent history, she recalls the events of her life and her nation through the shoes she and those close to her wore over the years. Haghani’s images, composed almost entirely of footwear, bring the woman’s recollections to life in ways that are both playful and moving. (Dir.: Payman Haghani, Iran, 2014, 72 min. DCP, Persian with English subtitles). Event Location: AFI Silver Theatre. Cost: Free. Saturday, February 27, 2016, 5:00 PM.

Iranian Film Festival: "Atomic Heart"

This screening is held at AFI Silver Theatre. Watch the trailer.  “You’ve never seen an Iranian movie like this,” wrote Bob Strauss in the Los Angeles Daily News, “nor probably any movie quite like it, either.” In this surreal Tehran nocturne, two drunk party girls get into a car accident and receive help from a mysterious stranger (played by Mohammad Reza Golzar, an unnervingly dead ringer for George Clooney). He pays off the other driver and enlists the girls in an errand involving a supposedly dead dictator, whose weapons of mass destruction are hidden in another dimension. With its apocalyptic and supernatural overtones—and surprising pop culture references ranging from an obscure Pink Floyd album to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”—Ali Ahmadzadeh’s film paints a picture of contemporary Iran like no other. (Dir.: Ali Ahmadzadeh, Iran, 2015, 93 min. DCP, Persian with English subtitles). Event Location: AFI Silver Theatre. Cost: Free. Sunday, February 28, 2016, 7:00 PM.

Environmental Film Festival: "Taïga"

This screening is held at the National Museum of American History, Warner Brothers Theater. Guests: William W. Fitzhugh, director of the Smithsonian’s Arctic Studies Center; Paula T. DePriest, deputy director of the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute Watch the trailer.   Hamid Sardar’s breathtaking documentary provides an intimate glimpse into the world of Mongolian sheepherders, who must battle the twin predations of wolves and mining interests in the delicate ecosystem of the steppe. Taïga has won a FIPA d’Or, the jury prize at the Festival d’Etonnant Voyageurs in Paris; the grand prize from the Union de Radio et Television International (URTI) for best documentary at the Monte Carlo Golden Nymph Awards; and an “Etoile” de la SCAM as one of the thirty most influential films of 2014. A discussion with two Smithsonian experts on conservation issues and the Arctic follows the screening. (Dir.: Hamid Sardar, France, 2014, 52 min. Blu-ray, Mongolian with English subtitles) Speaker bios:… Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Brothers Theater. Cost: Free and open to the public. Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before show time. Sunday, March 20, 2016, 1:00 PM.

Environmental Film Festival: "The Whispering Star"

This screening is held at the National Museum of American History, Warner Brothers Theater. Watch the trailer. Inspired by the ruined landscape of Fukushima, Japanese auteur Sion Sono (Love Exposure; Tokyo Tribe) created this eccentric science fiction parable about humanity’s destructive effect on the environment. Megumi Kagurazaka plays Yoko, a humanoid interstellar delivery robot who runs on AA batteries and travels from planet to planet in a spaceship that looks like a Japanese bungalow. During her journey, she becomes curious about the packages she carries—especially the ones bound for Earth, where humans have become an endangered species. The fact that the planet’s landscapes “were shot in evacuated zones of Fukushima, primarily with non-professional actors living in the area affected by the nuclear disaster, makes the film's themes of memory and decay that much more haunting. But The Whispering Star’s touch remains playful, funny, and very human,” wrote Giovanna Fulvi of the Toronto… Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Brothers Theater. Cost: Free and open to the public. Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before show time. Sunday, March 20, 2016, 3:00 PM.

A Weekend with Siddiq Barmak: "Osama"

This screening is held at the Cinema Arts Theatres.  In person: Siddiq Barmak, director Watch the trailer.  The first Afghan film released after the fall of the Taliban, Siddiq Barmak’s directorial debut won numerous awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. Set during Taliban rule, it tells the story of a girl who disguises herself as a boy so she can work to earn money for her poor family. As Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote, Osama “is a rare uncensored postcard from a ruined place, a document at once depressing and hideously beautiful that sketches the real hardships of trampled people—specifically women—with authority and compelling simplicity.” (Dir.: Siddiq Barmak, Afghanistan/Netherlands/Japan/Ireland/Iran, 2003, 83 min. 35mm, Persian with English subtitles). Event Location: Cinema Arts Theatres. Cost: Free and open to the public. Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before show time. Related Exhibition: Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan. Thursday, April 7, 2016, 7:00 PM.

Indian Cinema Pioneer: "Images and Reflections: A Journey into Adoor’s Imagery"

This screening is held at American University, Forman Theater. Introduced by Suranjan Ganguly, author of The Films of Adoor Gopalakrishnan: A Cinema of Emancipation In this “conversation between two brilliant minds” (Prathima Nandakumar, The Week), acclaimed Indian filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli explores the work of Adoor Gopalakrishnan, his equally esteemed contemporary and friend of four decades. Divided into five sections, each named after one of Gopalakrishnan’s films, the documentary delves into the aesthetic, intellectual, and political motivations behind its subject’s powerful and pioneering body of work. Featured are judiciously selected clips, rich conversations, and beautiful imagery of Gopalakrishnan’s native state of Kerala. (Dir.: Girish Kasaravalli, India, 2015, 88 min. DVD, English). Event Location: American University, Forman Theater. Cost: Free and open to the public. Admission is first-come, first-served. Related Events: 6 pm: pre-film reception. Friday, April 8, 2016, 7:00 PM.

Filmmaker Siddiq Barmak: The Destruction and Rebirth of Afghan Cinema

Under the Taliban, Afghanistan’s once-thriving film industry was decimated. The Afghan Film Archive was destroyed; if not for the heroic efforts of its employees, who hid away a handful of precious film prints, the entire collection would have been lost. Siddiq Barmak, director of Osama, the first Afghan film made after the fall of the Taliban, visits Turquoise Mountain to discuss his work as director of the Afghan Children’s Education Movement, which trains young people to work in Afghanistan’s newly revitalized film industry. Venue: S. Dillon Ripley Center. Event Location: International Gallery. Cost: Free and open to the public. Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before show time. Related Exhibition: Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan. Saturday, April 9, 2016, 2:00 PM.

A Weekend with Siddiq Barmak: "Opium War"

This screening is held at the National Museum of American History, Warner Brothers Theater. In person: Siddiq Barmak, director In this black comedy by Siddiq Barmak, two American soldiers crash their helicopter into an Afghan poppy field presided over by an eccentric family that lives under an abandoned Soviet tank. Barmak called his film a story about “people from different cultures living and quarreling together, not knowing they are political scapegoats.” This bitingly funny film won the Golden Marc’Aurelio Critics’ Award for Best Film at the 2008 Rome Film Festival. (Dir.: Siddiq Barmak, Afghanistan, 2008, 90 min. 35mm, English and Persian with English subtitles). Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Brothers Theater. Cost: Free and open to the public. Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before show time. Related Exhibition: Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan. Sunday, April 10, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Turkish Film Week: "Ivy"

This screening is held at Landmark E Street Cinema. In person: Tolga Karaçelik, director, and Nadir Saribacak, actor Watch the trailer.  Tolga Karaçelik, who visited the Freer|Sackler with his film Toll Booth, returns to Washington to present Ivy, a slow-burning thriller set aboard a ship stranded off the coast of Egypt. Forbidden from going ashore or getting paid until the vessel’s owner settles his debts, the skeleton crew comes into potentially deadly conflict as supplies run low and tensions rise. Made under the spell of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and the novels of Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad, this “meticulous psychological thriller functions simultaneously as a gripping survival story, an allegory for a crumbling political system, and a study of people's minds under extreme pressure…. Evocatively enigmatic, Ivy will stay with you long after its haunting finale” (Dimitri Eipides, Toronto International Film Festival). (Dir.: Tolga Karaçelik, Turkey, 2015,… Event Location: Landmark E Street Cinema. Cost: Free and open to the public. Visit turkishfilmfest.com for details. Monday, April 11, 2016, 7:00 PM.

Turkish Film Week: "Baskin"

This screening is held at Landmark E Street Cinema. In person: Can Evrenol, director Watch the trailer.  What should be a routine night becomes a trip into the darkness of the mind and soul in this tour-de-force feature debut from director Can Evrenol. Based on his terrifying 2013 short film—and drawing upon inspirations ranging from Apocalypse Now to paintings by Caravaggio, Bosch, and Giger—Baskin offers imaginative frights that will leave even seasoned horror-movie fans reeling. Tense and terrifying, Baskin will invade your dream space with its unforgettable images and unimaginable monstrosities lurking just outside your range of vision. Description adapted from the Toronto International Film Festival. (Dir.: Can Evrenol, Turkey, 2015, 97 min. DCP, Turkish with English subtitles). Event Location: Landmark E Street Cinema. Cost: Free and open to the public. Visit turkishfilmfest.com for details. Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 7:00 PM.

Indian Cinema Pioneer: "A Climate for Crime"

This screening is held at American University, Forman Theater. Introduced by Suranjan Ganguly, author of The Films of Adoor Gopalakrishnan: A Cinema of Emancipation Set in British-ruled India in the 1940s, A Climate for Crime tells four stories of characters driven to misdeeds by the economic and social crises brought on by World War II. From petty theft to corruption to murder, these absorbing tales explore their characters’ motivations with psychological acuity. A perfect example of Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s deeply committed brand of cinema, the film “radiates the romantic idea of human endurance, hope, guilt and a sense of justice” (International Film Festival Rotterdam). (Dir.: Adoor Gopalakrishnan, India, 2008, 115 min. DVD, Malayalam with English subtitles). Event Location: American University, Forman Theater. Cost: Free and open to the public. Admission is first-come, first-served. Wednesday, April 13, 2016, 7:00 PM.

National Cherry Blossom Festival: Japanese Films

Join us for a day of popular Japanese films presented in honor of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Check back in March for complete schedule information. Venue: American Art Museum. Event Location: Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. Saturday, April 16, 2016, 1:00 PM.