Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Film Festival Finales

Last week was the end of two film festivals in DC that I have been attending and blogging about. On Thursday, February 24, the North African Film Festival series came to an end and saved its best (and most timely film) for the night: Rachid Bouchareb’s masterpiece Outside the Law. In French and Arabic, it is a fantastically done film about three [fictional] Algerian brothers and their involvement in the Algerian independence movement both in Algeria and in France. A good film by any standard, it was nominated for the Acadamy Award for Best Foreign Language film this year. Although the discussion following the film was not as good as previous events, the film was one of the best that I have seen recently, and I would highly recommend it.
On Sunday, the Sackler-Freer galleries concluded their 2011 Iranian film festival with three documentaries played consecutively. The first, All Restrictions End, is an unconventional examination of the intersections between fashion and history. Although well done and examining history dating back to the Qajar dynasty, I felt as though the viewer needed a more advanced understanding of Persian literary construction and cultural base that I just didn’t have to really appreciate the film. The second film was We are Half of Iran’s Population, a film featuring several Iranian women’s rights activists filming their questions to the 2009 Iranian presidential candidates and then having three of the candidates watch and respond to them. The film was interesting, as were the reactions of the candidates present. The final film, Pearls on the Ocean Floor, is directed by an American and features Iranian female artists both in Iran and in the global diaspora. Each artist had a unique perspective on what it means to be an Iranian woman, especially one’s placement in the diaspora and connection to Iran.

After viewing all three documentaries, I joined family and friends at a Mexican-Cuban restaurant in the Eastern Market neighborhood called Banana Café. The food was excellent and the portions were large. Dinner also included unlimited tortilla chips and salsa, so no complaints there. It’s not too far from where I currently live so I will definitely have to return.
March will be a busy month, both at work and with all of the local DC events. I can’t believe I am already entering my second month in the city. Between projects at work, community service events, and Noruz (Persian New Year) festivities, the month is sure to pass quickly.


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