The dynamic and often misunderstood lives of Iranians and the country they live in are brought to life in a selection of highly touted films at the 23rd annual Houston Iranian Film Festival. The movie fest, which plays at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Jan. 22–Feb. 2 before moving to Asia Society Texas and Rice University, features a list of politically charged dramas and documentaries that are sure to shed light on the country in a new and artistic way.
Some of the standouts include Tales, which opens the festival on Friday, Jan. 22 at 7. Directed by female director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, the film is an ensemble piece featuring multiple characters weaving in and out of each other’s lives in modern-day Iran.
The life and work of Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian is shown in the eponymous documentary, playing Friday, Jan. 29 at 7. The artist gained international acclaim in the 1970s with her innovative and influential geometric mirror works. Farmanfarmaian, now 91, fled to New York City at the beginning of the Islamic Revolution before returning to her native land in 1992.
Most notably, the festival is highlighted by the presence of actress Fatemeh Motamed Arya, who presents her 2014 film, Avalanche, on Tuesday, Feb. 2. The tense drama follows a senior nurse who gets stuck inside the house of her patient during a snowstorm.
Jan. 22–Feb. 2 at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Feb. 4 at Asia Society Texas. Feb. 5 & 6 at Rice University. See website for schedule. MFAH, 1001 Bissonnet St. 713-639-7300. mfah.org