Iranian documentaries

Four shorts, released this year and ranging in length from 12 to 35 minutes. In Mahvash Sheykh-Al-Elsami's Silk, a young silkworm breeder goes through the laborious process of turning cocoons into fabric while she awaits the return of her husband; the filmmaker strives for a lyrical poem in praise of peasant craft, but without any narrative drive behind it the pastoral prettiness becomes soporific after a while. Seifollah Samadian's Tehran, the 25th Hour exudes a bit more energy, depicting the suspense over a World Cup soccer match between Iran and Australia and the pandemonium in the streets of Tehran after Iran's victory. The sports mania, while relatively novel in the Islamic nation, will be familiar to anyone who's lived through a Bulls championship, and except for the first and last few minutes the film is about as thoughtful as ESPN. In Deadtime Saeed Tarazi peeks at drivers as they sit through an interminable traffic stop at a Tehran intersection; it's a wry cross section of the city's populace in the newsreel tradition of Vertov and Vigo. On the same program: Persheng Sadegh-Vaziri's A Place Called Home.

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