Ironweed film club, no. 47. The queen and I : Cyanosis

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Iron Weed Films, United States 
120 min. 
International Relations 
America and Iran, we are told, are enemies. Both countries fear violence at the hands of the "other" and relations are strained. Yet what do Americans really know about this much-feared nation? Ironweed believes that learning more about the people of other countries is one of the keys to lasting peace, and in this hope we offer two excellent documentaries which give us a glimpse of Iran through human stories.

The Queen and I (90 minutes) Nahid Persson Sarvestani
Growing up impoverished in Iran, director Nahid Persson Sarvestani joined the Communist faction of Khomeini's revolution as a teenager and soon saw the hated Shah deposed. When Khomeini betrayed his promise for democracy however, and proved more violent than the Shah, Nahid was forced to flee. Thirty years later, needing answers, she approaches Queen Farah, the widow of the Shah living in Paris, and is welcomed as a fellow refugee from their beloved homeland and granted unprecedented access for the making of this remarkable documentary. Over the next year and a half, Nahid enters the queen's world fully expecting to challenge her ideological opposite; yet in the struggle to understand each other's experiences, an unlikely friendship blossoms. Offering unique insight into Iran's past and the subjective nature of truth, this poignant film is powerfully relevant as, hopefully, the U.S. makes renewed efforts to understand people and nations different from ourselves.

Cyanosis (30 minutes) Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami
Talented, tortured artist Jamshid Amionfar displays his boldly emotional paintings on the bustling streets of Tehran, under constant harassment from police and members of the public who denounce his work. This compassionate, evocative film communicates like a painting itself, intermingling Jamshid's story with haunting, impressionistic animations that reveal his inner world of painful memories, strange nightmares and dreams of new beginnings. As he prepares for an exhibition and falls impossibly in love with a young French art appreciator, we come to know a little more about Iran and its people, one personal tale at a time.
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