Iranians’ New Cultural Achievements

Monday, December 27, 2010

Active Image*The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) has awarded its 2010 Book Prize to Iranian professor Touraj Daryaei for his book on Sassanid Persia.

The Sassanid Persia, The Rise and Fall of an Empire was announced as the best scholarly work on the Middle East and winner of this year's British-Kuwait Friendship Society Prize in Middle Eastern Studies.

Judges referred to Daryaei's book as "a masterpiece," saying that it is "a very fine book indeed" and "offers a timely counterpart to Eurocentricity which has distorted the study of antiquity...[in] an extremely erudite book...the author wears his learning lightly, showing an enviable ability to distinguish the wood from the trees and write in a reader friendly manner."

Published by London's I.B. Tuairs in 2009, The Sassanid Persia, The Rise and Fall of an Empire presents an in-depth study of the Sassanid Dynasty (224-651 CE), the last pre-Islamic Persian empire founded by Ardeshir I.

Many international scholars, including Richard N. Frye, Emeritus Professor of Iranian Studies at Harvard University, have praised Daryaei's work.

The book “is far more detailed than all previous work on the subject, with a multitude of new materials and sources,” CAIS quoted Frye as saying. “It is a masterpiece of research and will be that last word on Sassanid Iran in all of its aspects from political history to religion, society and commerce."

BRISMES administers the British-Kuwait Friendship Society Prize in Middle Eastern Studies, founded by the Abdullah Mubarak Charitable Foundation.

The society's book prize is awarded to the best scholarly work in English on the Middle East, which has first been published in the UK, each year. The books are judged based on their originality, clarity, accessibility and their importance to the field.

Active Image*Iran’s Mohammadreza Vatandust was awarded for his film “When the Lemon Turns Yellow” at the Tirana International Film Festival in Albania.

He won the Best Director Award for his “quasi perfect meticulousness along his story telling, without leaving a single detail out of control,” the website of the festival reported.

The Tirana International Film Festival is the first and only international cinema festival of its kind in Albania. Created in 2003, this extraordinary cultural event takes place under the auspices of the Albanian National Center for Cinematography (QKK).

*Iranian director Mohsen Abdolvahab and actress Kobra Hassanzadeh Esfahani won two awards at the 7th Dubai Film Festival this year.

Active ImageAbdolvahab grabbed the Muhr Asia Africa Feature Best Screenplay award for “Please Do Not Disturb” at the gala and the best actress award in the Asia Africa section went to Hassanzadeh for her role in “Salve” by Alireza Davudnejad.

The festival, which ran from December 12 to 19, played host to 157 films from 57 countries competing in different sections.

A special mention was presented to the documentary “Amin” by Shahin Parhami in the Asia-Africa Documentary section. The movie is a coproduction by Iran, Canada, and South Korea.

“The House under the Water” by Sepideh Farsi (a joint production of Iran, Morocco, Netherlands, Germany and France) was another Iranian entry.

The Cinema of the Asia Africa section of the festival also screened the joint Iranian and French production “The Hunter” by Rafi Pitts.

“Stray Bullet” by Lebanese director Georges Hachem won first prize at the festival.

Jordanian director Mohammed al-Hushki’s film “Transit Cities” won the Special Jury Prize.

The festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award went to Malian director Souleymane Cisse.

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