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Iranians’ New Cultural Achievements

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Active Image*The 61st edition of Germany's annual Berlin Film Festival has awarded Wind and Fog, directed by Iranian filmmaker Mohammad-Ali Talebi.

The film won the annual festival's CINEMA fairbindet Prize which is awarded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development to a “film that addresses a global issue and encourages discussion in an extraordinary way - whether climate change, migration, education or human rights violations.”

Wind and Fog depicts the destructive effects of war on people's lives through the enchanting story of a boy who has lost his mother during the Iraq-Iran war and has become deaf and dumb as a result of explosions and heavy bombardments of the eight-year battle.

The film “employs captivatingly beautiful images from the north of Iran to show how a young boy returns to reality,” the jury said.

Berlianle's 2011 Ecumenical Jury members were Gaston Kabore, Ernst Szebedits, Ina Paule Klink and Gerda Meuer.

The 61st edition of Berlin Film Festival was held from February 10 to 20, 2011.

This year's Golden Bear Award went to Iran's Nader and Simin: A Separation directed by Asghar Farhadi. The film also won Silver Bear awards for the cast of Farhadi's family drama, and the Berliner Morgenpost Readers' Prize.

The prize is awarded by 12 readers of the daily newspaper Berliner Morgenpost.

This year's Berliner Morgenpost Readers' Prize jury members were Renate Amann, Gerd Bocher, Anne-Sylvie Konig, Inga Maubach, Maik Niedermaier, Katayun Pirdawari, Katrin Rettel, Nils Sager, Sabine Seidel, Ulf Spengler, Stephanie Weber and Gabriele Wischmann.

Active Image*Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's family drama Nader and Simin: A Separation has won the Berlinale's Golden Bear, making history as the first Iranian movie to win the top prize at the German film festival.

Farhadi's movie won the prestigious award for best motion picture on Saturday in Berlin, and the entire female cast and the entire male cast were awarded Silver Bears in the best actress and best actor categories.

A subtle and gripping examination of Iran's social divide, the movie is a portrayal of a marriage in crisis. It focuses on the life of a middle class couple, Nader and Simin.

When Nader refuses to leave Iran because of the illness of his father, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, Simin files for divorce, but their lives spin out of control when the court rejects her divorce petition. They also have to consider the future of their only child.

The film premiered in Tehran on February 9, 2011 at the 29th Fajr International Film Festival.

Leila Hatami, Shahab Hosseini, Peyman Mo'adi, Sareh Bayat, Sarina Farhadi, and Babak Karimi star in the critically acclaimed work.

Farhadi received international acclaim for his 2009 film About Elly, which won numerous awards, including the Silver Bear at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival and the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 8th Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

Hungarian director Bela Tarr won the 2011 Berlinale's Jury Grand Prix for his black-and-white movie The Turin Horse. Tarr's two-and-a-half-hour film relates the story of an aging farmer and his daughter, who live in a small derelict house in the countryside.

The Jury Grand Prix is considered the festival's second most prestigious award after the coveted Golden Bear.

Active Image*Georgia's Shota Rustaveli State University has bestowed an honorary doctorate on the renowned Iranian theater director, Behrouz Gharibpour.

The veteran director was honored during a ceremony held on January 31, 2011 and attended by the university director Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Gharibpour taught postgraduate classes for the Georgian university's drama faculty students from January 26 to 31, 2011.

“I was invited to hold annual educational courses at the university, so I decided to hold postgraduate classes for drama students,” Gharibpour said.

“Margvelashvili and I have also discussed holding joint puppet theater performances in the near future,” he added.

Gharibpour staged his Shahnameh-inspired puppet opera Rostam and Sohrab at Georgia's Tbilisi International Festival of Theater which was held from September 29 to October 15, 2010.

The Shota Rustaveli State University officials invited Gharibpour after watching the performance, asking him to teach the students about puppet opera techniques.

Five other stage directors have received the honorary doctorate of the Shota Rustaveli State University; namely Robert Sturua, Nele Hertling, Steve Oslen and Otar Ioseliani.

Known for his extensive research on Qajar puppetry, Gharibpour has staged his puppet plays in numerous domestic and foreign festivals, including the 11th World Festival of Puppet Art in Prague and the 2008 International Incanti Figure Theatre Festival in Italy.

He received the Sirene d'Oro Prize of Italy's 2009 Arrivano dal Mare Puppet Festival for his contribution to the art of puppetry.

Macbeth, Ashura and Mowlavi puppet operas are among his best-known works.

Active Image*A tazieh (Iranian passion play), entitled “The Red Dawn,” won the Panchalratna Award at the Sixth Bareilly International Theater Festival.

The tazieh was performed by the Yaran-e Eshq Troupe, which is led by Asghar Shirmohammadi.

Panchalratna is the top award of the event, which took place in Bareilly, northern India, from January 26 to 30, Shirmohammadi said.

The festival is sponsored by the All India Cultural Association.

The festival’s organizers expected the play to be performed at the event after they read a comprehensive article prepared by the group about tazieh and the methods used to stage the traditional performance, he added.

The group also gave performances at several colleges in Bareilly.

The performances were warmly received by people, Shirmohammadi said.

The Iranian passion play tazieh recounts religious events, historical and mythical stories and folk tales. Each performance has the four components of poetry, music, song and motion.

Performers are always male, and female roles are played by men, most of whom are amateurs, who make their living through other means but perform for spiritual rewards.

Tazieh was registered on UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in November.

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