Poetry in Motion: Contemporary Iranian Cinema

Poetry in Motion, designed by Homa Delvaray

3-24 April 2019

Bagri Foundation has commissioned this exciting new film season, delivered in partnership with the Barbican with added support from our partners Hakawati. Poetry in Motion: Contemporary Iranian Cinema reflects on how the tradition of storytelling, so deeply rooted in Persian culture, manifests itself in cinema.

Poetry is an anchor of everyday life in Iran. The morality tales of Sufi poets such as Hafez and Sa’adi find their ways into Iranian lives – from the playground to the marital home, and buskers sell lines of poetry on the streets of Tehran.

This film season showcases emerging voices in contemporary Iranian cinema through the prism of Persian poetry, rather than through its modern-day politics and often stereotyped representation. Reflecting Iranian culture’s rich, diverse traditions and love of storytelling, we present the work of bold, emerging contemporary filmmakers whose inventive stories will charm, surprise and enchant – a mix of everyday, universal themes, and the retelling of traditional narratives in new voices.

Award winning film producer/curator Elhum Shakerifar and film curator Faye Harvey have curated the programme in partnership with the Barbican.

Poetry in Motion Programme

A Dragon Arrives! + Q&A with Director Mani Haghighi (Sold-out)
* UK Premiere * 
Mani Haghighi 2016, 107 mins
Wed 3 Apr, 18.10, Cinema 2

Atomic Heart + Q&A with Dr Orkideh Behrouzan 
Dir Ali Ahmadzadeh, 2014, 93 mins
Sun 7 Apr, 16.15, Cinema 2

Braving the Waves + Live Poetry 
Dir Mina Keshavarz, 2016, 90 mins
Tue 9 Apr, 18.30, Cinema 2

Tehran: City of Love + Q&A with director Ali Jaberansari (Sold-out)
Dir Ali Jaberansari, 2018, 102 mins
Sat 13 Apr, 18.00, Cinema 2

Hendi & Hormoz + Q&A with Hana Louise Shahnawaz
* UK Premiere *
Dir Abbas Amini, 2018, 88 mins  
Sun 14 Apr, 16.00, Cinema 2

Janbal + Q&A with filmmakers via Skype
* UK Premiere *

Dir Mina Bozorgmehr and Hadi Kamali Moghadam, 2017, 72 mins
Wed 17 Apr, 18.30, Cinema 2

Ava  + Introduction + Live Poetry
Dir Sadaf Foroughi, 2017, 103 mins
Wed 24 April, 18.15, Cinema 2

Fifi Howls of Happiness  (Online via Mubi)
Mitra Farahani, 2013, 98 minutes
Throughout April
As part of the season, Mubi screens Mitra Farahani’s tender and elegant documentary ‘Fifi Howls from Happiness’ on “the Persian Picasso”, Bahman Mohassess, the celebrated Iranian painter, sculptor, translator, and theatre director. Learn more and watch here. 

Further details of the films as part of Poetry in Motion can be found here.

About The Barbican
A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over 1.1 million people attend events annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite.

The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, The Pit, Cinemas 1, 2 and 3, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery the Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory, conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.

The Barbican is home to Resident Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra; Associate Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia, Associate Producer Serious, and Artistic Partner Create. Our Artistic Associates include Boy Blue, Cheek by Jowl, Deborah Warner, Drum Works and Michael Clark Company.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic are the Barbican’s International Orchestral Partner, the Australian Chamber Orchestra are International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court and Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra are International Associate Ensemble.

About Hakawati
Hakawati produces, distributes and curates films that hold the art of storytelling at their core. The company supports storytellers with distinctive vision and enables new talent to take creative risks. Committed to the broader visibility of independent film, Hakawati gives platforms to quieter voices and unique individual – often minority – perspectives in relation to a dominant whole. In making and giving visibility to creatively bold films with integrity, representation and reframing narratives are at the heart of what we do. Hakawati’s projects all derive from the central tenet that a good story is in the telling, and that after all, we are the stories we tell. Founded by BAFTA nominated producer Elhum Shakerifar, Hakawati is supported by the BFI Vision Award and was named one of Screen International’s 2018 #Brit50 Producers on the Rise.