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May 13, 2003

Maziar Bahari

In a country known for neorealist fiction films that focus on small events in the lives of individuals, the work of Iranian director Maziar Bahari is somewhat anomalous. Employing a traditional documentary style to explore more far-reaching cultural events, Bahari’s films provide a glimpse inside contemporary Iranian culture as they reveal the human element behind the headlines and capture cultural truths through the lens of individual experience. Representing a new generation of young Iranian filmmakers, Bahari’s trenchant looks at social issues in his country have brought both controversy and international acclaim.

May 13 (Tuesday) 7 pm - Director Maziar Bahari in Person

And Along Came a Spider

Directed by Maziar Bahari
Iran 2002, video, color, 52 min.
Farsi with English subtitles

Over the course of a year, sixteen women were murdered in Mahsad, Iran, in what the press dubbed a series of "spider killings," based on the murderer’s weblike entrapment of his victims. Most of the women had previously been arrested for prostitution or drug-related charges. Saeed Hanaei eventually confessed to the murders, claiming that he was motivated by his religious beliefs to rid society of these corrupt elements. The case pitted reformists who sought swift justice for the victims against religious fanatics who praised Hanaei for his devotion to Islam. Bahari employs interviews with the killer, his family, and the families of the victims to reveal the complexities and contradictions of life in contemporary Iranian society.

Football, Iranian Style

Directed by Maziar Bahari
Iran 2001, video, color, 50 min.
Farsi with English subtitles

In 1997, the iranian National Football team stunned the international soccer community by qualifying for the World Cup. Bahari provides a sensitive and often humorous follow-up to those events with a panoramic view of some of his country’s most devoted fans. From religious school girls to the national team’s star players, the sport provides a way for people from all walks of life to come together, if only in support of their country’s team. Through this lens, Bahari presents a diverse portrait of contemporary Iran that reveals the constraints of tradition as well as the range of voices that can emerge in modern society.

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