Travel to Tehran

Our Autumn Events continue with spotlights focused very clearly on two distinctive, rather famous but all too rarely locally exhibited filmmakers, Asghar Farhadi and Jean-Luc Godard.

Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation is the most widely seen Iranian film in many years – but it might not have seemed such a bolt from the blue had his earlier work been pushed out into international waters a little more enthusiastically. His four earlier films are impressive indeed. 

The falling away of major sponsorship in recent years has deprived us of the invariably expensive luxury of major director retros at NZIFF. We never lost the hankering to string such career surveys through our programmes. We hope you have the time and inclination to embark on these brief and remarkably action-packed tours – or even hitch a ride part of the way.

Asghar Farhadi is Iran’s preeminent working filmmaker but which is Farhadi’s best film? For many it is not necessarily A Separation, the electrifying marital drama that won an Oscar and gained widespread international distribution. 

Seen in total, his four previous films provide an encompassing gaze into the realities of life – and the choices to be made – in contemporary Iran, from the margins of the working class to the relative comforts of the bourgeoisie. His genius lies in unfolding intricate dramas of personal and social conflict while never settling for a closed-off reading of any character or point of view. An attentive, responsive director of actors from the start, his mastery of tension and suspense has grown with each new film. (Ophidiophobics should approach Dancing in the Dust with caution.) 

We are delighted to present this overdue catch-up. Although widely acclaimed at key international festivals, these earlier films have proven stubbornly unavailable to us until now. About Elly has some Rialto Channel dates, but it’s his most elegantly cinematic work, amply warranting our big screen outing. Our thanks to ACMI (Melbourne) and Farabi Cinema Foundation (Tehran) for all their assistance. — Bill Gosden 

Click through to read more about the Farhadi films or continue below for short descriptions on each film.

About Elly

About Elly is the film that Iran’s Asghar Farhadi made before winning the Best Foreign Language Oscar with A Separation. Three years old, it is as fresh as paint: paint that hasn’t flaked or faded, paint that daubs a subtly encrypted anti-totalitarian message in the ‘simple’ fresco of its tragic tale.” — Nigel Andrews, Financial Times 

Friday April 19 at 7.00pm, Paramount, Wellington 

Wednesday May 08 at 6.15pm, Academy Cinemas, Auckland

Click through to read more about About Elly

Beautiful City

"Rooted in spectacular performances... Farhadi’s second feature is a human-scale morality play of shattering force.” — Scott Foundas, Film Society of Lincoln Center

“It’s a penetrating exploration of retribution versus forgiveness, blood money, sacrifice and the intricacies of Iran's Islamic judicial system.” — Laura Kern, NY Times 

Wednesday April 24 at 8.30pmParamount, Wellington

Saturday May 11 at 6.00pm, Rialto Cinemas Newmarket, Auckland 


Click through to read more about Beautiful City

Dancing in the Dust

"A strange, hypnotic, lyrical tale of love and sacrifice, Dancing in the Dust placed Farhadi firmly on the international film festival map, picking up prizes at Moscow and Pusan.” — Scott Foundas, Film Society of Lincoln Center 

“The snakes are genuinely scary, almost as much as the protagonists’ unpredictable emotions.” —Deborah Young, Variety 

Tuesday April 30 at 6.15pm, Paramount, Wellington

Wednesday May 15 at 6.15pmRialto Cinemas Newmarket, Auckland 



Click through to read more about Dancing in the Dust

Fireworks Wednesday

“The titular fireworks are literal – the story takes place as Iranians celebrate New Year by spring-cleaning and lighting firecrackers – and metaphorical: when Rouhi (Taraneh Alidoosti), a young bride-to-be working for a cleaning agency, turns up at the apartment of a couple about to go on holiday, she’s drawn into an explosive domestic conflict.” — Geoff Andrew, Time Out London 

Saturday April 27 at 6.00pmParamount, Wellington

Saturday May 18 at 6.00pmRialto Cinemas Newmarket, Auckland 


Click through to read more about Fireworks Wednesday

Our full NZIFF Autumn Events schedule for Auckland is now live on our website here. Tickets for the Godard and Farhadi films will be on sale from Thursday 28 March from the cinema venues directly.

Click through to read about our Godard programme screening as part of the Autumn Events.