What better time to be reminded of Iran’s legacy of bringing groundbreaking films to the rest of the world? Film curators from the Museum of Fine Arts; the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston have again curated a festival that celebrates many genres and perspectives in contemporary Iranian cinema. Running Jan. 16-26, the Boston Festival of Films from Iran opens with writer-director Soheil Beiraghi’s drama “Cold Sweat.” The film, which also screens Jan. 19, blends sports drama and social commentary in its story of Afrooz (Baran Kosari), a star athlete with Iran’s national soccer team ready to travel to the Asian Nations Cup final, in Malaysia. But her about-to-be-former husband, Yaser (Amir Jadidi), a TV talk-show host, takes revenge by exercising his legal right and forbids her to leave Iran.
The plight of women in modern Iran also figures in Narges Abyar’s award winner “When the Moon Was Full” (Jan. 17 and 18). Based on true events, the film blends political drama, love story, and horror thriller in its story of Faezeh Mansuri (Elnaz Shakerdoost), a woman from Tehran who marries a man (Hutan Shakiba) who hails from an Iranian province near the Pakistani border. Faezeh soon discovers that her new brother-in-law is a religious extremist determined to recruit her husband into a terrorist group.
Another award-winner in Iran is director Nima Javidi’s “The Warden” (Jan. 19), which features a score by Iranian-American composer Ramin Kousha. Set in an isolated prison in southern Iran during the shah’s regime, the film centers on an authoritarian warden (Navid Mohammadzadeh) assigned to transfer the prisoners to a new building. A crisis erupts when an inmate goes missing.
Director Arash Lahooti uses documentary techniques and natural light for her atmospheric feature “Orange Days” (Jan. 24 and 26), a portrait of Aban (acclaimed actress Hedieh Tehrani), the sole female farm contractor working alongside male crews in the orange fields of northern Iran.
Go to www.mfa.org.
Not just for kids
Veteran story artist and animator Cinzia Angelini, whose many credits include “The Minions Movie,” “Despicable Me 3,” and last year’s “Abominable,” is the special guest at Belmont World Film’s 17th Annual Family Festival, running Jan. 17-20 at the Regent Theatre, Arlington; Studio Cinema, Belmont; and Brattle Theatre. “Abominable” screens Jan. 18, at the Studio, followed by a talk and storyboard demonstration with Angelini. She returns Jan. 19 to screen her animated short film in progress, “Mila,” about a young girl whose life takes an unexpected turn during World War II. The film was inspired by Angelini’s mother’s experiences in Trento, Italy, where Angelini was born. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Angelini, moderated by WBUR’s Erin Trahan. The festival, which features animated, live-action, and documentary children’s films from all over the world, opens with “Hacker,” at the Regent. It’s a Danish film about a 13-year-old boy, an expert computer hacker, who tries to find his scientist mother after she mysteriously disappears. The closing feature is “Binti,” screens at the Brattle. Jan 20. Its 12-year-old title character (Bebel Tshiani Baloji) flees Belgium after she and her father are threatened with deportation to Congo.
Go to www.belmontworldfilm.org.
The Scituate Sister City Project sponsors its fifth annual film series, featuring six award-winning films from France and Ireland, running Jan. 16 to March 19. The series kicks off with the 2002 documentary “Etre et Avoir” (“To Be and To Have”) about a one-room school in rural France. The setting moves to Ireland on Jan. 23, with John Ford’s 1952 classic, “The Quiet Man,” starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. All films will be screened at 7 p.m. in the Saint Mary of the Nativity Parish Center and begin with a reception.
Loren King can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.