The Makhmalbaf Film House
April 7, 2008 1:58 PM   Subscribe

The Makhmalbafs are an Iranian family of filmmakers, although Samira tends to get the most press.

  • The House that Mohsen Built.
  • Limbs of No Body by Mohsen Makmalbaf [very long!] June 20, 2001
    Last year I attended the Pusan Film Festival in South Korea where I was asked about the subject of my next film. I would respond, Afghanistan. Immediately I would be asked, "What is Afghanistan?" Why is it so? Why should a country be so obsolete that the people of another Asian country such as South Korea have not even heard of it? The reason is clear. Afghanistan does not have a role in today's world. It is neither a country remembered for a certain commodity nor for its scientific advancement or as a nation that has achieved artistic honors. In the United States, Europe and the Middle East, however, the situation is different and Afghanistan is recognized as a peculiar country.
  • A woman's place
    Samira Makhmalbaf set out to make a film about a female president of Afghanistan. The hardest part was persuading someone to play the role, she tells Geoffrey Macnab
  • The Digital Revolution and the Future of Cinema - Samira Makmalbaf addresses the Cannes Film Festival forum.
  • Under the Chador by Jonathan Rosenbaum
  • Jeremy Lehrer interview with Samira Makmalbaf: God and Satan in The Apple. [more on The Apple here, most of the text is linked, although it doesn't look that way.]
  • Gerald Peary interviews Samira Makmalbaf about her film The Blackboard
    During a stay in Kurdistan with my father, we found little topics, little stories, and I preferred this story: about the journey of teachers with blackboards on their backs as they traveled Kurdistan. My father gave me the outline of the story, and I drew up the screenplay as we went along.
  • YouTube clips:
There is a ton of information within the initial link, definitely worth digging throuh.
posted by sciurus (13 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for the post—I'm a huge fan of Iranian cinema in general and Makhmalbaf in particular—but it's kind of oddly framed. It's like saying "The Coppolas are a family of filmmakers, although Sofia tends to get the most press." Mohsen Makhmalbaf is one of the great directors in film history; it's nice that his family is creative, and I have nothing against Samira, but come on.

I look forward to investigating the links.
posted by languagehat at 2:19 PM on April 7, 2008

[Afghanistqan] is neither a country remembered for a certain commodity

Produce 90% of the world's heroin (and some mind blowing blond hash) and no one notices.

Shelter Osama bin Laden and you're western enemy number one.
posted by three blind mice at 2:20 PM on April 7, 2008

Mohsen's "Nun va Goldoon (Bread and Flower)" is a most memorable movie. Also, I love their family-logic.
posted by progosk at 2:24 PM on April 7, 2008

it's nice that his family is creative, and I have nothing against Samira, but come on.

Well, when I was in film school we only talked about Samira, so I guess I'm a generation later than you. Or my film department sucked. :)
posted by sciurus at 2:26 PM on April 7, 2008

when I was in film school we only talked about Samira

Wow, that's kind of shocking. I'm not going to say your film department sucked, but that doesn't give me a good impression of it. I'd trade some countries' entire production for Nun va Goldoon alone. I hope you studied some Kiarostami!
posted by languagehat at 3:23 PM on April 7, 2008

Yeah, Nun va Goldoon is an absolute masterpiece. One of my favorite films.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:34 PM on April 7, 2008

Saw The Apple on a whim many years ago and was very impressed. Had never seen anything like it. I'm even more impressed to find out now that the director was 18 years old at the time.
posted by troubles at 4:17 PM on April 7, 2008

I've been thinking about that a bit more, and if I recall correctly, Iranian cinema wasn't actually part of the curriculum, and one of my professors just organized a few informal screenings of her favorite Iranian films. I remember watching The Apple and A Taste of Cherry. I was talking with my Palestinian coworker about Middle-eastern film earlier today and she wasn't familiar with the Makhmalbafs, so I recommended she watch The Apple, and thus that prompted this post.
posted by sciurus at 5:08 PM on April 7, 2008

Love that whole family of filmmakers!! Just saw 19-year-old Hana Malkmalbaf's Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame at a film festival here in SF - what a moving film. And Once Upon a time Cinema, Blackboards, Apple. What an amazing family!
posted by ethel at 8:20 PM on April 7, 2008

Oh, and Jonathan Rosenbaum and Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa wrote a fantastic book on Abbas Kiarostami (another great Iranian Director, from Mohsen's generation).

And there was an excellent exhibit up at MoMA's PS1 contemporary art center last year of Kiarostami's still photography (plus installation and film series - apparently it also travelled to Berkeley).
posted by ethel at 8:28 PM on April 7, 2008

Actually, Mohsen has usually received the most press.
Here's a short article on his films.
He was so famous in Iran in the 80's and 90's that Abbas Kiarostami made a meta-documentary feature film called Close Up that was about a guy who pretended to be Makhmalbaf.
Here the real Makhmalbaf meets the fake one and they go for a ride to meet some people whom the fake one bilked.
Mohsen also made a fine film called Gabbeh about nomads and the lives and stories they weave into their carpets.
I also highly recommend A Moment of Innocence "one of the key art works of our time."
MFH Films has a YouTube channel.
posted by Rashomon at 1:55 PM on April 8, 2008

I also highly recommend A Moment of Innocence "one of the key art works of our time."

For the sake of clarity, this is the film that has been referred to as Nun va Goldoon previously in this thread.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:06 PM on April 8, 2008

Thanks for the additional links Rashomon.
posted by sciurus at 5:50 PM on April 8, 2008

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