Film Screening and Discussion with Ahmad Kiarostami
Sunday, January 26, 2020
Dodd Hall 121
This event is made possible with the co-sponsorship of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies and with the major support of the Amuzegar Chair in Iranian Studies and the Musa Sabi Term Chair of Iranian Studies.
A seemingly simple classroom struggle between teacher and students becomes an absorbing lesson in solidarity, ideology, and resistance in Abbas Kiarostami’s gripping documentary feature, filmed during the last days of the Shah and finished during the earliest days of the Islamic Revolution. A question is posed to several educators, politicians, and religious figures: Should students name the person responsible for disrupting a class, or stay silent,
and accept punishment en masse? Together, the responses form an invaluable teaching tool, and an essential investigation of civil rights, state ideology, surveillance and power, resistance and compassion. “We see these children, but in reality they represent an entire world of humanity,” notes one observer. “The question is, why did they go back to class, and not try to change the entire system?”
Ahmad Kiarostami is the co-founder and CEO of Koantum, an innovative platform to teach science to elementary school students in the United States. Before moving to the United States in 2001, he founded three companies in Iran, including Negah, the first multimedia and online production venue in Iran, where he published award-winning multimedia products in cinema and visual arts. Before that, he had a leadership role at Microsoft Middle-East. Ahmad has co-produced Coup 53, a feature documentary on the story of Operation Ajax, the CIA/MI6 staged a coup in 1953 in Iran that overthrew Prime Minister Mossadegh, and Feathers of Fire, a visually breathtaking cinematic shadow play inspired by the 10th century Persian epic Shahnameh (‘The Book of Kings’).
Iran • 1979 • 53 mins. • In Persian with English subtitles
Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies, Iranian Studies