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UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema: African Violet

African Violet
September 11, 2020 - 12:00 am to October 1, 2020 - 12:00 am

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UCLA Film & Television Archive and Farhang Foundation are pleased to present filmmaker Mona Zandi Haghighi’s African Violet as part of the Virtual Screening Room. The film will be available for streaming via our unique link from Friday, September 11 through Thursday, September 24. Admission is $12 and a portion of your purchase will support the Archive’s public programs.

Archive Members receive a $3 discount—if you’re not a Member, you can join online today!

African Violet  (2019)

In the opening scenes of African Violet, a middle-age woman, Shokoo (Fatemeh Motamed Arya), gently relocates the elderly Fereydoun (Reza Babak) from a depressing nursing facility to her light, airy home. Fereydoun’s stubborn refusal to speak to Shokoo or acknowledge her gesture suggests a troubled personal history complicating this already difficult moment. Director Mona Zandi Haghighi, working from a script by Hamidreza Bababeigi, only gradually reveals just how complicated Shokoo’s particular situation is. As we learn, Shokoo divorced Fereydoun years before and now lives with her current husband Reza (Saeed Aghakhani) who has begrudgingly agreed to the awkward arrangement for reasons he begins to doubt when it becomes the subject of local gossip. Haghighi allows time and space for each of her characters to find their own hard won dignity in relation to each other. As Shokoo and Reza, Arya and Aghakhani deliver particularly restrained and giving performances as a wife and husband rediscovering each other through their new circumstances. What has all the potential for overwrought melodrama becomes, in Haghighi’s careful handling, a moving portrait of forgiveness, fortitude and the infinite adaptability of love. 

Color, in Persian with English subtitles, 93 min. Director: Mona Zandi Haghighi. Screenwriter: Hamidreza Bababeigi. Cast: Fatemeh Motamed Arya, Saeed Aghakhani, Reza Babak.


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