North American Premiere
Stunning archival footage from Iran and Romania serves as the visual backdrop for this sophomore feature from director Vlad Petri. This is an epistolary tale of two fictional women, Zahra and Maria —the former from Iran, and the latter from Romania— who form a bond potentially transcending friendship at the Medicine University in Bucharest in the 1970s. Drawn to the promise of the Iranian Revolution against the Shah, Zahra returns to her home country, leaving Maria behind. She soon grows fearful of the push for an Islamic Republic that sees her intellectual leftist father disappeared. Meanwhile, in Romania, Maria endures increasing hardship and disillusionment under Ceausescu’s tyrannical communist regime. However, neither Maria’s father, nor the watchful eye of the Secret Police, can dissuade her from writing to Zahra. Inspired by documents from the Romanian Secret Police’s archives, Lavinia Braniște’s script —quoting poems by Nina Cassian and Forugh Farrokhzad— weds a haunting lyricism with ever-pertinent themes of longing for freedom from repressive political and patriarchal systems.
Sunday October 01
Lavinia Braniște, Vlad Petri
Dragoș Apetri, Cătălin Cristuțiu, Vlad Petri
Vlad Petri is a director interested in political and social subjects, often mixing personal images with official archives. His films exist at the border between documentary and fiction. His feature, Where Are You Bucharest? (2014) was nominated for Best Feature Film at the Transilvania International Film Festival. Petri’s most recent film, Between Revolutions (2023) received nominations for both the Caligari Film Award, and the Teddy Award, as well as won the FIPRESCI Prize at Berlinale International Film Festival.
Filmography: New Year’s Eve (2008); Where Are You Bucharest? (2014); La Pas Pe Litoral (2016); Journey Around The Home in 60 Days (2020)
See more films in this series:
The Mother of All Lies
As her parents and grandmother prepare to leave the Casablanca home they have lived in for decades, Asmae El Moudir takes the opportunity to probe the past, unraveling repressed truths buried within her own family and Moroccan political history.
Orlando, My Political Biography
Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, the transgressive novel is used as a framework to investigate the very real contemporary struggles of trans and non-binary people. Winner of the Teddy Award and Encounters Jury Prize at Berlin Film Festival.
In 2018, when a police raid evicted tree-house dwelling activists in Hambach Forest, student and journalist Steffen Meyn fell to his death. His classmates compiled the two years of footage he'd shot, asking whether a cause is ever worth dying for.
In a hybrid film comprised entirely of archival footage, two fictional women are torn from each other by the tides of repressive political and patriarchal systems. A haunting, lyrical tale of longing for freedom amongst connection.
Mighty Afrin: In the Time of Floods
From the floodplains of Brahmaputra River to Bangladesh’s capital city, this stunning hybrid-documentary captures the catastrophic effects of climate change upon the country’s people and landscape. Told through an orphan's personal odyssey.
The Tuba Thieves
Drawing on her experience as a d/Deaf/Hard of Hearing person, director Alison O’Daniel transcends assumptions of sound, silence, and language in this groundbreaking hybrid doc framed around a string of unsolved tuba thefts in L.A.
In the finest tradition of MAD Magazine, found footage from classic US film and television is combined to create a fictitious American neighborhood, reflecting modern American life from 2016 - 2021 in a wildly unconventional and absurdist satire.
Jaya, a teacher and comedian, travels across the typhoon-ravaged Philippines in a bid to win a beauty pageant. En route, they pick up an unlikely companion. Comic, sorrowful, and political, Asog examines the climate crisis through a kaleidoscopic lens.
Smoke Sauna Sisterhood
Within the confines of a smoke sauna deep in an Estonian forest, groups of women gather to cleanse themselves in both body and soul, sharing in traditional sauna-based rituals, while also revealing their hurts and longings, joys and pains.
New York institution Kim’s Video closed its doors in 2008. Fifteen years later, filmmakers David Redmon and Ashley Sabin set out to find out what happened to the 55,000 film collection and uncover a story of corruption, deception, and intrigue.