Robert Adanto’s Pearls on the Ocean Floor, a thought-provoking, feature-length documentary lifts the veil on Iranian female artists, by examining the lives and works of leading visual artists living and working in and outside the Islamic Republic. This unflinching and incisive study, featuring interviews with art luminaries Shadi Ghadirian, Shirin Neshat, Parastou Forouhar and others, captures the uncertainty of this momentous time in Iran’s history. Speaking with grace and honesty, these brave women express what is seldom seen in the western media:unique individual perspectives regarding issues of identity, gender, and the the role Art plays in challenging the traditional stereotypes often associated with women in Iran. Pearls on the Ocean Floor features a captivating original soundtrack by Nalepa, the composer who also scored Adanto’s debut film The Rising Tide, which examined the explosive contemporary art scene in a changing China.
As film critic Jennie Kermode writes in Eye For Film, “With so much impressive art to draw on, this film is a visual treat, but what really elevates it as a documentary is the strength of the interviews - strong voices with sometimes clashing agendas, each offering a unique perspective on a country “which seems to have a revolution every 30 years.” Iran is in flux and none of the women speaking here is sure what the outcome will be, though many are hopeful. It’s often said that suffering makes a great artist, and this film suggests that the suffering of a nation can have a similar effect.”
A panel discussion consisting of leading Iranian scholars including Vasar Professor Farzin Vahdat and and UCI Professor Nasrin Rahimieh and UCI Professor Nasrin Rahimieh will follow this celebrated film which has enjoyed screenings at The London Iranian Film Festival, The Glasgow Film Festival, The Smithsonian Institution, The MFA Boston, LACMA, The San Francisco Institute of the Arts, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and has upcoming screenings in Russia and India.
The Evening's Panelists:
Farzin Vahdat is a sociologist interested in notions and conditions of modernity and their applications to Iran, Islam and the Middle East. He is the author of God and Juggernaut: Iran's Intellectual Encounter with Modernity (Syracuse University Press, 2002) as well as the forthcoming book, Islamic Ethos and the Specter of Modernity which deals with some Iranian and non-Iranian Islamic intellectuals and their discourses in relation to the forces of the modern world. Vahdat has taught at Tufts, Harvard and Yale Universities and Vassar College and is currently conducting research at Vassar.
Dr. Rahimieh’s research has focused on intercultural encounters between Iran and the West, modern Persian literature, literature of exile and displacement, women’s writing, and post-revolutionary Iranian cinema. Her publications include Oriental Responses to the West: Comparative Essays on Muslim Writers from the Middle East (Brill, 1990) and Missing Persians: Discovering Voices in Iranian Cultural Heritage (Syracuse University Press, 2001).
Produced in Conjunction with RH Gallery, NYC and Movie Magic Media Productions, Los Angeles
Admission: $10 Students $5 with valid ID
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