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TEXT ONLY: PRESS CLIPPINGS Variety Los Angeles, CA September 27,2004 Title: “Film Review: The Color of Love” Author: Eddie Cockrell Warm and wise, heartfelt docu "The Color of Love" sheds light on the changing face of love, sex and relationships in contempo Iran. Likely to be an eye-opener for Western auds used to media images portraying a strictly hidebound society, pic's length will limit theatrical even as subject will spark discussion at fests and span the spectrum of tube and ancillary opportunities. According to 29-year-old Iranian-born, New York-based helmer Maryam Keshavarz, some 70% of Iranians are under 30. Pressed by the pervasive restrictions of an ancient culture on one side and easy access to the Internet and illegal satellite TV on the other, young and old are suspended in an almost surreal world between convention and progress. The severity of tradition is illustrated in the weeklong Ashura festival, in which men mourn the death of 7th- century saint Imam Hossein by flogging themselves and weeping in public. Ironically, the event also provides young people the opportunity to mingle with little or no supervision, avoiding the culture police. With Ashura the framework, Keshavarz employs eye-catching color-coded chapter cards as she surveys members of her own family from different generations on the meaning of love. The furtive efforts of teenagers Ahmad and Azadeh to get together in a country that has "suffocated true love" is red; while Zari, who chafes under the artificiality of arranged courting sessions, symbolizes the blackness of a so-called lost generation caught in the throes of change. Thirtysomethings Ehson and Sara rep the modern middle-class, assigned blue for the temperate way in which they've organized their fixed union to encompass the demands of two generations. By virtue of an arranged marriage at 12 that has blossomed into a deep spiritual relationship, the open and adaptive legacy of elderly widow Sharbanoo is white. Though her parents emigrated to the U.S. in 1960, helmer summered in Iran and spent four years studying Persian at the U. of Shiraz. Expanded from a photo exhibit and subsequent eight-minute short made while a student at NYU's film school, "The Color of Love" benefits from narrative clarity, budget-imposed brevity and an unforced intimacy that yields a good deal of mischievous humor and candid conversation. TEXT ONLY: PRESS CLIPPINGS Cinefestival Magazine Montreal, Canada August 27,2004 Front page: Pop Culture Title: “Cruising in Shiraz” Author: Maurie Alioff/ firstname.lastname@example.org Text: Maryam Keshavrz’s documentary, The Color of Love, implies that Iran’s huge population of young people is chipping away steadily at the authoritarian rules restricting their lives. But if the kids are on the verge of toppling the House of the Ayatollahs, it won’t be because their meeting in dank basements to plot a regime change. Change will come because they are wearing lipstick and playing seduction games. “I had come up with the idea of asking how Iran has changed,” Keshavarz, a New York City- raised Iranian-American, explains during a recent interview. “What are politics? Is there going to be a revolution? But then I started to realize I was asking the wrong questions. Everyone kept talking about culture: “The way dress has changes, the way marriage and divorce has changed.” In its exploration of a slowly emerging brave new world, The Color of Love challenges television images of veiled Muslim woman looking spectral, devoid of personality and spirit. The film takes viewers behind the veil into the private realms where people say and do whatever they like. Dressed in a T-short and jeans, Keshavarz’s younger cousin Azadeh stretches out, sucking a lollipop, teasingly imploring the filmmaker not to make her look like as if she’s sucking something else. Later on in the doc, Keshavarz’s grandmother is being filmed from behind, and the elderly lady demands to knoe what is so fascinating about her ass. The women in this movie come through as suprisingly irreverent, ironic, and articulate. Keshavarz’s film was shour in the ancient city of Shiraz during the festival of Ashura. We see crowds of men flagellating themselves in a tightly choreographed ritual mourning the loss of the seventh century saint, Imam Hussein. This and other details in the movie suggest that an old culture of death and mourning is being challenged by nothing more complicated than a yearning for basic human experiences like falling in love. In one scene, a young man waits for his beloved in a cemetery. There’s a bowl of fresh oranges in the grave beside him. Ashura’s religious rites bring young people into candlelit streets where they engage in the teenage ritual of cruising. They do it cautiously because the Morality Police can arrest them for attracting a boy’s eye, or for inviting a girl into a car. How seriously should one take cops who run around preventing eye contact? “You don’t want to get caught,” says Keshavarz. And what’s the likelihood of being harassed or arrested? “It’s in waves, that’s the crazy thing. You can have complete freedom for a year, and all of a sudden, there are crackdowns.” During the production for the film, Keshavarz sometimes got harassed, and one day she was arrested on trumped up charges. She fully understands why young Iranians are “pushing boundaries and negotiating around restrictions in different ways, just grabbing life by the horns and going and changing things.” Keshavarz knows that Iranian society would become atrophied without “that vitality of this new youth, of this sensuality.” At the same time, she continues, “A part of me feels a little bit sad.” Who wants Britney Spears to replace a culture that in a city like Shiraz is Thousands of years old? Nobody wants the Morality Police, but what about the poetry? One of the film’s ironies us that while Keshavarz admires the gutsiness if Iranian young people and understands their yearning for the kind of life she has, a part of her is attracted to the traditional culture they want to shed. Keshavarz remembers her uncle telling her that “the color of love is fading. People ince saw love as happiness and mourning, happiness and difficulties. And difficulties were beautiful. They were a part of our lives.” Keshavarz’s uncle laments a love without “sorrow, tears, and a willingness to drown in the sea.” TEXT ONLY: PRESS CLIPPINGS The Gazette Montreal, Canada August 28,2004 Front page: Pop Culture Title: “An Iran Many Don’t Know: Film looks at nature of love & gender relations” Author: Brendan Kelly, email@example.com Text: Rangeh Eshgh (The Color of Love) was originally meant to be an eight minute short, nothing more than a university film project. But after the U.S. invaded Iraq last year, 29 year old director Maryam Keshavarz decided it should be a mych bigger, more ambitious project. “It seems very pertinent right now with everything going on in the Middles East,” said Keshavarz, a high energy, ultra-articulate New Yorker of Iranian background. The Color of Love, a 68-minute documentary that has its first public screening at the World Film Festival today, is not about Iraq. It is a look at the politics of the personal in today’s Iran. More specifically, Keshavarz talks to several Iranians, including many members of her extended family, about the nature of love and how the relations between the sexes are changing in a country not exactly known for allowing men and women to meet, flirt and romance freely. This is not a film about Iran’s political system. Rather it is a lyrical, off the cuff snapshot of the real lives of real people in Iran. CONTINUED: Additional headline: “Color/ Iraq war makes film very timely” Text (continued): The reason Keshavarz thinks it’s so timely is that since the war in Iraq started, Americans-and others in the West- have been presented with a monolithic picture of the Middle East and its people. One of the points of her film is that we have to go beyond the footage of anti-American demonstrations in the region and try to understand the people behind the sensational headlines. “It would complicate our foreign policy if we saw the real faces of these people,” Keshavarz said. “It’s easier if we don’t see the human faces.” Keshavarz was filming in Iran when the bombs started dropping on Iraq last year, and drily noted that she has now been in Iran during three Iraq wars (including the Iran-Iraq war and the first Gulf War0. “It made me think about politics,” said Keshavarz, who has visited Iran regularily since her childhood. “It pushed me to rethink things.” The Color of Love shoes an Iran likely unfamiliar to most of us. It begins with the Ashura festival, where men beat themselves in public, reinforcing our stereotypical ideas of Iranian culture. But we also see younger Iranians surfing the Web on their home computers, checking out Ricky Martin videos and talking about what they watch on satellite TV. There is talk of arranged marriages, but the film also shows young Iranians fighting to be able to break the rules and actually marry for love. Keshavarz notes that more than 70 per cent of the Iranian population is under 30 and says this younger generation is slowly but determinedly shifting the mores of the country. “They’re revolting in different ways,” said Keshavarz. “They’re not passive. I saw people arguing with the police, There’s this energy there that’s so exciting. “Five years ago, when I went to university in Iran, it was hard to get Internet access. Now there are Internet cafes and they’re watching Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 (on the Web). Even though satellite television is illegal, the government looks the other way. Even the most religious guys have satellite TV. “There are all these young people pushing the boundaries, but we don’t see that in the western media. It’s not a revolution that’s going to happen. It is happening.” Keshavarz’s parents came to the U.S. from Iran in the 1960s, but Keshavarz would spend every summer in the old country and went back to study at the University of Shiraz four years ago. She began The Color of Love as a project for her master’s degree in the film program at New York University, and her school helped her by providing equipment and technical support. When asked how a twentysomething student could finance such a project, Keshavarz stresses that this is one very low budget flick. “You find a way. I was driven to so this film and I used every connection and every discount I could find. It was just getting people to believe in the project.” TEXT ONLY: PRESS CLIPPINGS The Globe and Mail Toronto, Canada September 1,2004 Title: “World Film Festival Diary” Author: Matthew Hays Text: Iranian-American filmmaker Maryam Keshavarz has premiered her first documentary here, Rangeh Eshgh (The Color of Love). The 29 year-old New York based filmmaker says she was inspired to make the film about everyday life in Iran after the bombs started dropping in Iraq. The film is a poetic and charming glimpse into the lives of a number of Iranians, as the filmmaker interrogates them about their opinion on love and romance. The film clearly illustrates the tension between younger Iranians, who yearn for modernity, and the fundamentalist elders who run the state. The flirtations of two Iranian adolescents are captured with great skill; as well, there is a particularly appealing grandmother with a penchant for blunt one-liners. At one point, she turns to the camera that is following her and inquires: “Why do you want to photograph my ass?” TEXT ONLY: PRESS CLIPPINGS The Gazette Montreal, Canada August 29,2004 Title: “Best Bet for Today and Tomorrow” Author: Brendan Kelly Text: Maryam Keshavarz’s feature documentary is a fascinating snapshot of life in Iran. The New Yorker of Iranian descent went to Iran to talk to ordinary people, including many members of her extended family, about the meaning of love, and the result is an unusual exploration of the politics of the personal in this repressive society. The film includes footage of men beating themselves during the Ashura festival, but the more intriguing material includes younger Iranians ralking about how their generation has a radically different view of love, sex and marriage. In Farsi with English subtitles.
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