Amir Naderi Films at MOMA

The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) will screen nine films by Amir Naderi, an Iranian modernist filmmaker, from March 16 to 27 in New York.

The Iranian classics Davandeh (The Runner) and Ab, Bad, Khak (Water, Wind Sand) will both be shown, along with seven other films, including Manhattan by Numbers, an IFVC production for which I served as Executive Producer. The below link to the MOMA site features a short excerpt from my long article about Naderi’s films in Iran that I wrote in 1990, which has been translated into five languages and printed in various prestigious publication around the world. I highly recommend his films.

Irresistible Forces, Immovable Objects: The Films of Amir Naderi

Amir Naderi’s journey as a filmmaker began in Iran, where he was born in the southern port city of Abadan in 1946. Orphaned as a child, he spent his formative years on the street (an existence dramatized in his 1984 feature The Runner). A job working in a movie theater led him to discover his true homeland—the cinema—and Naderi has remained a citizen of that refined world ever since, pursuing his passion for filmmaking around the globe with no regard for physical borders or language barriers. 

Naderi made his first films in the 1970s at Iran’s famed Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, working alongside Abbas Kiarostami. After The Runner and Water, Wind, Dust found critical favor on the international film festival circuit, Naderi relocated to New York. Themes of isolation and alienation, already present in his work, were amplified by his encounter with the city, and with Manhattan by Numbers (1993) Naderi began an extraordinary series of films—including A, B, C…Manhattan(1997), Marathon (2002), and Sound Barrier (2005)—in which characters map their desire for emotional connection onto the coldly rational structures of New York’s street grid and transportation systems. 

With Vegas: Based on a True Story (2008) Naderi again expanded his territory, moving first to the American West, then to Japan (for the 2011 Cut), and back in time to medieval Italy for his most recent film, Monte (2016), the story of a poor farmer who picks a quarrel with no less a force than geography itself. 

“Naderi’s cinema is honest like John Ford’s, poetic like Robert Flaherty’s, masculine like Howard Hawks’, mysterious as Alfred Hitchcock’s, powerful as Orson Welles’, humanistic like Jean Renoir’s, bitter and realistic like Vittorio De Sica’s and sometimes as dark and surrealistic as Luis Buñuel’s.” — Bahman Maghsoudlou

Organized by Dave Kehr, Curator, Department of Film.

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