Archive for the 'Movie' Category

Festival of Acclaimed Persian Movies for a Better Understanding of Iranian Women

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009


Festival of Acclaimed Movies for a

Better Understanding of Iranian Women

(In recognition of Iranian Women Struggle for

Justice, Equality, and Freedom

during  past 3 decades)


Organized by:

MIT Persian Cultural Group

Free Admission!


(Apr. 12, 19, 26 & May 3, 10, 17, 2009)

5pm sharp!

MIT Room 4-237 (Building 4, 2nd floor)


All movies are in Persian with English subtitles!



Dayereh” (The Circle)

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Jafar Panahi/2000


A detailed and realistic portray of the life women who are abandoned by the society.

It shows the underlying reasons for their misfortunes and commonalities of social challenges with ordinary people.





Zendan Zanan” (Women’s Prison)

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Manijeh Hekmat/2002


The movie depicts some aspects if Iran prisons and the life of women prisoners which spans for 17 years but the story goes beyond that to cover many other related social problems.




Vakonesh Panjom” (Fifth Reaction)

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Tahmineh Milani/2003


Everyday concerns of urban women, their entrapment in the loop of unfair laws and cultural restrictions and their efforts for progress.





Do Zan” (Two Women)

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Tahmineh Milani/1999


A clear depiction of how some traditions prevent women from realizing their full potential while their common civil rights are violated without any governmental concerns.




Roozi Ke Zan Shodam” (The Day I became a Women)

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Marziyeh Meshkini/1999


The natural desire of women as a human being for becoming

inquisitive, determined, and independent.






(A Tentative Time slot for a Concluding Movie and/or Talk on the main topic)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Please send your suggestions for this tentative movie and/or speaker to:

For more information and updated flyer of this event, please visit/download:

How to counter the negativity of “300” Movie?

Thursday, October 25th, 2007


How to counter the negativity of “300” Movie?

(an open letter to MIT PSA Officers)

by: Ali Taalebinezhaad

Oct. 25, 2007


Dear MIT Persian Students Association Officers;


The movie “300” has been recently released on DVD and LSC will probably screen it at MIT. Anybody with little knowledge of history knows that this movie has flown in the face of many historical facts and in its path has badly damaged and demeaned the Persian culture and heritage.


The American baby-boomers such as Frank Miller (writer of “300” movie) got their ancient Persian history lessons from the 1962 movie by Rudolph Maté’s called The 300 Spartans and the new generation of Americans are getting their history lessons about Persian history and culture from the recent “300” movie. Some might fool themselves by saying that: “This is just a fictional movie based on a stupid comic book!” but numerous evidence show that it is not the case at all. For more detailed information in this regard, you can read the following article:

Review of Frank Miller’s “300” comic book

Cyrus Kar has nicely summarized these facts by saying:

“History is no longer written by the victors, it is written by filmmakers!”


We are all very busy advancing our interests but hopefully our moral and social responsibility should dictate us to do something about such importnat issues now otherwise for years we all have to pay the very high price of being subjected to the stigma of the wrong impressions gained by viewers of such movies. Please keep in mind that if we do not collectively address it now, we will not have the necessary means/time to individually resolve it in future even if we want to do so.


A Brief History of Ancient Persia

Before we can preach to others, we need to know some basic facts about our history. For those of us who might not know or remember the ancient Persian history and its towering figures such as Cyrus, Darius and Xerxes, one can learn a lot quickly by:

1. Reading the few pages here:

History of Ancient Persia (تاریخ ایران باستان from Shirin Blog),

2. Watching this informative 10-minute video:

In search of Cyrus the Great (from Spenta Productions),

3. Reading this interesting 2-page article:

The truth behind “300” (by Cyrus Kar),

4. And finally watching these two 45-minute videos:

Iran: Seven Faces of a Civilization (by Dr. Farzin Rezaeian)


Persepolis Recreated (by Dr. Farzin Rezaeian).


A history lesson!

We might have heard this beautiful saying that:

“If you don’t stand for something, you might fall for anything!”

and wondered what it really means in every day life?

Here is a relevant story:

An Iranian-born woman called Azam Ali accepts to be the lead singer for “300” movie in order to “advance her career”. After getting all the financial and career benefits of her free choice at the expense of badly damaging her birth place heritage, she first tries very hard to justify her action. But when she is pressed by BBC interviewer regarding the consequences of her action on Iranian people, she says “I am sorry!”

That seems to be too little, too late, considering that fact the “300” movie scripts has been the exact adaptation of the “300” book which has been even publicly available for years and could be read in an hour or so! You can hear the full interview here:

BBC Interview with Azam Ali


What PSA can do at MIT? (Suggestions!)

Considering that introducing the true Persian culture and history to MIT community cannot be done effectively by individuals, Persian Students Association can play its declared role by mobilizing the MIT Persian community for achieving this important goal effectively at the following events:


1. PSA 2007 Halloween Party at MIT:

You are sponsoring this event which will attract many Americans students from all over Boston area. These are very likely students whose last impressions about Persians are what they can remember from the “300” movie and probably what they have heard about Ahmadinejad! As the sponsor of this event which uses “Persian” in its title name, you can easily tell them what “Persian” really were by playing the 10-minute video of In search of Cyrus the Great for them. Shirin Science Center has obtained a high resolution version of this video and the permission for its public screening which I can provide you with if you are interested.

(PS: Now that you have joined forces with Iranian Association of Boston and decided to offer alcoholic beverages at this event, you might want not to open your bar before playing the movie to avoid facing drunk audience.)


2. MIT LSC screening of “300”:

PSA should make the necessary arrangements so the above 10-minute video be shown before the screening of “300” movie at MIT. Even if LSC does not accept to show this video for free, I am sure that MIT Persian community can afford and will gladly pay the LSC fee for this important cause.


3. MIT IAP 2008:

Considering the non-existing or dismal presence of PSA in IAP 2007, it is very important that PSA comes up with a comprehensive plan to take advantage of IAP 2008 for introducing the MIT community to the real Persian culture and history very soon so it can be submitted on time to IAP scheduling office well before it starts.


More Information:

Watching the “300” movie!

If you do not want to be part of the statistics of “300” movie viewers which might indeed embolden the producer of such movies in future, you should vote by your feet! Namely by:

- Not watching this movie in a theater,

- Not watching this movie in college formal screenings such as MIT LSC,

- Not buying its DVD’s,

- Not renting its DVD’s from stores such as Block Buster,

- Not buying the “300” book.

This is because sale figure is the only language that Hollywood understands in such cases.


However if despite the low ranking of this movie you are still urged to see it for yourself, you can check it out for free from one of your local city libraries, including the Cambridge Public Libraries.


Last Stand of the 300 (History Channel DVD):

If you are interested in the more realistic story of Persian-Greek wars, including the saga of Spartans at the battle of Thermopylae, you can check out the

90-minute DVD from History Channel called “Last Stand of the 300”

from your local library. Please ask your library to get this DVD if they do not have it so other interested people can use it in future as a better alternative to “300″ movie!


The Spartans (PBS DVD):

And finally if you want to know what Spartans really were and what became of them, you can watch the

3-hour DVD from PBS called “The Spartans”.


Looking forward to seeing some actions from PersianSA in support of Persian culture, history and heritage in this regards which can be easity achieved by devoting a fraction of your resources to this crucial cause.




Ali Taalebinezhaad

Oct. 25, 2007

Book Review: “300″ by Frank Miller

Saturday, April 7th, 2007


Title: 300

Author: Frank Miller (Story & Drawings) & Lynn Varley (Coloring)

Hardcover: 88 pages

Publisher: Dark Horse (

Publication: 1999

Language: English

ISBN: 978-1569714027

Dimensions: 12.9 x 9.9 x 0.6 inches

Price: $30 US

This is a comic book, namely a book full of hand-drawn cartoons with few words or short sentences on each page. I read it last weekend and found it very offending to the Persians. This is not my personal impression but a truth. On the back of the book, Frank Miller himself summarizes it as following:

“The army of Persia - a force so vast it shakes the earth with its march - is poised to crush Greece, an island of reason and freedom in a sea of mysticism and tyranny. Standing between Greece and this tidal wave of destruction is a tiny detachment of just three hundred warriors. But these warriors are more than men… they are Spartans.”

Although it is said that “300” is a fictional cartoon book but I believe Frank Miller does not have such illusion. He has tried very hard to portrait his book as a history work when he recommends the following books as “Recommended Readings”:

The Hot Gates by William Golding,

The Histories by Herodotus,

Thermopylae: The Battle for the West by Ernle Bradford,

The Western Way of War by Victor Davis Hanson.

This book purposefully degrades Persians and flies in the face of historical facts. It purposefully demeans Persians in general and their King Xerxes in particular unjstly. Although “300″ book has small fonts for its general text but it uses one of the largest fonts in the book in red color for writing “Persians!” as a caption of a group of soldiers with evil faces. If the discriminating views of this book were brought to light when it was published in 1999 then probably Hollywood would not dare to make ‘The 300’ movie based on this book.

Frank Miller has created many other comic books which have been turned into movies including Batman and Spiderman. However, they have been all fictionally and none has been targeting real people, not to mention Persians, one of the oldest civilized nations.

It is very interesting to learn why Frank Miller has written such a Persian demeaning book? Here is the reason as mentioned in the Time Magazine article of March 12, 2007 called “The Art of War” by Lev Grossman:

{In 1962 a boy named Frank Miller went to the movies with his parents. The movie was Rudolph Maté’s The 300 Spartans. Miller was 5. “It had a deep, deep effect on me,” Miller says. “I actually snuck across the theater in order to confer with my dad and make sure the heroes really were dying. I stopped thinking of heroes as being the people who got medals at the end or the key to the city and started thinking of them more as the people who did the right thing and damn the consequences.” When Miller grew up, he created a comic book about the Battle of Thermopylae called simply “300″.}

Not only Frank Miller but also many people especially youth get their history lessons from movies and novels, accept them as facts and then act upon them!

But the sad fact is that even well-educated westerners do not realize the historical inaccuracies in this book especially the way it has portrayed Persians. To prove my point, I quote the most thoughtful review I could find about 300 book on Amazon here:

{He’s taken one of the most glorious stories in human history and dumbed it down BELOW the level of the most moronic Saturday morning cartoon you can find on the tube.

‘Historical accuracy’ isn’t the issue in this particular case. Hollywood screenwriters fashion entire careers around doing violence to history. ART is the issue, which is why I get REALLY pissed off with giddy amateur reviewers breathlessly proclaiming ‘300’ as “One of the great graphic novels of our time”.

If ever there was a story that cried out for richness of detail and vivid coloration, it’s this one. Instead, we get paint-roller draftsmanship, a color palette lifted from a highway road-kill, and dialog that’s about as eloquent as two Neanderthals grunting at each other. (Which is understandable, since that’s obviously Miller’s target audience.)

Some reviewers have recommended Stephen Pressman’s ‘Gates of Fire’ as an antidote to ‘300’. Their intentions are good, but they forget that we’re dealing with semi-literate hardship cases who get their history lessons from comic books.
If you would like to see what a REAL graphic novel looks like, check out any of the Alan Moore/Eddie Campbell collaborations.}

Review by: Ali Talebinejad
April 6, 2007