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FILMS & LITERATURE OF IRAN

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"To live is to eat!" is our favourite mantra! There is so much joy in our food memory that is inextricably linked to the joys of travel from the aroma of freshly baked breads, the bustle of traditional bazaars, to the vibrant colours of fresh produce. 

One can still eat your way around the world during this Circuit Breaker, thanks to 10 of our favorite "exotic" dining establishments, bringing their cuisine right to your doorstep!

*opinions expressed and recommendations are our own, in no particular order. 

A SEPARATION 

A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.

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Photo & text: news.yahoo.com, rottentomatoes.com

PERSEPOLIS

Based on Satrapi's graphic novel about her life in pre and post-revolutionary Iran and then in Europe. The film traces Satrapi's growth from child to rebellious, punk-loving teenager in Iran. In the background are the growing tensions of the political climate in Iran in the 70s and 80s, with members of her liberal-leaning family detained and then executed, and the background of the disastrous Iran/Iraq war.

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Photo & text: timeout.com, rottentomatoes.com

ARGO

On Nov. 4, 1979, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran, taking 66 American hostages. Amid the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge with the Canadian ambassador. Knowing that it's just a matter of time before the refugees are found and likely executed, the U.S. government calls on extractor Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to rescue them. Mendez's plan is to pose as a Hollywood producer scouting locations in Iran and train the refugees to act as his "film" crew.

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Photo & text: nytimes.com, rottentomatoes.com

THE SALESMAN

After their flat becomes damaged, Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), a young couple living in Tehran, Iran, must move into another apartment. Once relocated, a sudden eruption of violence linked to the previous tenant of their new home dramatically changes their lives, creating a simmering tension between husband and wife.

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Photo & text: theguardian.com, rottentomatoes.com

TEHRAN TABOO

Four young people are forced to break the taboos of Iranian society. Director Soozandeh used the rotoscoping process because it was impossible to shoot the movie in Tehran, and other cities have their own traits that made them inappropriate for a realistic film set in Iran. To surmount that issue he used rotoscoping, which combines live action with animation. Actors were filmed against a green backdrop, and animation was added to allow insertion of background details specific to Tehran. He has said that his aim in making the film was to inspire social change in Iran.

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Photo & text: straitstimes.com, rottentomatoes.com

TRAVEL JOURNAL

This lovely book is a treasured gift from a couple of dear friends who knew, too well, my preference for picture-rich literature, and while browsing in an intimate, mainly Chinese bookstore along Bukit Pasoh.

 

I have always dreamt of returning to this gorgeous country since my tour leading trip several years ago.

As Mandarin is my first language, this book filled with hand-drawn illustrations by an intrepid Taiwanese traveller (Zhang Peiyu) was the perfect gift!

 

Detailing her travels through Eastern Turkey and Iran in colorful and often whimsical drawings, Peiyu invites the traveler to journey with her through her journal.

I was momentarily transported back to Yazd as she explained about the Zoroastrian religion and her enlightening visit of the Fire Temple, as well learning about funerary practices.

Another memorable section is about Kashan, the famous center of rosewater production. The sweet floral aroma of the beautiful blooms comes to mind, whose essence is often made into perfumes as well as cooking.

Photo & text: nytimes.com, Jessica

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