Close Up

29 January 2017: Mania Akbari: One.Two.One / 10+4


Close-Up and Sharna Pax present two films by Mania Akbari – guest curated and moderated by artist and filmmaker Andrea Luka Zimmerman. Following each screening, Sophie Mayer and Zimmerman will be in conversation with Akbari about her role and working process as a woman filmmaker particularly in the context of Iran, and how her films consider the body, life and death.

Mania Akbari
2007 | 77 min | Colour | Digital
Q&A with the filmmaker

In this sequel to Abbas Kiarostami`s Ten, Mania Akbari, the leading actress of the film, again drives a car and talks to her son, her sister and other people. Her situation in this sequel differs because Mania is suffering from cancer. As the disease progresses she’s unable to drive. So she sits in the back of the car and the conversation continues. She becomes weaker through her illness and unlike Ten, the camera for 10+4 has to follow her wherever she goes. This is a new experience in which the director is being directed by her cancer in the process of making the film.


Mania Akbari
2011 | 79 min | Colour | Digital
Q&A with the filmmaker

Composed of rhythmically structured and meticulously planned long takes, the film presents a series of conversational pieces connected to a beautiful woman named Ava whose face has been disfigured in an acid attack. Truths emerge in close up and a narrative of love, loss and renewal unfolds from each episode. Akbari questions the concept of beauty and the weight placed on it by her society but her protagonist Ava also functions as a metaphor for the scars her country bears, making this deceptively modest film inherently rich in courage and ideas.

Mania Akbari is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, artist, writer, and actress. Her provocative, revolutionary and radical films were recently the subject of retrospectives at the British Film Institute, the Danish Film Institute, Oldenburg International Film Festival and Cyprus Film Festival. Akbari was exiled from Iran and currently lives and works in London, a theme addressed in her latest film, Life May Be, co-directed with Mark Cousins. This film was released at Karlovy Vary Film Festival and was nominated for Best Documentary at Edinburgh International Film Festival and Asia Pacific Film Festival. Akbari is currently working on the new project A Moon For My Father in collaboration with British artist Douglas White.

Andrea Luka Zimmerman is a London-based artist and activist whose work examines themes of political resistance, globalisation, power and denied histories. She is co-founder of the artists' collective Fugitive Images, a cross-disciplinary, cultural activist producing agency, with a particular interest in, and commitment to, the social organisation of urban space. Zimmerman was the recipient of the 2014 Artangel Open award for her forthcoming collaborative project Cycle with Adrian Jackson, and a nominee of the 2015 Jarman Award.

Sophie Mayer is the author of Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema and The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love, and co-editor of There She Goes: Feminist Filmmaking and Beyond and Lo personal es politico, an anthology of essays on feminist documentary. She has also published three poetry collections, Her Various Scalpels, The Private Parts of Girls and (O). She is a member of queer feminist curators Club des Femmes and campaigners Raising Films.

Sharna Pax is a film collective working between the fields of anthropology, documentary, and visual art. Founded in 2013 by Maeve Brennan, Tinne Zenner and Therese Henningsen and based in London and Copenhagen. They work independently as artists and filmmakers and collaboratively organise screenings and discussions as part of their ongoing dialogue.