Film - Feature | September 22 | 4 p.m. | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
A seemingly simple classroom struggle between teacher and students becomes an absorbing lesson in solidarity, ideology, and resistance in Kiarostamis gripping documentary feature, filmed during the last days of the Shah and finished during the earliest days of the Islamic Revolution. A question is posed to several educators, politicians, and religious figures: Should students name the person responsible for disrupting a class, or stay silent, and accept punishment en masse? Together, the responses form an invaluable teaching tool, and an essential investigation of civil rights, state ideology, surveillance and power, resistance and compassion. We see these children, but in reality they represent an entire world of humanity, notes one observer. The question is, why did they go back to class, and not try to change the entire system? Astoundingly, many of the interviewees would become key figuresor victimsof the revolution, including its infamous hanging judge, the Ayatollah Khalkhali, and the 1979 foreign minister, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, who would be executed in 1982.