At the Freer, Niloofar: A Young Girl’s Epic Story

A captivating program of Iranian films is at the Freer Gallery, and despite the epic snow that has shut down the city, the series promises to continue this Sunday with a showing of the acclaimed 2008 film Niloofar.

Franco-Lebanese director Sabine El Gemayel's film tells a profound story of the free-spirited Niloofar, a 12-year-old girl living on the Iran/Iraq border, who dares to hope for an education, even as her father arranges her marriage to an older man and local sheikh. Forbidden to attend school; she secretly studies her lessons with an older woman in her village, but she must go to great pains to hide her eventual eclipse into womanhood in order to avoid the  promised marriage.

"It's a humanist film that's critical of a specific tradition, not a culture . . .I did not want to make a film that was anti-Arab," El Gemayel told Reuters at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival.

The film is scheduled for Sunday, February 14th at 2pm at the Freer Gallery's Meyer Auditorium, but check in advance for closures due to weather. Assigned seating is in effect, since there has been a high demand for the Iranian film series. Make sure to arrive promptly. Tickets are available one hour before show time, and there's a two ticket per person limit. Which, of course, is just enough for you and your Valentine.

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