Some film festivals are sprints, filled with back-to-back-to-back movies where audiences run on nothing but popcorn and Junior Mints. And some let you pace yourself a bit more, like “Reseeing Iran: The 21st Annual Iranian Film Festival.” The event, a celebration of Iran’s deep (and often overlooked) film tradition, opens Sunday and runs until March 1, giving you time to digest what you’ve seen (and eaten). Highlights of the festival — co-presented by the AFI Silver, the Freer and Sackler Galleries and the National Gallery of Art — include the area premiere of “The Salesman,” the latest from renowned director Asghar Farhadi, as well as post-film discussions.
Kicking off the festival with a screening Sunday (AFI Silver, 5:15 p.m., $13), “The Salesman” is the story of a man who turns amateur detective after his wife is attacked in their new home in Tehran. Farhadi’s 2011 film “A Separation” took the Oscar for best foreign language film, and actor Shahab Hosseini (far left) won the best actor award at Cannes for this one, so look for “The Salesman” to be a leading contender when the Oscar race takes off.
The centerpiece of the festival is a month-long retrospective of the work of director Abbas Kiarostami, who died last year. Kiarostami is best known for his so-called “Koker trilogy,” a series of intersecting films set near the village of Koker before and after the 1990 earthquake that devastated parts of northern Iran. The second film, “And Life Goes On” (aka “Life, and Nothing More …”), a meta-fictional examination of the disaster, marks its 25th anniversary this year.
Multiple locations; Sun. through March 1, various prices; go to asia.si.edu for details.