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TO FEB. 28
Wrapped in their chadors, Iran’s women are indeed hidden, yet they’re more visible than their counterparts in many other Islamic nations. Women’s issues animate some of the best contemporary Iranian films, and the country boasts as many prominent women directors as Hollywood. This series of recent work by female Iranian filmmakers takes its title from The Hidden Half (at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28), Tamineh Milani’s study of a housewife whose slumbering politics are reawakened by a murder case; the film was sufficiently controversial to send Milani to jail briefly. Equally urban and immediate are Rakhshan Bani-Etemad’s Under the Skin of the City (at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23), about a textile-factory-worker matriarch whose four children include a son who plans to make his fortune in Japan and a daughter who’s regularly beaten by her husband; and Manijeh Hekmat’s Women’s Prison (at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26), based on the true story of a woman who killed her stepfather to protect her mother. There are also examples of the poetic (and rural) side of Iranian cinema, including Maryam Shahriar’s Daughters of the Sun (pictured, at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19 at 2 p.m.), an almost wordless account of a girl who poses as a boy to work for a merciless weaver; and Samira Makhmalbaf’s Blackboards, a visually stunning look at itinerant teachers in the mountainous Kurdish region. (It’s shown with her brother Maysam’s How Samira Made Blackboards at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9.) The series runs to Friday, Feb. 28, at the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th and Jefferson Drive SW. Free. (202) 357-4880. (Mark Jenkins)