Docunight #54 [Penn State]: Ali Aqa (reminder)

Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 7 PM – 9 PM
Location: Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, State College, Pennsylvania 16802

Ali Aqa
Directed by Kamran Heidari
2017 / 81 min
Persian with English Subtitles, Free Admission

 

Seventy-year-old Ali Aqa’s large, fleshy hands shake as he helps a newborn pigeon chick hatch. His pigeons, which he keeps on the roof of his home, mean everything to him. He calls his favorite white pigeon “sweetheart” and even takes her into his bedroom. His wife is less than enthusiastic about this, and has good cause to be jealous. He may be the embodiment of tenderness when dealing with his beloved pigeons, but this cantankerous old man is a trial for the human beings around him, as we soon learn from this dynamic portrait, shot up close to its protagonist. He orders his wife and son around and is consumed by paranoia. When it goes too far, even the film’s director Kamran Heidari abandons his strictly neutral position as an observer. The pigeons are Ali’s way of escaping reality—in particular, an impending hospitalization—but this proves ever more difficult. Ali Aqa’s small-scale, everyday story encompasses a great human drama: how do we accept the inevitable?

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Docunight #53 [Penn State]: MAHAK – A World She Founded (reminder)

Date: Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at 7 PM – 8 PM
Location: Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, State College, Pennsylvania 16802

MAHAK – A World She Founded
From “Karestan” Documentary Film Series
Director: Mohsen Abdolvahab
2017 / 57 min
Persian with English Subtitles, Free Admission

The life of Saideh Ghods changed completely when her two-year-old daughter Kiana was diagnosed with cancer. As she confronted her daughter’s suffering, she became aware of the suffering of so many impoverished families in hospital corridors around the country who were dealing with children afflicted by cancer. When, due to the doctors’ timely diagnosis, Kiana was on the path to a full recovery, Saideh Ghods resolved to prevent the unnecessary deaths of children with cancer caused by lack of access to therapeutic facilities or insufficient financial resources.

Ghods founded MAHAK over 25 years ago. It quickly gained fame and support throughout Iran. Today it is one of the most highly functioning and trusted charities in the country. Countless children have been helped and saved.  A few years after founding MAHAK, Ghods, along with a group of Iranian philanthropists, established a fully equipped hospital in Tehran that specializes in treating children with cancer.

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