How is Iran? I hope things have settled down for you since the election. I wanted to extend to you a personal invitation to join me at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, IL, USA on January 22nd, 2011 for a special exclusive presentation of Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, the Holocaust documentary from 1985. As a filmmaker and avid moviegoer, I can assure you this is a rare treat to have such a celebrated film presented in 35mm on the big screen. I approach each of these screenings with great care and try to find a companion who might glean the most from the film. Naturally, you came to mind. As one of the most vocal and visible Holocaust deniers (or do you prefer revisionist?), I thought this would be a great way for you to spend a Saturday and get out of Tehran for the weekend. Get away from it all, as we say here in the US.
Do you go to the movies much in Iran? I know you have a vibrant film community there and many films are banned, a designation which here in the US can bestow a little extra cache on the movie, translating into strong word of mouth. I guess we have that in common. I’m also envious that your country exiles filmmakers. Sadly, we don’t do that here though we have many directors who would be excellent candidates. Did you see Transformers?!
You might be apprehensive about Shoah’s length – a whopping ten hours and six minutes. Well, this is where I can be of assistance. If you need to use the bathroom at hour three, go right ahead. I’ll pay extra close attention and bring you up to speed on what the Nazis did to the Jews while you’re in the john (that’s how we say ‘bathroom’ here in the US). If you feel like you’re falling asleep, the café has caffeinated soda and a wonderful coffee bar to keep you awake and alert. They also have wine, but that generally puts me to sleep. How about you?
Shoah, which means ‘annihilation’ in Hebrew, is subtitled in English, which I know you don’t speak very well, but I’m certain the message of the movie will come across even if you can’t understand a single word. So what do you say? What does your calendar look like on January 22nd? If that’s not good for you, what about January 29th? Or you could visit Chicago for an entire week and see it over the course of two nights and also take in our great architecture, have a real Chicago hot dog and see some improv comedy?
I’m looking forward to seeing you and I hope you haven’t seen the movie already.
P.S. The popcorn is on me. I hope you like extra butter.